Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Time With Friends

While we're in Desert Hot Springs, we met up with some good friends from the Northwest, Bob & Maggie Lawlor. They were staying at Desert Pools also. They invited us over for a delicious dinner in their motorhome. They have it very nicely decorated, and were the perfect hosts. We're learned some tricks about organization and entertaining in a motorhome that we'll put to good use in the future.
We went to the Living Desert Museum in Palm Springs. Its a wildlife & botanical garden with examples of deserts around the world. At the entrance we met a docent with a snake to introduce us to. For some reason the women didn't want to hold it. We really enjoyed walking through the park viewing the many different types of cactus, and the animals that inhabit the deserts.
Some of the highlights included the eagles, wolves, big horn sheep, mountain lions, walk through bird aviaries, a high tech hospital with videos of different procedures, and an entire African section that included zebras, giraffes, and ugly peccary. It was a weekday so we had the park mostly to ourselves.
One of the highlights for John was a huge model garden railway with many different settings and lots of operating trains. We had to pry him away or he would still be there.
After the Living Desert we had a late lunch at the Elephant Bar where John had his favorite coconut shrimp. It was a great way to end a fun day.

On Saturday we visited the famous Palm Desert Street Fair that takes place every weekend at the College of the Desert. It features a lot of different vendors, from arts & crafts, weekend retailers, garage sales, to many different food offerings.
Of course, being in the heart of high end golf resorts, there were a lot of vendors with golf clubs, millions of balls, golf clothes and other gimmicks that golfers would like. Bob found a terrific deal on a new driver that the vendor guaranteed a lower score.
Linda & John got away with minimum damages, probably because they couldn't make a decision. Linda did say she wants to go back soon.

Sharing these experience with Bob & Maggie made to visits special. We look forward to sharing more fun times with them.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Desert Pools, Desert Hot Springs, CA

We arrived at Desert Pools on 12/5. We got a nice spot across from the pickle ball courts.
This is the low desert, near Palm Springs, and the weather was nice with the temperature in the high 70s. This is an older park, but well maintained. They have a nice pool, and three different hot tubs all full of the natural mineral water found in this area. Of course by Friday the weather turned cold with rain. On Sunday, the view from our front window was beautiful!

Yes, it snowed in the mountains rimming the Palm Springs area. By today the weather is starting to warm up with great weather through the weekend. We'll be here until the 19th, exploring the area.

We're also lucky that one of our friends from the Monaco Northwest group is here. Bob & Maggie Lawler are a great couple, and real fun the share time with. We're looking forward to getting to know each other better.

Our plans include improving our pickle ball techniques, enjoying the pools, some geocaching, and visiting the museums. We might even find time to do some Christmas shopping.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Visiting Turlock Again

We're back in Turlock visiting our friends, and John had an appointment with his cancer doctor. The news wasn't good. It seems that John's iron content is low due to a little bleeding somewhere in his gastro system. The doctor wants to do more tests, but we don't know when the tests will be scheduled. Currently, the closest date is in February.

We're staying in the pool house at our friends, Dave & Jean Drayer, and they make us feel really at home. Their house is right across the street from our old house, which looks the same as when we sold it-very nice. We really have mixed emotions about selling our house and starting on this adventure. We've had some great times visiting with old friends and seeing new sights. But we do miss some of the aspects of a "stick home", and we really miss our good friends in Turlock. Everything we do in life is a comprise, and as we make decisions we hope we make good ones. Only time will tell.

Other than the doctor's appointment we've had some great times with our friends. On Wed. night we went out to dinner with Bob & Kathy at Panera Bread, one of our favorite restaurants. It was great catching up, and we stayed until the restaurant closed. On Thursday was the doctor visit, then we went to see the Del Webb housing development in Manteca. Some of the floor plans were really good, and it gave us another option to think about when we decide to get off the road. Thursday night we went to dinner in Modesto with Dave & Jean at Dewz Restaurant. It's change since we moved, and now it's a high end dinner house with great food. We haven't eaten this good since John lost his expense account!

Friday was an unusual day because we spent time apart. One of the adjustments to retirement is the amount of time we spend together because we have only one car and move our house a lot. John had lunch with his good friends from Gallo, Kristine & George, while Linda spent an extended amount of time at the mall. John also managed to squeeze in an oil change in the Honda, a haircut, and a visit to the Wine shop. That night Linda went to a women's presentation at church while John watched football and one of his favorite movies, Polar Express.

Saturday was a quiet day. John was glued to Dave's 42" high def TV watching Virginia Tech, USC, & Oregon State win their games. Linda was bored, but catch up on the wash, did some puzzles, and read a lot of magazines. That night we went to Kevin & Linda's house for a nice dinner party which included Gary & Rosemarie, and Gary & Connie. Great food, good friends and fantastic conversations are a great way to end the day.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend, 2007

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend. The day started with an introduction to geocaching for Matt & Suzanne, Donna, & Tiffany. Linda had chosen 4 local caches to find, ranging from a small to a large find. Two of the caches were in Creek Park, close to where Lois used to live. The other caches were in 24 hour fitness and a greenbelt area close to Los Coyotos Country club. Linda found the first one attached to a storm drain. Suzanne found the next one up in the bushes above a bridal path. Tiffany found the cache at the fitness center, and Suzanne found the last one above the walking path near the greenbelt. We found all of the caches!

Then we headed back to Lois' for a delicious turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. Everyone agreed that the food was some of the best we had ever had.

Our exciting weekend wasn't finished yet. Valerie had asked us to watch our niece Iris for the weekend while they went out of town for a special concert. Linda was on cloud 9. There was playtime on the floor together, trips to the park with the dogs in tow, pushing the stroller in the shops and long evening baths. Grandma Donna visited to share the joy of the weekend. And GG, Great Grandma, enjoyed all of it. It was a weekend we won't forget. Special times with special people.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Geocaching Around Diamond Lake

While we're at this campground we thought we would continue our quest of finding more geocaches. As we mentioned in an earlier posting, geocaching is a modern treasure hunt using a GPS device to find interesting caches all over the world. For more information, see the website geocaching.com.
The first two caches took us over some dirt roads not to far from the campground. We're were pleasantly surprised to find a west coast ranch for the famous Budweiser Clydesdale's!
This is a breeding farm with no tours or access. But you can see the horses from the road. They were being fed while we were there so they weren't near the fence by the road. For information about the Clydesdale's, click on this link: http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/clydesdale/index.htm

There were two different caches here, at each end of the property. Linda found both of them-good eyes for details. Here she is replacing one in the middle of the pile of boulders.

The other five caches we found were up in Hemet near Matt & Suzanne's new house and Diamond Lake. Matt's house is located in a major development called McSweeny's farm. Here's a link to the website: http://www.mcsweenyfarms.com/. It looks like it's going to be a great area. We visited the lodge, which is the recreation center of the community. It has a great fitness center, pool, meeting rooms, etc. They're even planning a equestrian center. Matt & Suzanne got in at the beginning of the development, so they'll be able to watch it grow over the years. In fact, the area behind their house is going to be an elementary school. The cache by their house was in the hills above the development with a great view down into the valley. John found this cache after a 1/2 mile hike.
The next two caches were on a long dirt road to the south of Hemet where there's a lot of ranches. One of them was located on Rawson Ranch, which dates back to 1860. We passed by a lot of gates, with the highest number being gate 250. There are great views of Diamond Lake, which is across the street from Matt's development. This lake is the newest in the chain of drinking water lakes built by the Metropolitan Water District. A coincidence is that Linda's father worked for the MWD for over 30 years.
The final cache in the Hemet area was in a park dedicated to the CDF Air Attack team that's based at the Hemet Airport. Inside of the display airplane, John found the cache under a wing. We found all of the caches we were looking for, a new record for us!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Girard Awning-A Great Company

We arrived in San Clemente on Sunday night, camping in the parking lot of Girard Awning. What a great place to have a small company. The day was beautiful, the traffic wasn't bad, and the ocean looked very inviting.

The next morning John had to get up early, because our appointment was for 7:30am. That's very early for this retired couple. Luckily he was up, because they knocked on the door at 7:15am. We think they go to work early so that they can get off early to still catch a few waves on the beach. Anyway, they got right to work replacing our broken arm and realigning the awning. It took about 1 1/2 hours, but the awning is as good as new. This is the main awning over our patio that goes out and retracts automatically at the push of a button. Very nice.

When he finished, and we asked about a bill, he stated no charge! We were shocked, because our motorhome is a 2002 model, long past any warranty. We thanked him, moved the MoHo quickly before he changed his mind, hooked up the car and headed for Wilderness Lakes, in Menifee, CA.

Where in the heck is Menifee? It's half way between Riverside and Temecula, close to Hemet where Matt and Suzanne live. This is a Thousand Trails park, so we can stay there for free. We got there early because of the efficiency of Girard, so we got a good spot and set everything up for an 8 day stay.

We don't know why they call the park Wilderness Lakes. It now has housing developments all around it. There's no lake, just some small canals that run thru the park. Somebody got creative I guess. We enjoy this park because of it's location, but this time we were a little disappointed because we were infested with hundreds of flies. They were everywhere, on the car, on the side of the motorhome, and when a door opened, inside the motorhome. We tried a lot of different ways to keep the fly population down, but it was a losing battle. The only thing that helped a little was spraying Pine Sol full strength by the doors and windows. It seems flies don't like the smell. So now, even thought we're in the high desert, the MoHo smells like a pine forest.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Visit to Turlock

We finally headed to Turlock on Wed., 11/24, after the winds died down. Our good friends, Bob & Kathy, offered us the use of their ranch to park our moho even though they were vacationing in Lake Tahoe. What great friends.

The reason we went to Turlock was to visit our good friends, and to check in with our Doctors. We both were going to visit our primary care physician, and John had an appointment with his Oncologist. All of the appointments went well, but the Oncologist wants to see John again in a month because his blood test showed his Iron was low(he may be bleeding internally). Hopefully everything will be fine during the next test.

While we were in Turlock we were able to share many meals and good times with our bible study friends. Bob & Kathy returned home on Sun., and we had a wonderful visit with them also. Whenever we get together with them we have a great time playing games, mainly Mexican Train .

We had a reunion dinner on Sat., 11/3. We had everyone meet at Cal State Stanislaus near the waterfall for wine and appetizers. Then Linda led everyone on a geocache right there on the campus. We had to identify different sculptures and solve puzzles to find the cache, so it gave us a chance to tour the campus and get some exercise. Bob was the one who found the cache inside of a parking sign in the west parking lot. We then went on to find 2 other caches, but we came up empty. Either the caches had been removed, or we couldn't find them.

We all went back to Bob & Kathy's house for a German dinner to celebrate Oktoberfest. John barbecued 3 different types of sausages, while Linda prepared all of the side dishes. We served beer and wine, and finished the meal with a delicious pumpkin cheesecake. It was great food, and it was the company and fellowship that made it special.

John enjoyed 2 lunches with his friends, Kristine & George, from his days at Gallo. It was a lot of fun catching up on different people from the company, and their families. It's hard to believe it's been almost 2 years since John retired. It's always nice to know everyone is still doing great even thought he's no longer there.

We had a surprise when the refrigerator door in the moho just fell off! We were lucky to find a new one in Sacramento. Can you believe a little side door would cost $395.00? We a happy that our food didn't spoil.

All to soon, it was time to head back to SoCal. We have an appointment to get our awning fixed at the Girard Awning Co. in beautiful San Clemente on Monday, 11/12. Hopefully it won't bruise the wallet too much, but we've missed having our awning when we sit outside. Until then, keep in touch.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Iris' Baptism & 1st Birthday

On October 21, we were honored to attend Iris' baptism at the Lutheran church in Garden Grove near Rick & Valerie's home. It was a very windy day, the beginning of the Santa Ana winds that sparked all of the fires in SoCal.

But the baptism went perfectly. The minister was very good, and Iris was even better. She smiled and never made any noise, unlike her cousin Matthew.

Here's a happy Mom as the ceremony ended. It was a very special day!

After church was over, we all went over to Rick & Valerie's house to have a big party to celebrate Iris' birthday. It was a great gathering, with lots of kids, presents, pinatas, great food and good beverages. At the end of the party we had a huge surprise. Rick announced that the Perez's were expecting another child! What a way to cap off a great day. It's a day we'll all will remember as very special.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Matt & Luann's Wedding 10/14

We were honored to be invited to Matt & Luann Ross's wedding on 10/14. Matt is the son of our good friends Paul & Kathy Ross from Albany, OR. On October 13 we flew out of LAX to Austin, TX. We arrived in time to attend the gala rehearsal dinner at a genuine Texas Bar-B-Que "joint". It was out in the middle nowhere, but very crowded. It was a covered patio, with a tin roof, and giant fans to keep everything cool. There was large tables where everyone sat, and the meal was served family style with as much ribs, chicken, sausage, and beef brisket as anyone would want. Everything was delicious!

On Saturday, it was time for the big event. It was an afternoon wedding, held at the home of bride's parents. They had a beautiful home on a large lake. The weather was perfect. And here comes the Ross family down the aisle as the wedding begins!

The setting was on a patio overlooking a large lake. The bride & groom wrote their own vows, which were beautiful and heart felt.

After the wedding, everyone posed for pictures. Here's the new expanded Ross Family.

After the pictures, the celebration moved into high gear. There was a very nice buffet, beer, wine, and champagne. And of course, wedding cake. Everything was delicious. There were toasts, hugs, and happy smiles. As the day turned into night, a karaoke team showed up and everyone had a turn at the mike. A new group was formed, The Ross Boys, with a stirring rendition of that Frank Sinatra classic "That's Life".

It was a great day, and we're sure it's the first day of a fabulous married life for Matt & Luann. We were so glad we could be part of the celebration.
For more pictures, click on the following link:
Thanks for viewing our BLOG.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Iris' 1st Birthday-10/10

John & Linda have a tradition with our children's 1st birthdays. We spread out a towel or a sheet on the floor, place a small cake in the middle, and then place the child next to the cake. What happens next can be exploration or chaos!

We decided that it would be a good experience for Iris' birthday. Since it was a Wednesday night the parents had not planned a lot, since the birthday party would be the following weekend. We purchased a small chocolate cake and headed for Garden Grove and some fun.

Iris at first didn't seem to know what she was allowed to do. But it didn't take long for her to place her hands in the cake.

She seemed to enjoy it, but she didn't get real messy like Matt did. Later when we talked to Rick, he said that he didn't like chocolate, so maybe that was inherited by Iris. It could have diminished her enthusiasm.

She still seemed to have a good time! Next time, we'll get her a vanilla cake.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Death Valley, CA

On Friday, 10-5, we decided to visit Death Valley National Park. The wind was slowing down, and we wanted to visit the park before we left Pahrump. Death Valley is about an 11/2 hour drive from the resort. We headed for Furnace Creek and the visitor center to orient ourselves and decide on a plan for our visit. It was a bright & sunny day, but the wind was still blowing hard.

John wanted to have lunch at the Furnace Creek Inn, but it wasn't possible. The Inn was still closed for the summer, and wouldn't open until 10-16. It looked nice, thought. After the visitor center, we stopped at Furnace Creek Ranch store for some snacks. When we came out of the store, the weather had turned into an overcast day. After further investigation, we determined that it wasn't clouds, but blowing sand in the sky! We changed our plans and headed south towards Badwater to avoid the sandstorm. As you can see by this picture, we're trying to outrun the storm.

Looking behind us, it's a great cloud of gray sand. This is the view back toward Furnace Creek.

We did have time to stop at the Devil's Golf Course. It's an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind & rain into jagged spires and crusty rounds. It got it's name because"only the devil could play golf on such rough links".

Further south, we stopped at Badwater, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. It's a surreal landscape of vast salt flats, and a small pond of water that comes up from a spring. It got it's name from a prospector who tried to get his mule to drink, but the mule refused, thus the name Badwater. However the water is fine, it's just very salty. In fact some plant live there in the winter and there's an endangered snail in the springs.

Way up on the cliff is a picture of where sea level is. It's a long way up. The air felt heavier here, and I understand that golf balls don't fly very far at the Furnace Creek golf course. Our campground is at 2700' altitude, and we passed over a 3200' pass to get to this spot, all in about 60 miles.
We were sorry our visit was cut short by the wind, but maybe we'll be back someday. After UT, and now NV, we're a little tired of the desert. We miss the green of the Northwest. If you want to see more pictures, please click on the link:
Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pahrump, NV

In case you're wondering what's going on with us, on Tuesday we drove south on I-15 from UT into NV. We're staying at one of our membership RV resorts, Charleston Peak, in Pahrump, NV. It's about 50 miles SW of Las Vegas on the way to Death Valley. It also has a winery/restaurant as part of the resort. I know, how good can a winery be in the desert? I intend to find out later is our stay. Here's the view from our front windshield. Pretty neat!
Yesterday, Wed., we drove into Las Vegas to kind of check things out. It's been a couple of years since John has been here, but it hasn't changed that much. Lot's of traffic, new hotels being built, very expensive entertainment, etc. As you can tell we're not big fans of Las Vegas. But being in SD, WY, and UT has caused us to miss some of the good things about a big city. So we went to Costco, some outlet stores, and ended the day at Trader Joes. We also had lunch at Panera Bread, so it was a good day.

Last night a strong wind came up. We ran outside to secure some of the stuff we had on our patio, and then listened to the wind howl and the motorhome rock all night. The wind has died down some. but it's still blowing about 20MPH. So, instead of going to Death Valley today, we hanging out in the resort. Linda did some crafts, and now is reading a book(Pandemic, by
Daniel Kalla), while John is watching the baseball playoffs and drinking some good Cabernet. It's hard being retired.

We still hope to get to Death Valley this week. If not, we'll just have to come back. Check back to find out if we make it to the lowest spot in the U.S., or if the wine here is any good.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Grand Canyon-North Rim

Today we decided to visit the Grand Canyon. This is not the Grand Canyon that most people visit, the South Rim, but the higher, pine tree surrounded North Rim. Our location in Kanab, UT, is about 75 miles to the North Rim.

When we left the campground the wind was starting to blow a little. Kanab is located on the high desert, with a lot of sand and not much else. As we drove towards the Grand Canyon, the landscape began to change from desert to pine forest. In the forest were a lot of Aspen that were just starting to turn golden. It made for a very scenic drive.

As we drove, the road climbed, the weather got colder, and the wind picked up. The highest point we reached was 8860 feet, just outside the entrance to the park and the temperature was 48 degrees. We continued on to the visitor's center to orient ourselves. The visitor center is located next to the lodge which was built in 1928. The windows looked out over the canyon with a beautiful view through large windows. There is a deck outside with chairs and an outside fireplace, which we were sorry to notice was not lit.
The first thing we did was go to the gift shop and buy John a jacket. John must think he's still in the desert. Luckily, there was a season ending sale.
There was a path that led down to a point overlooking the canyon that we went out to get a close up view.

Since it was about lunchtime we decided to eat at the lodge. The dining room had a view of the canyon from our table. We shared a very good lunch and just drank in the atmosphere.
After lunch we hiked the Bright Angel Trail, which leads out to a point that juts over the canyon. It's a short hike, but with steep drop offs on both sides of the trail. Normally it would be an easy hike, but with 30 MPH winds blowing, it made it a little, well a lot, scary. The view was spectacular, but because we were on the North Rim, we couldn't see the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.

We took turns taking each others pictures at the point between wind gusts. And then it was time for the windy walk back up to the parking lot. We thought about doing some more hiking, but with the wind and the cold we decided to just relax and take in the fantastic sight.

Everyday we try to take a moment and remember how lucky we are to live in this great country and be able to explore it many great lands. As the shirts say, "Life Is Good". As Fall begins, we look back at a wonderful Summer on our adventure and the wonderful sights we've seen. Hopefully, you've enjoy sharing this with us. And we know it will just continue to get better.
If you would like to see the rest of the photos, please click on this link:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Our Anniversary-9/28/68

Boy, a lot of time has pasted since that memorable day. It seems like it wasn't that long ago, but 39 years is a long time!

How times have changed. Back then, we were lucky to have a color TV. There was no computers, no cell phones, no microwave ovens, no answering machines. How did we keep in touch? Oh, yes, we wrote letters. Of course stamps were only 3 cents.

We're glad we have all the modern conveniences. It would be hard to travel without cell phones to keep in touch with friends and make reservations, computers to get email, pay bills, post pictures, and write BLOGs. It's amazing how much easier it is with all of these modern tools. It makes this fulltiming adventure possible.

We decided to visit St. George, the largest city in the area. It's about an hour's drive from Kanab. When we got there, what did we find? A TJMaxx store with a sale going on. So John dropped Linda off and went exploring while she started on our Christmas shopping. It's hard to believe that the holidays are getting so close. We went on to the mall which had a Dillards, one of our favorite department stores. It reminds us of the Meier & Frank department store from our days in Portland. John even bought a couple of new shirts.

We had a nice lunch, took calls from our mothers and children congratulating us on our big day, and then headed back to the motorhome. We took Pearl on a walk, fed her dinner, and then went to the best restaurant in Kanab, Rockin V. It was interesting, but not that great. John had halibut, Linda had a chicken salad, we had wine, and the best part, a lemon mouse tart that we shared. There was a full moon that we enjoyed on the way home. It was a nice way to celebrate our special day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Zion National Park

While Linda is working with Best Friends, John is exploring the area surrounding Kanab, UT. This area of Southern UT is known as the Golden Circle, because of all of the National Parks in the area. These include Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase/Escalante, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Today John decided to go to Zion. He came into the park from the East side of the park, off Hwy. 89. Once into the park, the first main stop is before the big tunnel where there's a trail that leads to the canyon overlook.

This trail climbs up the side of the canyon using the rocks as a trail. At some points it gets a little narrow. But the view at the end of the trail is spectacular!

Then, it's through the 1.1 mile tunnel that doesn't have any lights other that the headlights of the cars. The height at the center of the tunnel 13.3 feet, but at the edges of the tunnel is only 11 feet. When a tour bus or RV needs to go through the tunnel, cars are stopped at each end and the bus goes through the middle of the tunnel. Did I mention that the tunnel curves? At the end of the tunnel a series of switchbacks leads you down into the canyon and to the visitor center. From the there you can catch a shuttle to go through Zion Canyon. The views in the canyon are fantastic.

If you want to see all of the pictures John took of the park, please click on the following link:
If you have any questions or comments, please email us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

One of our goals during our adventure was to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. We've been members for a few years and really admire this organization. The Sanctuary is about 3800 acres adjacent to another 30,000 leased acres of BLM land. At any given time the sanctuary has 1500 dogs, cats, & other animals. Once they're at the sanctuary, nothing bad will happen to them. Hopefully they'll be adopted by a family, but if not they have a home for a lifetime. This is the welcome center. Each year about 20,000 people visit the sanctuary and take a tour.

During the tour, we visited the many different areas devoted to the different animals that are currently at the facility. That includes Dogtown, and the new dog area, Dogtown Heights.

The buildings are designed specifically for the dogs and include exercise areas, and agility areas for training dogs for stairs, cars and other everyday obstacles. The areas that contain the dogs include an inside area with a bed and warm floors. There also an outside area that the dogs can access at any time through a doggy door. Each dog is evaluated and given a collar that defines their sociability. Green collars for very social dogs, purple collars for dogs that are sociable with adults, with other dogs at different levels.

There are other similar facilities for cats, birds, bunnies, horses, and wild animals that are being rehabilitated for release to the wild. They also have rescue operations during emergencies such as Katrina. Every weekend they have adoption events in nearby areas like Las Vegas & Phoenix. This is a large non profit organization with over 400 employees and many volunteers, which this week includes Linda! She plans to work for the week we're here to learn more about the Best Friends, and their mission.
If you would like to see all of the photos of Best Friends, please click on the following link:
Thanks for reading our adventures!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We Arrive in Kanab, UT

We left Hart's Ranch on Sunday for the long drive to Southern UT. On the first day we made as far as Rawlins, WY. It was a stressful day, because we had 30-40 MPH winds mostly from the side, but some head on. We didn't make as much progress as we wanted to because of the winds. We overnighted at a Flying J truck stop, a first for us, but we didn't have many choices in WY.

The next morning was cold, and as we drove west on I-80 it got colder. In Rock Springs it started to snow, which broke one of John's rules about never having snow on the roof of the motorhome! It didn't stick to the freeway, but it stuck to the windshield. It continued to snow on and off until we reach the UT border when it stopped. It's a long down grade into Salt Lake City, where we merged onto I-15 south. We overnighted in a Wal-Mart in Cedar City UT where it was sunny, but cold enough overnight to put a coat of ice on the motorhome and pilot. When we tried to start the pilot, the battery was dead. Luckily, since we were at Wal-Mart it was easy to purchase a new one and we were on our way. By mid day we found our campground in Kanab, parked the rig, and headed on to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for a visitor tour. Linda's going to volunteer for a week at the sanctuary while John going to explore the area and catch up on some chores.

More on Best Friends in our next post. Stay tuned, it'll be interesting.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Last Days in SD

We're winding up our stay at Hart's Ranch. It's been a fun week, even with the interesting weather. Thurs. night we had 60 MPH winds, yesterday was breezy with a high in the high 60s, and today it hit 92. If you don't like the weather, just wait a couple hours and it'll change.
Rapid City is called the City of Presidents, not only for it's close proximity to Mt. Rushmore, but because they have placed bronze statues of the Presidents on street corners in the downtown area. We enjoyed doing a virtual geocaching, identifying each President based on the coordinates we downloaded. Here's a picture of John with Thomas Jefferson.
As you can see, they're very well done. They cost $50,000 each, and 4 new ones are placed each year. They are there 24/7, but there's been no vandalism.
After we visited with the Presidents, we found some other geocaches, including one at an actual section of the Berlin Wall, and one near Dinosaur Park. Geocaching is a lot of fun and a great way to get some much needed exercise.
On Friday we drove West to Spearfish, and a scenic drive through Spearfish Canyon. The trees were just starting to turn on the creek that had created the canyon. It was very beautiful, and we found another Bridal Vail Falls. There must be one in each state. At the end of the canyon the road wound through Lead and Deadwood, both historic gold rush towns. Lead has a producing gold mine called the Homestake. It's currently at the 8000 foot deep level and is stilled being mined. Deadwood's claim to fame is the location of where "Wild Bill"Hickok was killed. He was sitting in a poker game, holding a pair of aces & eights, forever after known as the dead man's hand. He was shot from behind. He's buried in the Moriah Cemetery next to Calamity Jane, who he couldn't stand. Today Deadwood has many small casinos that keep the town in business. We were disappointed in the commercialism of the town, but we had a nice lunch at Kevin Cosner's casino which contained a lot his memorabilia.
We ended the day back at the Mt. Rushmore Monument for the evening program. They had a nice dining room, so we shared a nice chicken dinner, then went to the outdoor program. It started with a talk from the ranger, then a stirring movie about the carving and the history it represents. At the end they played the Star Spanked Banner and the mountain slowly lit up. It was very moving. At the end, the ranger invited all veterans up on the stage to lower the flag. It was a great way to end the day.
On Saturday, we cleaned the motorhome, did some shopping, and got ready to leave our home state. We're heading back through Wyoming towards Utah. Hopefully we'll get good traveling weather with little wind.
If you would like to view all of our photos of the greater Rapid City area please click on this link:
Thank you for sharing our adventure with us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Custer State Park, SD

On Wednesday we decided we needed a wildlife fix, so we went to Custer State Park. This is one of the largest state parks in the US. In fact, we only saw about half of it before we ran out of time.

It has 3 lodges, campgrounds, 3 lakes, forest, prairie, and a lot of acres. The main reason we came here is to see the Bison herd.

On the way to the park we almost ran over some wild turkeys in the road. There was about 15 turkeys in the group, and one did actually fly to get out of the way of the car. Pictures are in the Picasa Album. You can click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Once we were in the park, John insisted we stop at visitor center. He never gets his fill of visitor center! We got a map from a volunteer, who just happened to be a fulltime RVer. It seems the park has a large need for staff during the summer, and some rvers will work 20 hours a week for a full hookup site in a beautiful place. We also visited the general store and the game park lodge. It was pretty quiet, most of the visitors leave after Labor Day, which makes it nicer for us.

From the lodge, we followed the Wildlife Trail, a road that meandered through the park past meadows and forest where the local animals hang our. The main herd in the park is Bison, or Buffalo, and that's what everyone comes to see.

Here's a picture of a mother & her calf walking along the creek. Up on the hill was a large herd, just hanging out. The park has about 2000 Bison. Every year they do a roundup, This year on the first weekend of October. All of the Bison are moved into corrals, where they're evaluated, given a medical checkup, tagged, branded, and sorted into different groups. Because the park can only sustain about 2000 Bison, some of the herd is seaparated and auctioned off in November.

Bison aren't the only inhabitants of the park. Years ago some burros were released into the park, and they multiplied. Today, they are the popular begging burros. As you can see, they like people, or at least people food. Check the online album for pictures of Linda & John embracing the wild.

Other wildlife we saw on our journey include white tail deer, prong horn antelope, and more turkeys. We saw some birds, but the park has over 65 different varieties that we couldn't identify.

Finally, we saw a Prairie Dog Town. We almost missed it because John expected a lot of mound close together, but these were very spread out. There was no road sign, so many visitors just drove past without seeing them. Linda thought they were very cute. In fact she thought she heard one of them bark! It sounded like a dogwood tree, Bob.

If you would like to see more pictures, click on this link:
and it will take you to our Custer Park web album. As always, any comments or emails are appreciated.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Officical

We're completed our move to South Dakota! Today we went to the DMV and exchanged our CA licenses for SD. It took about 15 minutes total. Quite a difference from CA where you have to make an appointment.

We just gave the clerk our old licenses, filled out a form, had our pictures taken (UGH), and then we were issued our new licenses. Oh, and we registered to vote at the same time.

SO LONG CALIFORNIA, HELLO SOUTH DAKOTA! And we don't have to renew them for 5 years.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mt. Rushmore

On our first full day here in SD we wanted to see Mt. Rushmore. It was as spectacular as we thought it would be!
It started out as an overcast day, but later in the afternoon the sun came out. And, lucky us, it cooled off into the 70s. This retirement life is great. This is called the avenue of flags, where each state flag is flown with a plaque explaining when the state came into the union. There's a visitor center at the end of the avenue with a large deck for viewing the mountain. There's also a large amphitheater that is used for a lighting show at night.
Inside the visitor center is a theater showing a film on the other parts of the monument, including wildlife and geology. We were at first disappointed because we wanted to learn more on the carving of the mountain. Well, under the theater is a large exhibit hall showing all phases of the carvings, information on the artist and his family and all of the laborers who worked on the monument from 1927 to 1941. One fact that really surprised John was that no one was killed or seriously injured during the entire project! Some of the pictures of the workers using dynamite and hanging in mid air with air drills were scary.
We're planning on going back to the monument to see the night light show while we're here in SD.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We Travel to South Dakota

We left the Glacier area on Friday morning for a long two day drive to Rapid City, SD. We didn't realize that the trip would involve so many up and down hills. In a 35,000 lb. motorhome you learn not to like up and down very much. We cut over to I-15 thinking that the interstate would be easier-wrong! One of the worst hills was when I-15 dead ended into I-90. I-15 is a long downhill road, meets with I-90 in a 25MPH corkscrew entrance. We think we could smell our brakes!

We overnighted in a very nice rest area outside of Billings, MT. Montana is a big state, it was about 530 miles to this rest area. Normally we stop at Wal-Marts when we overnight, but this rest stop was right on the freeway and it had an area where we could open our slides. After a good nights sleep, we pushed on through Wyoming to Rapid City, SD. It's 92 degrees and hot, especially after leaving Canada and Montana where the highs were in the 60s.

We arrived about 4:00pm at one of the nicest campgrounds we have stayed at so far. It's called Hart's Ranch, and it have concrete pads with lots of grass and space between the spots. Pearl really likes it. We're going to stay here a week in the Black Hills and explore the area. If you would like to see what Hart Ranch is like, please click here:


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Glacier National Park

We stayed two nights at Glacier Meadows RV Resort near East Glacier, and on Friday we drove into Glacier National Park. It was a beautiful day, and we drove up the "Going to the Sun" road that goes up to Logan Pass. It's a very twisty road that climbs the side of the mountain through a series of switchbacks. It's very narrow at times, and they're working on it this summer to repair parts of the road that washed away last winter. But we were not in a hurry, we wanted to enjoy the views!

There's a visitor center at Logan Pass and you could really tell that the glaciers are receding due to the warmer climate. Instead of continuing on the loop road that would of taken us back over roads we had driven the day before, we turned around and started back down. It's amazing how different the views are when you're driving the opposite direction. It's like an entirely different road. There was some smoke in the air from 3 different fires that were currently burning around the park. Some of the hillsides were damaged from the major fire in the park in 2006.

When we got down off the mountain, we stopped at the Lake McDonald Lodge for lunch and to enjoy the views of the lake.

The dining room was closed, so we ate in the lounge. John even had a sample of the local brew and the view from the deck was fantastic! We walked down to the lake, but John couldn't see any fish from the docks.

On the way back to the car we saw one of the famous tour trucks that was built by White Truck in the 1930s. Back in the 1990s they were falling apart, but the visitors loved them so much that Ford Motor Co. rebuilt them all with all new components. They're beautiful and they run on propane instead of gasoline.

If you would like to see all of our pictures from Glacier National Park, please click on this link to see our Picasa Album:

Thanks for sharing this adventure with us!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Change in Plans

We had planned to journey with the motorhome to Banff National Park, then on to Calgary, before going back to the United States. But, since we visited Banff and Lake Louise while we were parked at Radium Hot Springs, we decided to head back south and visit Glacier National Park before we go to SD to get our drivers licenses.

Looking on the map it showed we could start back south on Hwy. 95, and then connect with Hwy. 93/3 before Cranbrook and wind up on the west side of Glacier with many choices of RV parks to choose from.

Well, John started driving the motorhome and he somehow missed where Hwy. 93 split from Hwy. 3. Before we knew it, we were in Alberta, scratching our heads as to what to do. We looked at the map and saw that Hwy.6 would connect with Hwy. 98 in the US and get us to the east side of Glacier and then we could take Hwy.2 into the main entrance area.

Hwy. 6 was up and down hills, then up and down mountains. We made it to the US border with no problems, John even got into the right lane and didn't have any sirens going off. The real problems started on Hwy. 98. It went curvy up and curvy down, the road got worst and worst. There were frost heaves, pot holes, and the whole motorhome shook and bounced. And it went on & on.

We finally made it to Hwy. 2, exhausted and shook up. We turned right towards Glacier and drove about 25 miles to a great park, Glacier Meadows. It's still 35 miles to West Glacier and the entrance to the park, but we're in an open meadow with nice grass and a lot of space between sites. It's super quiet, and we even took Pearl out without a leash! The joys of the off season.

PS: It got down to 31 degrees last night, but it got up to 75 degrees during the day. The leaves are just starting to turn! Got to love the Fall.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Radium Hot Springs Pools

We couldn't visit the Radium Hot Springs area with visiting the original Hot Springs!

The pools are located inside the Kootenay National Park, and run by Canada Parks. There's also a spa offering massages, facials and assorted other stuff spas offer (you women know).

There are 2 different pools. The Hot Springs Pool, which is about 3-4 feet deep and huge, and a 50 meter cool pool with a diving board and swimming lanes. The hot pool is between 100-103 degrees and the cool pool is about 82 degrees. People don't swim in the hot pool, they just walk from place to place. One end of the pool is slightly hotter than the other. There's a shelf all around the perimeter of the pool that people can sit on, or lay back on.

The pedestal in the middle allows you to sit and look up at the cliffs. We sat there for awhile and looked up on the cliff hoping to see some wildlife like Mountain Goats, or Rocky Mountain Sheep, but they never appeared. We didn't even see any birds flying in the air. We did see some chipmunks!
We went back and forth between the two pools and it was really enjoyable. We didn't know if it cured anything, but we were both very relaxed and slept really well that night.