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Found 13 results

  1. It's been awhile since our last post, a lot has happened. We left PA on 13SEP17, as planned. Our first stop was Twin Lakes RV center in Lagrange IN. Had a few minor things checked out and serviced. Then it was a short hop down the road to Dan's Hitch in Elkhart to have our Roadmaster Brakemaster installed on our 2016 Nissan Frontier. I bought it in Chandler at the convention and then learned about the M&G system. I would much rather have had it installed but Roadmaster was going to charge me $200 to ship and restock the Brakemaster so I figured since I had it, I would keep it. Had no idea it would take them 6 hours to put the thing on. They did a good job but the guy at the desk, Ryan, should not be dealing with the customers at all. SOB is rude and obnoxious. Would I use them again? Heck no. Then we did a night at Walmart in Gary IN and on to Des Moines, IA. I wanted to stop there because I am still being jerked around by Remco on the disconnect I bought for the truck. Went to a real good shop called Westside Mechanics owned by Bill Bryant. Great guy and a great tech. Really knows his stuff. Took a look at the disconnect and said the remedy is for them to build me a new drive shaft. Remco didn't want to hear that. The issue is still not fixed and I will elaborate on a future post. We then stopped at the Amana Colonies and met up with a fellow youtuber. After a few days it was on to Sioux Falls, SD for our residency. For those of you wondering about the title of this post, here is the reason for it. We go into Sioux Falls on Friday the 22nd and checked in to Yogi Bear's Jellystone campground. This place is like the Chuckie Cheese of campgrounds and just as expensive. We hooked up and settled in for the night. Got up Sat morning and did our usual morning ritual and took the dogs for their walk. On our way back to the coach Penny (the white one) lost control of her back legs and laid down. I was able to get her up on over to the grass while Sweetie Pie went and got the truck. We made a few calls and after describing her symptoms, was told the animal ER was the place to go. So we took her down to the ER and got her checked in. Long story short, she had a tumor on her heart that ruptured, filling her heart with blood. Doc could have drained it but it would have just filled up again. I could see she wasn't getting any better and was actually getting worse. The options were few and none really any good. Then reality set in and I realized I was about to have to say good bye to an old friend. We get very attached to our dogs and she was only 10. This came as a total shock. I could see she was laboring just to breath so I set down on the floor with her while the Doc did her thing. I've had to do this 3 times now and it never gets any easier. I always stay with them till the end because I don't want them with strangers at the end. I want to be the last person they see before they go. So, I said my goodbyes, told her what a good dog she was and told her I would see her again at the bridge. Did I cry? You bet I did, like a freakin' baby. My eyes are misty as I write this. So, now we still have Jack and he is just now settling in to being the only dog. Penny was 10 and Jack is 8. She was always there and now she's not. For a few days he would look for her. He'd go to the back of the truck expecting her to jump out. When I would walk him, he'd stop at the corn field and watch for her. We've always had 2 dogs and now it is like we are out of balance. We will get another dog but not sure when. When the time is right, the good Lord will show us which one he wants us to have. It's always been that way. Saying good bye is never easy. For those of you coming to SD for your residency, there are a few things Dakota Post neglected to tell us. We were told once we get there to make an apt with a certain employee and she would help us with what we needed. To be honest, she wasn't much help at all. When I went for my driver's license, I was asked if I wanted the word "Veteran" put on my license. What I wasn't told was that you need to have something that says you were Honorably discharged. Even though I was, even though I had my DD214 and even though I was 100% disabled (which I'm pretty sure you have to be Honorably discharged to get), I couldn't get it. I told the dude, no big deal. I don't really care if it says it or not. So, if you want "Veteran" on your license, you will have to prove you Have an Honorable discharge. Then it was on to DMV to get our tags. No problem on the truck but to get tags for the coach, we had to show the UVW (unladen vehicle weight). Nobody told us about that but since it was listed on our PA title (which we had because the coach was paid for in full), we thought we were good. Nope, they wouldn't accept it. When I asked why, I was told that "anybody could have put that on there". Not sure about SD but back in PA, we don't write up our own titles. That comes from an office know as the "DMV". I thought that was where I was, same office, different state. I have a real hard time trying to deal with that level of stupidity so I just quoted Arnold and said, "I'll be back". I called Thor to try and get something with the listed UVW on it. The first lady I talked to found it and was going to email it to me. Great. Never got the email. So I had to call in again and the next guy I talked to said he couldn't find anything on it. Pretty much just too lazy to dig very far. I called a third time and talked with a guy who not only found it but emailed me a screenshot of it. I went back to the DMV and showed them the screenshot and was surprised when they said, "Yeh, we can accept that". They wouldn't take it off of an official PA DMV title but they would take it off of an email somebody sent me. So, lesson #2, you will need something showing the UVW if you want to get tags for your coach. Now, for lesson #3. We could have rolled out of here then but since we want to get our gun permits, we have to be residents of the same county for 30 days. What DP neglected to tell us is that you can't apply until after the 30 days and it can take up to a week before you get it. Not sure why that is but after 30 days we wanted to roll south but now we have to wait another week. Being in South Dakota around Nov 1st is pushing it a little too close for us but we have no choice. This was a long one so for those of you that hung in here for it, I do apologize. I'll try to keep them shorter from now on. Stay tuned and stay sharp.
  2. Vista Mike

    The Heads

    From the album: Vista

    A shot of Mt. Rushmore, SD. The locals affectionately refer to it as, 'The Heads'!
  3. From the album: Vista

    A view of the work in progress on the memorial to Crazy Horse in South Dakota.
  4. From the album: Vista

    Buffalo at Custer State Park, SD.
  5. From the album: Vista

    A Buffalo and her calf at Custer State Park, SD.
  6. As we left Martin, SD it began to rain lightly. Radar showed rain between Martin and Wounded Knee. As we passed fields of sunflowers their heads were bowed, hiding their bright yellow ray flowers we had seen the day before. The sunflowers are much shorter than the ones I planted in my garden in the 70’s. Their heads are smaller than the 12 to 16” heads I remember from those days. I know these fields are harvested mechanically but I would love to see the equipment that does the job. The heads I harvested in my gardening days were always sticky and getting the seeds out of the head was an exercise in persistence. Modern agriculture has definitely found the height gene in plants. In my childhood one measure of a good corn crop was the tallest corn displayed at the county fair. Those corn stalks were well over 10’ tall. Now the corn in the field stands a modest 5’ to 6’ tall. The waving wheat the sure smells sweet is now little more than 12” tall and hardly moves in the wind these days. We arrived at Wounded Knee in a light mist. We found the battlefield and parked by the information sign. Nearby there were stalls that on a summer’s day would be occupied by vendors selling their wares. On this Sunday morning, a cool damp holiday weekend, there was no one around. I gathered my camera and we stepped out of the motor home into the mist. Across the road a young man was approaching. He introduced himself as Alex and asked us for a donation for the local drum group. We talked and he told us of the small museum across the road which was closed this morning. He pointed out the top of the nearby hill where there is a mass grave for the 153 Native Americans who were killed in the massacre. He pointed out significant points on the battlefield in front of us and described the battle that had occurred here. It was a familiar story, the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 was a similar incident. The US Cavalry faced a village of Lakota Sioux. They were going to disarm the village. Soldiers were searching the village and confiscating weapons. Someone fired a shot. At that point everyone began firing. From the nearby hill the artillery, Hotchkiss Guns, opened fire on the village killing soldiers and warriors alike. Women and children fled into a nearby stream valley and were pursued by soldiers who killed every member of the village. The following day the soldiers collected the bodies and buried them on the hilltop where the artillery was mounted the day before. We walked to the top of the hill on a muddy road. At the top of the hill stood a small church with a cemetery that surrounded the mass grave from December 29, 1890. Amulets with streamers hung from the chain link fence surrounding the mass grave. A marker identified the 43 warriors from the village who were killed in the battle. I walked around surveying the more modern graves in the cemetery. I was struck by one point. In the surrounding cemetery there were numerous graves of Veterans from WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. Here in a place which marked a massacre of women and children by an overwhelming force there were people who could see past the past and move forward even to the point of joining the very military that defeated them less than 100 years before. To be sure, resentment and a strong sense of injustice still remains for many but obviously there were those who were able to get beyond the past. I thanked Alex for his guided tour and assured him that this story was not unfamiliar. I mentioned our recent trip to New Zealand and Australia. The native Maori in New Zealand and the Aborigine in Australia experienced similar injustices at the hands of their European conquerors. Clashes between cultures are everyday news today with the history of some conflicts going back many centuries.
  7. We left Yankton, South Dakota, on Saturday morning on our way to Denver, Colorado. We have made this trip in one day many times in the past. This trip would be different. It is Labor Day weekend and we don't have reservations in Denver until Labor Day itself. So we have all day Saturday and Sunday and part of Monday before we have a place to park in Denver. We drove west on South Dakota Hwy. 50 until we reached US Hwy 18. This is a new route for us. I had set the GPS for Wounded Knee. We have never visited the site of this famous massacre. Despite the fact that this is a holiday weekend with expectations for record numbers of motorists on the road, the highways we are traveling are almost empty. We drive for long distances without anyone passing us. We pulled off in a small town and had lunch parked behind a gas station. We're driving through towns with names like Gergory, Dallas, Winner, Okreek, Hidden Timber, White Horse, and Soldier Creek. The road is lined with fields of corn, sunflowers, soybeans and huge fields filled with giant rolls of hay. It has been a wet year in the prairie and the crops are abundant. We've seen quite a bit of rain during our stay in Yankton and the fields are wet so we don't see much action in the fields. Later this fall there will be a rush of harvesting once the fields dry out. We stopped at Winner, a small town with a hotel and RV park. The owners were quite welcoming but they had no pull through sites so we drove on. They suggested that we might find a place to stay in Martin. Arriving in Martin there were no signs for campgrounds so we stopped at a Dakota Mart Grocery and Dairy Queen. We figured we could ask someone and get information about a campground and also get some ice cream, sort of killing two birds... In the grocery store the clerk at the register told us that there was a city park that allowed overnight parking. Just go to the stop light and turn left and you will "run into the park." We grabbed some ice cream treats and went back to the motor home to check out the free wifi advertised at the Dairy Queen. It turned out to be too weak a signal at the motor home to be useful so we pulled out. We found the park just as described. After driving around the park once we circled back and parked in a spot on the swimming pool parking lot. There was a place with a sign for overnight parking. It would have worked for a small class C but there was no way I was pulling in there. There were ball fields nearby but no game was scheduled for Saturday night. Near the overnight parking lot a spirited volleyball game was underway with what looked like 20 or more participants. As the sun set, a storm rolled in. We started rocking and rolling as wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour kicked up followed by a good heavy rain. Sunday morning came with a nice sunrise and clear skies. As we left Martin just past the grocery store and Dairy Queen was a nice RV park! Amazing the clerk in the grocery didn't even think of this when we inquired the day before. The really interesting thing was that no RV park was listed on RV Park Reviews. In fact, I just checked RV Park Reviews and the park we visited the day before in Winner was not listed either. In fact, RV Park Reviews shows no RV parks at all on US Hwy 18. I need to gather information on these places and get them on the list! I had also checked the Allstays App and found that they have the motel/campground in Winner and also showed a state park and Corps of Engineers campground where US 18 crosses the Missouri River. So this part of South Dakota seems to be off the map for many sources. Good Sam lists the two parks at Pickstown where US 18 crosses the Missouri River but neither of the other two we found. So it turns out we are traveling in a kind of camping and RV no-mans-land. There are resources here but they are not easily found.
  8. We stayed with friends in Yankton, South Dakota last week. It was a nice long weekend visit. I played golf twice while Louise got her quota of card games. We shared plans and updated each other on family matters. As we left, we had a two travel days planned on our way to the Denver area where we are now. As we pulled away we began talking about the possibilities. I asked if Louise would enjoy a drive along the South Dakota border and what roads were there for us to travel? She looked at the map in her lap and gave me a suggested route. We departed to the north on US 81 to SD Hwy 46. The roads were good and traffic was light. I set the cruise on 55 and we enjoyed a leisurely trip. The speed felt right on this narrow two lane road with no shoulder. At Pickstown we left Hwy 46 for Hwy 18 which took us across the Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River. This is a beautiful valley with a nice view of Lake Francis Case as you descend into the valley. Along the southern border of South Dakota are a number of Sioux Reservations. The population is sparse thorough this area with scattered farms. A succession of small towns gave glimpses into life in this part of the state. In the Rosebud Reservation we turned south on US 83 and drove to the South Dakota State Line. We pulled into the Rosebud Casino parking lot for a place to stay for the night. We shared the lot with one other motor home and several trucks. The night was quiet and we awoke the next morning, ate breakfast and continued on south into Nebraska and the town of Valentine. South of Valentine US 83 passes into the realm of the Nebraska Sand Hills. Once a desert, the sand dunes now support grasslands with low areas exposing the high water table in the area. These low spots form marshy lakes which can be seen for miles along this scenic highway. There are no streams here, water simply pools and sinks into the sandy soil. Near the town of Thedford US 83 joins Nebraska Hwy 2. At the intersection of the two highways is the Thomas County Fairgrounds and a parking area with information about the Sand Hills. We made this a lunch stop and enjoyed learning more about the Sand Hills and their history. We have driven Hwy 2 before but I wanted to travel west toward Hyannis and Nebraska Hwy 61. The scenery along Hwy 2 is beautiful and this time of year everything was green and vibrant. There were hay fields that look like they should be greens on a golf course. Hwy 61 turned out to be a very narrow two lane road. With very little traffic, it was a pleasant drive. The Sand Hills just went on and on. There was so little traffic on this road that I noticed there were grasshoppers sitting on the roadway. We were driving right over them - wrong! When we stopped for the night I found them all on the lower portion of the nose of the motor home, about as high as a grasshopper can jump! I got out the scrub brush and washed them off before they got baked on. We stopped to stretch our legs in the town of Arnold. Like many towns in the area, there were many old buildings. Unlike other small towns, these buildings were still kept in good condition and many being used. There was a hotel with a magnificent frieze depicting cattle and a cowboy. Across the street a small cottage labeled the Old Cowboy Rest Home. On the rail fence out in front were four saddles. We parked in front of the tack shop which had a sign that said Fed Ex Keep Off. Someone had issues! Leaving town we passed the cemetery which had a fence in front. Each fence post had a boot inverted atop the post. As we approached I-80 we drove across the dam on the North Platte River that forms Lake McConaughy, the largest lake in Nebraska. The recreation area around this lake is one of the prime vacation and recreation areas in Nebraska according to the information presented on signs in the area. There were numerous storage areas with huge numbers of RV in storage for the coming winter. Once on I-80 we quickly turned south on I-75 to Denver. At Julesburg there is a very nice welcome area and rest stop on I-75. We made that our stop for the night. During the night I awoke to hear a chirp. It wasn't a cricket, it was an electronic chirp. I listened and heard it again. After several more I decided I had to investigate. It was of course the smoke detector. I took it down and removed the battery. Then I heard the chirp again. We have three smoke detectors, an after effect of a fire safety seminar at an FMCA rally. One is in the bedroom, another is in the cockpit and the third is Louise's cooking timer, located above the stove! Before I went back to bed I changed the batteries in all three detectors. Louise mused that the battery life alarm always goes off in the middle of the night. We awoke the next morning to news that Denver had washed away overnight. Heavy rain and flooding, cars washing away in roaring creeks, homes flooded, and loss of life. The sky looked like more rain and indeed most of the way to Denver we drove in rain. Approaching Denver we saw the runoff basins along the highway filled with water. Small creeks and larger streams were roaring with muddy water. A low spot in the campground we are staying in is flooded, including several sites which now have no occupant. We unhook the car in a steady rain. It lets up and I get our utilities hooked up. I start to take the tow hardware off the car and the rain resumes. That's it, I'm soaked, time for a nice warm shower and something to eat. Tonight the furnace is running. Rain on the roof always makes for a good night of sleep. Tonight we are camped well up the hill at Dakota Ridge RV. We won't worry about high water.
  9. From the album: Traveling to Gillette, Wyo.

    We were treated to a beautiful South Dakota sunset.
  10. Roadtrekingmike

    Bugs

    From the album: Traveling to Gillette, Wyo.

    The bugs have gotten larger as we've moved west.
  11. Roadtrekingmike

    South Dakota

    From the album: Traveling to Gillette, Wyo.

    Our Roadtrek heads across South Dakota, en route to FMCA'S Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Gillette, Wyo.
  12. It is hard for me to add things to my BLOG when we are living in our fixed home. Now that we're back in the motor home for the summer I have dozens of things to write about. At home I've been busy settling in for two years now, kind of like a dog turning around several times before it finds just the right spot to lay down. During this period of settling in I am afraid that I've been pretty much ignoring the motor home through the winter. It's plugged in and we keep minimal heat and air conditioning on to keep the interior in top shape. When we hit the road this spring we found out all the things that had quit during the winter. As I explained to Louise, if we were living in it through the winter these things would have occurred one at a time rather than all in the first week back on the road. The list is long, but not overwhelming. We will be making repair stops as we travel. Our first three stops have been complete wash-outs, 0 for 3. Things will get better, I know it. Our first stop out of the blocks was at the Lone Star Chapter of FMCA rally in Rockport, Texas. Being new residents of Texas I want to be involved with a local chapter and Herman Mullins has been inviting us to join for several years so we had to give it a try. We got a royal welcome from the assembled membership. Herman was there to help us get parked! We found lots of friendly people and plenty of good food. We managed to drum up a golf game the first morning of the rally. A happy hour circle, games and other activities gave us plenty of opportunity to get aquainted with the 40+ members at this rally. To top it all off, I was on the championship bean-bag toss baseball game and got a ten dollar signing bonus! That was topped off when we got our official chapter license plate. And then we ran off with the grand prize in the door prize drawing. We actually got our entire registration fee refunded! What-a-deal! Leaving the rally we found out that the generator wasn't in a working mood. It gave us overheating errors on two tries to start it. So, just turn on the dash air for some relief - wrong, it blew only warm air. Louise gave the generator another try out of desperation. We planned to drive 500 miles from Rockport to Little Rock, AR and it was going to be blistering hot. Thank goodness, the generator finally gave in and ran. We turned on the roof air and kept our fingers crossed. Thank goodness it has been working ever since. The dash air is out of commission until we can get the compressor replaced. It's on order... The KVH dish has quit so we're back to broadcast TV. I was surprised to find that the number of channels that are available have increased. Our stop to determine the problem revealed a faulty computer card, no replacement available. The company wants the entire antenna unit returned to the factory... I'm thinking about it. Arriving at our destination in Missouri the next day, we picked up our two grandsons for a ten day tour of Nebraska and South Dakota. At ages 10 and 11, they are really interested in paleontology so we made the U of N State Muesum in Lincoln, NE our first stop. These are two exceptional 10 and 11 year old boys. They actually stop to read and learn from the displays. Sure, the gift shop is not an optional stop but they really love all those bones! Then we were off to Custer, SD. We made that our base for four days of exploring. We hiked to the outstretched arm of the Crazy Horse Monument with the annual Volksmarch. The boys would get 20 or 30 yards ahead of Louise and I then wait for us to catch up. I have lots of pictures of them standing by the side of the trail waiting! Our next day was a visit to Mount Rushmore followed by a drive through Custer State Park. I've been through the park several times and seen only an occasional bison. Thank goodness this trip was different. We saw many herds of the giant of the plains. Frequently they were only a few feet outside the window of the toad. And there were huge numbers of calves. We arrived back at the campground just before dark. Speaking of the campground, we stayed at Beaver Lake Campground and found it to be a great place for the boys. They actually had a collection of bicycles for use in the park, free. The boys would pick their bikes to ride and the next day get a different one. They enjoyed the playground, pool and the rabbits. Our final South Dakota activity was on the way back to Nebraska. We stopped at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD. We had arranged two special experiences for the boys. They learned to throw an atlatl in a hour session with Chelsea. We ate lunch in the motor home parked on the parking lot. Then returned to enjoy the advanced lessons in paleontology. The boys learned to map and record their finds and how to preserve the fossil bones by plaster coating them. Then they were tunred loose on a plot to find bones. With each find they would record the find on the map then continue excavation until they had exposed the bones sufficiently to identify them. As the proceeded they would update the information on the map. Chelsea was our instructor and with the help of several assistants they even got Louise and I through the exercise. We then drove on to Nebraska and stayed two nights at Fort Robinson State Park. We explored the reconstructed buildings on the frontier cavalry post. We walked the ground where Crazy Horse died and learned about the life of late 1800's cavalry soldiers in the western prairie. They also have a paleontology museum at Fort Robinson which the boys still found interesting! The boys are cousins and they really enjoy each others company. I told Louise we got double points for this vacation with the boys, one point for the places we took them and one point for their chance to be together for an extended time. Through all this they never tired of each others company. Our final stop with the boys was at the Ashfall site in northeastern Nebraska. Here there are rhinocerocus bones that were buried in a volcanic ashfall. The rhinos had clustered at a waterhole along with camels and horses and other animals, trying to cope with a smothering ash cloud. Four feet of ash fell and the animals suffocated and were buried. The site was discovered about 40 years ago and has been preserved inside a large building that protects the unfossilized bones. There are dozens of skeletons and excellent information about the nature of the animals. Both this site and the museum at Fort Robinson are extensions of the U of N State Museum in Lincoln. We returned the boys to their parents and picked up their sisters. Two girls ages 7 and 8 are a world apart from the two boys. We planned an eight day trip to Indiana and Kentucky. We visited the zoo in Evansville, Indiana. The youngest was disappointed that there was no elephant. They managed to make friends with a jaguar. Both girls got to hand feed a pair of giraffes and they enjoyed the many play items on the grounds of the zoo. Then drove on to Palmyra to stay in the county park there. Our first day we toured the Schimpff's Confectionery in Jeffersonville, Indiana. This is a great place to take kids and adults. The tour covers the history of the business which has been in continuous operation by the same family line for over 100 years and they have the equipment to show for it. We got to watch them make their signature red hots and then got a sample that was still warm. We got a special treat at the county park has a swimming lake with a sand beach. The girls enjoyed several hours of play in the water and on the beach. The next day we drove the toad to Lexingtion, KY to vist the Kentucky Horse Park. The girls weren't ready to leave when the park closed. The horseback ride around the park was followed by several visits to the Children's Barn where they learned all about horses in hands on activities including a brush and shine lesson with a real horse. Thomas, a large black Frisian, stood absolutely still as a dozen children brushed and combed him to be show ready! We saw several shows and rode the horse drawn trolly around the park. After all that it was Pizza Hut, a break for Louise, and a long drive home. Their final experience was at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. This museum is a wonder for young children. We've visited this museum a number of times and it never disappoints. They seem to find ways to make it more interesting every time we visit. The girls loved the carousel and then spotted the play houses. They even enjoyed the Lego's and Hot Wheels exhibits. Taking after their brothers they even enjoyed the dinosaurs. After returning the girls we attended a baseball game for the 11 year old boy and then celebrated fathers day with my son and the 10 year old boy and the 6 year old girl. Today we rested. Louise caught up with the laundry and gave the entire motor home a thorough cleaning. I was off to spend the afternoon working at my mothers home, helping to get the house ready for sale. We buried my mother in late April followed by Louise's mother in mid-May. Both were near/in their 90's and had been in failing health over the last few years. We are parked at my daughters home and they are leaving on vacation tomorrow. I'm looking forward to some quiet days ahead. We'll leave Missouri mid-week next week and be pretty much on our own for the rest of the summer. Dozens of things to write about... more soon.
  13. We have just completed our trek across country from Missouri to California. We've done this trip many times since we have grandchildren in both states. The quickest route is to travel I-70 west to Denver then jog north on I-25 to Cheyenne, Wyoming where we pick up I-80 on to California. This trip we decided to take a different route. We planned to visit friends in Yankton, South Dakota so it seemed that going north into Iowa and then west to Sioux City, Iowa would be a nice change. Interstate 70 across Missouri is always a race track, loaded with trucks and lots of auto traffic. Avoiding the interstate tangle of Kansas City was another plus. So we decided to drive north on US 61 and US 281 and I-380 to Waterloo, Iowa. That was the first leg of our trip. US 61 is four lane from I-70 almost all the way to the Iowa border. The road surface is fair to good and traffic is light. US 281 is good surface and four lane most of its distance. The only heavy traffic we encountered was on I-380 from Iowa City to Waterloo. This may not be consistently busy, it was Friday afternoon about 4:00 p.m. when we passed through Iowa City. We arrived at the Wal-Mart just off US 20 in Waterloo about 5:00 p.m. I spent an hour or more working on replacing our water pump. When we unhooked and switched to the water pump preparing to leave my daughters home, the water pump wouldn't work. I found a blown fuse, replaced it and it blew again. Calling ShurFlo I found that we would have to send in the old pump to get warranty service. I wasn't ready to do without a pump for a week while we waited for a replacement so picked up another matching pump at a local dealer before we left town. Now I'll return the defective pump for an exchange and have a spare on hand. Saturday morning we drove west on US 20 through central Iowa. Traffic was very light and the highway was excellent. About 100 miles from Sioux City the four lane pavement gives way to the old two lane highway which wanders from town to town, up hill and down dale. That part of the trip was slower but still comfortable travel with very light traffic. On our way, our friends from Yankton, South Dakota called to let us know that I-29 was still flooded by the Missouri River and was closed south of Sioux City. We laughed, if we were on our regular route to their home, we would have been searching for a route around the flooding. As it was, we would not be affected at all by that closure. We took I-29 north from Sioux City to US 50. The final ten miles of I-29 was littered with orange barrels and two way traffic which slowed our travel before we arrived at Junction City and US 50. We spent two days with our friends, sharing our summer experiences. They took us to the Gavin Point Dam on the Missouri River to see the water being discharged from the dam. We marveled at the 90,000,000 cubic feet per second discharge from the dam which was considerably smaller than the 160,000,000 cubic feet per second discharge that was occurring in May and June of this year. The force of water is a spectacle not to be missed, whether from a dam, waterfall, rapids, or waves on a shore, water is awesome. Of course that force is also threatening as the people downstream from the dam learned this spring. We enjoyed dining out at a nearby restaurant overlooking the Missouri River. We went bowling one evening which gave me a chance to try out my new knees. I didn't have my ball or shoes so bowled using a spare ball loaned to me by my friend. By the end of the evening it felt like my own ball! I was back to bowling my average. That was reassuring to everyone as the four of us are a bowling team in the winter in south Texas. By the end of the evening I was ready to get off my feet and ice down my knees. With the recommendation of a neighbor we found a welder to fix part of our towing linkage. One of the two brackets that link the car to the tow bar had developed a crack. The welder was able to clean up the crack and put a good weld on the crack. It is holding well and should get us home for the winter. Then I'll have to pursue a replacement. Leaving Yankton, we drove south on US 81 to US 20 in Nebraska. This is the same highway we were on in Iowa. Right away we experienced several sections of road repair. We were beginning to question our decision when the repairs stopped and we traveled many miles before encountering more repairs. There is very little traffic on US 20 in Nebraska, the road surface is generally good and travel is surprisingly fast. The towns are small and widely scattered so you travel many miles before the next town. Most of these small towns don't even have a stop sign so you can keep on rolling. After miles of crop and pasture lands we reached western Nebraska which has beautiful scenery of sand hills. These are ancient sand dunes, now supporting grasses and trees. As US 20 continues into Wyoming, there are more rocks and mountains. The scenery is beautiful. We encountered a few showers but arrived in Casper, Wyoming before dark. The Wal-Mart parking lot, our overnight stop, is packed with RV's, many are on the way to or from Yellowstone we suspect. US 20 joins I-25 about 50 miles before reaching Casper. Wyoming 220 from Casper south to Rawlins, Wyoming gets us back to I-80 and our normal route west. Rain hit us again on I-80 in western Wyoming and eastern Utah. Louise and I are sharing driving duties. I simply can't sit in the drivers seat for an extended time. I set the timer at 2 hours and when it goes off I look for a spot to pull over so we can change drivers. Louise takes the wheel for an hour then looks for a stopping place. While she drives I have my legs propped up on pillows on the passenger seat leg rest. That coupled with wearing the surgical stockings from the hospital keep my swelling in check. Louise drives the approach to Salt Lake City until we reach the Park City area where the slopes become steeper and the curves tighter. I'll get us through the city and to our fuel stop at Lake Point, Utah. From there Louise drives to our next overnight stop. Near Knolls, Utah is a wonderful rest stop which we have used frequently. Most of the truck parking is on a slope but there are a few nearly level spots at the western end of the west bound rest stop. The rest stop is well off the highway and high above the highway so there is no highway noise. A truck pulls in next to us late in the evening and immediately shuts his engine down. We both sleep well tonight. Thursday morning we are up and away about 8:00 a.m. We've been making really good time and our scheduled arrival in San Andreas, California is assured. We're stopping for fuel as we travel west because the fuel keeps getting more expensive as we travel. We'll grab some more fuel in Winnemucca, Nevada and then head on to Fernley where we leave I-80 for the short cut to Carson City, Nevada. We find the Wal-Mart posted "No Overnight Parking." This is a change, we have stayed there many times before. We continue on south on US 395 to Hwy 88 which will become California Hwy 88. This will take us over the Sierra Nevada. It is now late and we're not going to tackle that highway at night so we find a wide area along a river and park for the night. We are alone and it is quiet. I bookmark this spot in the GPS for future use. Friday morning Louise fixes a fine hot breakfast and we're on our way. Only 90 miles to Gold Strike Village in San Andreas, California. These 90 miles are real mountain driving. We're on two lane roads, plenty of turn-outs and lots of tight turns. The engine brake gets a workout on the down slopes and the engine has lots of exercise on the climbs. We arrive in Jackson, California just before noon. Louise wants a grocery stop so we make our way to the Safeway in Jackson. After shopping and eating lunch we are into our campground by 2:30 p.m. Saturday morning we are watching our five year old granddaughter play soccer. It's just too much fun to be missed. It makes the whole trip worthwhile. We'll be here for a month enjoying both the 5 year old and our 3 year old granddaughters. More soccer games, reading books, babysitting, and just being grandparents. The girls want to know what the scars on my knees are. They trace the line of the scar on my right knee and talk about stitches. I laugh and tell them they used staples. Ewww! Wait until I get the x-rays on disk. They should arrive in the mail next week. That will keep the girls entertained for five minutes.
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