Thursday May 26, 2005
- Getting ready!
Excited as school boy getting ready to skip
school. Camper came back from service last night and today will be spent
reading for the trek. We had a rain leak on the driver-side floor that I
couldn't find. Warranty handled it (I hope).
Friday May 27,
2005 St. Clair Shores, MI to
Coldwater, MI 156 miles
Got most all preparations finished yesterday today we wait for the garbage
men. Friday is our pick up day and can't leave a mess behind. Usually they're
here by 8 am but on the days we want to leave early they seem to sense it
and come late. 10 am still not here 10:30 nope, 11:15 I can't wait any
longer I asked our neighbor if she would put the cans away, we left at 11:30
am. Got a call on the road from son Gary who asked us to meet him at
I-75 and Dequindre. Worked out good because that's were we met the Riesers
as well. Seems son Gary wanted to drop off a gift for his Pop when he realized
we are leaving ahead of schedule, hence the meeting. New seats for the
bikes, thank you. We're rolling and for the first seventy-five miles with
out a hitch. Seventy-six miles and we're at a dead stop due to construction.
Thirty minutes to the next exit where we headed south for an uneventful rest
of the day. Pulled into Coldwater's Wal Marts where we hope to meet the
Bergs and Atkinsons.
Errol and Nora rolled in and we received a call
from Chuck and Mary saying they won't arrive until the schedule time
tomorrow. We all sat around a watched home-movies till bed time. Boy weren't
Saturday May 28,
2005 Various starting points to Princeton, IL.
256 miles, Gas $1.92
Everyone was up early, still excited I'm sure. We
headed towards the Indiana toll road I-80 which was only a twenty minute
drive. We were to meet around noon Detroit time, so we had lots of time. We
topped off the gas then drove to the meeting area on the toll road. To our surprise
Lytle and Donna had pulled in just ahead of us. Mary and Chuck are the only
ones left. They Arrive half hour ahead of schedule in a brand new motorhome.
twenty-five foot Coachmen with slide-out. After inspection we rolled west
deciding to leave the Chicago mess by heading south to US 30.
We don't know for sure if we made a good decision
or not but after 193 traffic lights ( all red), we all felt we would have
been better off on I-80. We pushed on to Princeton Illinois where we
arrive around 6 pm. It's been a long laborious day and we all welcomed
Wal Marts. Yes, WM for another night.
Chuck used a hand-held CB all day with very limited
transmissions. So in Wal Mart's lot we were helping to install an external antenna
to increase output. To make a long story short. We have to buy a new
connecting RF cable for chuck since it fell apart in my hands.. GROAN.
Sunday May 29,
2005 Princeton, IL. to Council
Bluffs 360 miles, gas $1.82
We schedule departure for 8 am local time but found
ourselves all standing around gabbing at 7 am so by 7:30 am we're motoring
again. Today was a big drive day but everything hereafter should be less. A
couple of rest stops a lunch stop and a reorganization stop and here we are
in Council Bluffs. Super Wal Mart again tonight then a real campground
tomorrow night, something we are all looking forward to.
Well after a long hard day everyone opt for dinner
out. So for the first time since we left home we dined out, Applebee's don't
you know. After a short wait we were eating, drinking, and unwinding, food
Lytle had some minor problems, about one a day.
First his cruise control needed a new wire, then a muffler strap gave way,
and tonight a pair of batteries for the coach. (picture).
Chuck asked Errol to install his CB in his new rig (picture).
Nick was having problems connecting to the internet via his cell phone, I
think we resoled that problem, his email is flowing. All in all things
are good. Even Dieter and Gypsy are doing well... Looking forward to
Monday May 30, Council Bluffs to
North Platte 285 miles gas $1.95
Woke up to another cloudy day. It seems it's
getting colder instead of warmer out. The driving has been about the same,
basically flat farm land without a lot of attractions. Drizzled most of
this afternoon but didn't hamper driving any. Interstate 80 in Nebraska has
turned lousy in the last three years. A constant rumble bumble bouncy ride.
It looks new cement but vary undulating,
we were all glad to pull into the Holiday campground. Outside temperature at 4 pm is
58°. The rain has stopped but it's still overcast. Walked the park and
laid back the rest of the evening.
Initial investigation found interesting
things around here to visit. Buffalo Bill's park, Union Pacific Bailey Yard
(over 10,000 rail cars handled every 24 hours, 3,000 sorted daily), Cody
Park, and a Wild West Memorial. We'll talk about staying a day to do some
Tuesday May 31, North Platte
Rain, cold what a start for a day of touring the
city. Being the troopers that we are we gathered with bright spirits for a
group photo (picture). We had some time
before things opened so at the request of Ron Reuter I got a picture of
Berg's new rig (picture). Everyone
else gathered in our motorhome to wait till 9:00 am. for things to open up
in town (picture picture).
First stop the Buffalo Bill museum. This was a real nice
bit of history at a reasonable cost. Because we were a group we got in for
two bucks a person. Mary operated some of her childhood toys (picture).
A collection of early American dolls was enjoyed by Patti & Mom (picture).
After the museum we all jumped aboard the caboose (picture)
before we all drove down the block to Buffalo Bill's homestead (picture).
A gorgeous piece of property kept in great condition by the state. In the
barn they had some nice wagons and artifacts. We took in a short informative
movie about Buffalo Bill (picture).
Next up was a self-guided tour of the largest rail
distribution yard in the world, the Bailey Yard (picture).
We watched the gravity feed system from a small observation platform (picture).
From a twenty foot high mound train cars would roll down by gravity to the
mixing bowl. (That's where they are fed to various tracks to build trains).
This is mind boggling, I never seen so many diesel engines in my life (picture)
and these were only the ones in for repair.. They move 10,000 cars every 24
hours of which 3,000 are sorted across 114 different tracks. This yard is so
big and busy that some of the engines are not manned. There are signs all
over cautioning you to beware (picture).
After the yard we went to another yard where we
could climb all over the equipment (picture).
Donna got into it and was about to deliver some steam (picture).
Now for the best thing of the day, the sun came out and the temperature soared..
What a beautiful day ending to what turn out to have been a real fun as well
as educational day...(picture). Here is a
(picture) of our ducks in a row at the
Holiday campground. In order are the Bergs, Atkinsons, Oshnocks, Riesers,
and the Russells.
Tomorrow a long drive day so early to bed
Wednesday June 1, North Platte NB to
Rawlins WY 368 miles, gas $1.95
Everyone's up early, sunshine, clear day, and ready
to go. Chuck grabbed the lead and we were off and running by 8 am.
Everything went smoothly to Big Springs. Not far beyond this I-80 bends slightly
to the northwest and I-76 bends to the southwest, just before this
intersection Mary spotted smoke at the Big Spring east bound exit and we all
saw an 18 wheeler burning on the ramp, big fire. It was an engine fire and
all appeared safe. We moseyed on to this I-80 split where some construction
was underway right at the bend. Well some of us bent and some didn't. As the
trailers leaned north and watched our leader bend south to Colorado. Loud
shouts were heard on the CB as the Bergs and Russells headed south. We went
on a little way to the next rest area and settled in. After a short
time I got a call from Mary stating "Nothing seamed to be going
right" they had to travel to Colorado before they could turn around.
Next the exit to north bound I-80 was closed because of this construction so
they had to go on east to the next exit. This is where the 18 wheeler was on fire
so there they sat waiting for the exit ramp to clear.. I detected a
little sadness in Mary's voice. It wasn't long before they we back in the
fold and we were on our way. Chuck temporarily relinquished his leadership
We stopped in Cheyenne for lunch and were off again
heading west. It was here we discovered good news that my chart was off by
hundred miles and we would be in Laramie way to early. We decided to push on
past Laramie the hundred miles to shorten tomorrow's drive, so we did. Off to
the south we could see the snow capped mountains of Rocky Mountain National
Park, beautiful site. Winds were picking up and the sky begin to darken as
we pushed on. We passed the Green River wind generators, a wind
energy farm of over a hundred large wind-mill style generators. As we
drove on we passed another sign which read Caution High Winds next 5 miles,
every 5 miles thereafter was another sign, this went on for well over 25 miles.
We all checked in to RV World in Rawlins WY just
before dinner. A Pass Port America park which means we saved 50 %, cost $11.
Later that evening we gathered in out home to firm up tomorrows travels.
We'll be on a two lane road all day so it was decided to spread out and not
be concern with tight travel. We all know final destination and have cell
phone for problems so it should go well..
Thursday June 2, Rawlins WY to
Grand Tetons 268 miles, gas $2.31
Friday June 3
8 am. the Atkinsons and Bergs stopped at a local
restaurant for breakfast while the rest of us motored north. The driving was
great no traffic good roads and excellent scenery. As we started out
under a cloudy sky but we could see bright a sky ahead. Only a few miles down
the road we could see the snow capped peaks of the Teton chain of mountains
(picture). The scenery along required
frequents stops to capture the moment (picture).
I don't know if you could live here like this (picture),
would you get anything done?
After a Mexican lunch stop in Lander and several
hours of driving we were closing in on the Grand Tetons. The winding road
took us up to 9600 feet and as we approached it we spotted patches of snow
tuck away in the pine tree forest. The higher we climbed the more snow. Now
there's snow everywhere, in fact it's coming out of the sky. Snow more snow
blinding blowing snow, as we reached the summit we were at near white-out
conditions. As we crested and headed down the snow subsided giving way once
again to sunshine and green grass. Finally our destination the Grand Tetons
We checked into Colter Village Campground $46 per,
had dinner and took a mini motor tour. In less than an hour of driving we
seen Elk (picture), Buffalo (picture),
Moose and baby (picture). I think
we're in for a nice stay..
Jackson Hole today! Another day of confusion. We going in three separate
with the understanding that we'll all meet at 4 pm at the world famous
Silver Dollar for dinner. Mary said she'll make reservations and we should
check with the restaurant when we get to town to be sure she able to make
reservations. Errol & Nora were the first to leave. Errol stopped in
before leaving inquiring that he should stay on 191 to get there. I said yes
it goes right through the center of town. Russells joined the Bergs they
were the next to leave, and we left a short time later with the
The sun started peeking out as we got to town, and
after shopping in a few of the hundreds of gift shop we walked over to the
Silver Dollar (picture). Here we learned that the time has been changes to 5:30
pm. So it was a good thing I checked. Mom asked me about
the menu which of course I didn't check. So Nick, Pat and Mom went back in
to see what's what as I waited outside. Pat and Mom came back out and I
asked where Nick was. "He's still inside sitting down awaiting oxygen."
Paste plate $17.95 and that was the cheapest thing on the menu. So the
reservation was changed from 10 to 6 people. Walking around we caught up
with the Bergs and Russells and explained our sentiments about the costly
dinning and gain support from the Russells. The Bergs felt that was the cost
of traveling and if you want to dine with the best you have to pay. As we
sat under the antler arch in the city park (picture)
we quarried each other the whereabouts of Errol & Nora, after all we left before 10 am and it was almost 1
pm. I was able to contact Errol on the cell phone and questioned his
location. He said he was still on the road about 10 mile out of town.
Asking him where he's been he replied "Yellowstone." Well
after a long discussion we learned he headed north on 191 instead of south
taking him to Old Faithful.
In a short time Errol and Nora join us under the
antlers where we talked more about the cost of the dinner. Nora agreed she
didn't have to spend that much for dinner. After a Hagen Daus break provided
by Nick (picture) we left for Teton Village to take a gondola ride to the top of the
Atkinsons weren't up for the ride and decide to shop around town. The
Russells and Bergs were so up for it they skipped ice cream and left before
A short ten minute drive to Teton Village and
senior tickets of $14 pp. we were soon heading up. Twelve minutes to
traverse 4000 feet to the 10,000 foot summit. Temperature at the top 21°,
winds 20 mph, snow, you won't believe (picture). We spent half hour at
the top taking pictures and had a hot coffee in the small comfort
On the ride down (picture) we asked driver to recommend a good place to eat. He
rattled off a number local bars so I rephrased the question. Where can you
get a good hamburger. The best hamburger in town was at the Cadillac House 'Billie's
Burger'. Now here is an experience. A horseshoe counter seating about
twenty customers was filled. Fortunately for us a mother and three kids left
and we jumped in. The counter horseshoed around the grill where two young
men or old kids hustled burgers and fries. The burgers were delicious and
the guys behind the counter were great entertainment. example, when a
customer paid with a credit card he shouted who else wants their bill on
this card. We had a vary enjoyable day and topped off with a great burger,
what else could ask for...
On our ride back we saw buffalo off the road when Carol spotted one
running back and forth along the fence, on the road side. We stopped and
watched the frustrated buffalo when he decided to come on to the highway (picture).
We continued on our way with the buffalo roaming.
Saturday June 4th Tetons
WY to Yellowstone WY 61 miles
hello Yellowstone. Causal departure and easy drive north. Wireless and cell
service is slim to none I may not be able to get on for another three days.
We're staying at Fishing Bridge RV park $35 per right in the middle of
Yellowstone. Made reservations for a circle tour tomorrow which will last
all day. Toured the general area and found a dial-up connection at Lake
Village Hotel. Took the computer over and spent a hour uploading and
retrieving. Ice cream at the general store and home for the evening. Mom
baked a cake for Nora's birthday tomorrow. Baking at high altitude presents
some problems, we'll see tomorrow.
Sunday June 5th Yellowstone WY
Park office at 9:15 am. (picture)
(picture) for the circle tour. Our bus driver is a young girl and this is her first
tour as a bus driver. Oh boy! First stop was the West Thumb Geyser Basin.
Here as elsewhere in the park is where hot water bubbles up at temperatures in
excess of 170°. Nick checks the water (picture).
This basin is located adjacent to Yellowstone lake (picture)
and has numerous bubbling pools of crystal clear water with vary colorful
mineral deposits encrusted around the pools (pictures).
Next stop is Old Faithful . We stopped here for an
hour and half, time enough to see one blow. She blew twenty minutes early
and not a very impressive blow either (picture).
Hundreds of folks ringed the geyser for a view (picture).
Some sat in the distance cause they've seen it all before (picture).
The water leaving these hot spring paint a colorful picture on the mounding
walls (picture). Here in front of the
lodge we got a view of the type of tour car we'll be in at Glacier (picture).
Continuing the tour we stopped at several viewing
areas along the way and also seen a lot of wild life. I got this neat shot
of a bull Elk (picture) at the side of the
road. As the tour ended our last stop was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. A
very colorful canyon which was over 1,800 feet deep. as you look at this
picture try and see the depth as well as the color (picture).
After the nine hour tour we all went home and ate
then met at our place for coffee and cake so we could sing happy birthday to
Nora (picture) (picture). Nothing scheduled for
tomorrow everyone will do something on their own.
Monday June 6th Yellowstone WY
During the night it rained, according to everyone
it rained all night. The morning was cold wet and drizzling. Thinking about the
day and the days ahead I could see no point in remaining here. We saw what
we wanted to see in this area. From here to the north park exit is 50 miles
and the remainder of what we want to see is at the north end. I suggested
seeing if we could get a refund for tonight and drive to the north-end today
and dry camp at the park in the north end. We'll save $28 and we'll be 50
miles closer to or next destination. Russells and Riesers were up for it.
Bergs felt they wanted to do something around the camper and preferred to
stay put. Atkinsons said they would stay with them.
We got our refund and the three rigs motored to the
north end. A two hour drive to go the 50 miles. We stopped a few times, once
because a bison had planted himself square in the middle of the roadway (picture).
After several minutes he lumbered off and we were on our way again. We
checked in and had lunch at which time the rain stopped. We drove over to
the Terraces to investigate. I was totally amazed at what we found. Mineral
Terraces that flowed with hot mineral water, 14 years ago when we had last
visited here, were all dried up (picture).
There is still activity but not to the scale we had seen (picture)
(picture). As we walked and drove around
we found various formations that we enjoyed (picture).
The information posting explained the Terraces do in fact dry-up some times
for weeks and sometimes for years.
This day was Nick and Patti's anniversary. Nick wanted
to treat his bride to a sit down dinner so we all decided to join him. We
had a very good meal at a very nice dinning room. We talked about Bergs and
Atkinsons and wished they had been here to dine with us. After dinner we
walked over to the ice cream shop and had our desert. We'll leave at 8 am
and will meet-up with the rest of our group tomorrow night at the
predetermined camp sight, SWM Missoula MT.
Tuesday June 7th, Yellowstone WY to
Missoula MT 280 miles gas $2.29
A beautiful bright morning and a gorgeous drive.
Interesting thing, as we left the Yellowstone via the north entrance we had
to stop at the gate and show our receipt or Golden Age Passport.
?? Didn't question anything just showed and drove on wondering why.
First time I ever showed anything leaving a park.
We followed, I believe, the Yellowstone River north
through the beautiful valley for some fifty miles to I-90. I was impressed
by how many homes we seen along the way. They were scattered and remote but
we always had some outstanding view in the distance of a homestead on a
grassy mountain side or meadow with snow capped mountains in the distance.
Even along I-90 the valley opened wider revealing the "Big Sky
Country" in all it's grandeur. Sunshine and fluffy white clouds on a
bright blue sky made for a very pleasant drive. We ate lunch in Butte
and continued along I-90. An hour out of Butte I called Errol to see how
they were moving. We determined they were only about an hour behind us, as
they were just coming to Butte, even after stopping in Bozeman to pick-up a
prescription the Bergs had forwarded. (Someone forgot to bring enough
We pulled in to a supper Wal Mart at the north end
of Missoula which was very crowded. In circling the building signs were
posted "No overnight RV parking." We found space at the side
of the building and Mom went in to do our grocery shopping and asked
management if RV overnight parking was OK, they replied it was OK.
About this time the Bergs and Atkinson pulled in and we all together again.
Glacier Park's western entrance tomorrow..
Wednesday June 8th, Missoula MT
to Glacier National Park 160 miles gas $2.29
OK that's it. We've been cat and mousing with
mother nature for over a week now. Nice enough to do our thing but each
night a little rain, during the day mixed clouds, at the Teton sporadic
views of the mountains. This morning a little warmer with a
promising outlook for the drive north. Well the drive north proved to be
just fine except for a small truck was trying to pass Nick and their mirrors
smacked leaving Nicked with cracked glass and the run away truck with a
dangling mirror.. Near the entranced of Glacier we stopped for lunch in
Columbia Falls. Now driving to the park entrance with only a couple of miles
to go it started raining. We pulled into Apgar campground taking advantage
of out NP Golden Age Passport which brought the price of camping down from
$15 a night to $7.50, and set up camp. OK the rain is bad enough but after
donning our rain gear bring out the umbrellas and walked to the edge of Lake
McDonald to view and photograph the mountains across the lake we find the
mountains are now cloud covered... Tomorrow is our prepaid chartered Red Bus
Tour across the Going to the Sun Highway. Well we've learned regardless that
the highway was opened two months ago when I made reservations they have
since close the highway due to heavy snow. No refunds. Good news at 2 pm
they have opened the highway. Bad news 5 pm they closed the highway. Good
news 6 pm they may have it opened by morning. Bad news suppose to rain all
week... Then a little something to cheer me up as members of the party
stopped by they added, "You know we just talked to the kids back home,
you know it's 91° in Detroit today." Today has not been a good
day. We had some booze, joked the best we could ,and I guess that made us
all feel a little better.
Thursday June 9th, Glacier National Park west
to Cut Bank MT 102 miles
Seven am. still sprinkling, heavy overcast, and no
mountains in sight. What's the point of going up the mountain if you can't
see anything at $76 a couple. We were all at the staging area promptly by
8:15 am. to learn the pass is closed. I talked to the Red Bus driver and
explained to him that we contracted to go across the mountain. He said that
won't happen today but the company will take us for an all day ride around
the mountain. I said I don't think so. Asked about refund, and he said the
lodge at lake McDonald well handle the problem for us. So all ten of us went
got into the Red Bus and were driven ten miles up to the lodge. After
consulting with our group we all agreed to go for the refund not the ride
around the bottom of the mountain. I talked to Jan at the desk who said no
problem and got on the phone made three calls, disappeared, came back with
another person and they explained that the policy is no refunds. Discussion
took place and bottom line is, I would have to write a request explaining
the circumstances and request the refund. Stressed but left with no options
agreed and we all returned to a Red Bus for the return trip to the camp
ground. Still sprinkling out side, windows in the Red bus fogged up, no heat
in the bus, cloud cover meant no Mountain pictures, everyone is a little
With the forecast of continued bad weather we all
met and decided not to stay but drive around the bottom of the mountain to
the east side which we did. We stopped for a lunch break at a river overlook
(picture) and tried to cheer each other up. Talk continued as to what to do now. After
Glacier we had planned to touch Waterton Park Canada for high-tea at the
Prince of Wales hotel. Now we've learned the Atkinsons don't have the
necessary paper work for their dog so that's out for them. On the east side
of the mountain, weather still a main factor for "dry" camping, we
could not locate a campground. Stress mounts. We continued to drive east to
the center of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to the small town of Browning
with a small "tacky" campground. Again we gather and decided to
move farther east along US 2 to Cut Bank at a full service campground there.
We arrived in late afternoon, still raining sometimes heavy, at Riverview
campground ($18) where it looks like we will be the only guest. We decided to stay
Here I called my credit card company and explain
the lack of service from the tour company, they credited my account.
Deleting three night in the Glacier area puts us
ahead of schedule. After a lot of talk back and forth it sounds like two
couple would like to go back (one hour drive), two couple would like to go
on, and one couple not real sure yet. We already knew that Atkinsons and
Bergs would taking the fast road home after Deadwood because of other
commitments. We'll decide in the morning.
Still in a cell phone dead area we found high speed
internet at the Supper Eight across the highway from camp. Nick and I parked
in their lot and up loaded web stuff and checked mail...
Friday June 10th, Cut
back to Glacier National Park east MT 66 miles gas 2.23
Sun Shine, 7 am blue skies sun shine, warmer day
and sun shine. Oh what a beautiful day, sun shine (picture). The group
morning and all expressed there desires. Atkinsons and the Bergs plan to
continue on east. The rest of are heading back to GLACIER! Everyone is in
excellent spirits. What a difference a day makes. We all talked for about an
hour before saying our good byes and yellow rocks. I stopped one more time to
upload the web then we headed west across US 2 to Glacier's eastside.
We parked at St. Mary's campground (NP $8.50) just inside the
gate on the eastside of the park. We had lunch and then load ourselves into
the Blue Bus (Nick's Liberty) and headed up the Going to the Sun Highway to
Logan's Pass. The drive up gave us the pictures
we wanted. The road is still not opened all the way across but at least we
made to the top (picture). And, here
is a picture of son Gary when he
biked across Ameica a few years ago.Yes there was
snow at the pass this day and lots of it (picture).
On the way down we stopped again at one of the many pull offs to view the
big horn sheep (picture). They were too
far off to shoot with the camera but we all enjoyed seeing them, about twelve
in all. We did see the Red Buses on the way down (picture).
We must of got in and out of the car fifty times to see the views and walk
the short trails.
After dinner we set out for homemade pies at a
small restaurant near the park entrance. We finished our delicious deserts
and it was only 8 pm so we decided to hunt bear, after all it's still light
at 10:30 pm here. We drove to Many Glaciers area to take in the lodge and
lake views (picture). No bear sighting but a large male moose with full
paddle horns. No picture to distance. We also saw this mother moose with her
Saturday June 11th, Glacier National Park east
We decided to spend another day here
and drive up
to Waterton Park Canada. We all climbed into the Greyhawk and took the scenic
ride north. Customs was not a problem. The agent did come aboard check our
ID and passed us through. The town of Waterton Park is a small tourist area
with very little traffic today. We think the traffic was light because of the recent rash of bad weather
it was very quiet. Prince of Wales hotel is picturesquely
located here. We had a long lunch (Russells)
at a water front restaurant then did
a little shopping (picture). The return trip was uneventful with the sighting of only
a few sheep and deer. We talked about heading east tomorrow.
Sunday June 12th, Glacier National park to Helena
MT 247 miles gas $2.20
(note: I added a few pictures to yesterday's
This day will start our return trip home, the furthest
north (Waterton CA) and the furthest west (West Glacier) have been achieved
so this is the turnaround point. We had a casual start this morning with
heavy overcast sky returning and as we hit the road rain started. We
made adjustments to our itinerary as we are now leaving from St. Mary's and not
Waterton Park. We would arrive Great Falls way too early, instead we'll push
on to Helena MT, and do a SWM for the night. The drive along U.S. 89 was all
grass land, you could not see a tree in any direction for miles. As we
neared Helena on I-15 the road wound through some mountains as it follow the
mighty Missouri River. This was a very scenic drive. Since the weather dictates our
activities, we'll catch up on the laundry and shop Wal Marts tonight.
Monday June 13th, Helena
MT to Hardin MT 301 miles gas $2.21
On the road a 8 am. Perfect blue sky with white
cotton puff clouds (picture). The driving was spectacular! first mountains
then the rolling treeless expanses of the prairie. Driving was easy because
there was no traffic, excellent roads and Dieter co-piloting (picture). We
stopped for lunch at Big Timbers (an oxymoron I think) and watched the
artist paint the mountains (picture). Carol said the man was made of steel
We checked into Grandview Campground, $25 includes discount and 7%
bed tax. Bed tax is the only tax you have to pay in Montana, no sales tax on
anything. After dinner a young boy came around saying there would be an ice
cream social at 7:30 pm. While eating our four scoops at $1.50 we talked
with some other campers who were on their way to Glacier NP. As we talked
they explained they were traveling in a group of four rigs and just came
from where we are going. Nick asked if they belonged to a club or something
and they replied "Yes we're all square dancers."
Square dancers don't you know. They danced in
Texas with Nasser at the Fun N Sun where we stayed and danced this past
winter. We probably danced with them. They brought along some records and
invited us to dance if we could find a flat surface. No dancing so we
just took a drive around the area to wind down the night.
Tuesday June 14th, Hardin MT
Flag day. Good day to tour Custer's last stand. We
watched Lytle work on his motorhome this morning. His brake assist wasn't
working so he was under the rig. He replaced a relay to no avail so he
called the local diesel mechanic. Low and behold a young lady came in and
made the repair. A blown fuse and loose wire. Lytle was happy. Take a look
at the rig that pulled in while I was sitting at our campsite (picture).
I think Bankstahl was talking about getting a setup like that.
While the repair work was going on we went with the
Riesers to the battlefield (picture). The
main exhibit of course is the hill of the last stand (picture).
Nick bought a motor tour CD so after walking the immediate area and taking
in the ranger's presentation we drove the four mile path learning all about
Custer and the army and Indian's positions in the area.
We made it home in time for dinner and the ice
cream social. The other square dancers were at social as well and we all
talked for some time. Ending the evening watching the Pistons beat San
Wednesday June 15th, Hardin MT to
Gillette WY 185 miles
Nice day nice drive. Leisure day, departed around 9
am. and arrived Gillette in time to have lunch at Granny's Kitchen. Gillette
is known as the Energy Capital of the Nation producing 30% of the nation's
coal. Driving into Gillette the horizon is dotted with oil and natural gas
wells. An open pit coal mine utilizing house-size mining equipment is near
We spent the night at Green Tree's Crazy Woman
campground $23. Crazy Woman was named after a woman who spend years alone
living on the banks of Crazy Woman Creek. She set her wickiup alone on the
banks of the creek and on moonlit nights, she could be seen leaping back and
forth across the creek.
The Crow Indians considered this Crazy Woman a
symbol of good luck. They choose this name for the campground to bring good
luck to the traveling campers..
Thursday June 16th, Gillette WY
to Deadwood SD 136 miles gas $2.05
Bright and sunny departure. We drove up to Devils
Tower (picture), which was a little out of
our way. An interesting area in the fact why so many people want to see a
large stone. This is still early in the vacation season and yet as we
entered the park and drove the three miles to the visitors center we could
not fine a space to park all three rigs. Nick dropped off Patti and asked me
to pick her up as he and the Russells headed back down the road away. I
parked our camper in a few vacant car-spots and we three walked to the base
of the tower. It is a fascinating area, as we gazed up the rock wall (picture)
we spotted a climber (picture)
ascending the thousand foot vertical wall. We were soon on or way again
rolling into Deadwood in time for dinner. We checked into Whistler Gulch
campground ($32) located at the edge of town.
We took the trolley from the campground to town
(.50¢) where Lytle immediately found a way to pay for the trip (picture)
and Donna found other interests (picture).
We all walked Main street and enjoyed the sights (picture)
(notice the second floor windows) and gun fight (picture).
After walking the town we all went to the Silverado for a buffet dinner (picture).
Afterwards, the Russells got lost in a casino and the the Riesers took the
trolley home. Mom and I sat at the bar in Kevin Costner's "Midnight
Star" and watched the Pistons whoop San Antonio.
Friday June 17th, Deadwood SD
Talked with Errol on the cell the other day. They
had a good time in Deadwood and they were leaving the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD
that day. Errol has had a roof leak in his shower that I asked about and he
said he has not been able to patch it. Other than that all is well.
Another great looking day ahead of us today. We all piled
in Nick's car and headed a couple of miles to Lead SD. Home of the once most
famous gold mine in the world, the Homestake Gold Mine (picture).
Large surface open pit mine in addition to shaft mining to depths of over
8,000 feet. There's still gold in these there hills but just too costly to
retrieve from these depths, the mine closed a few years ago. George Hearst (California) bought the claim of
five acres for $70K in the 1877 and eventually bought the mining rights to
the whole area. The Homestake mine produced over 40 million ounces of gold
during it's lifetime.
Next we were off to the Deadwood cemetery where we
walked over to the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane (picture).
Boothill is located high above Deadwood and offers some nice pictures.
Walking the cemetery is tiring due to the hilly terrain, but fun and
interesting to read the inscription of stones such as "Killed by
Indians at 38 years, 1879." And, Hickok's "Died by pistol
shot at 39, Custer was lonely without him."
Nick talked with a fellow camper who had visited
Kevin Costner's Bison/Indian museum called Tetenka. Originally Costner wanted to build a
large resort hotel here with the bison and Indian theme. Seeking partners
proved difficult for this theme and the project was scrubbed. From the onset
he had commissioned a local artist/sculpture to create life size sculptures
of how the Indians would roundup bison and run them off a cliff to provide
food and hides. The resulting sculptures remained in storage for several
years with no planned use until the idea/his dream materialized into a
museum for the property. The resulting museum was very rewarding and
the walk of the property was awesome and inspiring (picture).
Placement of a real Indian (picture) influenced
the dramatization. Mom got a little too close to this one (picture).
Took the trolley downtown this evening. Deadwood is
celebrating Wild Bill Days by closing off all of Main Street and providing a
live music concert. The band playing was 38 special. Unknown to us but most
everyone else seemed to like them (picture). To be sure everyone could see
and hear, one block up the street they had more speakers and a huge video
screen showing what was going on down the street (picture). We tried to get
into it but it was all after our time (picture). We step into a casino
for some quiet.
Saturday June 18th, Deadwood SD
to Mount Rushmore 56 miles
Russells first up and first ready to go each day,
stopped by early and said they were anixous to move on. Previously said they
had planned to head to northern Michigan after viewing Mount Rushmore so
today is the day. We exchanged yellow-rocks and they were on their way.
Nick and I sat around talking and Nick asked are
they going today because they won so much last night and want to share it
with their son in upper Michigan. Donna hit for 5,000 coins last night. Naw,
they just have good news from upper Michigan and want to share in the family
joy, no money involved.
Oshnocks and Riesers rolled out of camp around nine
am. heading for Mount Rushmore. Two hours later we were checking into Pass
Port America's Spokane Creek RV Campground, $12 per. This is the ultimate
campground, each day they bake, right there in the office, fresh bread and cinnamon
rolls. Now how can you beat that.
Since it was still early we drove over to Mount
Rushmore. The drive itself was memorable, scenery, hair pin curves, tight
tunnels, and wala President George Washington (picture). We walked the aisle
of state flags (picture). Walked up close to the base of mountain and took
pictures from every angle. Even a picture from miles away was impressive.
Then of course the ice cream break (picture). After ice cream Nick took a
few minutes to explain how this all came about (picture). A great day!
Sunday June 19th, Mount Rushmore
Happy Father's Day boys. We are in a no cell phone
area again but we will call tomorrow (I hope). Today is a tour day, Chief Crazy
Horse and Custer State Park. The first thing out of the campground we seen
wild life, Antelope (picture), this was a good sign of things to
Observation: On this trip we've seen acres and
acres of burn forest. I've never seen so much burn area over such a wide
spread area from the Grand Tetons through Yellowstone, around Glacier, and
now here in the Black Hills. In a lot of the areas they've cleaned the
forest floors as a preventive. It looks so different to look into the woods
and be able to see into the woods. The underbrush has been cleared away (picture) stacked by inmates to be burnt during a winter snow. You can
see thousands of stacks of brush as you drive along.
We stopped many times along the roads for picture
after picture. The Needles Hwy is a fun drive as you watch all the
peoples fascination with the small passages (picture). We made it to Crazy
Horse and paid the $24 parking/entry fee to show our support for the
project. It's been seven years since we've been here and there hasn't been a
lot of visible change to the sculpture (picture). But, if you look close you can see
progress. There are bulldozers in this picture. The head alone is over 90
feet tall. The most change occurred in the visitors center, it's tripled in
size (picture). We had a good lunch of buffalo-burger and
then we were on our way to
We cautioned Nick about driving in an animal
preserve (picture) but he was still a little nervous. The heard of buffalo
was large as well as the many calves that accompanied it (picture). A little
farther down the road Nick was ready to give up driving (picture).
Mom from the back seat found a friend (picture).
Patti found one too (picture). We enjoyed
all the critters (picture) before
returning to camp to roast hot dogs over our first campfire.. Great day!
Monday June 20th, Mount Rushmore
SD to Badlands SD 125 miles gas $2.19
We were rolling by 9 am. heading for Wall SD, free
ice water and 5¢ coffee. Not much change here (picture),
one main street and a lot of shopping (picture).
We had coffee and pie at Wall Drug and did a little more shopping? (picture)
before heading for the Badlands. We took the scenic loop through the interior (picture)
stopping for pictures at most turnouts (picture).
We found a Pass Port America campground, Badlands Trail RV park where we
ended our day. Hot this day over well ninety. This campground is located
about ten miles from the Badlands located in the middle of no where. A
little oasis near the White River...
Tuesday June 21st, Badlands
SD to Mitchell SD. 211 miles gas 2.03
Hot night and warm morning. Driving day, and rain
for the drive. Heavy rain for two hours but as we zeroed in on Mitchell the
rain stopped. We selected the Super Wall Mart for the night. Before dinner
we toured the town and the Corn Palace the stopped at the Depot for dinner.
This is the same restaurant we visited in 1998's trip. Look the same and the
food was good. After dinner a return to SWM to watch the Piston beat San
Antonio. A good over all day...
Wednesday June 22nd, Mitchell
SD to Glencoe MN (near Mall of America)
We'll deviating from our planned route from here on
in. We're coming home via the Mall of America and the U.P. of
Michigan. Beautiful drive day, we stopped at Pipestone MN to
see what it was all about. Pipestone is the location of an earthen layer of stone that is
soft and can be cut into pipes. This is the only spot known to have this layer of rock
(picture). More enjoyable than looking at the rocks in the ground were the
sixty some antique cars that paraded in to this National Monument. (picture
picture). A club of 1926 to 1928 Chevrolets owners
organized this trip, members were from all over the United Stated. The cars
were beautiful (picture). When I first
seen the old cars come rolling in I expected to Frank Kot among them.
We drove along MN route 23 to U.S. 212 towards the
Mall of America. We stopped about an hour outside of Minneapolis at a Super
8 Motel. Yep, we saw a sign on the road "Super 8 welcome RV'ers."
For $12 we got full service plus coffee in the morning..
Thursday June 23rd, Glencoe MN
to Woodville WI (east of Mall of America) 105 miles gas
We left a little after nine and drove about an hour
to the Mall of America. Little confusion as to where to park but found a
large empty lot right across the street from the mall. With charge cards in
hand we stormed the mall. The center of the mall is a large entertainment
park with a load of nice rides (picture).
Circling around this are three levels of stores anchored at four corners
with large department stores. To give you an idea of the size, we spent over
six hours there without going into any of the department stores and did not
completely circle all three levels. So to just walk around all three levels
and do the department stores is over eight hours of work. Of course my favorite
store is Tyler's store, the Lego Shop (picture).
Another good thing is there is a lot to eat there (picture).
More Lego pictures picture.
All pictures taken this day are complements of Pat Rieser, thank you.
Just after leaving the Mall and returning to the
camper the phone was ringer from a return call from Errol. He said they just
got home this day and that when the Bergs left to go to relatives a few days
ago they decided to head back to the Mall as well. After the Mall they
headed across Michigan's UP then home. He said they had a real good time.
We're about five days behind them. looking forward to getting together with
everyone after we return home.
After the Mall we drove a couple hours to a Core of
Engineers park where our Golden Age Pass is honored and camped for half
price $9. Hot day today...
Friday June 24th, Woodville WI (east of Mall of America)
to Escanaba MI 315 miles
Seems like this was a very long drive day. Big
thing of the day was a lunch stop in the parking lot of a Best Western where
we did the internet thing. Overcast day with no rain. Sun came out when we
hit Escanaba about 7 pm local time. Spending the night at Escanaba SWM.
Saturday June 25th,
Escanaba MI to Brevort MI 119 miles gas $2.04
Short drive just to be able to spend time along the
uppers short line. We stopped and bought some smoke fish and pasties, so got
our fix. Campfire at the National Campground and hot dogs for dinner.
Web location for Nick and Patti Blog.
Sunday, June 26th, Brevort MI
to N. of Rose City MI 150 miles
Hot and sunny. Wed stopped at the National Forest
campground Wagner Lake, about 15 sites for $5 a night (Golden Age Passport).
We had a camp fire and Nick burnt the last of his wood (picture).
Monday, June 27th, N. of
Rose City to Saint Clair Shores MI 198 miles gas $2.29
Left Nick and Patti sleeping at 7:30 am as we
departed for the Shores.. Arrived home around noon. The drive home was easy
and it felt good to relax in our own yard...