Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday and Monday, September 28 & 29, 2014-Big Red Barn RV Park to Eagle Ridge RV Park and Amana Colonies Event Center and RV Park

A group of four, us, Dave and Nancy, Mike and Peg & Larry and Gayle pulled out of the Big Red Barn about 9:30 on Sunday morning, destination the Eagle Ridge RV Park in Bethany Missouri. We made great time on the road, with clear skies and cool temperatures. We made a couple of stops, and at the second one, we all sat around one of the picnic tables eating our lunches. It was quite enjoyable, traveling with these friends and I could get used to this type of traveling. Of course, we had traveled with Dave and Nancy back at the beginning of this summer trip, and it was good to be back with them. 

We had first intended to drive the entire way to Amana, a distance of over 440 miles, but we had second thoughts and when we talked to our friends, they agreed so we broke the trip into two days. The first day is to a distance of about 260 miles and the second will be 190 or so miles, a much better distance.

We pulled into the Eagle Ridge RV Park about 2:30PM, and I think we found a jewel! This is a small park, and they put us under some huge old trees, giving us all shade and a really nice place to sit outside visiting with our friends. The park is very quiet and surrounded by fields. A great place to spend a night.

We were up pretty early the next morning and pulled out about 9. We decided to stop at a Blue Beacon truck and trailer wash in Altoona. Ironically, this place is right across the street from the RV park that we stayed at for the Iowa rally in June.When we got there, there was a long line of semi's waiting to be washed, so we didn't stop but continued on to Amana. 

We stopped at another rest area for lunch and had a nice time, sitting in the shade while eating our sandwiches. This rest area is different than any other that we have stopped in. It is built into the side of a hill, with a large series of steps to get up to the rest rooms. There is also a very long ramp to get to the top, but it's a long way! I capped a couple of Munzees before eating lunch, and we were soon back on the road. 

We pulled into the Amana Colonies park about 2 o'clock and found that they had started putting oil down on the park roads to keep the dust down. It has been hot and dry for a long time here and we had been warned about the dust.

After getting set up, it was then just meeting up with the attendees. There were lots of people that we have been with at other rallies during the summer and others that we have seen at rallies in the past. There are even some newbies that have never been to a rally before. I'm hoping that they have a great first experience. I have been waiting for this rally to start since last November, so now it's just a matter of executing our plans.

So long.

Saturday September 27, 2014-Big Red Barn, Carthage MO

The rally is going very well, with a nice breakfast of coffee and sweet rolls and muffins in the rally hall. It has been nice meet new friends and to see old ones at these rallies. Our friends from Texas, Dave and Nancy & Mike and Peg went with us to see the Carthage Civil War Museum in downtown Carthage. It was a very interesting display of old items and write-ups of battles and many other facets of the war. 

Carthage was the scene of many battles and skirmishes during the war including two "Battles of Carthage". 

This model is of one of the battles of Carthage. It is interesting to note that the armies lined up in the open to fight against each other, with no cover. Of course, in those days there was no armor, and if you were wounded there was a very good chance that you would not survive.

The huge county courthouse, located on the town square. As you can see, there were vegetable and fruit stands along the street. I'm not sure if this is a daily or weekly event, but we did buy some tomatoes. 

It was refreshing to see small town America again, with people not locking their cars and leaving the windows open while they shopped. We grabbed a bite to eat at the Carthage Deli, a downtown square restaurant for 35 years. There was a lot of referrals to Route 66, which ran through Carthage. We drove a small section of the legendary road.

Saturday night was another delicious potluck,and of course, everyone pigged out and ate too much.I am proud of the fact that I haven't gained a ton of weight this summer, going to all the rallies and the potlucks, and have even managed to lose a few pounds, but after this meal, I'm not so sure about how much I've lost. We'll see...

So long.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday September 25, 2014-Big Red Barn RV Park

I found a huge number of Munzees in Joplin and went over today to capture some of them. I had found a lot of them in the Sam's Club parking lot and there were many more at surrounding store parking lots, so I went over and got 'em, I also found more at a shopping center in downtown Joplin and got a lot of them too. I spent a couple of hours and got about 200 points. Gotta get them when I can.

The rally attendees really started pouring in today, with 5 arrivals. Mike and Peg, from Texas, arrived before Dave and Nancy, our traveling partners from the spring rallies. They were delayed for an hour and a half near McKinney because of a traffic accident. We have been very lucky not to have run into very many accidents in our travels. 

At any rate, when everyone arrived and got set up, we all went to the El Charro Mexican restaurant in Carthage. They advertise Tex-Mex food and it was good, and it was a blessing for us, since we haven't had any good Mexican food for a long time. We enjoyed visiting with our friends and made some tentative plans to travel to Amana together on Sunday. Stay tuned for that!

The rally will actually kick off tomorrow with a Meet and Greet around the fire pit. This park does not have individual pits in the sites but does have a large fire pit in a central location. They also furnish firewood, so all we have to do is bring our lawn chairs and enjoy a nice campfire. We'll be looking forward to it.

So long.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday September 23, 2014-Moving Day-Double J Campground to Big Red Barn RV Park, Carthage MO

We woke to another chilly morning in Illinois, but we wanted to get a move-on because we have a long way to go today, about 360 miles. We pulled out about 9:30, which is actually earlier than we had expected to. We made decent time, and since we didn't have to go through any large cities with their common slow downs, things went smoothly. We only made one long stop, for comfort, Munzees and lunch, so it was a pretty long stop. We did make a short stop for coffee and to stretch our legs, but we didn't dilly-dally because we wanted to get to our destination.

I should note that we traveled through Springfield Illinois and Springfield Missouri today, although we really didn't go through either one but skirted around. It was a beautiful day for traveling, no clouds or rain, 70's temperatures with smooth roads. I made a small mistake while trying to find lower priced diesel fuel. We paid $3.73 for the last fuel that we bought, but my friend Terry had told me about some stations here that have diesel for $3.37, so off we went in search of it. I was driving down the road when I noticed a BP station with diesel for $3.31! I'm in... I turned around and pulled up to the pump and began fueling. When I was more than half-way through, I noticed that this was bio-diesel. That means that I only got 85% diesel and the rest alcohol. Bummer... I have read about this stuff and a small amount shouldn't hurt anything, but I did notice less MPG while on the road. I haven't analyzed it yet, but I think we still came our on the positive side. We paid much less than usual and lost about 1-1.5 MPG. I guess we'll see if there is some long term problem with using this stuff.

There were a couple of other trailers here already for the rally but we didn't see anyone out and about so we just crashed for the night and will catch up with them tomorrow. We are looking forward to this rally in a new park.

So long.

Sunday September 21, 2014-Double J Campground, Chatham Illinois

I got behind on my rally-days reports and just simply never caught up. This was a great rally, with lots if sitting around and visiting and I really didn't spend too much time on the computer. As I said before, lots of folks brought firewood, so we had a fire constantly at Ken and Kathy's site. We had potluck breakfasts, potluck suppers and didn't move out of the campsites all week. 

My friend Terry came over and offered to look at a water leak that I had found. He found that the "technician" that had done some work on the trailer had not properly secured a gasket on the sewer line and had used the wrong clamps on some water lines that he had worked on. Luckily for me, Terry had the parts to correct the water line problems and he secured the sewer line, and now, no further leaks!

We did go out to eat with Terry and Carol to a place called D'Arcy's Pint. This place was recommended by a friend, who is a former resident of Springfield. Thanks Deb! The feature there is a dish called Horseshoes and is a variety of meats and toppings on thick toast. It was very tasty and we all enjoyed our meal.

Most folks left on Sunday but several of us stayed behind. Stella decided that we should stay here until Tuesday and that is fine with me. We had another get-together meal of leftovers on Sunday evening and our last campfire. 

We did have some excitement on Sunday night. While sitting around the campfire, Kenny, the Illinois Chapter Leader, got up to go inside his trailer and when he walked by the large campfire, he lost his balance and fell across the fire pit. He has been sick and weakened, which probably had something to do with his fall, but was he unhurt. When he fell into the fire, one of his legs hit the large log on the top of the fire and he just rolled across it without being burned. He woke the next day sore but not even bruised. He's a very lucky man.

So long.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tuesday September 16, 2014-Moving day-Country Roads Motorhome and RV Park to Double J Campground & RV Park, Chatham Illinois

Today's entry will be very short. Again we took our time in getting ready to leave and pulled out about 9:30. The roads were all freeway, and we made good time. Later in the morning, there was no construction to confuse me and we made it past the Chicago turn without any problems. If you are a long-time reader, you may remember when we missed a turn-off due to construction, and ended up in downtown Chicago.

We pulled into the Double J Campground about 5, but it took us a long time to go the last 30 miles, due to road construction. There was a big crowd of Heartlanders already here  and they had prepared hot dogs and brats, so all we had to do was get set up and go eat. How easy is that!

We had a very nice campfire tonight and many brought wood, so there should be plenty for the entire stay here at the campground, burning fires day and night. I like it!

So long.

Monday September 15, 2014-Moving Day-Two Harbors campground to Country Roads Motorhome and RV Park

We woke to another cool morning with gusty winds again. Oh well, we're used to it now after a week here. We have about 305 miles to go today and were in no particular hurry to start, but decided that 8 o'clock would be the latest that we could wait. 

Stella had done a lot to get the inside ready to go, so I went out and started getting the outside  chores done. We made really good time and were ready to go about 9:45. There were still several others that had waited until today to leave, so after hugs and handshakes, we were on our way. 

This was the perfect time to leave, with all the rush hour traffic gone to work, so it was easy-peasy to get through Duluth.  

We only made a couple of stops for comfort and to eat the sandwiches that Stella had made, and while there, I capped a few Munzees. I love being able to do this because it gives me a lot of good exercise which eases the stiffness in my legs and knees when we arrive.

We pulled in to the Country Roads park about 4:30 and were expected. Stella had called ahead and made reservations, and since we had been here about a month ago for the Wisconsin rally, check-in was a breeze. 

We decided to do an experiment on this stop. We always move lots of "stuff" onto our bed while traveling, so tonight we spent the night sleeping in our recliners to save on work in the morning. I think it worked very well, as we slept well. The dogs were very confused though...

So long.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday September 14, 2014-Burlington Bay campground, Two Harbors MN

Well, our time here in Minnesota is growing short as we leave tomorrow. Today we rode with Bob and Chris up to the Palisades that is a rocky shoreline above the Gooseberry State Park.  

A large iron ore ship coming in to the harbor. We have several of these coming in while we are here. 

Here is the Palisade area. Some is heavily wooded with paths cut into the grass and trees and most is rocky.

I read that Lake Superior is 31,700 square miles and is the largest (in area) of the Great Lakes, largest freshwater lake in the United States by volume. 

The rocky shoreline. 

If you look closely, you will see people dressed in blue with white helmets on waiting to rock climb the front of the cliff.

Here is a better shot of some of their equipment and ropes. 

Beautiful. No other way to describe it. Beautiful.

So long.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friday and Saturday, September 12 & 13, 2014-Burlington Bay Campground

It was cold again this morning (Friday) and I slept until after 7, sort of a record for me. I went outside around 8 and Tom had the fire going again, so it was nice to sit at the campfire with our coffee. We got a coupon for a discount on breakfast at a place called Louise's Place here in town and it was GREAT! They have a good selection of omelets and pancakes and serve outstanding selections of home made bread. I had cranberry-wheat with my omelet and Stella had plain white.  Delicious!

We left Louise's and tried to use another coupon at the local Dodge dealer to have our truck serviced but when I went in, they told me they could only give me a slot the week after next. Wow, I couldn't wait that long to have the oil changed, so we left to find someplace else in Two Harbors. Stella used the GPS to search for a place and the first that we went to was a vacant lot. Must not have been a good place for service. We tried one more place, and the building was tiny with cars parked in every available slot. The only employee was sitting in someone else's truck trying to diagnose a problem. After about 1 15 minute wait, he emerged and told me that he couldn't possibly work on my truck today. Well! so much for shopping in town. We soon found a place in Duluth and got the truck all fixed up and were on our way back in an hour or so.

We came back home in time for me to take a short nap before meeting with the rally group to go to a place called Dixie's for the Friday night fish fry. The fish was haddock and tasted good, but I only ate one plate. One was plenty! We came back to the park and had another bonfire (campfire). Tom and their friends Steve and Cathy brought a lot of firewood, so we had plenty. Tonight was to be a great showing of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) but it wasn't until midnight. Several made it that late, but I wasn't among them! I stayed out until after 10, but it was cloudy and I didn't think the show was going to be very good, and that turned out to be the case, just too cloudy. Bummer!

Saturday morning was an early morning for all because we went over to Silver Bay for a boat cruise. I forgot to take my camera with me, so no pictures-sorry! The boat ride was very windy and cold but the lake and the area around it is beautiful. 

We returned to the park to look at the new Landmark 365 Newport trailer that Bullyan RV brought over for us to look at. It is pretty but I think we'll keep what we have for now. 

We had our evening meal, a potluck with pulled pork as the main meat dish, at the city-owned ice hockey rink. It all went off without a hitch and the food, as usual, was delicious. We came back for our last bonfire and got lots of visiting in. Still no Northern Lights...

So long.

Thursday September 11, 2014-Burlington Bay Campground

I want to begin today's entry with a moment of silence for the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center. 

Most of the folks have arrived for the rally, so this afternoon we had our meet and greet and a wine and cheese tasting sponsored by MN chapter members Bob and Lynn. They have gathered different wines from states that they have visited as well as a variety of cheeses that accompany the wine. Unfortunately it began to rain during the event, so we all ended up under their EZ Up until the rain stopped. 

We all went across the street to a delicious brat meal, furnished by the Johnsonville Brat Co. The meal was great and we gathered around the campfire which felt good! A group of us sat outside by the fire until late when the cool temps sent us packing. The weather guessers were saying that we could have frost tonight and low temperatures in the 30's. Of course the frost didn't happen but we did have some cold temperatures. The difference here is that we on Lake Superior, so we get the winds off the lake which makes it seem colder. We'll survive but will have to bundle up more. Actually, this is not a bad place to be when the temps in Texas are still in the 90's+. I can deal with this!

So long.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday and Wednesday, September 9 & 10, 2014-Burlington Bay campground, Two Harbors MN

We like this park because of the terraced setting which allows an outstanding view of Lake Superior. We didn't realize that Monday night was the Harvest Moon celebration at Two Harbors. There was a celebration with hot drinks and a band, but we didn't know about it.

The Harvest Moon rising. 

The Harvest Moon after dark.

Tuesday morning we went over to the iron ore docks at Two Harbors. As you can see, the docks are idle today but I'm certain that business will pick up soon.

Someone taking advantage of low ship traffic while riding around in their yacht.

There is a half-mile or so breakwater out to a lighthouse that I walked out on. Apparently these tracks were used material out onto the long pier at one time. Concrete was used to smooth out the tracks but the tops remain visible.

A statue and plaque dedicated to the Civilian Conservation Corps workers that worked here from 1933-1945. 

After leaving the docks we went to the Gooseberry Falls State Park to see the waterfalls there.

Beautiful waterfalls!

I don't really know where this cave originated, but I called it a bear cave.  

Gooseberries, namesakes of the park. And no, I didn't sample one. 

More waterfalls. Note the "bear cave" beside the falls. 

More waterfalls. 

Stella in front of the falls. 

There were lots of waterfalls up here. We probably should have driven back up here after all the rainfall. 

Note the difference in the lake between this photo and the first one on this page. The waves crashed all day and night.

This would have been great surfing. We did see some surfers near Duluth when we drove into town.

The rally will kick off this afternoon and we're looking forward to good times.

So long.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday September 8, 2014-Moving day-Grand Casino Resort, Hinckley MN to Burlington Bay campground, Two Harbors MN

We slept in this morning because we have such a short drive today. I had stayed up late last night going through old emails with attachments while I had some great park wifi, but was up and showered around 7. We didn't get started packing until after 8 and were all packed up and pulled out a bit after 10, which included some time checking out of the park. This is the second casino that we've stayed at that doesn't run your credit card through and give a receipt until checkout. 

 Stella took a picture of Lake Superior while we were driving. Beautiful!

 One of several tunnels that we went through. My train horn sure echoes in here!

Our site with Lake Superior behind us. There are three tiers of RV parking, so each site has a good view of the lake. We are told that we will see the huge iron ore boats coming by into the harbors to unload.

We will be able to leave our back window shades up and will have this gorgeous view all week. The weather today was just about perfect and I have been watching the weather and see that later in the week, the lows will be in the 40's. Early fall. Hope we don't have a repeat of last winter.

So long.

Saturday September 6, 2014-Grand Casino Resort, Hinckley MN

We had been seeing lots of old cars arriving at the park and learned that they were hosting a meeting of the Minnesota Street Rod Association car club this weekend.

 I don't remember what year this old Ford is, but it is very nice.

A well restored old flathead V-8. Don't see many of these any more!
 A nice 1940 Ford.

 A 1940-50's era Chevy pickup.

 An unrestored 1957 Thunderbird with only 18,000 original miles.

 Sharp paint job.

A lot of people think the 1957 Chevrolet is the prettiest car ever made.

My personal favorite was this 1936 Auburn with a late model Viper engine.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday September 4, 2014-Grand Casino Resort, Hinckley MN

Not much to report here, it has rained-hard!-yesterday and last night. The rain and high winds woke me about 3AM but of course, there was nothing to see. It hailed very lightly for about an hour but we suffered no damage. I was afraid of bad things happening on the roof of the trailer like the skylight over the shower, the Plexiglas cover of the roof vent fan being damaged or one of the air conditioner covers being damaged, but we lucked out. Luckily for me, I was able to walk up on the berm behind the trailer and see the roof and no damage. I also checked the truck and didn't notice any little dimples caused by hailstones, so I won't have to make the call to the insurance man.

We had some weirdness with our satellite dish. Yesterday afternoon during one of the thunderstorms, the power went out for a second and it apparently did something to the dish. Of course, it was pouring down rain when it went out, so when the rain stopped I went out to try to get things reset but nothing worked. I ended up running the park's cable channels to give us television for the night. This morning I did everything I could think of to get things to work but nothing worked. Finally after several hours of fooling with things, I got it reset and it works again. Electronics can be so aggravating!

We had something odd happen late this evening. While Stella was fixing our supper, a woman came up the stairs to our front door, but seemed to realize that she was at the wrong location and she left before knocking or even saying anything to us. About thirty minutes later, she returned and this time she asked about a missing wine goblet. We told her that we hadn't seen any goblets and she left. I don't know why she came by but I never saw her and can only guess at why she was here. I'm not worried about it, but it was still strange.

So long.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tuesday August 2, 2014-Moving Day-Pine View Campground to Grand Casino Campground, Hinckley MN

Before I get started on my entry about moving, I want to put make a few observations of some other guests at Pine View. Lots of folks came to the campground for the Labor Day holiday. We had neighbors on both sides of us this weekend. One group of 4-5 adults along with 3-4 children were camped in a small class C motorhome and a tent for the kids. Most of their time was spent outside because of the lack of space inside, so when it began to rain with heavy thunder on Friday night, both Stella and I both remarked that we hoped they had someplace they could go during the storms. I'm pretty sure the kids were very frightened by the thunderstorms, but of course, we have no way of knowing. I know that on Saturday, they had laid out several blankets and sleeping bags, outside to dry out, but it again rained, so I'm not sure how dry their things were that night. We also noticed the people on the other side of us who were a group in two different units, one couple in a small travel trailer and another couple and an older child in a tiny Casita trailer that didn't look big enough to sleep three people. They too were there Friday night during the thunderstorms and during the very rainy night on Saturday. I know that all of them made it through the nights, but they couldn't have been real comfortable. It makes us all the more thankful for our large and comfortable fifth wheel.

Back to today, we got a rather late start this morning, after 8 o'clock, but still got away about 9:45. The route today was straight up the freeway to the twin cities of Minneapolis/St Paul and then on to Hinckley to a very nice casino campground. We arrived here about 2:30, right on time. We were somewhat delayed in getting checked in, even though we had reservations, because Stella had to go to the casino to get a players card to get a 15% discount on our rates here at the park. It was worth the wait and she just took the free shuttle to the casino and got the free card for a good saving. Older folks that are living on a fixed income you know. 

We got checked in and found our site and got backed in without incident. There is a very high berm behind us that we noticed is lined with lawn chairs belonging to our neighbors. They go up there to sit in their chairs and watch everything going on in the park. I walked up there just to see what could be seen and all I saw was the dirty rooftops of our trailer and the others around us. And they talk bad about the rednecks down south...

So long.