Monday, July 23, 2018

Back in the Martin Manor RV Park

Arrived back at the Manor a little past noon time and got the necessities unloaded.  It's 87 degrees outside so the minor items can wait until morning or another day.

This was an extremely enjoyable trip, we both had a great while leisurely time.  The scenery from the minor roads had much of the same fields of corn or grain but there were also vista of great beauty.  We also found the cooler temperatures that we were looking for.

This will close our blog for awhile as our next plans for travel will begin on September 11 when we start our adventure to Spain and Portugal.  I will take my laptop with me and the tour bus should have wifi on board so posting shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Breathing home state air

Tonight we are settled into the Big Lake State Park near Mound City, MO.  This is the same park we stayed in on our way back from Idaho last month, nice park.  Last month our site was out in the open sun but tonight's site is under a couple of big cottonwood trees, still need the AC which is working well.

We enjoyed a day of leisure yesterday in a nice comfortable park before heading back south this morning.

On our trek following US Hwy 50 across the continent we found that we really enjoyed being on lesser routes instead of following the Interstate highways.  Driving 60 mph with speed sometimes down to 30 mph through small towns is much more relaxing than battling the semis on the Interstate at 70 mph.  Also we see more of the local scenery.  The little slower speed also helps our fuel economy.

This trip we have deliberately avoided the Interstates as much as we could.  Last Friday from MN to IA we stayed on the east side of the Big Sioux river on US 75 while our GPS kept trying to put us over on I-29.  Today we again followed US 75 most of the way this time in Nebraska to the west of I-29 and the Missouri river.  Again our GPS kept trying to take us over to I-29 but I kept arguing with her and held our course.  Even through the middle of Omaha US 75 is on an expressway and very easy travels through this big city, of course it was Sunday morning so traffic was fairly light.  Tomorrow we will use I-29 from here down to st Joe but there really isn't a good alternative.  Then its US 36 to Macon and US 63 south toward the Manor.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Change of plans

We were all settled into the Stone State Park but after a little while our microwave kept clicking off and on.  I checked the breaker fuse at the post and found that it had worn out and would not keep in the on position.  We didn't have cell phone signal so couldn't call anyone to get it fixed so we unhooked our setup and moved to a nearby KOA, a move of only 6 miles.  Now we have all hookups that are in good working order including a pizza delivery to our camper so Jo didn't have to toil over the stove.

We are here for a day of rest tomorrow and will head back south toward the Manor on Sunday.

Back needing AC

Tonight we are just outside of Sioux City, IA in Stone State Park.  We have electric which is nice since the AC is needed.  We also are in some shade from a couple of big trees and we have an AT&T connection so our WiFi is working.  The one thing we don't have is a Verizon signal for our telephone.  That's hard to believe since we are right along I-29 and just outside the city limits but so be it, we will get our voicemail when we get back to civilization.

One unusual sighting along our route today was this unusual water tower in Pipestone, MN.

Also at Pipestone, MN is the Pipestone National Monument.  This is where many native American tribes mined red stone to carve their peace pipes.  Some still practice that art today and this is where the town got its name.

Another nice feature of today's drive is the wildlife sightings.  We saw deer and turkeys early in the day and several turkeys along the way.  One sighting was a couple of hens with about a half dozen chicks crossing the road right in front of us.  Jo saw a doe with two fawns out in a pasture that I didn't see.  We definitely have left the big tree country.  It has been all croplands with mostly corn and some beans in huge fields.


In our front yard this morning before breakfast

They didn't give me time to zoom in, soon after this snap they were gone.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Our neighbor

This is a picture of our neighbor for the night.  They started to set up this huge tent as we backed in.  We had to only plug our electric cord into the box and this is after three hours of their work to this point.  This all came out of a pickup bed that was packed.  It looks like they plan to spend a month or so with all the things inside.  I hope for their sake that the winds don't blow too strong from the east as that is the direction of their open side.  Their tent is under this blue rain covering.

The rains came

We had plans to dump our holding tanks this morning at the dump station before going on the road.  As we pulled out, there were five RVs waiting in line for that opportunity so we just drove on down the road.  The weather forecast for out destination this evening was for a 100% chance of rain and dumping there was an iffy question without my rain suit.  Not long after we were on the road it was necessary to turn on the wipers, some times with interval settings and some times at full speed and that was the norm all day.

We even just had a protein bar in the truck for lunch while driving as we didn't want to stop and get out to the camper while raining.

We did have a fuel stop and our GWF was taking care of us at that time with only some light sprinkles and the fuel station had overhead protection.  When we made it to our campground the rains had moved on eastward and with the ground wet the skies were dry and we were able to use the dump station here on our way to our campsite.

It's a very nice 72 degrees outside right now and we are enjoying the fresh air with all windows open and the AC off.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Second day without AC

Both yesterday and today has been without air conditioning, by choice.  It's been so nice outside that we have just opened all windows and the door, leaving the screen, and enjoyed the fresh air.  I was a little bit late today in getting them open and it's a tad bit warm inside.  We have been using our folding chairs outside in the shade of these big trees.

It's supposed to be a bit on the rainy side tomorrow both here and where we are headed (Big Stone Lake near Ortonville, MN) but only a 10% chance in the morning while we buckle up to head south.  We have been spoiled with this beautiful weather and are afraid that we are headed back into the heat and humidity.

Big Stone Lake is on the Little Minnesota River along the Minnesota border with South Dakota.  Our Friday night campground is on the Big Sioux River in Iowa again across the river from South Dakota in North Sioux City, IA.

Following our river theme for this trip our next night is in Big Lake State Park near Mound City, MO near the Missouri River and then on to the Martin Manor also near the Missouri River.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Beautiful Day

Starting this morning at 49 degrees and now at 2:00 it's 71 with clear blue skies.  We took a drive today with our first stop at the headwaters of the Mississippi.  Here are our pictures:

This is the Mississippi at its first road crossing still inside the park, not quite a mile wide. 
 This is where the Mississippi begins flowing out of lake Itaska
 This post describes the origin and total length of the Mississippi
 here is a link to the site web cam  lake Itasca headwaters cam
 Not a dry crossing but with bare feet lots of folks have crossed on these stones.
 a surprise find in the grass along the path
Jo caught me standing in the middle of the Mississippi on the log bridge just below the rocks

We continued our route on a circular drive around Lake Itaska in the park on what they call the Wilderness Drive.  It is a one way route around the lake with a 20 mph speed limit.  This was a beautiful drive lined with big trees.

Jo took this one of the tree tops and the blue sky

About half way around we passed between Elk Lake and Itaska Lake

Here is Elk Lake
 the outflow of Elk Lake into Itaska Lake

That poses the question, Does the Mississippi River begin as pictured above at the outflow of Itaska Lake or perhaps somewhere above Elk Lake?

At the end of our drive we were back at the State Park Lodge and just had to stop in for Lunch, again so delicious.


We had dinner last evening at the Lodge restaurant here in the park.  The walleye pike was super delicious.  Jo topped hers off with a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie ala mode, yummy.

Paul Bunyan

Story has it that Minnesota's 10,000 lakes were formed when Paul's and Babe's footprints filled with water.  Here is a picture (by TripAdvisor) of the statue in Bemidji.  I have taken this same picture in the past but don't have the time or my external backup hard drive to hunt for it.

This statue was installed in 1937 as you can see on the sign between them.  I can tell you just how long ago that was, it was a very good year.  For a scale to help with determining the size of these images there is another picture taken from this same angle with a man on a bicycle riding between Babe's front legs.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Land of 10,000 Lakes

We have moved now from the corn fields of southern MN into the Paul Bunyan timber.  I have been told that Thursday of this week will be Paul Bunyan Day so we are right on time except that is the day we plan to leave this area and head back south.

Our route today was a little longer than usual for us because the river doesn't flow in a straight line.  We even crossed the river three or four times and the bridges kept getting shorter each time.  The last crossing was just before we entered the park for our stay here and it was little more than a pipe culvert.  The state park is nice with lots of shade trees and the undergrowth cleared out so the breezes can flow.  At least this time we have 50 amp electric service which is good.  No water hookup but our fresh water tank is over 3/4 full so we are okay.

We have two days here to explore and that will probably include a trip back to Bemidji for a nice lunch and a picture of Paul and his blue Ox Babe.  We also must visit the origin of the Great River for another picture opportunity.  We have been here on another trip some time ago but it would take hours to search all our photos to find the pics we took then.  I should have set up a better file identification system.

We have been wishing for cooler weather than what we left and I believe we have found it.  Sometime during the night last night I was pulling up extra covers.  We had gone to bed with only a sheet and what I call a sheet blanket, just a heavier sheet.  We had a coverlet quilt thrown to the foot of the bed that I pulled up.  Tonight the forecast is for a low of 49 degrees here so I think it might be wise to plug in our electric heater on low.