Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Here we go, July is all set

Today we have completed all planning and now have a confirmed itinerary for our July trip to Alaska.  We will fly from St. Louis to Fairbanks on Saturday July 14, 2012.  While in Fairbanks we have a couple of local excursions planned plus a 3 day round trip up across the arctic circle to the Prudhoe Bay oilfields and back.  Then we board the train to Denali National Park where we have an all day guided bus trip into the park.  Then it's back on the train to Anchorage where we have a flight-seeing trip planned to see bears plus a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center.  Then it's back on the train down to Seward for an all day cruise in the Kenai Fjords National Park before a bus trip back to Anchorage and the flight back to St. Louis on Saturday July 28, 2012.

check out for more detail

Over 10 years ago, our brief visit to Alaska combined with a seven day cruise from Seward to Vancouver, BC just gave us a taste of this beautiful State and we have very much wanted to get back for more.  I know that this is plenty early to be finalizing these plans but at this time all of our desired excursions are wide open and we have selected the timing of "our choice" instead of having to take what was left to pick from.  We fully expect that this trip will provide us with many great photo opportunities and promise to post for all to enjoy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

ready for winter

With the nice warm weather that we have been having so far here in November I have had some good days for winterizing the trailer.  Last week I finished taking care of the plumbing by pumping pink, non-toxic, antifreeze through the whole system.  Earlier this week I cleaned the bugs off the front and then put two coats of wax over the front cap to help protect it from the rest of this winter.

I'm trying something new this year by putting a couple of "Damp-Rid" containers inside to help prevent mold that might result from excess humidity.  In the past I have used some pouches of moisture absorbent chemicals but always wondered, "where did the moisture go?"  With the "Damp-Rid" system the chemicals draw the humidity from the air and deposit liquid into the bottom of the container.  When the chemicals are all gone I can dump the collected liquid and refill the cans with new chemicals, we'll see.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

mean while back at the ol' Martin Manor

Got home this afternoon a little after 2:00 and now the laundry begins.  This was a super relaxing trip but now it is time to put the trailer to bed for the winter and start planning for next years outings.  To be truthful I've already started but there is more work and refinements yet to be done.

Getting the trailer ready for winter is taking everything out that could freeze and store it in the basement.  Then I have to drain all the plumbing and pump some non-toxic antifreeze throughout the whole system.  I need to wash the trailer and get all the bugs off the front and then wax the front in preparation for next years travels.  There isn't any hard freeze forecast in the next 10 days and probably for awhile after that so I don't have to be in any big rush but might as well take advantage of these better days here at the first of November.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

long day

We had to have the trailer in front of the shop door at 7:00 this morning so that meant an earlier than usual breakfast.  After they listed all the items that we felt needed attention we were off on our own for the day.

We started with a visit to Wall-Mart where I picked up a new Sudoku book to help pass the time then we drove into a nearby city park and watched the ducks swim around on the lake.  This city park includes the campground that we are staying in and it was quiet.  Mid morning we drove into town to the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari museum.  Martin & Osa were pioneers in the art of wildlife documentaries filming their trips to the cannibal tribes in the South Pacific and later many safaris in Africa sponsored by the New York museum of Natural History and Eastman Kodak.  Most of their films were before talkies.  Martin Johnson was the photographer and Osa was a crack shot and native tribe negotiator.  Martin was born in Independence, KS and Osa was from Chanute so that is why the museum is here.  There were many African and aborigine artifacts and a very interesting History Channel film that we viewed.

After a nice lunch in town we went back to the park and more Sudoku until abound 3:30 when they called from the shop that our trailer was finished.  There were about 11 items on our list and they had taken care of them all above and beyond the expected results and all covered under the trailer warranty.  We have had great experiences with this company on both the purchase and our service needs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Strong winds

The trip today from Shell Knob to Chanute, Kansas was with clear skies again allowing the sun to brighten up many patches of Mother Nature's tree painting.  We traveled north from Shell Knob to I-44 and then west to Joplin/Carthage and then continued westward into Kansas.  We had very strong winds out of the south all the way.  The last 20 miles into Chanute was straight north and I believe that I could have turned off the engine and the wind would have taken us the rest of the way.

Our campground here is a city park that is just a half mile from the NuWa factory and the first two nights are free.  Should there be a need to stay more than two nights the fee then is only $10 and this includes electricity and water and a dump station that we can use on our way out toward the Martin Manor.

Tomorrow we have an appointment for some maintenance to help preserve our investment and a few warranty items that the factory technicians will take care of.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yea! we finally found some good fall color

Today the three of us drove to Springfield for a visit with Lola and then we took Wilma to her house.  It's been fun having her with us these past few days and I believe that she really enjoyed her visit also.  I've even enjoyed being the referee between the two Ledgerwood sisters. ;-)

Jo and I have been a bit disappointed in the lack of good fall color in the trees so far on this trip. Today's drive was different and we have had many oohs and aahs which has been great.  Since Lola lives in the SE corner of Springfield and Wilma's house is in the NW corner I chose my path across town to visit some known areas where there has been a good color showing in the past.  I drove through Phelps Grove Park and took these two pictures.  The first one is from the parking lot looking toward the pavilion

Then we drove down E. Loren where the whole street was bright with color.  It was a shame that the big maple in front of 606 is gone.  Then we drove by Maple Lawn Cemetery which has always been a great color splash this time of year.  Then we crossed town on Grant Ave. and was surprised to see that the old Holsum Bread bakery is now a brewery, I guess they found a new use for the grain.

On the way back to the campground we took 160/13 south through Nixa.  That sleepy little town now boasts over 12,000 population on the city limit sign, my how it has grown.  Then it was down 13 to Reed Springs and west on 76 through Cape Fair to Shell Knob.  This picture is from an overlook with Shell Knob in the background on the right.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Roaring River SP and Eureka Springs, AR

Today's outing started with a drive to Roaring River State Park.  The drive from our campsite near Shell Knob was a very curvy, slow, and beautiful trip through the Ozark hills.  It was still a bit chilly around the spring but it warmed up for a gorgeous remainder of the morning.

After our visit to the spring we then traveled to Eureka Springs, AR and drove through town a couple of different ways.  This is a quaint little touristy town with streets so narrow that I had to pull the truck's side mirrors in for clearance.  Jo and I have been here a few times (in fact the second night of our honeymoon was in Eureka Springs) so no pictures were taken in town.  After a very nice birthday lunch buffet we stopped by the Thorncrown Chapel to show Wilma this unique glass church in the woods.

All in all it's been a very nice birthday for me. ;-)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Showboat Branson Belle

Yesterday we made reservations for today's lunch tour and show on the Showboat Branson Belle.  Jo and I have been wanting to take this excursion for some time and since Wilma was with us we thought she would have a good time, and she did.  This is a two hour boat ride and dinner/lunch show on Table Rock Lake with the house band keeping the action going during the meal.  After the excellent menu selections had been consumed there was a time to walk around the boat before the main show started.  Today's main attraction was an above average stand-up comedian who was also an outstanding fiddle player.

Friday, October 21, 2011

frosty morning

There definitely must have been frost on the pumpkin this morning however we didn't see any of the orange gourds.  There was plenty of frost on the meadows and roof tops as we drove out this morning.  It was a pleasant drive to Springfield as US Rte-60 has been much improved to a divided four lane all the way.  In Springfield we picked up Wilma, Jo's sister, and then made our way to our campground on Table Rock Lake.

We were in this campground 50+/- years ago with our pickup camper and had our canary "Rex" with us.  We had left Kenneth and Phyllis in Springfield with G'ma & G'pa Ledgerwood for that first night while Jo and I came down to set up a campsite and the Ledgerwoods were planning on coming down the next day for the weekend camp-out with us.  That night as we were enjoying our campfire we heard a rustling in the leaves around our picnic table where Rex was parked in his cage.  It turned out to be a large copperhead snake that I eventually managed to plant a large stone on it's head and we watched our steps the rest of our stay that weekend.

The wish today is for no repeat of that experience and we will just have to see what we can find to spend the next couple of days here with Wilma.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

sunshine but breezy

Clear skies today but cool and a bit windy.  The forecast for tonight is a low near the freezing mark so tomorrow mornings hook-up for the drive toward Table Rock Lake will be heavy jacket time.  This morning we made a trip into Poplar Bluff for some shopping at Wally-World, the RVer's friend.

Our campsite

 The view from our front door.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Southeast Missouri

Today we took a drive up to Marble Hill, MO to visit with John and Louise but since they weren't home we drove on over to the Burfordville covered bridge at Bollinger Mill.  The weather was/is very cool again today but at least it wasn't raining, only a few occasional sprinkles.

After our visit to the mill we drove to the Sam A. Baker State park which would be a very nice place to just relax away from a lot of crowded activities.  We drove through the campgrounds and they would be okay with electric hookups at most sites.  There were no reasons to take pictures here so then we headed back to our trailer with a stop for lunch along the way.  After lunch we stopped at a couple of lake access areas for some pictures of Lake Wappapello, one of the older lakes in the state.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

rained in

Outdoor sporting events have times when they are "rained out" but our day today has been "rained in".  It started during the night and so far today has been a steady drizzle with outdoor temperatures holding between 49 and 50 degrees so were are staying "in".  The low temperature forecast for tonight is in the upper 30s so we will just have to see what tomorrow brings before we make plans for any outings.  We do have a very nice campsite that is fairly isolated from  the rest of the campground but not in as much timber as our site at Mark Twain.  We were able to get satellite television last night with a weak signal but today with the rain clouds overhead that signal is gone.  We did find three over-the-air stations so we do have some television if we want.

We just had a nice bowl of soup for lunch and then have been enjoying some great pictures from Vena.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Today was a travel day as we left the Mark Twain Lake and motored south to Wappapello Lake.  Inside the campground as we were leaving this morning we saw three deer taking their time crossing the campground road.  The forecast for tonight and tomorrow is a good chance of rain but today's drive was very nice.  US rte 67 south of St. Louis to Poplar Bluff is a very good four lane divided highway.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Along the Mighty Mississippi

Today we took a nice drive from Louisiana, MO up to Hannibal along Rte 79 which is designated as part of the Great River Road.  One of the programs in my unit before retirement at MoDOT was the Scenic Byways program and one of the first sections in Missouri that we were able to get designated was this portion of Missouri Rte 79.  It mostly follows the bluffs along the Mississippi River and since becoming designated as a scenic byway there have been several pull out scenic view points developed.  We stopped at several of those view points to take a few pictures of this beautiful area in our State.  There was a street fair of some kind going on in downtown Hannibal but we were able to find a nice lunch without getting involved with that crowd and then headed back to the trailer.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More from the area

This morning we drove to the Union Covered Bridge which is just a few miles west of Paris, MO.  This is one of the four remaining covered bridges in Missouri.  Several years ago, late 1960s, it was totally restored when all of the remaining covered bridges at that time came into the state park system as State Historic Monuments.  In 1988 during a huge flood that threatened to destroy the bridge they pulled some of the siding off to allow the stream to flow through and not push the bridge off of it's supports.  This saved the bridge but now they are waiting for funds to refinish that damage.

After a nice lunch we stopped by the Clarence Cannon Dam visitors center before returning to our campsite.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mark Twain

This afternoon we visited in Monroe City with a very dear friend, Art Buckwalter.  Art and Mary were a part of our square dance friends and we used to travel with them to many dances around the country including a dance in the state of California.  Their daughter, Linda, lives in the New Orleans area and has a birthday on the same day that Jo used to call hers, March 28.  Several years ago Jo and I traveled with Art and Mary to New Orleans and celebrated that day for Jo and Linda.  Mary had a battle with breast cancer that she lost a few years ago.

After our visit with Art we stopped by the Missouri State park and Museum for Mark Twain's birthplace.  Samuel Clemens was born in Florida, MO on Nov. 30, 1835 and the house has been moved and preserved within the museum building along with many items from his life.

nice cool fall morning

It was in the low 50s this morning but with a light jacket I took a little hike through the woods to catch a view of the lake.  The trails were not paved or smooth with signs warning of loose, unstable footing so it wasn't a trip for Jo even with her cane.  I did take my camera along so she was able to see what I saw which is as follows.

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Mark Twain Lake

Thursday, October 13, 2011

here we are in sunny Florida

... Florida, Missouri that is, birthplace of Mark Twain.  We are all set up and find that we are right in the middle of the woods.  It would have been nice to have a view of the lake but over the next few day we can take some walks and see what is near by.  Because we are in the woods there will be no satellite television but we do have several over-the-air stations probably from Hannibal.  We do have a minimum cell phone signal and also a computer data connection, slow but it works.

the last time we camped here in this area was right after we moved from Rolla to where we live now and believe that must have been 1971.  At that time our campsite was right on the banks of the Salt River, before the lake was built, so today it would be under several feet of water.  We were with the Ledgerwoods and our campsite was visited every night by a family of skunks walking right on by (thank goodness) toward the river.  We also had some racoons that visited our trash can.

heading out

Not in a big rush today as our route is only 90 miles long so we will have a bite of lunch and then head for Mark Twain Lake.  Hopefully we will have a cell phone signal and a computer connection, fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

getting ready

... for our "Mo in Oct." outing.  We leave this next Thursday but don't have to get an early start as that first days drive is only around 90 miles up to Mark Twain Lake near Hannibal.  All of our stops in Missouri for this trip will be Corps Of Engineers campgrounds and we have found them in other areas to be quite nice.  We may not do a lot of excursions or explorations from these campsites and may just spend some time loafing in the shade.  I'm sure there will be a few pictures of the lake area views but can't be sure about an internet connection in these more sparsely populated areas.  Hopefully I will be able to connect and post to this blog often.

At the end of this trip around Missouri we will wind up in Chanute, Kansas for a visit to the NuWa factory where we will have our trailer checked over by the factory service folks and a few warranty items taken care of.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


We got the trailer parked in our back yard around 2:00 this afternoon and it is always good to be home.

Brother John ask about maps for this trip so I thought I would do a brief recap of the daily travels to show our routing choices.  For the trip from home to Baltimore we have found a route that we like which is I-64 from St. Louis to Charleston, WV then I-79 up to Morgantown, WV and I-68 to I-70 to Baltimore.
When we make this drive in the car we do it in two days with a stopover around Lexington, KY.  With the trailer we like to make it in three days and have found campgrounds in the western edge of Indiana and just west of Charleston.

The following maps for this trip will start in Baltimore and our first night out was near Newburgh, NY.  The GPS wanted to take us up I-95 which would get too close to NY City so we went north to Harrisburg, PA and avoided a lot of major metropolitan traffic areas.
The second day took us to Saco, ME and the GPS did just fine getting us around Boston.
Day three we crossed into New Brunswick, Canada with our stop near Saint John where we spent a couple of days visiting the area around Saint John and the Bay of Fundy.
After our visit around Saint John, NB we drove to Halifax, Nova Scotia for another couple of days to visit the area.
Then it was on to Cavendish, Prince Edward Island where we drove from tip to tip enjoying the lighthouses, beaches, and countryside.
From PEI we headed toward Montreal, Quebec and it was a three days drive.  The first day we stopped near Fredericton, New Brunswick.
And the second night we stopped in Riviere-Du-Loup, Quebec.  Our drive was right along the edge of Maine but we stayed in Canada all the way.
Then we followed the St. Lawrence Seaway down to the south side of Montreal, QC.
We only had one day on our schedule for this stop and decided to just use it as a day of rest from traveling.  Then we headed south crossing back into the US early the next morning and stopping for a couple of nights near Chenango Bridge, NY.
After a day of visiting the town of Cnenango Bridge we completed this loop of our trip back to the Baltimore area.
Then after getting Phyllis back with her kitty, Jo and I headed back along our route toward the Martin Manor RV park.

Friday, September 30, 2011

back in the central time zone

Today was our next to last day of travel for this trip and gets us back into our favorite time zone, at least the one we are the most accustomed to.  There was some problem in Louisville where our route I-64 crosses the Ohio River and it was closed but they had advanced warning signs to alert us to a detour route (at least it was in the English language) which wasn't any problem except for adding a few miles to today's travel.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

we're on our way

Today's drive has always seemed to be the longest day of our trips to/from Baltimore.  At 370 miles it is a bit longer than we prefer but it works out to be the best combinations of campgrounds that we have found.  The tough grades through western Maryland and West Virginia sure don't help the fuel economy especially the climbs for Sideling Hill, Martins Mountain, and the Eastern Continental divide but the toughest part of the drive is through the town of Cumberland, MD because interstate route I-68 goes right through the center of town with many ramps on and off.  It's very crooked with a posted speed limit of 40 mph max and always seems congested.  The rest of the days drive is beautiful mountain scenery.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

daughter is home

Our trip today was mostly due south across PA and tonight we are just outside of Baltimore and have delivered Phyllis to her house so she can get reacquainted with Rosie, her kitty.  Tammy, our claimed other Maryland daughter, has been taking care of Rosie and Phyllis' house while we were away.  We had dinner at the local Diner then Jo & I came back to the trailer with plans for an early start tomorrow morning on our way back towards the ol' Martin Manor.

Our GWF has sure been with us on this trip and especially today.  The forecast was for a 50-60% chance of showers today and we did get some good rainfall during last night.  The skies cleared this morning for our departure and we did travel through some fog and hit and miss showers most of the morning but then it was clear at lunch time.  This afternoon has been partly cloudy but no rain for our setup here in the campground.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

a bit of family history

For those not familiar with our family this homestead was in the Stone family which was my mother's maiden name.  Her father was born in this house and later traveled westward to settle in Nebraska where he met my grandmother.  I was always told while growing up that if I didn't mind my manors that I could never be taken to New York as if we hillbilly folks were too uncooth for the eastern folks.  So I just got here on my own and perhaps my manors are not too bad as the folks here have let me stick around for a couple of days.

searching for the homestead

We are in a campground near Chenango Bridge, NY so we could drive through town looking for the Stone family homestead and other landmarks.  Here is a plat of the town from years ago which shows the locations that we were searching for.  Item (1) on the East side of Front Street is the homestead location and item (22) at the southeast end of Mountain View is the location of the mill site our ancestor built.

 This is a picture of the homestead from many years ago.

And here are today's pictures with some major additions and renovations.  The porch in the picture above has now been replaced with an addition and the current house shows definite seams where the addition was made.  It started to rain just as I got out of the truck on the first picture which is a bit cloudy as a result so we drove around the block and the rain stopped so we were able to get a couple more.

Then we drove along the River Road to search for the mill site and took this picture at the end of Mountain View.  There is no indication of the mill but the river is in the background behind these houses in that location.

We drove around town a bit to try and find the old depot location as Vena told us that another relative Phena Stone lived in the first house east of the depot.  What we found that might have been the depot location along the RR was now a new post office where Main Street crossed the tracks.

It was good to have this time to search a bit around town.  We have passed through this area several times in our past travels and just took the time on this trip to take a few photos.  Tomorrow we head south again toward Baltimore and to deliver our daughter back to her kitty.

Monday, September 26, 2011


... you don't need a translator to read that headline and yes, we are back in the US.  The border crossing was only about 25 miles south of Montreal so it was early morning when we pulled up to the gate.  They weren't too busy this morning and apparently needed something to do so pulled us over for an inside the trailer inspection with their drug sniffing dog.  It really didn't take very long and we were on our way.  The drive through upper NY State was through the Adirondack mountains and very scenic all the way to Albany and then it was southwest toward Chenango Bridge.  We will head out tomorrow to look for the family "Stone" homestead.  The forecast is for a 50% chance of rain so we will see how the day goes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

bon après-midi

Or as we say in Missouri, "good afternoon."

We are now in Montreal and will have tomorrow to rest up for the trip back to Chenango Bridge, NY on Monday.  There are many items of interest in this major metropolitan area but we have been driving for a few days and believe that we will just rest up for the trip home with perhaps a lunch/dinner out.  We have found that in this Montreal area folks speak more English without a strong French accent except at the grocery store where we ask for help to find things.

On the drive today I was thinking about how the States of MO, IA, & MN have upgraded a route between St. Louis, MO and St. Paul, MN to a freeway status and then named it the "Avenue of the Saints" because of the names of the cities at each end.  I believe that today's route has to be the true (avenue of the saints) because 99% of the towns on the Sortie (exit) signs along the whole distance were to a town called Saint this, Saint that, and Saint something or other.  I never knew there were this many saints.


Yesterday around noon we crossed into Quebec and entered a whole new country.  French is the official language in this Province and all road signs have that language only.  In other Provinces of Canada they usually post both French and English on all signs.  Fortunately the speed limits are in numbers so there is no translation needed there.

The drive again was simply beautiful with more and more tree color, reds & yellows, splashed here and there.

When we got set up in this campground in Riviere-Du-Loupe on the banks of the St Laurence River their Wifi wasn't fast enough to allow a connection but this morning it seems to be doing okay.

Our scheduled campground was a few kilometers back along our route but when we drove into the driveway toward the office there was a chain across the drive and a sign on the office door said Ferme which we assume meant closed.  There were many trailers set up in the campground with other vacant spots for us, we thought.  We called their telephone number but got their voice mail.  It was just shortly after lunch time so we thought they would be back soon.  After waiting over an hour and a half we decided to turn around and find another campground, which we did.  Today we head south toward Montreal and then Monday cross back out of french speaking territory into the good ole USofA.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

back in New Brunswick

We thoroughly enjoyed our time on Prince Edward Island but this morning we crossed back over the Confederation bridge and began our travels toward Quebec.  PEI is the Idaho of Canada as one of their major agricultural products is potatoes, with many storage quonset type barns and even a potato museum.  One thing that we have noticed are the crows.  They are very large, plentiful (they're everywhere), and very noisy.  The Island of PEI likes to have everyone come to visit as both the ferry and the bridge are free to enter the island and then they charge a toll if you choose to leave.  Our toll this morning to cross the bridge was $57+ dollars and cars were $45.

We really haven't seen much fall tree color yet on this trip but today there were several splashes of beautiful reds and oranges especially near waterways.  Most of the trees in this part of the continent are evergreen but I imagine these reds were maples.

Tonight we are in Fredericton, NB in a bit unusual campground but it will do well for our one night stay.  Tomorrow we cross back into EDT and gain back one hour.  After we got set up and ready for the night I told JoAnn that I would go fill up the fuel tank and be ready for tomorrows drive.  Phyllis decided to come along so I turned Ms Navi on and ask her to take us to the "nearest" fuel station and she found one of the brands that we have been using here in Canada within just a few kms.  We drove out of the campground and followed her "purple line" to soon find that her nearest measurement was as the crow flies and not by highway which soon turned into 15-20 kms and past at least one other service station.  We decided to continue to the first location that was in Ms Navi's program because it was a brand that we knew and we weren't in any hurry.  Along the way we stopped at a grocery store to pick up a couple of items and then on to the the fuel station only to find that they didn't have diesel.  The reason it was close to the campground was that it was straight across a river from where the trailer is parked but we had to travel kms down the road to get across a bridge and then back.  ;-)  We stopped at a station on the way back to the trailer so now we are good to go for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

PEI day two

Today we toured the west side of the island from our campground along the center northern coast.  We visited the West Point lighthouse and the North Cape lighthouse and got a look at the countryside along the way.  After our visit to the North Cape lighthouse we received a Tip-to-Tip certificate for having traveled the length of Prince Edward Island in our travels.  Along the way we stopped at the Bottle Houses which were several buildings constructed by using many various glass bottles held together by cement mortar.  These structures were created by Edouard Arsenault beginning in 1980 with thousands of bottles of all kinds gathered from local sources before recycling became popular.

We passed by the Cafe that advertised "sea weed pie" and opted for a good local sea food eaterie for lunch.

Tomorrow we hitch back up and head back into New Brunswick on our way toward Montreal.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Prince Edward Island

Today we had a nice drive along the coastline from our campground which is about in the center of the north coast to the furthest east point and back.  It was a great day weather wise with just being a bit breezy and cool but no rain.  There are pictures of a few lighthouses and some of the red sandstone cliffs and beaches along the way. After the drive we took in a great seafood restaurant for some of the local fresh catch-of-the-day.  I had some of the best oysters on the half shell that I've ever had, YUM.

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PEI day 1

Monday, September 19, 2011

a short travel day

This morning we left New Scotland (Nova Scotia), passed through New Brunswick, and crossed the 8 mile long Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.  It was a beautiful drive as has been all of our travels through this area of North America.  So far what we have seen is that the Island is more agricultural use while New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were more timber covered.  We are in the land of "Anne of Green Gables" so most of the tourist areas have that theme and also there are many light houses along the coast so stay tuned.

On edit, I should report the results of yesterdays card games.  We played two games of "hand and foot" with the Maryland Marvel and myself taking a beating from the Missouri Mama in both games.  It was still nice to have a relaxing day at the trailer.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Halifax area

This morning we drove into downtown Halifax to the harbor.  We had plans to take a sail boat tour of the harbor area but found that the excursion was sold out so we just took a picture of the ship.  After taking a few pictures of the ships in the harbor we did some gift shop looking and then had lunch at a restaurant on the pier.

After lunch we drove to Peggy's Cove to see the light house that is there and the scenery of the coast along the way and back.

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Halifax & Peggy's Cove

The weather today was just simply gorgeous with temps in the 60s and no fog. A jacket was necessary but not an umbrella. Tomorrow is a planned day of loafing with perhaps a card game or two and there is no way that I will let the Maryland Marvel come out on top of that venture.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nova Scotia

We entered Nova Scotia a little before noon today and now are settled in our campground for the next three days.  There are many items of interest in and around Halifax so I'm sure we can find something to occupy our time and have something to report.

Bay of Fundy

Yesterday morning was very dense fog but we took out with the hope of that lifting.  We went to St. Martin, NB to drive the Bay of Fundy Trail which is a beautiful parkway along the bluffs of the Bay.  I have corrected my comment from yesterday to show the correct tide change of 57 feet, not the 20 that I had guessed.  In St. Martin we had a nice lunch of seafood chowder and seafood casserole, double yum.  After lunch the fog lifted and it was a very nice drive through this park with great vistas to the sea.

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 After our drive we went back to the reversing falls area in Saint John and this time it was low tide so the river flow from left to right was very evident as this picture shows.

This morning we pack up and head to Halifax, Nova Scotia and see what we can find to get into there.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

reversing falls

Here in Saint John on the Bay of Fundy they claim the world's highest tide level changes (57 feet) with the flow on the Saint John River reversing twice a day with the tides.  At this one point under a bridge there are some rapids during low tide and normal river flow but that flow gets reversed at high tide.  We arrived at the viewing point right at what they call low slack tide which is the point where the rising tide has just equaled the river flow and the waters are calm.  We watched and took this sequence of pictures over the next 30-40 minutes as the tide rose drastically.

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reversing falls

We found some lunch in a very nice brew pub and then spent some time in the New Brunswick Museum with many displays of the former major ship building era, before steel and engines, no pictures allowed. ;-(.  With the vast supply of logs in the area that industry flourished.

Last evening the fog rolled in quite heavy and it's still hanging around this morning we'll just have to see how soon it rises before we get out and about again.  Checking the forecast this is probably going to be the norm while we are in these Atlantic Provinces.

Because of roaming in Canada the data rates are too much $s to use my Verizon system for our computers so we have to rely on the campground wifi.  During the day and especially late afternoon that system bogs down to a major frustration level (worse than dial up) so that is why I'm uploading the pictures and posting this now first thing this morning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

We arrived here around 3:00 Atlantic Daylight Time after a very nice scenic drive through both eastern Maine and southwestern New Brunswick.  Lots of trees and mountainous vistas with a bunch of fog this morning and then again after lunch which is hanging around here after supper time. We are very near the Bay of Fundy so we occasionally hear a fog horn from the bay.  We also hear train horns so this campground is legal. We will be here for the next three nights so will have the next couple of days to find something in this area to tour and enjoy, stay tuned.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Today's route had the heaviest traffic so far and perhaps for the whole trip.  While we didn't get into the major metropolitan areas of New York and Boston we did skirt around the edges enough to experience some fairly heavy traffic volumes.  There were no problems except for a few dumb small car drivers that don't seem to understand that this mass that we pull around doesn't allow for sudden stops.  Rest areas are also few and far between through this area but we were able to find one for our morning stretch/restroom break and then again at lunch time.  Tomorrow we travel northeastward through the rest of Maine and then cross the border into New Brunswick, Canada.  From here on until we cross back into the USA is new territory for us so we are looking forward to the main reasons for this trip.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Northward bound

Got away this morning around 8 am and it was a pleasant drive through Pennsylvania into NY.  We did see some signs of wind damage from Irene and some flooding (both Irene and Lee) along the way but our drive was not affected.  Tomorrow we continue the trek northerly into Maine.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Here are the pictures from our crab feast.
just digging in
 Tammy with Tori, her youngest daughter, and her dad (don't know the guy in red)
and back to us still digging in
Missing from the pictures were Phyllis, the photographer, and Megan, Tammy's eldest daughter who was sitting at the end of the table.  That pile of crabs in the center of the table almost disappeared before we quit.

Today we plan to help Phyllis get ready for our trip as she has been working hard at the office so she could get away.  We have a few items to pick up at the grocery store and then tomorrow we head north and east.

Friday, September 09, 2011

definitely a keeper

One of the toughest pulls on this route is Martin Mountain, just east of Cumberland, MD and we didn't even need to pull over to the climbing lane.  Yep, the power is there so I think we will keep this truck for a while.

We had off and on rain showers all day, sometimes just for a few swipes of the wiper blades.  Our GWF did stay with me as when we stopped for our stretch, lunch, and fuel breaks as well as when we arrived at the campground for our set-up the rain stopped.  Our two daughters have plans for dinner for us this evening.  Phyllis' best friend Tammy (she went on or Greek Islands cruise with us) is claimed as our second daughter.  Her oldest daughter works in a seafood restaurant and we are headed there for a Maryland Crab feast.

Just now returned from our feast and it was outstanding once we learned how to manage the extraction of the goodies.  Phyllis took some pictures with her cell phone and tomorrow when I have those from her I will post the evidence.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

the Bluegrass State

Most of today's route was across this Bluegrass State with horse farms, tabacky fields (some were being harvested), and nice scenery.  We saw a wild turkey about a couple of hours after we passed the Wild Turkey distillery.  There was a big traffic jam in Louisville due to an accident but we still made it to our campground by around 3 pm.  We truly enjoy this route over I-70 with less traffic (it seems) and much better scenery.  The I-70 route is about 50 miles shorter but with the traffic I don't believe it is any quicker.

Still enjoying the new truck and tomorrow's route through the West Virginia and western Maryland mountains will really tell us how the power level has really improved.  These climbs back in '99 were the reason we traded the gasser in for our first diesel.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

On the road again

We could hear Willy singing as we left home this morning.  It's good being out again after our few weeks at home.  We love our home but we also love our travels.  This was the first day of pulling with the new truck and we couldn't be more pleased with the way it is working.  It's much quieter with more power and seems to ride smoother than any of our older trucks.  Jo was happy to find that her seat was power adjustable and she was able to raise it up to help her see out.  The first fill up after towing for 300 miles was a 10.9 mpg which is very good and should improve with time.

This evening we are in Lynnville, IN in a city park that we found a few years ago.  It's a very nice and well kept park and at $15 is a very good bargain.  Tomorrow we head to Milton, WV.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

the other half is done

Took advantage of the cooler cloud covered morning to finish the wash job on the trailer.  At least to start out we will have a clean and shiny RV.  We will let the Labor Day travelers have their big weekend and get back home out of our way before we take off on Wednesday.

Friday, September 02, 2011

half clean

This morning before the heat rolled in I got out and washed half of the trailer.  The way it sits in our back yard the street side and back end are in morning shade so that is what I washed down today.  If it had cooled down in late afternoon I would have finished the rest but with heat index numbers at the 100 mark I decided to wait a couple of days for better temperatures.  I will get the rest washed plus the front end cap waxed (for bug protection) before we take off next Wednesday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Almost ready to tow

Earlier this week we had a 50 gallon fuel tank installed in our new truck and just a bit ago had a call to tell me that the hitch install is done.  Now it is waiting for the 7 pin power connection to be installed inside the bed.  There is a plug below the rear bumper but it is more convenient to have a connection inside the bed where the cord from the trailer only lays down in the bed without draping over the tailgate.

The truck came with only a 26 gallon fuel tank which at 10 +/- mpg it would have been necessary to find a station twice in each days drive.  The 50 gallon tank just replaces the original tank and now we will be able to drive to our campground each day, unhook, and then find a station without the trailer in tow which is much easier to maneuver in busy fuel station lots.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Here are a couple for show-and-tell with the truck in position.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

It's in the carport

Yesterday we made the trade for a new truck.  I need to get a picture or two but it is white, like our other one, and this one is a full four door crew cab so it will be much more comfort for anyone traveling with us.  It is also 4X4 so it sits a bit higher off the ground.  It has lots of bells and whistles to get used to and we will need a new fifth wheel hitch.  I have the hitch on order and will get it installed before we head out in September.  Maybe I can get a couple of pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Home again

Made it to the Martin Manor RV park a little past 2:00 and "safely" backed into our site, those spots painted in the driveway sure make a big difference.  At least it's a whole lot cooler here than it was in Kansas, right now it's only 98° which is a whopping 15 degrees cooler than yesterday afternoon.  The thermostat in our house was programmed to be warmer in the house than we usually have it during our absence but then cool down yesterday back to our normal settings.  It was nice to come in to a cool house and a yard that had been recently mowed.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Warm welcome in Kansas

A very, very warm welcome back to the Midwest.  Actually it is down right HOT! at 113° when we were getting set up this afternoon.  Fortunately it only takes 10-15 minutes to get all hooked up and the power cord was the first thing connected so the AC units could get started.  Tomorrow we head toward the Martin Manor and then we have a few weeks to get ready for our next outing, pulling with our new truck.

Monday, August 01, 2011

out of coolness

We have greatly enjoyed these past couple of week in the nice comfortable temperatures using our heat pump most evenings.  Today we traveled eastward a bit over 300 miles to Ogalalla, NE and dropped 3/4 miles in elevation to a current temperature of 99.5°.  Tomorrow we are heading to Salina, KS where the forecast high is 108° so it is a good thing we have a trailer full of cool Idaho air to take along with us.  It's also a good thing that we have two air conditioners in this trailer so should be able to manage.  The rest of the week at the ol' Martin Manor is forecast to be in the upper 90s with a slight chance of showers.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

homeward bound

After our very nice visit with Curt and Renee we are now headed eastward toward "ye old" Martin Manor RV park and are scheduled to arrive there on Wednesday.  Tonight we are in Rawlins, WY which is right on the continental divide at 7,000' elevation.  We were a little bit disappointed most of the way across Wyoming because we didn't see any antelope and there usually are many out along the side of the road in this State.  We were about 20 miles from Rawlins when we saw the first four and I think Jo counted 15 by the time we arrived at our campground.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

very nice visit

This morning after a nice breakfast with Curt and Renee she took off on her bicycle for Pocatello, almost 20 miles.  We headed that way in the car a bit later and caught up with her at the farmers market in town.  She bought some fresh veggies for dinner this evening and then we took a scenic drive back to the house.  I took these pictures this morning and plan to edit this post with more pictures later this afternoon.

Okay it's getting close to bedtime so I have added a few shots to the album below.

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Curt & Renee

I also want to add this next album of Curt and Fred on the deck before dinner.  It was loads of fun to play a few tunes with Curt and his banjo and a few with his guitar.  We definitely need to practice to get into duo performance shape,still it was great fun.

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pick'n & grin'n

nice visit

We arrived at Curt & Renee's place around 4:00 yesterday afternoon and backed into their driveway, it took 3-4 tries but eventually had success.  We got hooked up to water and electric and then enjoyed a very nice visit and dinner.  We even got out the instruments and did a bit of pick'n but I'm sure there will be more of that today and promise to get a photo or two of the dynamic duo.

Their address is Inkom, ID but Curt said that their property deed indicated that this area was originally called Onyx, ID and he has the rights to the official telegraph station.  That is why I called this stop the Onyx, Idaho Telegraph Station in my campground listing on the website.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Elkhorn Scenic loop drive

Today we decided to follow this scenic drive and glad that we did.  It was a 106 mile drive around and through the Elkhorn Mountain range starting and ending right here in Baker City, OR.  Most of the drive was on Forest roads but all were paved and all were just beautiful.  The weather was the absolute best with a clear blue cloudless sky and temperatures holding in the 68-70 degree range.  We kept our eyes on the lookout for some elk, especially in the high meadow areas, but none were to be found.  Since we didn't see any elk we stopped in Sumpter, OR at the Elkhorn Saloon for lunch and had an elk burger, yum.
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Elkhorn Scenic loop

As we passed back through Baker City we saw these trees in the landscaping for a bank parking lot.  The leaves are maple but the bright, light yellow was what caught our eyes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back on Track

This morning I turned in the rental car and waited at the dealership service lounge for the completion of our repair.  I paid my share a little after 10:30 and we were on the road before noon.  YEA! ;-)

We took a shortcut from Moses Lake, WA to Baker City, OR so we now are back on the original track and only one day behind schedule.  We had originally planned to be here three nights but we will make due with two nights and one day to explore Baker City. We were here in September of '04 on our Oregon Trail venture and visited the trail information center so we will see what we can find to get into tomorrow.  Friday we are off again as we have reservations at Onyx, Idaho telegraph station for Friday and Saturday nights.

Boy am I glad that I purchased the extended warranty for this truck.  The engine and drive train were originally warranted for 5 years or 100,000 miles and even though we are below the mileage limit our 5 years was up last January.  Because of the known problems with this engine I bought a 36 month extended warranty last December and it sure paid off.  My share this morning was a bit over two hundred while the total cost was a number that began with a 6 and there were three other numbers between that 6 and the decimal point. WOW! They also will cover the rental car for $30/day which will be 3/4 of that cost.  I will continue to have doubts about this engine, even though it;s almost all new, until we get back to Martin Manor and look forward to beginning our next ventures with our new truck and a new 5 year warranty.

It was good to be rolling again!

Wake-up call

... as if we needed any this morning.  We are anxious to get back on the move and just have to wait for business to open this morning to settle-up for our truck repair.  But, I have written in a previous post about the major agriculture industry in this Grand Coulee basin and this morning at 4:30 am they began crop dusting a near-by field by aircraft.  Talk about a wake-up call, with a repeat jolt on every lap across our campground as they made their turn around.  It kinda took the place of the railroad tracks that are not anywhere near this campground.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Just finished talking with our service shop and our truck is almost ready to go. ;-)  They are flushing out the engine coolant system because the problem caused diesel to get mixed in with the coolant.  They say that I should be able to pick it up in the morning which will allow us to get away about noon and it will be good to get "on the road again."  The past couple of days of just twiddling our thumbs has not been much fun.  This campground is super nice and the weather has been the best but it's just not what we had planned for this outing.  We will have to shorten our stay in Baker City, OR by one day and then we will be back on our schedule.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Our call this afternoon from the service department working on our truck wasn't the good news that we were wishing for. ;-(  Dave told me that one of the major parts needed, when arrived, was not the correct replacement so this adds at least another day to our stay in Moses Lake, WA.  This still allows us to get back on schedule with only one day in Baker City, OR instead of the planned two and then it's on to a visit with Curt and Renee.

I have been busy today in discussion with our local (at home) Ford dealer and have actually made a purchase of a new 2011 truck for our future travel adventures.  The engine in our current truck is known to have major problems which is why I purchased the extended warranty but even with this current repair I would always be concerned about it's ability to get us to our many destinations and back, especially into the Maritime Provinces of Canada with Phyllis in September.  We know our salesman that has worked with us on several  of our last vehicle purchases and after my research on the internet we have an agreed difference.  We will make the actual trade as soon as we return home next week.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

a day of rest

We didn't get too far from the trailer today with only a short trip to Wally World to support the local economy a little bit.  We are hoping to get some good news tomorrow from the Ford service that we will soon be back on the road.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

a bit of exploring

We took off this morning on a drive around this area of Washington west from our campground.  A few miles down I-90 and we came to the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park which is located on the banks of the Columbia River.  Jo and I had stopped there once before but while in the area it was worth another look around the information center.  They have many specimens scattered around the visitors center and some petroglyphs that were relocated to this site when the river was dammed years ago creating a lake that would have covered them.

After our stop there we continued west to Ellensburg, WA for fuel and lunch.  On our way we topped over a crest to a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier and off to the north was a good sighting of Mt. Stuart.

This area around Moses Lake, WA is high plains desert country and was not productive until the building of Grand Coulee Dam and the main function of that dam was for irrigation with electricity and flood control being secondary.  The irrigation made possible by that construction has made this a highly productive area and this county brags of raising more potatoes than any other county in the USA.  Washington State also brags of raising more potatoes than Idaho.  With apples being the number one crop in the state, grapes for wine is number 2.

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Ginkgo Petrified Forest

Friday, July 22, 2011

extended stay

The progress report from the Ford dealership yesterday afternoon indicated that it will probably be next Tuesday before our truck will be ready to go.  This morning I went to the campground office and paid up for a few more days here in Moses Lake.  This is a super nice campground with nice grass areas between sites that has a watering schedule.  We were given that schedule on check in and our site gets "rain" from 7:00 am to 7:30 am twice a week.  This would not be a good time to sit out under our awning.  This morning after the sprinklers were turned off I went out and dumped our holding tanks and washed the back window of our trailer that had accumulated some road grime.

Then I got out the Martin and did a little practice pick'n before trying to keep up with Curtis.  Jo is trying to learn about her convection oven and has a cake going now for a first time use.  It's just nice to have our own comfortable home to use while having to wait on the truck repair.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grand Coulee

Since we have been given a bunch of lemons we have made lemonade today and took a drive up to the Grand Coulee Dam and enjoyed the history and geology lesson.  We also learned the difference between a Coulee and a Canyon.  The Grand Canyon was formed by the forces of the Colorado River.  This Grand Coulee was not river erosion but instead was formed by the forces of the floods of the ice ages thousands of years ago.
It was a nice drive up to the dam and then we took the tour of one powerhouse and got a few pictures from inside the generator house and from the top of the dam that can't be taken without the tour, security is strong around this major facility.  We had a nice lunch just before our tour and then on the drive back we took a few pictures to show the scenic beauty of this Grand Coulee basin.

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Grand Coulee

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We had a not-so-good phone call this morning from our Ford dealer's service shop.  After getting started early this morning it was soon discovered that our problems were larger than first thought.  The problem seems to be a cracked head or heads and they won't know until totally removed to check.  It looks like we are here for a few more days than we first thought.  Our warranty service has agreed to cover the cost but they want their own independent inspection once the heads are removed which will delay the time of completion, bummer.

Just for grins and since I have lots of time to spend (more than money) I sat down with one of their sales staff and discussed a "what if" we were to trade for a new truck so we could be on our way.  This dealership only had one truck that would serve our purpose but it wasn't totally equipped the way we would need.  They then went to work searching for one in the area that would fit our needs and that they could do a dealer trade.  The frustration for me was that the sales person I was talking with had to run to someone in the corner office whenever I ask a question.  He would come back with that answer only to have to take off again when there was another question, he obviously didn't know much about trucks.  It is a small dealership and I guess the floor staff is just there for taking time with paperwork.  They only found two trucks within the vicinity that were anywhere close to our needs and they both had extra options that we really don't need.  There are many logistic items with such a trade that really made it questionable/difficult but worth a try I thought.


Eureka, we have found it!  We really feel for our family and friends back in Missouri who are still suffering with what we left, but this morning we had the heat on and it really felt good.  If we have to be stranded, which we are, it is nice to be comfortably situated in a very nice campground with these very pleasant temperatures.

After yesterday's excitement we are going to just take it easy today and will probably find something around this area to explore tomorrow.  I think we were fortunate that our problem with the truck happened early in the week and can only hope that we don't get hung out over the weekend.

Reading a little bit about our location we find that he town of Moses Lake is the same age as JoAnn.  Before that it had a different name but in 1938 the name was changed to reflect the name of the lake where it is located.  The lake was named for Chief Moses of the Sinkiuse tribe that negotiated with the white settlers in the late 1800s to begin settlement in this area.  The lake at that time was a small salt lake but now after the dam was built in the early 1900s it is a fresh water recreation area.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What a day

It started out great but ended up with a HUGE bump in the road.  This may be a long story so get some popcorn and settle in for a little tale of our day.

We left Missoula and followed, or I should say, crisscrossed the beautiful Clark Fork River valley out of Montana.  The big thrill of the day was just before we entered ID a huge brown bear crossed the road right in front of us.  There was a concrete median barrier between us and the eastbound lane and just about 30 yards in front of us this bear jumped over that median and crossed to our right and up the hill faster than we could say "there's a bear".  It was large and shaggy having shed most of it's winter coat.  What a chance sighting but no opportunity for pictures.

Our planned goal for tonight was to be Ellensburg, WA but shortly before lunch time our truck beeped to say that the engine was overheating.  I pulled over to the shoulder and in just a few minutes the temperature gauge cooled down and we continued slowly and pulled off at the next exit to a safe location and called our road service for assistance.  We were in Ritzvlle, WA and a couple of hours later the tow company arrived to haul the truck to the nearest Ford Dealer's service and pull our trailer to a campground in the same town of Moses Lake, WA.  There is bad news and good news.  First, the bad news is that after checking out the problem it is going to take a few days for the repair which will alter the remainder of our trip.  We have canceled our stay and visit to the Olympic National Park and will keep it on our bucket list for someday.  The good news is that our extended warranty contract has agreed to the repair except for our deductible and include the rental car so we can tour this area while we wait for repairs.  I planned on calling Enterprise but there wasn't an office any where near this location so I have a local rental and we will just tour this area and wait for our truck to be repaired.

ps:  We finally found the cool for the trip as the high today was in the 70s with tonight's low forecast to be in the upper 50s..

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big Sky Country

... and Montana is one big State.  Today we drove for seven hours and still have 101 miles to go to get across into Idaho.  It was a beautiful scenic drive along I-90 with most of the morning following the Yellowstone River valley.  I don't know where the oil spill is but because of the continued snow melt from the winters record snow pack the rivers are all running full.  A little later we crossed the Gallatin, the Madison, and the Jefferson Rivers shortly before they join together and form the beginning of the Missouri River near Three Forks, MT.  The climb to the pass just east of Butte was the toughest pull yet with the trailer.  Before we reached the summit we were down to 39 mph and still passing the big rigs.

This was the longest days drive for this trip and tomorrow isn't but about 30 miles shorter and then we are back to our usual short driving days.  Because the West is so expansive and in order to get where we are going and to get back home in a reasonable time frame we have to have a few long days.  Jo got me up early this morning so we are set up at our destination by 2:00 pm and we have the rest of the day to relax.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Big Horn County Historical Museum

This morning we visited this museum with several buildings on display from the past.  It was a self guided walking tour of all the displays with good boardwalks and limited steps/stairs.  We have visited this type of museum in other locations and always enjoy the displays from our history.  We went early this morning before the temperature rise to the predicted high of 102°.  Tomorrow we pack up and head westward again toward our goal for this trip of the Olympic National Park and should be there by Wednesday.

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Big Horn County Historical Museum