Friday, October 26, 2012

Back at the ol' Martin Manor RV park

Got home today around 2:00 and now its time to put the trailer in winter mode and start planning for our 2013 outings.  At this time we only have a couple of trip ideas and those will get Jo her last State Logo t-shirts to complete her collection of 50.  After she completed her collection of 50 coffee mugs she started the t-shirt collection and only needs 5 or 6 more.  Then she is planning to make a quilt out of them.

The weather today has been chilly starting out in the mid 30s and with cloud cover most of the morning it was slow to rise to mid 40s by lunch time.  From Chanute it is only around 25 miles to Route 54 and then we stay on 54 until the Center Street exit in Holts Summit, hard to get lost.  We did stop in Camdenton for a bite of lunch.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

serviced and ready to take it home

We were finished at the service department around 1:00 this afternoon.  The work was completed long before that but they did some sealing on the roof and the material needed to cure out before we could take it outside the shop especially since it was raining this morning.

Today has been one of those late fall type days that start our warm and the temperature drops all day.  It was a little above 70° this morning and mid 40s right now with a forecast of low 30s tonight.  The park folks just knocked on our door to say that they were turning off the water because of the freeze possibility.  That will not be a problem for us as we can use our on-board tank for tonight and then drain all pipes when we get home.  This city campground is a great asset to the HitchHiker factory and service department and most campers are here because of that connection.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

back to the factory

We had a nice drive today back to Chanute.  I made Ms Navi work hard as I took some routes that she didn't pick and caused her to try and "save me" and then didn't listen to her.  We did enjoy the drive through the Konsa tall grass prairie and flint hills area of Kansas.  The wind was strong from the south and we didn't get very good fuel economy but it was more scenic than the shortest route.

Tomorrow we take the trailer to the shop for some maintenance items and then will return to this campground and then head for the old Martin Manor on Friday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

a nice birthday

Okay, I'll admit that its been 3/4 century and we're still having fun.

Jo took me into Manhattan for a nice lunch today and then we drove around the lake to see the area.

Our lunch was downtown right by the K-State campus and all the store windows were being painted for what must be homecoming next weekend with lots of purple and white and kids that looked to be to young to be collegians.  The restaurant was the So Long Saloon and we both opted for the bison burgers which were great.

This first picture is our trailer from across the lake and the second one is the boat launching area in our campground.  These tree trunks were here when the lake first filled and I'm sure that some fishing would be good around those trunks.  We have seen a sailboat on the lake a couple of days and it is anchored in this second picture but It isn't easy to find.

Monday, October 22, 2012

nice and relaxing

These past couple of days have been nice.  Even though we are not alone in this campground it has been quiet.  I was a bit concerned that we were this close to Fort Riley and might have some helicopter flyovers but not so far.  Yesterday afternoon we drove into Manhattan for a few things at the grocery store plus a nice dinner.  This afternoon I did get out and wash off the road dust on the back of our trailer.  The mandolin has had some exercise both days plus this afternoon I tuned up my Yamaha guitar and got back in the feeling for my first instrument.  The Martin stays at home but the Yamaha is a very nice instrument also and stays in the trailer.

It was a bit foggy this morning and has been mostly cloudy all day.  Current temperature is at 66° so very comfortable with a forecast that includes a 20% chance of showers.  We have used heat every evening for this whole trip.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

purple cat territory

Here we are just outside of Manhattan, Kansas which is home to the K-State Wildcats.  I'll have to keep my Miz-Zou flag in hiding even though we are no longer in their conference.  The good news is that we are back in civilization with an excellent internet connection and nothing between our dish and the satellites but blue skies.  It was a short drive today of only 175 miles so we were setup and rested before lunch.

The drive today was very interesting.  Ms Navi plotted our course for the quickest route and it started out with a long stretch (13 miles) of gravel county roads which were interesting.  Our trailer is covered in dust and the inside had a good dusting also.  A real question point came when at one time our gravel road had a low water crossing which had us doing a 90 degree turn in the creek bed and then up the far bank back to the rest of the road.  The bottom of the creek was solid rock that wasn't smooth but it was solid.  I think I'll get out the hose and wash off the back of our trailer sometime these next few days.

Here are a few pictures taken at our current site this afternoon.  The first one is from our back living room window and number two is of the dam the other direction.

Friday, October 19, 2012


For the past 13 years we have been RVing which is my definition of using our RV for a mobile motel room in our travels to enjoy this great country.  In the past when we camped with the kids we always had a campfire which was mostly used to dry wet shoes and to cook hotdogs and smores.  Today I went out and collected some twigs and firewood so we could have a campfire to enjoy.  It was nice to just sit and watch the flames dance in the fire ring and try to stay away from the downwind smoke.  Yesterday the wind  was too strong but today it subsided and it was cool enough to enjoy the heat from the fire.

Tomorrow we head north to the Tuttle Creek Lake for a few days of visiting that area of KS.  It;s just too bad that is K-State country and I'll just have to stay quiet and not wave a MU tiger flag, especially since we no longer are in the same conference.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AAAH from the land of OZ

A bright, cool, and windy day at Fall River Lake, Whitehall Bay COE campground.  We definitely were by ourselves last night and probably will be until possibly this weekend.  There are whitecaps on the lake with the WNW wind and the temps are supposed to only reach upper 60s this afternoon, NICE.

I have used for our photo album sharing for some time.  Because we have a ton of pictures from our travels I have been a premium member to get enough storage space.  They have decided to change their site and not for the better for our use.  I will have to download all 220+ albums and thousands of photos so I can save them and find a new posting site for the future ability to share with all.  That is why Tuesday's pictures are posted on Picasa and that may be where all new albums are posted.  Our current wifi connection isn't good enough for such large file transfers so I will wait until we get home to download all of these files.

From the land of OZ

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We thought that we had this whole campground by ourselves last night but saw another motor home at a distant corner this morning.  They left mid morning so we are now all by ourselves in this COE campground with over 40 camp sites.  We are around 10 miles from the nearest major highway on gravel county roads and there isn't any RR tracks or truck traffic noises, only squirrels and hoot owls with fish jumping in the lake only a stones throw from our site.  This will be a nice restful few days.  I was able to find an opening through the trees for our satellite TV connection.

There were a few groceries items that we needed before too many days into this trip so we drove to Eureka, KS which is about 25 miles and the nearest grocery store.  It was a very nice market with good selections and we picked up more than was on our list.

I took these pictures on this morning's walk around.  My internet connection comes and goes and when it is on it is slow so I will wait for a better connection to upload any large bunch of pictures.

This first picture is right out our front door.

PS I have added a few pictures to yesterday's post.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kansas fun

Today we headed to our brief Kansas vacation on two lake campgrounds before our appointment at the factory for some annual maintenance service and then its park the trailer in our backyard for the winter.  Today was quite windy from the south but no problems in our trip except for a low fuel mileage due to pushing the wind.  In our campsite we have a very nice view out our front window of this lake and at this time we are the only campers in this campground so it should be quiet for our stay.  There are many trees around but I was able to fine a window to the satellites and we do have TV plus a good cellphone signal and wifi connection so all is good.

My on-line photo service is changing and I need to learn what capabilities I still have before posting today's pictures from the co-pilot seat.  The color was nice until we got past the Lake of the Ozarks area so that is where most of Jo's pictures are from.  I will add them when I learn how to manage the new photo connection.

Here are a few from Jo's windshield shots.

Here is a link to the full set of windshield shots


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Back in an old familiar campground

Back at the 0ld Martin Manor, as our neighbor says "our second home."  We backed in around 2:00 this afternoon and here it is 3:00 and I can hear the washing machine running.  The bad news this morning was that there wasn't any fog to block the rising sun.  Thankfully I-70 from Salina heads northeasterly which put the sun not directly in front of our noses so I could block the sun with the visor and still see the road.

These next two weeks are going to be busy.  Beside all the laundry we also need to wash the trailer and truck plus get the truck serviced for it's 20,000 mile service and it's only 13 months old.  Wilma is having eye surgery next Thursday so we will go down on Wednesday to visit Lola and stay over to help Wilma.  We also have doctors appointments on this next Friday and then next Monday.

Our next trip was scheduled to start on Oct. 12 but that is going to change.  The first campground called to say that they will not have water in the CG so we will alter our plans somewhat and see what we can salvage of that set of plans.

Here is what Jo found exciting to photograph today calling this album "the mountains of Kansas."

Friday, September 28, 2012

flat lands

Today there is good news and bad news.  The biggest problem with traveling eastward when we like to leave early in the morning and get off the road early afternoon is having the rising sun directly in our eyes.

The bad news is that most of this morning across the remainder of Colorado we had a lot of fog banks to drive through.  One long stretch of probably 30 miles was so dense that we were driving very slow with the emergency blinkers on for visibility for other drivers.  Most of the fog areas were light enough to drive at our normal speed.  We just couldn't see much of the surrounding area.  Having been through this route before we know that we didn't miss any great scenic views.

The good news is that most of this morning across the remainder of Colorado we had a lot of fog banks to drive through.  This blocked the rising sun and when we got out of the fog areas it was high enough above the horizon that our sun visors worked for our comfort.

Jo was trying to get some more windshield pictures but as you all know this route isn't photogenic.  She did get some nice cloud shots and had to get one of the wind generators in KS.  Jo finally got her bobble head tiger mascot in a picture.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Colorful Colorado

Today was a very nice but long drive through most of Colorado.  After the Vail pass and the Eisenhower tunnel it's all downhill toward home.  We had hoped for some fall color through Colorado and we were not disappointed.  (see Jo's pictures below)  This section of Interstate 70 from the Utah line to Denver in my opinion, at this time of year, is the most scenic stretch of interstate highway in this country and we have traveled most of them.  The Glenwood canyon is especially magnificent and an engineering marvel of design and construction of the interstate roadways through this natural beauty.

At the summit of Vail pass and the Eisenhower tunnel the temperatures dropped down to 38° and we were driving through snow showers but the pavement was just wet so no repeat of Monday's surprise.  Our GWF has been right on the job for all fuel stops, campground hookups and departures but she was totally AWOL for about 15 minutes during last Monday's drive.  Her paycheck for this week will reflect that lapse of service.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

relaxing day

It is a nice relaxing day of rest with light showers throughout the day.  Outside temperatures are only in the 50s so we have the heat on.  In fact we haven't used the AC for the past three days.  I got a bit of mandolin practice in this morning and with a good computer connection we have both caught up with all the family blogs and emails.

Tomorrow we cross the Rockies on our way through Denver to the eastern CO lowland plains.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

bad day - good day

Yesterday (the bad day) we crossed Nevada and today (the good day) we crossed Utah.  We are now 26 miles into Colorado and will sit tight tomorrow for a day of nerve-calming rest from driving/riding before we continue the homeward trek.  Last night's stop was right on the border between Nevada and Utah without any cell signal to get my computer connected so I was not able to update after yesterday's travel.

yesterday -
We crossed the State of Nevada on US-50 and the route was good but isolated.  The two lane good surfaced highway started out as a nice drive but soon we got into some rain showers and the temperatures were hanging in the lower 40s.  We did see some fresh snow in patches along the roadside.  On one pass through the mountains in some switch backs the temperature dropped to 36° and the rain changed to sleet and freezing rain with the roadway surface covered with ice.  Our trailer started to jackknife to the drivers side and then fishtailed to try and pull us into the road ditch.  Jo's truck did it's job and with a few instinctive reactions by the driver we were able to get things back on track.  There was a lot of shuffling of goods back inside the trailer, when we were able to check, but we are "extremely" grateful that we didn't end up as a collision with another vehicle or upside down in the ditch.  It was rain showers then the rest of the day.  Our GWF did take care of us while getting set up in our campsite but then the cloud came over when the rain caught up with us and poured down.

Today -
We crossed the  State of Utah partly on US-50 but mostly on I-70.  It was a much more enjoyable drive today except that it was a bit long.  Last night we were just on the time line between PDT and MDT so we had set our clocks to MDT before we went to bed.  When we got up this morning and got ready to travel it was still dark so we were a few miles down the road when we saw the sunrise, as seen in Jo's pictures.  We did see a lot of fall foliage beauty through the mountain passes with yellow, red, orange, and green very striking.  We hope to see more of this fall color as we travel through Colorado on Thursday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eastward bound day one

Today begins our eastward trek back to the Martin Manor.  We cut across the NE corner of Kaliforny and got through Reno with both of our shirts still on.  Tomorrow we cross Nevada on Rte 50 and then across Utah before we stop for two nights and a day of rest from riding.

We were unhappy this morning as the swarms of BUGS were also south of Klamath Falls and now our trailer is well coated on the front, when we get home I'll hold the ladder for Jo to wash them off.  Then we were happy to see three Mule Deer in the area of Lava Beds National Monument.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Collier Memouial State Park

This morning we headed to this State Park for a visit and photo opportunity.  On the drive out just like yesterday morning as we were driving by Upper Klamath Lake for several miles we hit clouds of bugs that totally splattered our windshield.  They were not fat and juicy so no big smear by each one but simply by the mass they made quite a mess.  They apparently had shells as each one popped on the glass like small sleet and we could see clouds of them in a vertical columns above bushes on the side of the road.

On the brighter side, the State Park and Logging Museum was very interesting.  Vena sent us some pictures that she took in 2005 in this park while visiting with Bob and his brother.  I tried to take a picture to match one of hers and came close I think, even got the same picnic table in the corner.

Here is her picture in 2005
 And here is mine in 2012

Here are the rest of our pictures from today.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Crater Lake

This morning we visited the Crater Lake National Park.  The day was beautiful with mostly clear skies.  This is a beautiful park with the lake being the main event and there is a rim drive totally around the lake with many pull-offs for viewing and picture taking.  We found out that Jo has a large phobia against heights and most of the rim drive had her side of the truck over a direct fall of hundreds of feet from the edge of the narrow two lane twisty road with no guard rails.  We finished the complete circle, had lunch at a park lodge, and then headed for the trailer.

I need to do some research and see if I can determine just how many National Parks we have visited, we have been to many.  After a quick glance I have counted 59 National Parks and Monuments that we have visited.  At the first National Park that we visited after retirement we purchased the "old folks" Golden Age Passport for $10 and that gets us into all these national treasures for the rest of our lives for free.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

beautiful drive

Today we headed to south central Oregon and after we passed through Springfield, OR we had a beautiful scenic drive cross-country away from the Interstate.  We are in Klamath Falls, OR for the next three nights and plan to enjoy the Crater Lake NP and perhaps a few of the local attractions.  The State of Oregon is beautiful and we have enjoyed several of the different areas of interest.  We will do some grocery shopping while here to make sure we are stocked for the remainder of our trip home.

When we leave here we are headed for the Martin Manor with a day of rest in Grand Junction, CO.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

back in Oregon

We turned southward this morning and are back in Oregon for the rest of this week.  It was a bit foggy this morning for the first couple of hours but then it stayed overcast which is always good for driving.  A bit of hectic driving through the Vancouver-Portland area with heavy traffic but no major problems and we arrived near Albany, OR at the time we had planned.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

maintenance day

Today was a day to take care of a little bit of maintenance as well as rest up from the past couple of days of exploring.  After a quick trip to Wal-Mart for a new long handled squeegee, I got the trailer windows washed.  I had two such squeegees in the basement but they were old and left streaks.  I also adjusted our hitch in the truck bed as it had developed a bit of slop that banged during braking and acceleration, minor adjustment needed.  After a nice bowl of Jo's soup for lunch I had a short nap before dumping our holding tanks.  We have large holding tank capacities and this is the first dump since we started this trip.  We now will be able to manage our needs until the last morning as we head for home.  We always want to get home with empty tanks so we are ready to start any next adventure.

This evening we have a dinner date planned at a local Port Angeles seafood restaurant.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Olympic National Park day 2

We got an early start this morning and it was a good thing we did.  We left around 7:30 am and didn't get back to the trailer until 4:30 pm this afternoon.  This is one humongous park and the only access points are from around the perimeter.  Yesterday we took in the ones along the northern edge of the park and today we drove to the western edge to experience the rain forest and beaches which was a long drive over and back, long but very scenic.  The trails at the Hoh rain forest were a bit difficult for Jo (her cane did help) so she got quite tired on the first one and I took the second one for a few more pictures.  These huge trees were Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock and it was hard to take pictures because we couldn't get far enough away to get the complete tree in one shot.  There were a couple where I took two shots, one from the ground up and the next one of the tops.  Looking up at these monsters got us a bit dizzy at times especially when we had to quickly look back down to see where our next step was going to be.  The one trail that I took was aptly named the Hall of Mosses as there was moss covering most of the trees along that path as well as the undergrowth.  There is another rain forest in the park but it is in the far Southwest corner and we thought we had seen enough and were ready to get back to Port Angeles.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Olympic National Park

We had a great time last evening visiting and getting reacquainted with Jo's cousins.  The dinner was great and not overly crowded so we weren't pushed to leave and just sat around the table and talked for quite awhile.

This morning we headed into some of the entries into the Olympic National Park along this North side of the park.  The first drive went up into the mountains with a steady climb from a little over 400' here in Port Angeles to over 6000' at the top of the drive in 18 miles.  Jo thought that since we were up into the mountains that we would not see any wildlife but as we turned one corner there was a deer doe and her fawn.  They weren't in any hurry and allowed us several pictures as you can see in our album below.  They walked slowly across the road while we both grabbed for our cameras.  Tomorrow we plan to head to the West side and the rain forests and coastline.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We're Here, finally

Port Angeles, WA was our goal last July when our truck decided it didn't want to go any further while still in eastern WA.  Since it took a week to get us back on the road we canceled this part of that trip and headed back toward the Martin Manor.  Now with JoAnn's new truck we have finally made it.  We want to explore the Olympic National Park and this NW corner of the USA before heading back south and then east.

We have plans this evening to meet with Jo's cousin and her family for dinner, they live in this area and we made contact to hopefully have a little time to visit with them.

It was a beautiful drive up from Oregon today along the west side of the Puget sound.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bonneville Dam fish ladder and fish hatchery

This morning we made a short drive to this lock and dam.  The fish hatchery was great with good views of trout ponds and sturgeon.  One sturgeon was huge about 60 years old and looked to be about 8-10 feet long.  The bad news is that I messed up the uploading of my pictures and only got one before clearing the memory card and losing all the others.  Fortunately Jo got a few fish pictures along with her shots of the rose gardens.

The visitor's center at the dam and fish ladder had underwater viewing windows of the fish moving through the ladder.  They also had people watching the passage through a narrow slot to count the fish as they passed through.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beautiful day

This morning we took a very nice drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway, old US Rte 30.  There were many great waterfalls visible from this route and many more that are reachable with some long hiking trails, too much for these old legs.  There were a couple of short hikes to get these pictures that were on the edge of "shouldn't have gone there" but glad that I did.

After a nice lunch we made a longer drive around the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

river to river

Last night we were on the banks of the beautiful Snake river and tonight we are within a stones throw of the beautiful Columbia river.  Both locations are well worth a return visit.  It was a great twisty drive through some beautiful scenic canyons and high prairies.  We are here for a couple of days to do the tourist thing and intend to find a bunch of waterfalls along the old route 30 that can't be seen from the Interstate, pictures hopefully will follow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This evening we are just a little bit out of Idaho into Oregon.  This morning it was a strong headwind from Pocatello to Boise so the fuel economy was not good.  There were no wildlife sightings today but we did see a few quite large wildfire burn areas.  There were miles of scorched earth areas and just glad that since they were right beside the highway area they were all cleared up and not a problem for our travel.

Monday, September 10, 2012


This morning Jo and I had to visit a grocery store for a few items and then Vena picked us up for a tour around the area.  The drive we took was to the east and south of Pocatello on the way toward Curt's house up into the surrounding mountains.  These pictures are only a sampling of the vistas that were ours to observe.

This is the view from Vena's apartment without the rainbow.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Great Visit

Our drive today was a bit longer than we normally like at 350 miles but other than being a little longer than our usual day the drive was good.  Wildlife sightings today included many, many antelope early this morning and then a little later Jo saw a coyote.

We had a great time this afternoon visiting with Vena, Curt, and Renee.  They put together a great meal of special (Renee's dad's) recipe BBQ ribs.  We were able to get caught up a little on family happenings and then enjoy dining outside on the deck.  After dinner we had a few minutes of music time with Curt on his guitar and me trying my luck on my mandolin.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

coming up in this world

Yesterday we climbed from 1000' to 3200' and then today we rose up to 6600' here in Rawlins, WY.  The highest point on today's drive was a rest area that has a monument to Abe Lincoln in honor of the Lincoln Highway at elevation 8680'.

I-80 has been quite good except for a short stretch around Cheyenne that was quite rough.  Enough that it shook one of the fridge door shelves out of it's socket and we had to use all four hands to keep from putting some things on the floor at our lunch stop.  Those that know this route also know that it  takes very little steering wheel use.

Wildlife sightings today include prairie dogs, red tailed hawks, and antelope.

Friday, September 07, 2012

night two in NE

It shore is a fer piece cross this here corn-husker State.  We're 327 miles west of the Missouri River and have another 126 miles of Nebraska left before we enter Wyoming.  Some of the corn is being cut and the fodder baled for cattle feed and there are some corn fields still being irrigated.

We always have low fuel economy on this route because as I have said it is all up hill and there is usually a head wind, today was no exception.  When we entered Nebraska at the Iowa line the elevation is right at 1000 feet and here in Ogallala it is 3200 feet.  The trip looks like all flat land except that flat surface is on a tilt.

In the urban area around Lincoln we saw a flock of turkeys (8-10) along the right-of-way but that is the total of our wildlife sightings today.  In the past we have often seen deer along the Platte River.  There were a few showers today but not during our fuel-up or other stops.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Happy Anniversary to us

It's a little past 2:00 pm now and if my memory serves me correctly that is the time we stood in front of Rev. Vertz 54 years ago and said we do, and we still do.

We are now just barely into Nebraska having crossed the Missouri River and up the hill to Nebraska City.  Our trip through Iowa (ten miles) wasn't long enough to unfold a map.  John knows the route as this is on the way to the alpaca sale barn.  We usually go up through Macon and over 36 to St. Joe but today we altered that and took I-70 to KC in order to stop at the flying-J fuel station there.  We have a card for Pilot/flying-J that gives us 8 cents off cash price and still charge the purchase with no cut-off limit at the pump.

Tomorrow is a long day across Nebraska to Ogallala and having checked before it is up hill all the way.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back in the Kingdom

The locals in this area refer to this county as the Kingdom of Callaway.  This part of Missouri was very much pro-South during the Civil war and is also called the heart of little Dixie.

Backed into our driveway a little past noon today and while we so much enjoyed our time with Phyllis it's always good to be back home.  The drive today wasn't bad with very few construction sites and mild traffic.

Now its time to restock the pantry, do the laundry, get the truck serviced, and be ready for our next outing which begins on September 6.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday travel

Our original plan was to stay in Buckeye Lake until Monday and then head home but when Phyllis told us that she would be heading back to Baltimore on Sunday we changed our plans accordingly.  It's always nice to travel on a Sunday when the traffic is lighter especially through large cities such as Columbus, OH and Indianapolis, IN.

We made it through Columbus (AKA - Rabbit Trap, OH) by 9:30 am and through Indy a little after 1:00 pm with the through city traffic very light.  This will get us home a day earlier but that is okay as we will soon be getting everything ready for our longest trailer trip of this summer.

Phyllis gave Columbus its nickname or "Rabbit Trap" because on one of her first trips to Maryland driving the hand-me-down VW Rabbit she had car trouble in that area.  She can tell the whole story but as I recall she had some help from strangers to get her problem fixed and back on the road.  She eventually drove that Rabbit until it only had one gear and almost had to be pushed into the car lot for her trade in.  The odometer quit not long after she received it and there was no way of knowing how many miles she put on it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

basket case

How about a basket building?

Jo and Phyllis went this morning to the east side of Newark, OH to get this picture of the Longaberger basket headquarters building.  They had hoped for a visitors center with some baskets to view but it was not open on Saturday.

This afternoon the old folks are just resting while the younger one is back out searching for antique fleas, they seem to be common in this area.

Friday, August 17, 2012


This morning we headed to Zanesville for a pottery factory tour.  The town is known for its pottery history and even have some areas decorated with symbols like this.

One of them was missing so Phyllis is standing on that spot.

Unfortunately when we got to the factory right at the advertised tour time we found that this week is the county fair time and the person that gives the tours had a display at the fair so today's tour was canceled.  They still had a large display of their wares for sale and it was nice to wander around looking.  After the visit to the pottery factory we found a nice quaint spot for lunch with very good food and a nice local beer.  Then we found a storefront in town that had three floors of antique fleas which Phyllis and Jo enjoyed.

On the way back to the campground we took a detour and circled Buckeye Lake to a State park on the South shore where we finally got some pictures of water.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First day

The weather is sure cooperating with some nice temperatures.

We had a message come up on our (actually it's Jo's) truck's computer that said I needed to check the coolant additive so this morning I went to the local Ford Service department and had that taken care of.  Just needed to have some fluid added and all is well.  While I was gone, Jo and Phyllis took off for flea markets unknown.  They just now called to say that they were on their way back to the trailer for lunch and we will see what transpires from there.

When we bought this truck they put Jo's name on the title first so I tell her that it's hers. ;-)

Phyllis surprised us by showing up driving a new car, she now has a 2012 Mini Cooper.  It's a sweet looking car that will allow her to drive many miles before needing to refill the tank.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Here we are in Buckeye Lake, Ohio.  We're just a few miles East of Columbus and actually 5 miles East of Baltimore (Ohio that is). ;-)  Phyllis got here about an hour ago and it was good to get a big hug from her.  Now we just have to find things to do for the next three days.  She will head back toward her home on Sunday and we will also head toward the Martin Manor that day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

next stop

We are now in Renfro Valley, KY.  We want to come back on another trip and enjoy the music here.  They have a music theater here with several shows weekly and the main event is a barn dance on Saturday night.  I want to plan a trip back to Kentucky with a "blue grass & bourbon" theme.  We have toured a few distilleries in the past but there is a "bourbon trail" in this area with several open for tours.  Only whiskey produced in Kentucky can be called bourbon.  Even though the process is similar I'm sure that the tours and spiel would be different.  Some are in dry counties with no samples but others have a sampling at the end of the tour.  Kentucky is also the home of Bill Monroe, the father of blue grass music and I will research the locations of shows that we can make a part of our trip.

Monday, August 13, 2012

On our way

Made it to our campsite in Lynnville, IN around 2:00 pm.  This city park with water and 50 amp electricity for $15 has been a great stop on most of our trips eastward.  It has easy access off of I-64 yet it is over a small hill from the interstate so there is no traffic noise.  I'm sure that with their small lake the summer weekends are busy but during the week when we are generally here there has never been a problem getting a site.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Almost ready to go

Our checklist is all marked off except for the last minute, after breakfast items.  With our last month's trip to Alaska being non-towing we are looking forward to getting back into the RV mode.

This will be a short nine day outing and has been modified from it's original intent.  It has always been our desire to get a visit with Phyllis on this trip but at first we had planned to stop in Ohio after a visit to White Pigeon, MI, the headquarters for our auto-leveling system.  We were going to have them update our system to the newest controller and then drop down to Buckeye Lake on our way back home.  In June, after the Martin Reunion, we drove to Chanute, KS and our trailer factory did the auto-leveling upgrade for us so there is no need now to make the trek to Michigan.  The straightest and quickest trip to Buckeye Lake, just East of Columbus, would be I-70 all the way but with time on our hands and our desire to not travel on the same route both ways we will head into a new area of Kentucky before ending up in Ohio.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Home from the North

Yesterday was a long travel day but first a story about Friday evening.  We got back to Anchorage mid afternoon and checked back into our motel and just rested up a bit.  We had an early departure scheduled for our flight back to Seattle so ask the desk to put us on their schedule for a shuttle ride to the airport at 5:00 am.  That meant that we needed to get up a little after 4:00 am.  We brushed our teeth and hit the bed around 8:00 pm that night but then around 8:15 pm the fire alarm went off.  We both got back up, put britches and shoes on, and went outside to find only a couple dozen other folks.  About that time someone from the motel came out and said all was well so it was back in and soon to bed.  Yesterday morning we were in the lobby with our luggage a little before 5:00 am and the desk clerk ask if we were waiting for the airport shuttle.  We said yes and he looked at his schedule and told us that we were not on the list.  We told him that we had made the request the afternoon before so he called the van driver who in a couple of minutes was back at the door for our ride to the airport.

Our flights, both to Seattle and then to St. Louis, were right on schedule and it was smooth sailing all the way.  The only problem was the length of time and the three hour time zone changes.  We left Anchorage around 6:30 am Alaska time and after brother John drove us to the old JbarL it was around 11:30 Alaska time, 8:30 Missouri time.

We had a GREAT time on this trip with all the wildlife viewing that we were able to witness.  Then to top it all off as John turned into the JbarL driveway there were two deer grazing in his garden and while we were driving from there toward home along the gravel road we saw a red fox cross the road in front of us.

Stay tuned for our next adventure, now scheduled for an August 13 departure.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Back in Anchorage

The bus ride back to Anchorage was nice and uneventful.  It was a three hour ride as compared to the 5-6 hour train ride down and along almost a parallel path.  No wildlife spotted except for a bald eagle nest.  These past two weeks have been super nice but early tomorrow morning we hop on our air flight for the trip back to Missouri.  This morning Jo ask me, "when are we coming back?"

Kenai Fjords National Park

Yesterday morning we boarded a tour boat for a day long cruise of this part of Alaska.  This is the newest National Park and was established to protect the Harding Icefield which makes up about 90% of the park.  The remainder is 3% rugged shoreline and 7% the Gulf of Alaska.  National Park rangers ride boats instead of jeeps or horses.  We saw a good set of wildlife on this tour including Humpback Whale, Orca Whale, Sea Otter, Doll's Porpoise, Steller Sea Lion, Harbor Seal, Common Murre, Bald Eagle, Horned Puffin, and Tufted Puffin.  It really was a great end to our tours before having to head homeward.  They served us a nice lite lunch on the boat and then stopped at a lodge for an all you can eat Salmon and Prime Rib buffet before we returned to the dock in Seward.  There are many glaciers running downhill from this Icefield and we saw many of them.  The largest in this area is where we stopped for about 20 minutes and was able to see and take pictures of some major calving.  The captain shut off the engine on the boat and we were able to listen to the glacier noises as the large chunks of ice calved off.  One huge chunk caused some major waves that rocked our boat sitting out about a 1/4 mile from it's face.  That was the last picture in my album showing the calving.

I did get lots of pictures of the wildlife but was disappointed that while taking pictures of the humpback whale it chose to dive and show it's fluke just after I put my camera down.  The captain said that the sea otter was a rare siting as they were almost totally destroyed by the Russian fur hunters before Alaska was sold to the US.

Sadly tomorrow morning we catch a bus back to Anchorage and our flight back to MO on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Anchorage to Seward

This morning we boarded the southbound train for our trip to Seward.  This was one of the most scenic parts of our train ride from Fairbanks south.  It was about a four hour ride that started early so we had breakfast on the train, the reindeer sausage was very good.  We arrived in Seward early for lunch but our room will not be ready before around 3:00 pm.  We had lunch and walked around town a  little bit, found Jo a watch to replace the one she bought in Deadwood and lost before she got back to Fairbanks.  I'm in the Motel lobby now using their wifi to upload this mornings pictures and posting this blog entry.  On the train we saw a couple of moose and a black bear with two cubs plus several bald eagles but all were not good photo ops so no pics of wildlife.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Alaska Native Heritage Center

We were able to sleep in this morning and then took a shuttle to the Alaska Native Heritage Center this afternoon.  This center shows the lifestyles of all the indigenous tribes of Alaska.  It seems that the word Eskimo is a French Canadian word for "those that eat raw meat" because their diet is mainly whale, walrus, and seal that are eaten raw.  Good for omega 3 oils and a very healthy but an acquired taste diet.  The tour started with a walk around and through several different sites that demonstrated the types of lodges and lifestyles of the several tribes.  Then we sat inside for some demonstrations of Eskimo games and dancing.  I didn't get any pictures of the games but they were designed to show the strengths necessary for life in this harsh climate.  I did get several shots of the dancing with drums and chants in accompaniment.  It was interesting to learn that the songs were composed from both ancient as well as modern themes.  They described some were about walrus hunting and unsuccessful whale hunt but others were about World Cup soccer and "rock and roll".  Traditionally the drums would have been made from walrus stomach lining but those in use today were goat skin over Home Depot wood.

Tomorrow we board the train again for a trip down to Seward, AK.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bear flightseeing

It has been a very interesting day.  After our breakfast in the motel we had a shuttle to the flight service.  Then we boarded a water taxi airplane for a trip to a remote lodge and a chance to see Alaskan bears trying to catch the salmon on the run to their spawning areas.  The flight was about 30 minutes in a southwest direction from Anchorage where we landed on a lake near the Redoubt Bay Lodge.  This lodge is isolated and only accessible by air.  We then boarded a pontoon boat with four other folks for a guided tour of this lake area.  Our guide took us to sites around the lake where small streams dump into the lake and that is where the salmon are trying to migrate upstream to spawn and also where the bears know that it is a place for their favorite diet.  These locations just at the mouth of these streams is where the salmon gather in large schools before attempting the run up stream to spawn.  This is where the local fishing guides take their clients to fish for the same salmon that the bears are after.  As you can see in our pictures that is up close and personal to the bears.  On the flight to the lodge we saw from the air beluga whale, trumpeter swan, brown bear, and moose while cruising at about 700 feet.  From the boat we saw bald eagles, harbor seal, black bear, schools of silver salmon, and a brown bear.  We had lunch at the lodge that included salmon burgers and black bean soup before our return trip to Anchorage.  On the return flight at about 1000 feet we saw moose and trumpeter swan.  Our flight both ways was in a bush plane with seats for 9 and our pilot was quite seasoned (the oldest in the company) and made several circles just to let us view the various wildlife sightings.  It was quite an experience just to get Jo into and out of the plane.  It was not easy to catch pictures from the plane so I only took a couple.

After our days excursion we walked to a local restaurant for a super seafood dinner.  It has been so nice to be able to enjoy fresh seafood and we are making the most of that situation.

Denali to Anchorage

It was about an eight hour train ride but the scenery was nice and being in a dome car we sat up high to see over the nearest trees.  We boarded around noon time so had lunch and supper in the dining car and both were very nice.  The seats were not full so we were able to turn the seats in front of us around which made for a small lounging area with plenty of leg room.

Our train as it arrived at the station

 Meeting the North bound train at a siding

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Denali National Park

Our trip yesterday into the park was awesome.  We were in a group of 37 folks on a 40 passenger bus with our driver, John of course.  John was very good at animal sightings and with his knowledge of this area of Alaska he kept us entertained over the 12 hour journey into the heart of Denali NP.  The day was off and on showers with a few minutes of nice sunshine so "The Great One" didn't make a photo op appearance.  While John said that it was a slow day for animal sightings we did see quite a variety.  We saw Moose, Caribou, Lynx (everyone but me), Grizzly, Red Fox (I saw him but not able to get a picture), Wolf, Dall Sheep, Ground Squirrels, Golden Eagles, Loons, and a Harrier Hawk.

The tour bus provided a sack lunch which was very nice.  Most tours only go 1/2 to 2/3 of the road and then turn back but our tour went to the end of the road.  There is only one road and personal autos are not permitted except for a few days at the end of the season.  The wilderness is kept pristine and the animals are accustomed to the buses and will walk right up to and use the road as a trail.  We did see another Grizzly but it was off so far in the distance that even with zoom it didn't show up.  The first Grizzly picture was way off also but I was able to zoom in for a shot.  Folks using binoculars said that she was sitting up nursing two cubs.  The fox that we saw was easily recognizable by eye sight but I lost him while trying to zoom in for a close-up.  Everyone tried to describe the location of the Lynx but I just could not find him.

It was a long but wonderful day that I would recommend to anyone.

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