Wednesday, September 10, 2008

South Dakota & Wyoming

We had a great 4 days in the Custer area. We visited Mt Rushmore National Monument twice. We did the day time audio tour, introductory video, and visit the museum and gift shop. Then we returned the next night to see the Memorial ceremony with light show, it was very well presented and honored our service members past and present and honored the veterans and the theme was "I AM AN AMERICAN".

We spent a couple of days visiting Custer State Park. Here we got to see wildlife like we have never seen before, bison, white tail and mule deer, wild horses, antelope, and prairie dogs.

We were held at bay along Wildlife Loop by 2 stray wild donkeys. They stood in the middle of the road and would not let us by. They were looking for handouts, when we tried to go by them one of them would move into the travel lane and the other would get closer to the car window, finally when they saw we would not give in the let us by and went to the next car in line. We were there for about 15 minutes playing this game.

We got to see Windcave National Park and went down into the caves and traveled about 1/2 mile of the 129 miles of know tunnels that have been explored over the years. At the lowest point we were about 240 feet below the surface.

Saturday we went to Keystone, SD, the Old and New town and while we were there we saw a parade to celebrate "Holy Terror Day" , a lot of fire trucks, and local horse drawn wagons, and cowboys and cowgirls. "Holy Terror Day" came about after a miner discovered a mine in Keystone and as it was customary back then to name the mine after the wife, so he name it "Holy Terror". We did get to see a celebrity "Carrie Ingals" from the show "Little House on the Prairie" was in the parade riding in one of the wagons. There was a cookout, ATV races, Jeep races and other activities. We only stayed long enough to see the parade, walk thru the Historical museum of the town and hit a few of the shops, most of the merchandise made in some other part of the world.

This sign caught my eye in the General Store in Keystone.

This picture represents 60 years of progress on the Crazy Horse Monument. The first blast occurred in June, 1948. Though they work on the monument daily, as you can see, there is a lot of work to be done.

This photo represents the finished product. At the rate they are going, I don't expect to see the finished product in my lifetime.

There was a local radio station sponsoring a can food drive for the local food pantry and that got you admission to "Crazy Horse Monument". That night they celebrated the 100th birthday of the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. This has been a family operation since he started the monument in 1948. They hold a nightly laser light show, but last night the added explosive blast show. They set off charges of explosive on the surface not embedded into the mountain. It was a great light show to celebrate the birthday. No mountain surface was removed just a light show. Pretty impressive.

We took several drives through the area, drove "Needles Highway" a road that if I would have taken the motorhome we would have had big problems, like making it a convertible. There were several tunnels cut thru the mountain and were only 8-9 feet wide and 9-10 feet high and many tight turns. It is called Needles as in one area there is a rock that is split on the top like the eye of a needle, the scenery up there was spectacular. Then we traveled up the Iron Mountain road thru Custer State Park, this road had 3 bridges on it that as you drive over them you can see Mt Rushmore from different angles. All of these roads were designed to give the optimum views of Mt Rushmore.

What a beautiful drive down route 14 thru Wyoming. We traveled to an elevation of about 7400 feet for about 10 miles encountering a snow storm. The motorhome and car were covered with snow. The trees and the ground were covered with about an inch. As we traveled back down to the 4400 ft elevation it turned to rain and mist.

We are now located just 30 miles east of the Yellowstone National Park at the Yellowstone Valley Inn and RV Park. The campsite is facing the mountains. We are having a great time traveling.

Colorado through Labor Day

The 2 weeks spent in CO (end of August thru Labor Day) went by so fast, it is unbelievable. We were parked at Wendy and Troy's house in Golden, Co., elevation around 8800 feet. The weather at first was questionable as we had snow hitting the windshield --only a sleet type snow for a couple of minutes. We did see snow on the mountain tops of Long Peak and Mt Evans and on the local news we saw that on Interstate 70 around the Eisenhower tunnel and Vail pass there was enough snow that the road crews had to do some plowing at the higher elevations.

We went out in the woods with Wendy and Troy with their Jeep, checked out the local area trails.

We did some hiking in the Golden Gate Canyon state park about a four mile hike.

Had to do the Coors brewery tour and get a couple of samples.

Troy's mother Elaine and father Larry were visiting as well for 4 or 5 days. Had a great time with them. Today we left Wendy's and headed to Loveland, Co to the RV America dealership to have some adjustment made to the new refrigerator that was installed out here. The dealership was great for service and friendliness. Even though they did not sell us our motorhome, they took care of the warranty service that was set up by our dealer in NH. We lucked out with Tiffin Motorhomes. After having the servicing done we headed north towards Wyoming. We stopped for the night at a state rest area along Interstate 25 in Guernsey, Wy. Beautiful sunset over the mountains, weather is beautiful, suppose to be around 40 in the morning. We are heading to South Dakota to see Mt Rushmore then travel west towards Yellowstone National Park by the weekend to spend maybe 4 -5 days there, then back to Santa Cruz, Ca to see the grandsons play Pop Warner football and Peyton our granddaughter to play soccer.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Here in Colorado August 16, 2008

We left Santa Cruz California from Melanie’s house in Scotts Valley and headed to Wendy and Troy’s in Golden, Colorado. We left after 1 pm on Wednesday and stopped in Fernley, Nevada about 30 miles east of Reno. We stopped at a Flying J truck stop and fueled up. Price of diesel was around 4.29 a gallon down from 5.19 in California. We pulled in around 9:30 at night and found a spot out of the way of the truckers. We got a strange wake up call during the night. For those of you who remember the show “I Love Lucy” the episode that Lucy, Desi, Fred and Ethel are heading towards California and end up spending the night at a cabin. They settled in and then woke up to a very loud sound of a train going to run thru the cabin. That is what we woke up to and started to laugh remembering that episode and also of the movie My Cousin Vinny with the train going pass the hotel early in the morning. The tracks were within a couple of hundred feet of the RV.

We had some weather on the way back to Colorado. We were driving up Coal Creek Canyon road around 8800 ft elevation, the rain turned to something that I was hoping to avoid “SNOW”. It didn’t last but a few minutes but it did snow. We looked out the window this morning Saturday and saw Long Peak mountain 14000 ft elevation and it was topped with snow, this morning Eisenhower tunnel area on Interstate 70 and Loveland pass area had snow and the road had to be plowed. I am not ready for this especially in August.

We plan on being in Colorado till just after Labor Day when we will head towards Wyoming and go to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks for about a week of visiting then head back to Santa Cruz, CA to see Melanie and her family. Will update soon with hopefully more pictures and stories.
Rene & Sue

Friday, August 15, 2008

On the road again 8-15-08

Today we are on our way back to Wendy in Colorado. We had a great 3 weeks plus with Melanie and her family in Truckee and Santa Cruz, Ca. We took the kids rving last weekend and stayed at a KOA campground with all types of activities for them to enjoy. We went to the beach and boating at Lake Tahoe. We are going to spend a couple of weeks in Colorado till after Labor day then head back west to California with stops Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National park in Wyoming. We will be back in California by mid September for a week or 2 to see the boys play Pop Warner football, then we will head to the southwest to Nevada, Arizona and Southern California. We are not sure where we will be for the winter but it will be a place we hope without snow, sleet or anything that looks or smells cold.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wake Boarding

Last Saturday we spent on Lake Tahoe where the kids had a good time in the boat and Griffin who likes to do wake boarding. The water was rather choppy and Griffin said not as fun, but Rene and I enjoyed watching him. Truckee and the Tahoe area was affected by the forest fires as was evident by the hazy conditions of the area.

Alec had his chance to drive to boat. He's pretty good too!

Peyton likes to sew!

Peyton wants to sew! Peyton decided that she wanted to make something. We took her to Walmart where she picked out a pattern for a cute little dress and she also chose the fabric. Once we got home, she was anxious to get started. We began the cutting process and she helped pin and cut. She would sit on my knee and run the foot pedal of the sewing machine while I guided the fabric. We finished the dress in a couple of days. We also made a matching head ban and a little pocketbook. She put the dress on and wore it for 2-3 days before she let us wash it. She was so excited about sewing and I'm only too happy to oblige.

Peyton's New DressHere is Peyton's finished product!

You'll notice Griffin in the first photo. He's interested as well and wants to make some pants -- we used to call them jams. Once we get back to Scotts Valley, Griffin and I will go shopping.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Loop Road

While visiting the town of Moab, we visited a winery - Castle Creek Winery on Route 128 that was suggested -- did a little wine tasting and bought a couple of bottles. We were told of a Loop Road that was a beautiful ride. And, what a ride it was -- up over mountains -- we weren't sure if the Saturn was going to make it. But it was beautiful, but were glad to be back on level ground -- somewhat.

Arches National Park

We spent a couple of days in Moab hiking between 5-6 miles each day in Arches National Park. As a little background as stated on their brochure, the park lies atop a underground salt bed that is basically responsible for the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins and eroded monoliths. Thousands of feet thick in places, this salt bed was deposited across the Colorado Plateau 300 million years ago which a sea flowed into the region and eventually evaporated. Over millions of years, residue from floods, winds, and the oceans that came and went blanketed the salt bed. The debris was compressed as rock, at one time possibly a mile thick.

Salt under pressure is unstable, and the salt bed lying below Arches was no match for the weight of this thick cover of rock. The salt layer shifted, buckled, liquefied, and repositioned itself, thrusting the rock layers upward as domes, and whole sections fell into the cavities.

Faults deep in the Earth made the surface even more unstable. Fault-caused vertical cracks later contributed to the development of arches. As the salt's subsurface shifting shaped the Earth, surface erosion stripped off younger rocks layers. Except for isolated remnants, today's major formations are salmon-colored Entrada Sandstone, in which most arches form, and buff-colored Navajo Sandstone.

Over time warter seeped into superficial cracks, joints, and folds. Ice formed in the fissures, expanding and pressuring the rock, breaking off bits and pieces. Wind later cleaned out the loose particles, leaving a series of free-standing fins. Wind and water then attacked these finds until the cementing material in some gave way and chunks of rock tumbled out. Many of these damaged fins collapsed. Others, hard enough and balanced, survived despite missing sections. These became the famous arches. Porthole arches are formed by chemical weathering as water collects in natural depressions and then eventually cuts through to the layer below. This is the geologic story of Arches.
If you'd like to see more photos, I've uploaded to

Route 6, CO

We left Wendy & Troys on 7/16 to head for CA. Upon Wendy's recommendation to took a very picturesque Route 6 through the CO mountains. It surely was a beautiful ride. We're headed for Moab, UT and plan to visit Arches National Park.

Monday, July 14, 2008


We had a chance to go off road with Wendy and Troy and Murr dog, of course -- to the back roads of CO. Troy wanted to do some fishing at the resevoir, but boy what a route we took. The best part was the scenery -- what an enjoyable afternoon! Murr got a chance to put his paws in the water -- Troy didn't catch any fish, but the weather was perfect.

Beautiful CO countryside

Home in the back woods of CO

Grouse Resevoir

Murr Dog loves the water

Yikes that looks a little steep!

Murray & Kirstie

Kirstie and Murray are getting along, wanting to share food and bowls of water. Of course the other is better than their own. It didn't take long for them to respect each other, Kirstie giving a few hisses in the beggining and Murray keeping his distance. However, now they are friends.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


After a wonderful breakfast with the Reiters, we left Nebraska for Colorado to Wendy & Troy's. The countryside was beautiful, though there were some ominous looking storm clouds along the way. I took this picture just by sticking my hand out the side window while moving at 60/mph wanting to capture the cloud formations. What a surprise I got when I previewed the pic to find a farm in the picture -- it's one of my favorites.

Loup City Nebraska

We reached Loup City Nebraska today in time to have dinner with Larry and Elaine Reiter - Troy's Folks. Had a wonderful visit -- Elaine is such a good cook serving up Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Homemade Noodles with a wonderful layered salad and Homemade Ice Cream. Can't get any better than that. Sunday morning we took a walking tour of the city. It's a small town, known as the Polish Capital of Nebraska with about 1200 residents. It's rather Mayberry RFD like -- quaint, charming, where everyone knows your name and a strong sense of Community. At 7:00 AM there was not much happening on the streets, but everyone you met said hello or waved from their cars. Here are some of the photos that we took on our walking tour.

Restoring Old Gas Pumps Only one grocery store in town.

Looking down Main Street

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Traveled about 12 hours yesterday spending the night at a Flying J’s in Brookville, PA. Had a good night’s rest and back on the road today. We’re in Ohio right after stopping for lunch at a rest stop about 50 miles south of Toledo – home of Max Klinger for you MASH fans. Went by the exit for Sandusky, Ohio which was the home of Doris Day in one of her movies. Traveling is good, I just finished my stint of driving – Kirstie is doing great – she’s relaxing on the sofa. Talked to Wendy and Troy a bit ago – she calls is RV Rock Stars – should have named the block that. Anyways, we’re having a great time – Rene and I haven’t killed each other yet!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Odyssey Begins

July 5, 2008
We left Rick & Donna’s home, 210 Tolend Road, Dover NH today at 7:40 for the first leg of our trip to Colorado under cloudy, foggy skies. We had spent almost 5 weeks there getting organized, taking care of setting up residence in FL and other banking business. While in Dover we had a chance to visit with family and friends before leaving NH. We had lunch with Cousin Linda and her husband Tom and with Ma Tante Syl and Peg last Thursday. What a wonderful afternoon we had visiting, laughing and especially hearing the story of the picture we had of Linda when she was about 12. In the picture her bangs were very short, which she had cut herself. Ma Tante Syl and Peg told me I had Memere Fortin’s eyes – how cool is that!
Before leaving we secured and stowed items on board – have to remember that things shift in travel and we’ve already hit some pretty rough spots on the bridges on 495. Rene hooked up the car, remembering to put the vehicle in neutral. When all was ready Donna took pictures of the rig and us, including Kirstie. We had a wonderful time at Rick & Donna’s. We walked St. Martin’s cemetery, almost daily, with Sue Bopp and her mom with Donna. We also got to see, almost daily, deer and even once her babies. There were also turkeys and a couple had chicks. What a nice spot they have. Thank you so much Rick and Donna for your hospitality. This also gave Donna and me a chance to spend time with each other, which was wonderful. She was very helpful in so many ways and Rene and I really appreciate being able to “camp” on their land.
Massachusetts roads are horrible – I’ll sign off for now.