Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 4th to 20th

September 4th - Max and Robert thought they could sleep in this morning but we get them up, time to check out the largest shopping centre between Denver and Minneapolis. First stop I-Hop for breakfast, then to the mall! Target, Macy's and a few in between, even found a Starbucks. Also decide to take in a movie, "Switch" with Jennifer Anniston. Just an ordinary day! Was fun, bought lots of goodies.

September 5th - Heading for Rapid City or as far as we can get today. Drive through a big black cloud but no rain, rolling hills beautiful country. Stop at the Missouri River and take some photos. Beautiful wide river valley. Decide to take the 35 mile drive through the Badlands that ends in Wall, South Dakota. Must see Wall Drug Store after passing all their signs and billboards for two days. $15 to drive through the Badlands but it is worth it. It is hot and sunny and the landscape is like a mini grand canyon. Beautiful colours, amazing. Find an RV Park in Wall and get settled, time for Pina Coladas then walk into town, do the drug store all 7500 sq ft of it, has everything! Over to the Cactus Cafe for a Buffalo Burger! Good!

September 6th - About 1:30 am it started to blow, the rv is rockin' then it starts to rain! Not a very nice morning but the sun is supposed to come out this afternoon but will be windy until tonight. We're away by 10:00 and drive on through Rapid City, bronze statues on every corner uptown, I'll have to google that! Arrive Keystone and find an RV Park, it is their last day they are closing tomorrow! Nice spot in a valley so not so windy, but we are higher up and it is cool. Have some lunch then off to Mount Rushmore, take some of the circle route, part of Custer State Park $25 for that one! Narrow road through forest and great rock formations, lots of tunnels through the mountains not wide or high enough for an rv. Also pigtail bridges! very cool. Saw sheep, deer and buffalo and of course Mount Rushmore - my goodness what a set-up very different than when I was a kid and we stopped here! Oh $10 to park. Walked up to the view platform, great view, great sunshine and blue skys but the wind is freezing cold! Head back to Keystone to look around and have some dinner (bad real bad!)

September 7th - Sunny this morning, the wild turkey's are wandering through the park, they are a bit too big for Skipper. We are away to Cody or Sheridan, not sure which. Beautiful day, drive through Deadwood, Wild Bill Hickock's burial place, and on to Hwy 90. Lots of coal in Gillette, open pit mine, train loads of coal, a black smudge in an otherwise rolling landscape. At Buffalo we decide to take Hwy 16 over to Worland and then up to Cody. Off over the Bighorn Mtns, elevation 9666 ft. lots of signs along the way telling the type of rock and how many billion years old it is! Absolutely gorgeous, the west side of the Bighorns is very rugged and apparently contains lots of caves (maybe another time!). Arrive in Cody and park at the KOA, have a quick dinner then drive uptown to check things out, tomorrow Buffalo Bill's Museum.

September 8th - Sunny and warm, a beautiful day. Head uptown for breakfast then on to Buffalo Bill Historical Centre and Museum. (Buffalo Bill is an ancestor of Max and mine) We arrive at 10 am and the front parking lot is already packed with cars! Soon see why, this is an amazing place. There is a section on Buffalo Bill but there is also: a huge Plains Indian exhibit, the largest gun collection in the world, Western Art exhibit, and Yellowstone exhibit. We only have time for Buffalo Bill, Art and the guys do half of the gun exhibit while we girls go shopping in the gift shop. Back to the KOA and check out. Head for Yellowstone but on the way stop at the Buffalo Bill damn on the Shoshone River, there is a great story about this damn but no time to tell it here (google?). Another beautiful drive to Yellowstone but when we enter the Park it is obvious they've had fires, leaving the countryside very ugly! Drive around the south side of the lake to Old Faithful, set to blow in 15 minutes or so, we wait and are not disappointed. Do an abbreviated walk and see a couple of smaller geysers blow. Back to the visitor's centre then for dinner and watch Old Faithful blow again. Getting dark as we leave and when we arrive at Madison Camp Ground we find that it is full so we drive on in the dark to West Yellowstone in Montana finally ending up at another KOA, it's very late so off to bed. So much more here we could see but again no time.

September 9th - Cool and cloudy this morning stop in West Yellowstone for fuel and propane and we head north along the Gallatin River, narrow, winding road, lots of fly fisherman. Past Big Sky and see river rafting in the river! Haven't done that yet. At Helena we stop at Walmart for a few supplies and hit the Burger King for lunch, stop at Wolf Creek for fuel and follow along the Missouri for a few miles, this is absolutely the most beautiful area I've seen (I'll try and put a photo on). Come down on to the flat prairie and pass through Great Falls, push on to Shelby and stop at the Shelby City Park, excellent spot! Only $18.

September 10th - Sunny and cool, take Skippy for a walk and end up with good sticky mud on my shoes! Only 34 miles to the Canadian Border. Stop for fuel and the duty free store and pass through the border with no problem. On up to Drumheller by early afternoon. Get settled just past the museum and get a call from my sister-in-law (Lin) that my brother (Doug) will drive down tonight and join us for the weekend! Yippee (only wish Lin could come with him). Have dinner and Doug arrives around 11:00, sit up and visit till 12:30.

September 11th - Bacon and eggs for breakfast then head for the Tyrell Museum. Excellent display of Dinosaurs. Spend a few hours taking in all the excellent exhibits. Back to the rv park for the farmer's market and purchase some fresh veggies from the Hutterites. Have dinner in town.

September 12th - After pancakes say our goodbyes and Doug heads north while we head west. Run into some road construction before Beseker the roughest 10k of road yet! Past Airdrie and Cochrane and into the foothills, too bad it's cloudy and most of the mountains are covered again. More road construction in the park, they are doing a beautiful job, the animal overpasses are excellent! We are impressed. After Golden it starts to rain, the traffic heading east is bumper to bumper! This is the Trans Canada Hwy and it is the worst piece we've seen in all our travels! Reach Canyon Hot Springs just after 5:00 and before 8 we are in the pools!

September 13th - Cloudy but some sun peeking out, very nice this morning. Stop in Vernon at the Swan Lake Fruit stand to have a look around, buy a few goodies. Stop in Oyama at Okanagan Sausage for some Kolbasa. Arrive at Max and Robert's around 2:00, the trip is over for them, we still have a few miles to go!

September 14th to 20th - Spent in Kelowna, visiting Jenny, Trevor and Caden, Mom and Steven and Dallace. Celebrate Trevor's birthday and find out I have an ear infection! On Sunday stop in Keremeos to visit friends, Doug and Sandy, catch the 5:20 ferry on Monday and are home after 7. The trip is over and I have to say I am sad!

Friday, September 3, 2010

August 28th to September 3rd

August 28th - Sunny and warm and we are off to New York State. Takes forever to drive around Boston and then through Mass. Lots of trees, actually you don't see much else. Campgrounds are scarce in the Albany area so we hope for a Visitor's Centre but no luck we would have to drive into the downtown area, so there is one little tent on the map at Thompson Lake State Park just south of Albany, set our course and twist and turn until we find it tucked away! At first the attendent says they are full then she relents and gives us their overflow spots, not together, not even close but that's okay we only need a place to sleep and leave the rv's for tomorrow.

August 29th - Up at 6 am and drive into Albany, find the Amtrack Station and purchase our tickets to and from New York City. The train leaves at 8:05 and arrives in NY at 10:30. The trip is along the Hudson River and it is a spectacular day! The river is flat calm, there are boats anchored out for the weekend I guess, tugs and barges moving along, and lots of birds! Herons, egrets, hawks, osprey! The time passes quickly and then we are at Penn Station. Haven't had breakfast yet and the first thing we see (in the station) is a Tim Horton's! Excellent, coffee and a breakfast sandwich and we are ready to tackle the city. Walk over to the Empire State Bldg, and two hours later and $20 each we are back on solid ground. Seemed to take forever but I guess we are lucky from looking at all the stanchions placed around this could take all day! The view was awesome not too much haze in the air. Walk down Broadway to Times Square then on to Central Park where I just have to purchase a bottle of water and sit in the shade! It must be 100 degrees. Walk along to 5th Avenue and visit F.A.O. Schwartz (toy store) then just walk down 5th Avenue for a few blocks reading the signs, Versace, Hermes, Gucci you know the ones. Stop at Rockerfeller Centre then time to have an early dinner and catch the train home. Of course we did some shopping, touristy stuff, T-shirts and hats etc. The best are our NewYork Starbucks Mugs! :o) Catch the train at 7:15 and are back in Albany by 9:30ish.

August 30th - Away by 10:30 and it is another warm one. Love the heat but hate the humidity! Heading for Evangola State Park on Lake Erie. Travel through Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, more trees! The Park is okay, sits up on a bluff overlooking the Lake so if you want to swim you have to drive back over to the picnic area, we are too lazy. Have our dinner and listen to the ciccadas (sp?) very noisy. More tolls today, don't think I mentioned that earlier but all of these roads are toll, about $35 so far.

August 31st - Hot again, stop at a farmer's market for some fruit and vegetables. Also saw quite a few vineyards today. Pass through Pennsylvania into Ohio. Past Cleveland and Toledo then on to a little town called Wauseon to do some grocery shopping, our cupboards are bare. On to Harrison Lake State Park, beautiful spot! but at night the bugs really come out!

September 1st - Warm this morning but clouding up as we approach Chicago. We've passed through Ohio, Indiana and into Illinois. Had a few sprinkles, found Chicago Starbucks Mugs at a gas stop. Driving through the outskirts of Chicago it's like a parking lot for semis! Yikes we feel insignificant! Gain another hour! Only two hours behind home. Lots of corn and soybeans growing here. Our next stop Johnson Sauk Trail State Park, this one is really beautiful, the trees are awesome and the kitties like it! We are parked off by ourselves and it is so warm out, excellent.

September 2nd - Rained in the night so drippy this morning but the sun is peeking out. Went for a walk, saw another Cardinal, bluejays and a Bluebird!! Got some photos but not the greatest! Maurice changes the CB radio as the new one crapped out yesterday, the old one goes back in. He notices that we have no gauges on the dash, nothing is working and the alternator doesn't seem to be working! Oh no not again! So the little generator goes back into the truck box, hooked up to the battery so we can make it to the next little town about 6 miles down the road. Kewanee! They are setting up for "Hog Days" we'll have to miss it I hope! Find the Ford dealer and they take the truck right in, $177 later and we are on the road by 2:30. Replace the shifter, a wire shorted out and blew a fuse. It is really hot again, had to plug the 5th in at the garage to keep the kitties cool. We saw two huge praying mantis while we were hanging around the garage, amazing creatures. Cross over the Mississippi River and then drive through a great black storm cloud just west of Iowa City. Rain and wind! but doesn't last too long, we arrive at Rock Creek State Park, sun is out again but it has cooled off only 18 degrees. Find out that Wilson State Park on the Missouris is flooded out so will have to make alternate plans for tomorrow.

September 3rd - Today! Sunny and cool this morning, very windy and gets more windy as the day goes on. Bucking a headwind pretty much all day. Past Omaha and north until we leave Iowa and pass into South Dakota. More corn and soybeans but very hilly and pretty. Arrive Sioux Falls and head for Big Sioux State Rec area, only thing is the road is closed and the gps has just crashed so we pull over to do some manual calculations, then a very kind resident drives up and offers to lead us to the park, when we get there of course they are full (long weekend) so the kind resident offers to lead us to another park, we do get in their overflow. Anyways we have a new aquaintance who also travels south in winter, to Arizona/Texas. Might meet up somewhere along the way! Get settled then into town for dinner and to do the laundry! A long day! Oh and we finally have INTERNET! State Parks do not offer that service!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August 24th to 27th

Aug 24th - sunny this morning and our first stop is the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill, N.S. An excellent display of her life and career. On into New Brunswick. I just want to go on the record as saying New Brunswick has the worst roads in the country!! Stop in Moncton, the guys have to check out Magnetic Hill. Well for $5 I don't know... On to Hopewell Rocks and check into an RV Park. Purchase a pass to walk around the rocks another $7 per person and when we get there they are closed so have to park on the road with a hundred other people, and walk two miles to get there!!! Well it is cool and was worth it to get Bay of Fundy mud on my toes! Tides here are pretty amazing.

Aug 25th - Off to Cape Rage, sounds good hey! Quite the road but we get the big rig up there and into the parking lot, oh another $4 each to get out and enjoy the view and check out the fossil beach. Saw a procupine on the road, they are slow! Watched the tide roaring into the channels, quite a change from when we went in to Cape Rage to when we came out. On to Alma, bought some more lobster, then into Fundy National Park, stay at the first campground, very nice not very busy. Good spot to take Skippy for walks. (except for dogs!)

Aug 26th - Rained in the night so foggy and misty this morning. Drive through the fog to Saint John big Carnival Cruise Ship in the harbour. On to New River Provincial Park. After lunch take the hike out on the point and along the beaches. Awesome rocks! Fill our pockets again. Great sandy beach. Sun finally comes out again so we can have dinner outside.

Aug 27th - Sunny this morning and we are off for the US border. Stop on the Canadian side just to ask about all the stuff we have purchased, gifts, wine etc. Beautiful new building just finished last November! Excellent staff member, very nice, very helpful. Away we go to the US side. There of course, "Please stay in your vehicle, give us the keys, do you have any pets in there?" Well I told them we had two cats, and there were three of them so how Skippy got out!!! But Max and Robert were behind us and she saw the guys go in and then the door opened and Skippy came out! Three lanes of traffic, plus the one coming into Canada! and Skippy on the loose. Well bless their hearts they were concerned, and they stopped all traffic until Skip headed into the bush across the road, three guys came after me and him but stopped in the field and had a smoke! I finally caught Skip and got him back in the RV, my legs were shaking and my heart was pumping! That was a scare!! I don't think our fifth got inspected at all, I don't even think they opened the fridge door! On through Maine, N.H. and into Ma. No room in the State Park at Salisbury Beach so into an RV Park $60!!! wow the most expensive we've had. Take a drive through Ipswich and Essex as that's where our forefathers came to America. John Cogswell and Phillip and Mary Code were nieghbours here back in the 1700's I think it was. Found some Cogswell streets. Dark when we head back so stop for dinner then home, all tired we have gained an hour and a half so I guess it's later than we think!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 16th to 23rd

Aug 16 - Raining this morning but we are on our way to Bonavista. Carmine and Gary call they are in Twillingate and heading for Fogo Island. As we travel inland the sun comes out and it turns warm again. Drive through Trinity, beautiful little fishing village, old, named from a Portuguese explorer who sailed into the harbour in 1501. Travel on to Elliston (terrible road!) and park at the Municipal Park $10 for water and power!! Linda and David are here! They tell us where we can go to see Puffins, just up the road! Everyone comes over to our place after dinner and we all have a good visit. Oh yeah we saw another moose today.

Aug 17 - Sunny and cool this morning but we are excited about Puffins! We walk up the road about a kilometer and out to the cliff and sit on the rocks and watch Puffins! Hundreds of them couldn't get a better view or better photos! Also saw guillemonts. After we are puffined out we head into Bonavista, first stop Dungeon Prov. Park, great arches in the rock where the surf comes in. There is a herd of goats here, they are looking for handouts but when they see we have nothing they are not interested in us. Then on to the point where John Chabot has a statue, supposedly he landed here in 1497. There are sheep, horses and cattle out here. On into town, lots of old fish drying racks still standing. Had lunch, I had Fisherman's Brewis (another one for you Heather!) I'm not sure this was as well made as it could have been but it was okay. Did a little shopping then back to the rigs and we're away. Next stop Terra Nova National Park. Luckily for us the road is rough and slow going as two moose step out on the road in front of us. Gave us a bit of a start! Terra Nova is beautiful park and we wish we had more time to explore it.

Aug 18 - Nice morning, the bunnies and squirrels are driving poor Skipper crazy! We're off by 10:00 heading for Dildo Run Provincial Park where we will meet Gary and Carmine. Some rain along the way but sunny and warm when we reach the park. Leave a note for G&C as they are off exploring. Have some R&R then do laundry, then decide to hike 4.4 k round trip out to Black Point. The trail is good but lots of roots and it's 24 degrees so we work up a sweat. Great view! After dinner we go over and visit with G&C tomorrow they will head east and we are heading west.

Aug 19 - Sunny morning and we are off to Twillingate. Drive out to the lighthouse and hike one of the trails - HOT - beautiful views and lots of wild blueberries. Oh I forgot to mention that they have a berry called bakeapple - found a few - not bad. Back into town to the Winery (Auk) and of course have to purchase a couple of bottles although it really isn't the greatest wine. Fish and chips for lunch then over to Foodland to look for Peanut Butter Kisses, I've never seen them anywhere but here in Nfld. so I stock up on a few bags. On our way back to the Park we do a few drive arounds one out to Kettle Cove - and there low and behold are fields full of Pitcher Plants!! I have been on the lookout for these, Nfld/Labrador's Provincial flower and they are amazing! I hike out into the moss/bog and snap a few photos, I am truely happy now! Out to Herring Neck and do another hike to a view point, we can see the fog rolling in, awesome. More wild blueberries. Stop at a Lobster pool and purchase 4 lobster for dinner. I guess I should tell you how Dildo Run got it's name - well years ago before there was the modern day dildo - dildo ment safe place, and the bay here was a safe run for the fisherman coming in from bad weather. Ummm is there any connection?

Aug 20 - Cloudy this morning and we are off to Springdale and another Municipal Park. Short trip. After lunch we drive out to King's Cove, there's a neat pottery store so we do some shopping then on to Coffee Cove where the ferry goes out to Little Bay Islands. The countryside here is different, the trees are taller and more deciduous. Saw a pair of grey jays in the campground.

Aug 21 - Cool and wet this morning. We are off to Stephenville. One stop at Cornerbrook for some Pelee Island Shiraz. Stephenville is quite nice and the drive out to Piccadilly Regional Park is awesome - huge cliffs falling into the ocean. The sun is trying to shine and it has warmed a little. The park is great and we get to park right along the beach! beautiful! Hike out to Blind Bird Point and have our dinner outside tonight. One thing about Nfld is there are no bugs! Sounds strange doesn't it but we have not been bothered by black flies or mosquitos! Also it seems like Nfld has just discovered vinyl siding, 80% of the houses have new vinyl siding so everything looks spiffy right now. It's funny because Nova Scotia is tearing all their vinyl siding off back to the original wood!

Aug 22 - Sun is trying to shine for Maurice's birthday! Bacon and eggs for breakfast then have our last walk on the beach. Away to J.T. Cheeseman Prov. Park 10k from Port aux Basque. Arrive to discover that we left our RV keys in the door and luckily for us they are still there!!!
Ride our bikes out to the beach (beautiful sandy) but it is very windy and there are some big black clouds threatening so we head back. I get waylaid as I see more pitcher plants in the fields so more photos. We just make it back before the rain hits. Change our clothes then head into town for a birthday dinner. Roast Turkey - well it was good! Tomorrow is our big ferry ride!

Aug 23 - Couldn't get through to the ferry by phone so don't know if they are on time or not. We are up at 6:00 and away by 6:45. Arrive at the ferry terminal at 7 and find out we will be one hour late. We will be leaving at 9:45 and we are on the Caribou. The crossing is excellent, flat but some fog so that slows us down but somehow we make up the time and arrive 3:45 Nfld time. This trip was more comfortable, less people more room and cheaper food! We make it to Antigonish and park at Wal Mart. Have dinner at McDonald's! It was good!! Do some shopping and too bed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Aug 11 to 15

Aug 11, off to L'anse aux Meadows, site of Lief Erickson's discovery in about the year 1000. Chilly today 13 degrees but at least it's not raining. Very interesting site, sits on what looks to us like tundra, peat, scrub shrubs, not very inviting but I guess it was easy to find when they made their trips. The sod buildings are well done and the depressions left are amazing! Back to the campground and away. We are heading back to Gros Morne then on to St. John's and will take our time working our way back. Nfld looks small on a map but everywhere you go is one way in and the same way back, so double the mileage. The trip back down is not very nice, lots of rain, but on the other hand it is not foggy so we can at least see what we missed coming up, great shoreline! Around Port au Choix the clouds start to breakup and the sun comes out on the water, very beautiful, it's calm flat water, just what I like! Arrive Cow Head in beautiful sunshine and stay at the Sea Breeze RV Park so that we can get wifi. Small park around 10 spaces all across the road from the bay. We saw saw five moose today.

Aug 12, cool, calm and sunny this morning. Skippy and I take a long walk, the air is so fresh and clean, invigorating! Off we go, will do one stop on the way to St. John's so we have a long day today. When you don't leave until 10:30 or so and stop at 3:00ish it's a short day to cover 300 k. Anyways our destination is Notre Dam Prov Park 389 k. The road (TCHwy) is pretty good, one of the best we've travelled. The landscape is grand and we have a good trip. The park is big and very nice, Skippy and I wander about the edge of the bush. Meteor showers tonight.

Aug 13, make reservations for Pippy Park in St. John's and we're off. Saw a black bear in Terra Nova National Park, would be nice to explore this park a bit but no time this time. Lovely spot though. Just west of Clarenville my phone starts to beep, how exciting! Pass by "Come by Chance" and "Little Heart's Desire" great names. Arrive Pippy Park at 3:00 and get setup in the overflow area for tonight, tomorrow we'll get pull through sites. Unhook the truck and head to the waterfront. Walk about Water Street, take photos and do some shopping. The harbour is quite small to what I had pictured, and a very narrow entrance, I guess you'd say a perfect harbour! Have dinner at Bianca's excellent!!!!

Aug 14, all out this morning enjoying the sunshine, even Missy who decides when we're not looking to go for a walk about. Takes the five (Skippy too) of us, half an hour to find her sitting under a tree watching us! Just like her. The guys drive down to the office and get our new spots which are not empty yet so we decide to head for Signal Hill and Cape Spear. Signal Hill is awesome for the view and how many times the English and French fought over it. Great spot! Oh yes Marconi too for all of you historians. Then off to Cape Spear to see the most eastern tip of Canada. Great views again and see more whales off shore. We could sit up here all day but Robert has an appointment for an oil change on the motorhome so we have to head back. We go and get settled while M&R go to the appointment. this is a chance for me to get some photos on my blog and facebook and write some postcards. So just hang out until 7ish then off to the mall for a movie. Saw "Inception" with Leonardo Di Caprio.

Aug 15, Our last day here so away to Witless Bay. Take a tour boat out of Bay Bulls. It is windy, cool and lumpy!! But the sun is shining. We see several humpback whales right alongside the boat. The boat just travels along beside them at their speed (couldn't do that at home) and of course who cares if we are wallowing in the trough of the swells, there are whales to see!! Then off to one of the Islands in the Ecological Reserve to see Puffins. There are thousands of puffins, they are so cute!! An awesome day!! The trip back is pretty chilly but once we are back to shore the sunshine kicks in. Away we go to Water Street area again to wander about and have dinner, this time at Blue on Water, another excellent restaurant. All except Maurice have lobster! So good, we're going to miss it!! Hate to admit it but on the way home we make a stop at WalMart! got to buy a couple more movies to watch at night! Ha Ha some things never change!!