January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Flying the "Friendly" skies of United - NO!

Hermosa,   SD

Here we are back at Heartland RV in Hermosa, SD after two very trying days.

We left Philadelphia (almost) on schedule Tuesday afternoon.  We were expecting a 4 hour lay-over in Chicago O'Hare and then a flight to Rapid City.

As we were boarding the plane in Philadelphia we were asked if we would check our luggage without cost because they expected the flight to be full and not enough overhead storage.  We gave them our two small bags, keeping only my computer.

We arrived at O'Hare on Concourse B.  Our remaining flight was leaving from Concourse C, quite a walk through a tunnel and through the airport.  Of course both our incoming flight and outgoing were both at gates on the far ends of the concourses.  I would judge the distance between them to be a mile.

We were about an hour into our wait at O'Hare when I pulled up the Internet to find an email from United informing us our gate was changed.   No problem, the other gate was nearby in section F.  About a half hour later we were told to move to another gate in F.  This time down a flight of steps.  No sooner got there and told to move again, back up the steps  and over to section E.  

About 10 pm we heard the announcement the flight was cancelled and to come back to section F.  They were handing out phone numbers to call.  I called the number and found that office was closed, as did others.  A lady came around with another number.   I called and was told the next available flight would be 6:30 pm the next afternoon.  

We then waited in line to talk to an agent who confirmed what I was told on the phone.   The next flight they could get us on would be 20 hours later.   She gave us a discount coupon for a hotel and four $10. food vouchers.       We asked about our bags because of our medication.   We were told to go downstairs (a loooonnnngggggg way away) and see if we could retrieve them.   By this time Len could  barely walk with a sore foot.

We went to baggage claim area but were told no one was working back there and we could not get our luggage.  They gave us a number to Walgreens  and told us to call them.   WHAT?   We don't use Walgreen for our meds, just how were they supposed to help us at 11 at night.

I attempted to call the hotel and got no answer.  We could not find the free shuttle they said would be outside.  So, - spend the night in the airport.  With no luggage.   The baggage claim people gave us each a small bag with toiletries.

We found some bench seats and tried to get some sleep.  By this time it was midnight.  By one I knew I would get no sleep as the A/C was on full blast and I was freezing.  We walked around to try to find someone who could find me a blanket.  We saw three agents having their break.  These were REALLY sweet people.  The lady got me two of those skimpy blankets airlines USED to provide.

Then when they heard we were not scheduled to leave until 6 pm, they looked further on the computer.  They found a flight that was leaving Chicago at 8 am with a four hour layover in Denver before another flight into Rapid City.  We'll take it!  Our original flights were Phila to Chicago to Rapid City.   But to get out earlier from Chicago we would do another layover.

We went back to the benches and snoozed for a while until around 5.   I should say Len snoozed, I slept twice for about 30 minutes each time.  

After using the vouchers for breakfast and sandwiches we go, we were all set to leave at 8 am.   They boarded us around 9  and 1/2 hour later told us to get our bags and deplane.    The plane was having mechanical problems as were 2 others in the immediate area.   They talked about cancelling the flight but around 2 pm found another plane.   In the meantime, our gate was changed three more times.  We missed our connecting flight in Denver but when we got there they had us booked on another flight just 45 minutes later.

We really did not expect to find our luggage when we landed, but somehow there it was.  When I opened my email this morning, there were 14 messages from United.   I did not read them!  

Len's foot has been bothering him with occasional swelling.   After all this walking his big toe is so big and side of foot so swolen he can not get his boots on.  This morning we found an urgent care center.   As we thought it might be - gout.  

Yea, United, some friendly skies you fly there!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Time with family

Upper Deerfield Twp,  NJ

We arrived in NJ 13 days ago.  We fly back to SD this afternoon and continue our travels.

Twelve of those days were spent with the granddaughters.   While in NJ we also spent some time with our 24 year old grandson, Justin.

Charlotte and Abby always love Grandpop to read to them:

One VERY hot day was spent at Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA.

Back in MD Charlotte took a picture of her Mom and Dad.

At Aunt Terri's and Uncle Steve's in NJ there was a celebration of Abby's 3rd birthday and Charlotte's 6th.

Lots of fun times and memories.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wind and needles

Hermosa,   SD

Our touring around today first took us to:

On the drive through Wind Cave National Park we again saw plenty of bison going about their business of munching grass, sleeping or rolling.

We decided to take a tour of Wind Cave.  This cave was discovered in the late 1800's by two cowboys when one noticed a rather small hole in the ground and bent over to explore.  When he did the wind coming from the cave blew his hat off his head.

The tour we selected was for just an hour and included only about 150 stairs (not all at the one time, thanks for that).  

This cave has about 128 miles of explored passages.   Explorers work there almost around the clock.  It is expected there are over 400 miles of open passage yet to be explored.

As the outside temperature was hovering around 92, the cave temperature of 53 was most welcome.

We continued of Route 385 N passing Crazy Horse Memorial.   We plan to visit there when we return from our visit back east.   From the road it did not look any different than it did when we saw it in 2001.

We drove into the town of Custer for some lunch, stopped in Hill City to purchase a gift for our grandson and then entered Custer State Park from a different entry that we had not driven before.

This took us on the Needles Highway.  WHAT A DRIVE.   Hairpin curves, sharp turns, narrow roads and three tunnels.

The following was the most difficult tunnel.  It is 8'4" across.   Our Ford dually is 8', giving us just 4 inches to maneuver.   Our side mirrors are power and Len pulled them in as far as they are able to go without actually folding them in.  It might have been a good idea to fold them it as it would be two less areas where he had to keep checking out.

As we entered the tunnel:

In the tunnel:

We saw several tour buses on this route.  We were told they often scrape their sides and tops.

Not sure where we were in tighter quarters, the cave or the tunnels.

I am thinking there might be two reasons why it's called Needles.  Driving this road is like threading a needle.

And the large tall spirals that are along the route.

Tomorrow we head out for 13 days going back to MD and NJ to visit family.   Got get packed and ready to be at the airport by 9:30.  It's only 20 miles from here or so.

WARNING..  WARNING... WARNING... the next several blogs will be full of pictures of our grand kids!  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Four famous faces

Hermosa,  SD

Do you know recognize these four famous people?

That's right!  It is Paul and Marsha www.wheresweaver.blogspot.com and Phyllis and Leonard.

Oh, you thought I meant these faces????

They are pretty famous too.     We met Marsha and Paul last night at Mt. Rushmore to see the lighting of the monument and the patriotic program which preceded it.

Again, another nice couple.  But of course!  They are full time Rvers after all.

Then this morning we packed a lunch and drove over to

We must have put on well over 200 miles today driving to and from the Badlands and the various loops and gravel roads.

We saw some bison and loads of Pronghorn antelopes.  But also today we came upon a few Bighorn Sheep.   As we sat and watched, this one walked right up to the road next to us.  It looked like they were all tagged around the neck.

The views were majestic.

Eventually we got hungry and decided it was time to find a spot for a picnic.  Then it hit me!   I brought bottled water, I brought ice tea, I brought bananas, I brought brownies, I brought mayo, I brought lettuce, I brought tomato, I brought cheese, I brought ham.  I DID NOT BRING BREAD!  

So, we took a side trip into the town of Wall.   Oh yea, that Wall.  The Wall of the famous Wall Drugs

We had lunch of burgers at a cafe across from Wall Drug then spent about a half hour walking around some of the stores in the complex.   We had been here about 11 years ago.  Len had said he didn't remember Wall Drug but once we got inside and he saw the courtyard inside (tacky, tacky, tacky), he remembered.

After lunch we continued on our drive through the loop and on back to Hermosa where we are just taking it easy.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Do you know these people?

Hermosa,   SD

Last night we met a blogging couple.   That, and a recent post from Judy of Judy and Emma, got me to thinking.   Just how many RV bloggers have we met.

The first couple we met were Speedy and Sherri from the blog Speedhitch.  They were in Louisiana and I emailed them to meet for dinner.  This is about a year and a half before we took off.  They were a great couple who provided us lots of support and info.

The next Thanksgiving we were visiting Len's son and family in Alabama and realized another blogging couple were in the area.   We made contact and met them at the local Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving Friday for lunch.    Then just this past February we were volunteering in Moss Point, MS and when we got back to the rig one afternoon - there they were waiting for us!   They were volunteering in a nearby town and that morning read my blog so came to surprise us.    We were thrilled to see Allan and Jeanne again.  www.aljewebster.blogspot.com

While attempting to lose some weight I joined Weight Watchers online and found there was a forum for RVers.   On there I "met" Ellie.   We got to meet Ellie and her Hubby Jim while at the Escapees Alabama campground back in January.

Also while we were at the Escapees Park I got to talk to Judy  who with her hubby Darrel had a blog I used to follow and Linda Payne who with her hubby Norm I also used to follow.   These were before we hit the road and their blogs helped me in the process.

Another blogger I met on the Weight Watchers site was Peggy www.koehlerskaravan.blogspot.com
We met up with Peggy and David when we were in western Pa last fall.   I was sure I had a picture but I can't find it in my files.

Last year when we were in Benson, AZ for a month I read that Ali and Ron would be driving the Interstate near where we were.   We  arranged to meet for breakfast.

We first met this couple at Raccoon Valley in TN.   EVERYONE knows who they are.

Sure - it's Nick and Terry Russell   www.gypsyjournalrv.com     We attended their Yuma, AZ rally in 2011.  When we were at the Summerdale Escapees park earlier this year, they stopped on their way through the area.  Always a treat to see them again.

Last May we spend some time driveway camping at the home of Sam and Donna www.5thwheelvagabonds.blogspot.com  While there they were great hosts with morning coffee, breakfast and later in the day tour guides.

We will meet up with them again at the Escapade in MO in September.  

Last July we were camping at a State Park in Pa.  Lauri and George www.owensontheroad.blogspot.com    drove a couple of hours down for a visit.  They are almost on the road.  Since we saw them, they bought their rig - a Montana fiver - and are gearing up to head out without a few short months.   Here they are:

After we left PA, we headed to NY state where we met up with Jessica and Harry  www.rikerrvdays.blogspot.com   They took us on a tour of NY state capital Albany and then we enjoyed a dinner together.   Jessica and Harry are on the final countdown to hitting the road also.

After visiting other friends on Lake Champlain we headed to a NOMADS project in RI.  As we then were returning to southern New Jersey, we made plans to visit Betty and Dave Barnes www.phoenixonceagain.blogspot.com who are gate guarding in NW New Jersey.  On the way there we blew out two tires on the fiver with 3 hours.  Luckily the last one was just 52 miles from them and we borrowed their spare to get us off the Interstate until two days later we bought new tires.   Betty and Dave:

Early this year we were working a NOMADS project in Moss Point, MS.  Judy www.travels-with-emma.blogspot.com  was working nearby at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR.   She generously volunteered to take our whole group on the tour of the refuge.   I'm the tall grey haired lady.  Judy is the short grey haired lady.

A few months later we were volunteering in Austin, TX.  Carol www.weremovingon.blogspot.com
and Kevin were in the area.  We met for BBQ.   Then just last month we were in ND not far from where they were work camping.  We met up again.

A few days ago I got an email from the above mentioned Donna W.  Never to miss anything, Donna  noticed that Dee and Jim www.tumbleweed-jimdee.blogspot.com and we were staying in the same RV park.   However, we had just pulled out that morning.  As we are less than 25 miles down the road at another park we connected and met yesterday.  Imagine that!  For 3 days we were actually right next to each other.

I think these are all the RV bloggers we've had the good fortune to meet.    I do hope I've forgotten no one and one day hope to meet many more of you.

So, back to my original question .... Do you know these people?

OOPS!  Add on, add on, add on.   I just remembered Colleen and Jerry Elkins from down in Texas.  Sorry guys!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My, what big teeth you have...

Hermosa,  SD

We left Black Hawk yesterday morning and drove the 28 miles to Heartland RV Park in Hermosa, close to Custer State Park.

This morning we headed over to the park.  As we will be here for a month (except for a trip back east for a spell to see the grand daughters)  we bought the annual pass for $28.00.

Today we drove just one loop - the Wildlife Loop.    And wildlife we saw.

A herd of Buffalo

Lots and lots of Pronghorn antelope.

At a visitor center we saw this young family of barn swallows with Mama flying in and out.  They look old enough to leave the nest soon.

We saw White Tail deer but no pictures.

Our favorite is always the "wild" burros.    Seems many years ago the park had a herd of burros for visitors to ride.   When the program was stopped, the burros were let loose in the park.  

A cute young'um:

Of course we came prepared with crackers and apples.    These two were walking down the road when we pulled over.

When they heard me open the cracker package they came a running.

This guy decided he wanted one also.  I love his ears!

So I fed him a peanut butter crackers.  One was not enough as indicated by the view I got as he stuck his head in my window.

After the feeding of the burros, we decided it was time for a human lunch.  We stopped at one of the lodges where I had buffalo meatloaf with mashed potatoes and cowboy beans and cornbread.  Len had the buffalo rib eye steak, pan potatoes, cornbread and cowboy beans.  We both had a cup of southwest potato soup.  Not a cheap lunch but when in the area - gotta have buffalo!

You can bet we will be spending lots of time over in Custer State Park over the next weeks.

Now this is a hoot!     My friend Donna, wife of Sam at the Weeb Ranch blog from Missouri, emailled me that Jim and Dee of www.tumbleweed-jimdee.blogspot.com  were also in the area.   Seems they were parked RIGHT NEXT TO US back in Black Hawk for 3 days.    We've connected and will get together tomorrow.  I've also sent an email to Paul and Marsha from wheresweaver who are also in the area as I saw by their most recent blog.   Would love to meet them also.

Small world!!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Liked this town more but camera issues.

Black Hawk, SD

Still feeling a great disappointment in Deadwood, we took a ride yesterday.   Our route took us pass Pactola Reservoir and this beautiful lake.

There was a visitor center that we stopped to explore.   Then we drove into the camping area.  The sites are primitive with no hook-ups but plenty large enough for even the biggest rigs.  I wanted to take pictures.

 Having just taken the above picture without an issue, I have no idea what happened. Looking into the viewing screen one half is black, the other white and black stripes.   I've turned in on and off but to no avail.

From there we continued on until we came to the small town of Hill City.   Clearly this small town is a tourist stop being close to Crazy Horse, etc.     By now it was lunch time.

 I wondered if I could still take pictures even without knowing if I was pointing the camera at what I wanted.  This was my first attempt.

Almost got it!

After lunch at the cafe we walked the town.   Lots of small eateries and shops.

A shot down the street, can't see much more than cycles and store fronts.

There was a 1880 train station in the town with fascinating old trains and one that took excursions 4 times a day.   I took several pictures and either they were completely out of focus or all that was seen were tree tops.

In front of one shop were there statutes made from scrap metal, etc.

 I cut off the asses ass.   Here is another attempt:

Okay, so I cut off his feet.

The final leg of our journey took us up into the mountains on a gravel road through beautiful rolling hills with majestic mountains in the background.  (No pictures taken).

When we got back to the rig, I pulled out an identical camera to the one that just let me down.  I had purchased this second camera last Spring when I thought I had lost the original one.   I charged it and will see what luck I have with it.

  They are made by Kodak.  I am wondering why ever did Kodak go bankrupt?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Deadwood Disappointment

Black Hawk,   SD

About 11 years ago we flew into this area of SD and visited sites that we are once again visiting.   At that time we stayed at a B & B right outside of

We liked Deadwood.   Even with the small casinos that had recently popped up and tons of touristy gift shops, etc, it still had a quaint feeling.    Not so today.   We could hardly wait to "get out of town".    There were still some of the old buildings intermingled in with the new.

Even parking garages have sprung up where horses were probably once stabled.

The town is now all about hotels and casinos.    It is sure not the Deadwood I remember from only a few years back.  

We stopped only long enough to have lunch at the Tin Lizzy casino as we saw advertisements for a $3.99 senior buffet.  It turned out it was just soup and salad and you needed a players card for the $3.99 deal.   I got the soup and salad for $4.99 and Leonard choose their $4.99 daily special - 4 large fried shrimp, baked potato, carrots and Texas toast.  Coffee or tea came with the meals.   At $4.99 not a bad deal.

We found the B & B we stayed at about 3 miles from town.   Even they have expanded.   There where a horse pasture was, instead this

We really liked the hosts but knew they sold the facilty a few years back.   It would have been nice to have seen them again.

Near Deadwood is the town of

They were having a Camaro rally.  We walked around for a bit and saw a few fine looking cars. These people really like their Chevy's.

We drove through Spearfish Canyon, always a beautful drive.

We went to nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base and went through their Air Force Museum

We got there early as we knew the heat was going to be unforgiving.   We looked at their outside display first.

Then went inside

As far as Military Museums, this is a very small one but worth the stop.   And the cost is right!  Free less you take the van tour which we declined this time.

Most of you are suffering under extreme heat as we are.   Keep hydrated and take it easy!