Category Archives: Trailer

Dragon Boats on the Bay

It’s already time to turn another page on the calendar. Goodbye, September. Hello, October. We’ve been in San Diego for a week and it went by fast. We had some things to take care of – Donna and I both had dental appointments on Wednesday, We got an hour and a half of pickleball in on Thursday at the Pacific Beach Recreation Center. I had to leave by 11:30am because I had scheduled an appointment to have an estimate for new slide toppers at noon.

Last year I wanted to replace the slide topper on one of our bedroom slides. It was showing wear and tear and I had made a repair to a small hole in it. I had a quote from Shade Pro while we were here, but I didn’t realize how reasonable their price was. The slide topper is a fabric covering on a roller that attaches to the outside of the coach and extends over the slide-out when it is put out. It keeps debris and rain water from collecting on the top of the room slide. I didn’t have the topper replaced last year.

When we were in Mesa, Arizona, I had two guys give me quotes on the replacement. That’s when I realized I  should have had done it here in San Diego. One of the guys in Mesa couldn’t get the proper fabric for it. The other guy said he would have to order the fabric from Dometic and it would be over $400 for parts plus another $200 or so in labor. Shade Pro has a shop here in San Diego – Spring Valley actually – where they custom-make the fabric for toppers and awnings. They offer both high-quality acrylic material in a variety of colors or lower cost vinyl toppers. They quoted $189 for materials for high-quality acrylic fabric matching the color of our current toppers.

When Rich from Shade Pro came out on Thursday, I told him I wanted a quote to replace all three slide toppers. The living room slide is 16-feet long and that topper was more expensive. The price quoted was $189 for materials for each bedroom slide and $239 for the living room slide. Installation for all three was $240. Total price for all three – $857 plus tax. Way better than spending about $600 for one! I told Rich I wanted to go for it. He asked, “Will you be here tomorrow?” I said yes and he said he could be back between 11am and 1pm to do the work. I was surprised they would have the toppers made up that fast. He said he would call the order in and the shop would have the fabric ready to go by the morning.

Over the summer, we encountered numerous thunderstorms including high winds at times. A tear started in the bedroom slide topper and somewhere in Colorado it shredded. The other two toppers were beginning to rip at the seam where they join the metal casing on the coach.

Torn bedroom slide topper – looks like a bird added insult to injury

Donna had a lunch appointment in Old Town on Friday and I stayed home for the installation of the toppers. Rich showed up a little past noon and went to work. The large living room slide was stubborn and he spent about an hour removing the old fabric and installing the new one. The smaller bedroom slides were easier and he spent about 20 minutes on each one.

New Shade Pro slide topper

I’m really happy with the results and would recommend Shade Pro if you’re in southern California. They have added service in Yuma, Tucson and Phoenix too, although it may take a day or two to get the fabric there.

My high school buddy Gary Stemple invited us to go for a boat ride on Saturday. He picked us up here at De Anza Cove around 2:30pm. He had a center console type fishing boat about 22 feet long from Freedom Boat Club. We cruised to the south side of the Hilton Hotel where an event was being held. It was the 9th annual dragon boat races at Tecolote Shores Park.

Dragon boat enthusiasts at Tecolote Shores

Dragon boats are canoe shaped vessels with dragon heads on the bow. They seat eight to a dozen or more paddlers, a tillerman and a coxswain that usually beats a drum for cadence. They were racing four boats at a time in various categories – women’s teams, men’s teams and mixed. It’s a real workout as they paddle furiously – especially with the windy conditions Saturday afternoon.

Dragon boats on the bay

We cruised over to the Freedom Boat Club at Dana Landing. They were hosting a party with food and drink on the grass. It was a fun afternoon. It made me think of something I read somewhere – The ocean is my potion, I’m getting my vitamin sea. We’re happy to be back in San Diego.

Sea Lion near Dana Landing

Donna’s sister Sheila picked her up Sunday morning. They took the Sea Eagle kayak to Shelter Island and paddled on San Diego Bay. When they returned in the afternoon, Donna put the Sea Eagle back in the trailer and retrieved our Weber Q grill. They hauled the grill to our site in Sheila’s SUV. That’s one hassle about Mission Bay RV Resort – we have to leave our trailer in the lot outside of the RV park and shuttle gear back and forth.

Donna roasted a turkey breast from Sprouts on the grill along with shishito peppers and delicata squash. The delicata squash has a thin skin that can be eaten – you don’t have to scoop the meat out of the skin.

Grilled turkey breast, shishito peppers and delicata squash

The weather has been a little unusual. The daily highs have been in the low to mid 70s and it only cools to the mid 60s at night. The humidity level is higher than usual – around 70%. I think this is an effect of Hurricane Rosa to the south. High surf is expected over the next couple of days. Yesterday the temperature hit 80 degrees and we should see upper 80s today with an overnight low of 70 degrees. We might need air conditioners today!

 

Million Dollar Highway

After our excursion to Black Canyon National Park, we were kicking back when I heard the sound of drums. Then I heard a bass picking up the beat, soon a few other instruments joined in. I walked across the Elks Lodge parking lot and saw a stage had been set up at the golf course across the street and a band was doing sound checks. Donna checked online and found a concert series sponsored by the city of Montrose with their last performance of the season scheduled for that evening – right across the street from the Elks Lodge! Two bands were scheduled to play and admittance was free.

First act onstage

We brought a blanket and sat on the grass. They had beer from a local brewery – Horsefly Brewing where we had lunch earlier – and a few food trucks. The first band was loud and played some original music and spacy covers of material that was almost unrecognizable. They were good – the lead guitarist seemed to be from the Frank Zappa school with chromatic scale solos hitting about a thousand beats per second. The second band also had original takes on covers that featured a reggae or ska beat. They had a horn section with a trombone, saxophone and trumpet. Good times.

Saturday morning we went into town for the farmers’ market. Donna wanted to stock up on veggies. I expected to find hot breakfast there, but there wasn’t any food service at 9am. I ended up walking to City Market for a plate of biscuits and gravy.

It was time to light the fires and kick the tires and we headed out shortly before 11am. Our route took us down US550 south. We wouldn’t leave this highway until we reached Durango. About 40 miles south of Montrose, we made a stop at Ouray. This small town is tucked in a narrow valley with towering mountains and canyon walls surrounding it. It sits at an elevation of about 7,800 feet above sea level. I found parking on the side of the road on the north end of town.

Parked in Ouray

It looks like we’re parked uphill – we were! Nothing is level in Ouray. We walked through town – uphill and checked out the shops. Crossing Main Street was also an uphill walk – the road crown is incredible. We popped into a shop along the way. Donna found a purse she couldn’t leave without and I bought a T-shirt.

Purple Peacock building in Ouray

US550 south of Ouray is known as the Million Dollar Highway. It’s a fairly challenging drive with steep grades, narrow lanes without shoulders and sharp curves and switchbacks. Speed advisories of 15mph on the switchbacks were the norm and we even saw one curve with a 10mph advisory. The speed limit is only 30mph for much of the way – it made me wonder why a slow vehicle turnout was necessary. We started with a steep climb out of Ouray and immediately passed through a tunnel – it was marked 13’10” clearance so we were okay.

13’10” clearance

Donna shot a few photos of her windshield view. I was concentrating on the road and didn’t get to see much of the views which she said were spectacular.

Fall colors

This high up in the mountains the aspen trees were already displaying fall colors.

Red Mountain – above the tree line

The first summit was the highest – Red Mountain Pass at 11,018 feet above sea level. From there we dropped into Silverton only to climb again to Molas Pass at 10,910 feet above sea level. After dropping down from Molas Pass we climbed again to Coal Bank Pass at 10,640 feet above sea level.

Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel

From there it was a downhill run into the Animas River Valley. We saw a runaway truck ramp and I commented on how it must be a heart-pounding moment when a driver decides to leave the highway and plow into a gravel trap.

A little while later, I thought I caught of whiff of something I didn’t like. I casually asked Donna to crack her window open. I smelled it again – hot brakes. I was perplexed. I hadn’t used the brake pedal all that much – I relied on the Jacobs Engineering Engine Compression brake most of the way. The Jake brake works well at controlling our downhill speed – I only used the service brakes for some of the sharper turns.

I slowly applied the brake pedal and my heart was in my throat as the pedal sunk to the floor, barely slowing us down. The brake fluid must have been boiling. There wasn’t any traffic to speak of, so I wasn’t too worried about having to make a sudden stop. But we were only about 10 miles from Durango and traffic would surely build and we would have to stop in town.

I still hadn’t said anything to Donna. I saw a slight uphill grade ahead with a wide shoulder. I slowed down with the Jake brake on high. I pulled off and pumped the brake pedal to build some pressure and got us stopped. Donna didn’t know what was up. I went outside and found the right front brake was overheating – the caliper must have stuck and been dragging. I told Donna what the issue was. I didn’t want to alarm her by telling her of the trouble before I got us stopped.

I let the brakes cool for a bit, then reversed and tried stopping. The brakes were fine. I had reversed to look for any sign of fluid leaking, but our spot was dry. We got back on the road. The brakes were back to normal and the caliper didn’t seem to be dragging. I’ll have to look into it further.

We’re at the La Plata County fairgrounds in Durango. The office is closed on the weekend but Donna made prior arrangements to reserve site 2. We maneuvered through the crowded parking lot without too much trouble and went past the rodeo arena, dropped the trailer and set up. We’ll pay up on Monday. The weather forecast calls for sunny days with highs in the low 80s and overnight lows in the high 40s. A passing shower is always possible around here, but no significant rain is in the forecast.

Speedco Not So Speedy

We extended our stay at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont, Colorado by two days – giving us a full week there. It wasn’t that we had any great plans, it was more a case of we needed time to plan. We had a look at route options, things to see and do and also find some opportunities to boondock along the way.

That’s one of the nice aspects of life on the road – you can adjust your variable expenses along the way. Our spring trek from Arizona across the country to Maine and back again to San Diego by the end of September means we’ve had higher than average fuel expenses. One way to offset that is to find free or nearly free campsites. Conversely, when we’re in San Diego we pay high campsite fees to be in the location we want to be in, but we’re stationary for a few months and don’t have fuel costs.

I mentioned Donna following the Bright Line Eating plan, so we didn’t go out to eat at all. The plan is working for her and I encourage her to stick with it. But, that doesn’t mean I’ll forgo some snacks or happy hour! Last week we stopped at a nearby taproom that was unique. I went there again Wednesday afternoon. It’s called Brewmented and it’s not your usual small craft brewery. Their core business is homebrew supply. They have everything you need to brew your own. They also serve beer they’ve made in small batches – they use a one-barrel system so they can only brew about 30 gallons per batch. They constantly rotate their beers so you never know what you might find on tap. Typically they have six to eight brews available on tap.

Donna’s eating plan doesn’t mean she can’t put tasty meals on the table. Tuesday she had the slow cooker going all day and made a pot of beef and bean chili. It was delicious.

Beef and bean chili

I made a second trip to the laundromat on Wednesday. We’ve been without a sewer hook-up since we left Sioux Falls, so we don’t use the clothes washer on board – it would use too much water and fill the gray tank. I know I’ve said it before – Donna says there’s nothing sexier than a man doing dishes. I wonder how she feels about a man doing the laundry. (Donna here: It’s even sexier!)

We had a plan when we pulled out on Thursday. First I stopped at the fairgrounds dump station and dumped and flushed out holding tanks. I had already filled our fresh water at our site. We drove to the Elks Lodge in Northglenn – a Denver suburb. We planned to drop the trailer there, then proceed to Speedco in Commerce City about 10 miles away. The Northglenn Elks Lodge has eight sites with water and electricity. I looked at it online and the satellite view looked good.

When we pulled in, it turned out to be not so good. The parking lot was packed – every space had a car in it. As we drove through, I noticed the windshields of all of the cars had writing on them. It appeared that the Elks Lodge lot was being used as an impound yard.When I got to the end of the lot, I had a problem. There was a tall, large-diameter metal pole on my right and I needed to make a sharp right turn to exit. The exit lane was narrow and had a cement barrier. There was no way I could make the turn without either hitting the pole with the trailer or hitting the barrier with the coach.

I had to reverse across the entire length of the lot between the rows of impounded cars, then I backed the trailer around a corner and had a straight shot back onto the street. Then I had another issue – the driveway sloped to the gutter and the trailer jack dragged as we crossed into the street. Grrr!

We continued down the road to Speedco. I dropped the trailer in their lot and we had the coach in the lube bay by 12:15pm. I needed to have it serviced. I was concerned about the condition of our motor oil. On long climbs where the oil temperature rises, we’ve been experiencing lower than usual oil pressure. I was thinking that the overheating problem we had in New York might have oxidized the oil and resulted in breakdown of the oil.

I’ve used Speedco since we bought our Alpine Coach. A few years ago, I could get the oil and filter changed, plus fuel filter and chassis lube for under $200. Then last year they raised their prices and it cost me about $250. Then Love’s Travel Center bought Speedco. This may have been a good acquisition for Love’s, but it’s not so good for customers. There were only three or four guys working in the lube area. All three bays had vehicles in them and there were at least four heavy duty trucks waiting to get in. No one touched our coach for the first twenty minutes. Then a guy in the pit below removed the oil drain plug and also took an oil sample – I’d ordered a used oil analysis. The the guy disappeared and no one touched the coach for next 20 or 30 minutes.

I couldn’t understand it. I talked to a trucker who told me he’s been getting his truck serviced here for years. He said it used to be great – good service and in and out quick. He said they had experienced crews manning each bay. When Love’s took over, they reduced employee benefits, took away accrued vacation time and reduced pay. Everyone quit. Now they have an inexperienced crew, low morale and no one is motivated. It took over two hours for them to change my oil and lube the chassis – usually about a 30- to 45-minute job. The cashier was a rude and surly woman. And the cost was $340! I think I’ll need to find an alternative in the future.

My used oil analysis confirmed my fears. Oxidation was high but a few of the other findings have me perplexed as they seem contradictory. I’ll have to study it a bit more before I can draw any conclusions.

It was close to 3pm by the time we got out of there. The trucker gave me a tip on the best route south out of the Denver area. We went east to I-225 and followed it south past Cherry Creek Reservoir where we picked up I-25. This cut out a lot of the city traffic, but we still had periods of stop-and-go. I-25 was no picnic at that time of day with unexplained slow downs.

We crossed Monument Hill at an elevation of 7,300 feet above sea level and dropped into Colorado Springs. We pulled into the Elks Lodge here around 4:30pm. We’re dry camped in their lot along with three or four other rigs. Their water and electric sites are all taken.

We met up with our friends Dave and Stilla Hobden. They’ve been here for the summer in their Alpine Coach. We got together for happy hour in the lodge. It turned into dinner, then after dinner drinks with cigars for Dave and me. It great to catch up with them. They’ll be here for a another month or so. We plan to stay over the weekend, then head out.

The forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies, warm today with the temperature reaching the low 80s – mid 70s for the rest of the weekend. We’re at an elevation of a little over 6,100 feet on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Weather here can change quickly and there’s always the chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

Deadwood, Spearfish and Lusk

I wrote my last post from the Elks Lodge in Rapid City on Thursday. That night, our friends Mark and Emily Fagan (RoadsLessTraveled) stopped by with their dog, Buddy. We met Mark and Emily five years ago when we were in our first year of full-timing. Since then, our paths have crossed several times and now they’re in Rapid City at the America’s Mailbox campground nearby. The last time we got together was in Mesa, Arizona last March.

Buddy the dog was uncomfortable with Ozark the cat. So we sat outside and talked for a couple of hours. It’s always great to meet up with friends on the road and catch up on things.

On Friday Donna and I had appointments at the driver’s licensing office nearby. We could’ve changed our information online by scanning a form they gave at our new mail service (Your Best Address), but if we wanted the correct address to appear on our actual license we had to go to the office. This entailed a new application and a $15 fee. I had just paid and renewed my license in June, but there wasn’t any way around it. We paid up and walked out with new driver’s licenses in about 10 minutes.

Saturday morning we heard a lot of activity early – before 7am. The Rapid City Elks Lodge is unique in that it has an 18-hole golf course on the property that’s open to the public. Their restaurant and bar is also open to the public. I haven’t been to any other Elks Lodge that allows the public to have access to the bar unless accompanied by a member in good standing. Anyway, it turned out there was golf tournament there Saturday morning. They were setting up and some foursomes had early tee times.

The parking lot was filling up. I went to our trailer and put traffic cones in the spaces in front of it – if someone parked in front of the trailer, we wouldn’t be able to hook up. We were packed up and hooked up the trailer with no problem by 11am.

We’ve been re-watching the HBO series, Deadwood. This series is set in the town of Deadwood, South Dakota in the 1870s. Some of the characters actually existed – Seth Bullock was the sheriff, Sol Star was his partner in a hardware store, Al Swearingen owned the Gem saloon and casino. But other than that, the account is fictional and greatly embellished. We enjoy watching it and are on the third and final season.

We decided it would be fun to spend a day in Deadwood. I found a likely boondocking spot on Google Earth about six miles from Deadwood outside the Black Hills National Forest on Rochford Road. It was about a 50-mile drive, mostly uphill. We found the spot and it was a huge gravel parking area that was fairly level at one end. No other vehicles were there and no signs were posted. We set up and prepared to get the Spyder out to head back into town. We were at an elevation near 6,000 feet above sea level – our GPS showed 5,965.

At the back of the trailer, I looked at the sky to the southeast. It looked ominous. I checked the Radar Express app and saw we were about to get hit with a thunderstorm. We didn’t unload the Spyder and went back inside instead. About 20 minutes later, the skies opened up and it poured rain. It rained off and on the rest of the afternoon with a few bouts of pea-sized hail. We managed to get outside for a couple of short walks, but it was raining too hard most of the time to do anything. So much for our tour of Deadwood.

On Sunday morning, it looked like wind and rain would continue. We decided to head over to Spearfish. Mark had told me about the Walmart there and said it was a great spot to dry camp overnight. We drove down through the scenic Spearfish Canyon. A marathon event was being held, but lucky for us the runners were in the opposite lane from us going downhill. We dropped about 2,000 feet of elevation and found the Walmart at an elevation of 3,900 feet above sea level. We shopped a bit and hung out while the clouds slowly cleared. About half a dozen RVs overnighted there.

We were in no hurry to leave, so on Sunday morning, we got the Spyder out – it was finally dry outside. We rode into the historic downtown area and parked. We stopped at the visitor center, then took a walk and had a look around. We were mostly reconnoitering for future reference – we think we would like to spend some time here next year.

Centered on Main Street is the Matthews Opera House and Arts Center. This building dates back to 1906. Currently the Opera House hosts live music of all genres, an art gallery and theater.

Matthews Opera House and Art Center

After walking around, we rode the Spyder to the D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. This hatchery was created in 1896 and is located on a beautiful park-like property. They had an underground fish viewing window in a pond where they keep adult fish for educational purposes. These were some of the largest trout I’ve ever seen at any hatchery. We were told some of the fish in the pond were 10 to 12 years old.

Fish viewing

The ponds and raceways are fed with fresh water from the Spearfish Creek which runs adjacent to the property. They had a fish car – a rail car that was used to transport fish across the country for broodstock and for stocking streams and lakes. They would load the car with large stainless steel milk jugs full of fingerlings in fresh water. The fish cars were in use until the late 1930s when trucks took over.

Fish car

We left Spearfish just before noon. Our route took us west into Wyoming on I-90 to Sundance where we left the Interstate and headed south on WY585 to US85. The road surface was smooth and traffic very light on this scenic byway. We drove through cattle ranch land and spotted dozens of antelope along the way. We pulled into the town of Lusk – population about 1,600 – around 3pm and found the Elks Lodge. We’re back up to 5,000 feet above sea level.

The Elks Lodge here is a brick building erected in 1910 that originally served as the high school. Their parking lot is fairly large and level and they welcome Elks members to dry camp. When we pulled in, I saw someone at the front door. I went over to ask about parking and he told me to pick anywhere I wanted. The lodge is only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday so we had the place to ourselves.

We got the coach and trailer lined up in a level spot and set up. Then we took a walk back into town and found the Stagecoach Museum. The Stagecoach Museum name is a bit of a misnomer as it contains much more than stage coaches. It is a collection of Old West and Wyoming memorabilia.

Much of the stage coach material revolves around the Cheyenne Black Hills Stage and Express Line owned by Russell Thorp. The stage ran a distance of 320 miles from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Deadwood, South Dakota. It started operating in 1876 and was owned by F. D. Yates. Later, Russell Thorp Sr. bought the line. It was interesting to read about the stage and I’ve included a photo with a letter describing the operation from Russell Thorp’s son – click to enlarge and read.

Cheyenne Black Hills stage coach

They had first class?

They also had some oddities on display. For example, fossil remains of a triceratops dinosaur found in Wyoming and a two-headed calf born in the area in 1942.

The wind picked up in the evening and we had gusts up to 30 mph overnight. Today is windy with thunderstorms moving in this afternoon. I have a theory that all of the smoke from the wildfires out west are collecting moisture in the particulates – like seeding clouds – and the result is higher than normal rainfall across the area. We’re going to move on to Cheyenne and hope it isn’t too windy or stormy.

 

 

 

90,000 Miles and Another Time Zone

I wrote my last post Tuesday morning. Then I walked to Hardee’s – about a block and a half away – for an order of biscuits and gravy. Before I knew it, the morning was getting away from me. Check-out time at Tower Campground is 11am and it was time for us to leave Sioux Falls. I had packed most of the things in the trailer the day before, but I still had a few things out. I also needed to dump and flush our holding tanks before I brought the slides in and the jacks up.

When we dropped the trailer in our site, I was able to back it in from the left and work it past a tree. Getting it out was going to be problematic. I had the trailer far enough back into the site that the wheels were well past the tree. Before I could turn the trailer left, I would have to have to get the wheels past the tree or else the trailer would clip the tree. There wasn’t much room – the road wasn’t wide enough to bring the coach straight back to the trailer.

Tree next to the trailer

Someone had left a car illegally parked beside the road on the right, making an approach from that direction difficult, but it was the only way out. I angled the coach back to the trailer tongue as best I could – it was nearly in a jack-knife position. It worked out though and we loaded the Spyder and left the park right at 11am.

I opted to head west on 12th Street which became highway 42. Instead of droning across I-90, I thought a drive through farm country would be nicer and we only had about a three-hour drive ahead of us. I had to make a jog south to Parker and pick up SD44 west. This took us through farm after farm until we hit SD45 north and found Kimball. We left the storm clouds behind us. Ditty’s Diner is off of I-90 at exit 284. It’s a small truck stop, diner and bar with a large, fairly level dirt lot. Our destination was Rapid City, but I didn’t want to do the 360-mile run in one shot. Ditty’s was a convenient overnight stop.

The only problem at Ditty’s was the dry and dusty lot. Trucks pulling in kicked up a lot of dust. We closed all of our windows and ran the air conditioner off of the generator. Our stay was uneventful and it was surprisingly quiet all night.

Wednesday morning Donna and I had breakfast in the diner then got back on the road around 9am. It was foggy out, but visibility wasn’t too bad. About 20 miles west on I-90, Nally – our RV specific Rand-McNally GPS – announced “Steep downgrade ahead.” At first I was puzzled, then I remembered, we were about to drop down and cross the Missouri River. Once we crossed the wide Missouri, I felt like we were officially in the west. I wrote about our first crossing here in our motorhome in this post.

Once we climbed out of the Missiouri River Valley, the terrain immediately changed. It was hilly and there were mountains in the distance. The corn and soy bean fields gave way to large cattle ranches with a few feed corn fields and canola. It began to rain. We stopped at the Pilot/ Flying J Travel Center in Murdo and filled up with 80 gallons of diesel. I’m happy to get away from the biodiesel B20 that we had to use in Indiana, Iowa and eastern South Dakota. In the western half of the state they pump 100% petroleum-based diesel fuel. B20 is 20% bio-mass-based fuel made from vegetable oils blended with petroleum diesel.

I’m not a fan of biodiesel fuel. Low percentages have their pluses – it adds lubricity to the otherwise dry diesel fuel since sulfur content was reduced to 15ppm. Diesel fuel had good lubricating properties when higher sulfur content was allowed. B2 or B5 adds lubricity without all of the drawbacks of B20. The B20 fuel has lower energy density than petroleum-based diesel fuel, so fuel mileage suffers. The vegetable oil isn’t as stable as petroleum-based fuel – diesel fuel can be stored for long periods of time without deteriorating as long as it isn’t exposed to moisture but the vegetable component will break down relatively quickly – maybe after a few months.

At mile marker 175, we entered the Mountain Time Zone and gained an hour. Shortly after that, we broke free of the cloud cover and rain. We hit another milestone as well – our odometer turned over 90,000 miles on our Alpine Coach. We paid for three nights at the Elks Lodge in Rapid City. I dropped the trailer in their parking lot and we set up in site 8. They have 10 sites with 50-amp electrical service and water – no sewer. We have appointments on Friday to update our driver’s licenses with our new address. Other than that, we plan to relax and do a little shopping.

We’re at an elevation of 3,200 feet above sea level here. I think it’s the first time we’ve stayed overnight higher than around 1,500 feet above sea level since leaving New Mexico last April. The forecast calls for daily highs in the mid-80s and we may see rain Friday night before we leave on Saturday. I think we’ve had more rainy days this summer than any of the previous five summers we’ve spent on the road.

 

Corn Country

As I mentioned in my last post, rain was falling Sunday morning. The horse show at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL ended Saturday night and everyone was leaving. Most of the sites there don’t have sewer hook ups, so there was a long line at the dump station. Donna and I were in no hurry to leave. I watched the Formula One race from Hungary until heavy rainfall blocked the satellite reception. Oh well, it was time to get to work.

I donned a jacket and my palm straw hat and went out in the rain to pack up the trailer. Then I dumped and flushed the tanks and put the rest of the gear away while Donna made the interior ready for travel. We were ready to go at noon.

Our plan was to drive to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa where we could dry camp overnight at the Walmart there. When I programmed the destination into Nally, our Rand-McNally RV specific GPS, she wanted to route us up the interstate to Peoria, then west into Iowa on I-74 to US34. I wanted to take a rural route and stay off the Interstate. So, I changed the route by setting a waypoint in Rushville, Illinois. The thing is, sometimes Nally knows best. The GPS will take weight limits and clearances into consideration when advising the best route.

We had an easy drive, rain notwithstanding, through western Illinois on IL125 to US67. Traffic was light and soon we broke out of the storm clouds as we headed west. But, there was a snag. Nally diverted us outside of Macomb and we were on county roads driving through farm fields. The roads were narrow with no shoulder. Luckily there wasn’t any traffic either. After a few turns and about 10 minutes or so, she had us back on US67. I’m guessing there was some obstruction or weight limit in the town of Macomb that we had to work around.

Narrow county road through corn fields

We crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa. While we’re now west of the Mississippi, I think most people would agree we’re still in the Midwest, not the West yet. When we cross the Missouri River, I’ll feel like we’re back in the western states.

This is corn country. All day we were driving with corn fields on both sides of the highway, broken up here and there with soy beans. We found the Walmart in Mt. Pleasant and parked in a level corner of the lot. Donna made a shopping run and stocked up the pantry. When we stop at a Walmart, Donna can take her time and really shop the aisles. She can buy whatever she wants without having to think about how much space she has for stuff in the Spyder – she just walks a full shopping cart out to our rig.

Even in town there are corn fields

After a quiet night in the Walmart lot, we hit the road Monday morning a little after 9am. Our destination was about 140 miles away – Griff’s Valley View RV Park in Des Moines. It was an easy route as we got on US34 from the Walmart parking lot and followed it west all the way to US65 into the east side of Des Moines. We stopped and fueled up at the Pilot/Flying J Travel Center a few miles from the RV park. It was only 11:30am, so we were early to arrive at the park.

There was a Blue Beacon truck wash next to the travel center, but it had a long line. We decided to join the queue since we were in no hurry. We were badly in need of a wash job. We’ve been traveling through wet weather for weeks on end without a wash and the coach was grimy. An hour later, were shiny and on our way.

After working around a couple of road closures, we found the RV Park. The park is owned and operated by the Griffieon family who also own a farm nearby. They run the park from an office at their farm. We were instructed to phone when we arrived at the park. Donna phoned and talked to Carol – she directed us into our site. It’s a paved 70-foot long back-in site. Plenty big enough for our size without dropping the trailer. But, I saw a problem. The 50-amp electrical service pedestal was located at the rear end of the site. With our trailer behind the coach, our power cord wouldn’t reach it.

Carol suggested dropping the trailer in a nearby area next to a garage. We found that parking area was already full of trailers. A guy working in the garage told us there was another parking area past our site. To get there, I needed to get us turned around. This wasn’t so easy. The park is laid out to allow entry and exit of big rigs, but the angle of the intersections make it impossible to get turned around when you’re heading out of the park. I drove out onto the county road in front of the park, went north about a mile where a dirt road intersected the county road. I was able to make a three-point turn there and re-enter the park. Whew!

We looked at the second parking area and found it full of trailers as well. Donna called Carol again and she told us to sit tight, Dave would come over to help us find a solution. By the time he arrived, I decided to unload the Spyder, back into the site and go buy a 50-amp extension cord.

Dave was really helpful and he told us to back in as far as possible and not worry about the trailer overhanging the lawn in back. As it turns out, we actually got in far enough for our cord to reach and got set up. Although we haven’t had the need for an extension cord much in the last five years, this was the second time in a month we had an issue with placement of the power pedestal. Once we were set up, I took the Spyder to Imperial RV Center about seven or eight miles away and bought a 15-foot 50-amp extension for $87. We’re okay without it right now, but if we have this issue again, I’ll be prepared.

Our site at Griff’s Valley View RV Park

On the way back from the RV store, I stopped at a roadside stand where a woman was selling fresh sweet corn in front of her farmhouse. The sign said “Sweet Corn $5.” I asked how much corn for five bucks and she said, “A dozen ears.” I said, “Oh no, too much.” She thought I meant five bucks was too much money for a dozen ears. I explained that there were only two of us and we couldn’t eat a dozen ears of corn in a reasonable amount of time. She gave me four ears of corn picked that morning for a dollar!

Griff’s Valley View RV Park is right on a bike trail. Donna was raring to go so I got her bike set up. While I was pumping up the tires, the presta valve on the rear tire broke. I removed the rear wheel and pulled the tire off. I had tubes and a pair of new tires on hand, so I put a new rear tire on while I was at it. Man, those Continental Gatorskin tires have stiff beads. It was a workout to seat the bead on the rim.

Donna rode out of the park and headed northeast on the Chichaqua Valley Trail. This is a paved multi-use trail from Baxter to Berwick – about 26 miles. It intersects with other trails into Des Moines, so biking from the RV park is convenient.

Later, I got the Weber Q grill out of the trailer while Donna prepped a steelhead trout filet with a mayonnaise based topping. I grilled the trout and Donna sauteed fresh mushrooms with bacon pieces to top a baked potato. She also cooked the corn on the cob. It was a delicious meal and the corn was the best we’ve had in a long time.

Steelhead trout, baked potato with mushrooms and bacon and sweet corn on the cob

After dinner, we sat outside and enjoyed the evening. It’s very quiet here at night. We saw a lightning show in a thunderhead off in the distance but it stayed calm and dry here. The forecast for the coming week looks good with mostly sunny skies and temps reaching the low 80s.

 

*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to purchase anything, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

 

Youghiogheny Confluence

The thunderstorms predicted for Monday morning held off as we prepared to hit the road. We pulled out of Artillery Ridge Camping Resort in Gettysburg in dry conditions around 10am. Our route took us south on US15 into Maryland. We straddled the Mason-Dixon line and crossed between Maryland and Pennsylvania a couple of times. We were mostly on quiet state routes – these are generally slower and took us through some small towns and villages, but we enjoy the scenery much more than most Interstates. Besides, I didn’t want to pay tolls on I-70 in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has the highest fuel taxes in the country yet they still collect tolls!

The route through the Appalachian Mountains was hilly with some very steep grades. Most of the grades were fairly short and topped out around 1,300 feet above sea level. Eventually we ran into the thunderstorms. Thankfully we didn’t have to contend with much wind, but at times the visibility was extremely poor. Even though it was raining, there was a mist in the air as we approached the summits – almost foggy.

Our destination for the day was a Corps of Engineers park near Confluence, Pennsylvania by the dam on the Youghiogheny River. The small town is called Confluence because it sits right at the confluence of the Casselman River and the Youghiogheny River.

Donna had reserved a site for us at the park before we left Gettysburg that morning. We arrived around 1:30pm and checked in. Our site is a 60-foot back-in. With a little maneuvering, I was able to fit our 64-foot length completely in the site without dropping the trailer.

Coach and trailer angled to fit in site 39

We’re within 100 yards of the banks of the Youghiogheny at the outflow area of the dam.

Youghiogheny River Outflow

There are only 30 sites in this campground. We were lucky to get a long site here. It only has 30-amp electric service, no water or sewer. I had dumped our tanks and filled the fresh water before we left Gettysburg. Once I had our rig into the site, we discovered we had a problem. The 30-amp pedestal is at the rear of the site. Our power cord isn’t long enough to reach it. I was about to drop the trailer and reposition the coach when a neighbor stopped by. He saw us trying to hook up and asked me how much cord we needed to reach the pedestal. I told him we were about 10 feet short. He said he had a 30-amp extension cord he could lend us. Nice! That worked.

The campground is full, but it’s fairly quiet. There’s a bicycle/hiking trail along the river called Great Allegheny Passage. We saw several bicyclists stopping for the night to use the showers and tent camp here. Donna hiked a portion of the trail into town in the afternoon. She met a gal riding the full length of the trail from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC.

There’s a siren that sounds when they release additional water from the Youghiogheny River Lake behind the dam. This morning, they released water into the outflow at 6am and the siren sounded. So much for morning quiet time.

After breakfast, I retrieved Donna’s road bike from the trailer and pumped up her tires. She rode up the trail past Confluence and through the State Forest to the town of Ohiopyle. The Casselman River has a brown color while the Youghiogheny has blue-green color. Donna shot a photo of the confluence of the two rivers and you can clearly see the difference as the Casselman joins the Youghiogheny.

Casselman River joining the Youghiogheny

The Youghiogheny flows northwest all the way to the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh. Below are a couple of photos Donna took of the trail.

Great Allegheny Passage

Bridge on the trail

We were only able to book two nights here, so we’ll continue our westward trek tomorrow. The weather forecast looks good with light winds and no precipitation for the next two days. We’ll figure out our next stop along the way.

The Real Maine Thing

We enjoyed our week at Donna’s parents’ place in Bennington, Vermont. I was able to complete a couple of projects while we were there and also enjoy time with family. We pulled out on Thursday around 10am. We went east across the state on route 9 through Brattleboro into New Hampshire. Route 9 took us through Keene and on to Concord where we picked up US202/4. The terrain was hilly with short, steep climbs and descents.

When we crossed the southern tier of New York, it was rural with small towns – some of them thriving on tourism, especially in the Finger Lakes wine country while other small towns showed economic struggle. In between was mostly farm land. Vermont and New Hampshire were more of the same but instead of farm land, the small towns are separated by heavily forested hills. It was mostly pleasant scenery to drive through. We paid one toll in New Hampshire – I think it was three dollars. On the toll roads, the rest areas are plazas with a food court, fuel stations and some shopping. We stopped for a late lunch at a plaza before we left New Hampshire – it also had a large discount liquor store.

We entered Maine at Kittery, east of Portsmouth and made our way up I-95 to Scarborough. This was another toll road and I paid $10.50 on this leg. We stopped at Cabela’s in Scarborough. I was dismayed to see signs warning that local ordinance prohibits overnight parking. We pulled to the end of the lot and parked near a Dutch Star motorhome that had the bedroom slide out.
Their door was open so I walked over to say hello and see what the deal was. The couple in the coach told me they were full-timers and had been on the road for five years – just like us. They were originally from Scarborough and returned every year. They said the city tries to make noise about overnight parking, but Cabela’s didn’t care and they had never been hassled in this parking lot.

We set up for the night. Donna had been in touch with our friend Kris Downey who was in the area visiting kids and they got together to walk a portion of the Eastern Trail. Then Donna and I walked over to Famous Dave’s for a cold one and then across the parking lot to a Thai restaurant where we got takeout. By the time we returned to the coach there were five other RVs in the lot.

We used the Cabela’s dump station before we hit the road Friday morning. There was a sign advising a $5 dump fee would be charged in the future, but for now it was free. We drove up I-295 and stopped for fuel in Gardiner. We paid another toll of $4, bringing our total toll-road fee to $17.50. Near Augusta, we left the Interstate and followed Route 3 to Belfast. The road was freshly paved and very smooth. Past Bucksport, we turned on route 175 and found the road surface to be terrible. It was bumpy and had potholes. It was slow going.

Our destination was Roger Eaton’s property on Little Deer Isle. We met Roger in Albuquerque – he owns a summer residence on the island right on the waterfront. Donna was texting back and forth with Roger while I drove. He mentioned something about crossing the bridge over Eggemoggin Reach to the island being a bit of a challenge.

Suspension bridge to Little Deer Isle

It was a steep climb up the narrow lane on the bridge, but it wasn’t too bad. The next challenge was entering the private road to Roger’s place. It had brick monuments at the sides of the entry, trees and low branches.

Narrow entry to Roger’s place

We made it in without scraping anything other than a few small tree branches. Getting the coach positioned on his property was much harder than I anticipated. I ended up
dropping the trailer in a temporary location, then struggled to get the coach in place between two stumps on the left and bushes and trees on the right. Once we had it in place, we found the 30-amp pedestal didn’t work. Roger called his cousin’s son and he came out with another guy and rewired the pedestal in a matter of minutes. We were in business! I repositioned the trailer with Roger’s pickup truck.

After settling in, we joined Roger and his wife Georgia along with their neighbor, Russ and his friend Darelynne for happy hour on the porch. We weren’t expecting dinner, but Georgia had prepared a chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, roasted carrots and cornbread!

View of bridge from Russ’ pier

Roger’s sailboat

Our windshield view of Eggemoggin Reach

Sunset over Penobscot Bay

On Saturday morning, we joined Roger and Georgia for a drive up to Blue Hill for the farmers’ market. Donna bought a few things while I enjoyed the bluegrass band. They did an excellent
rendition of the Byrds’ Mr. Spaceman.

Farmers’ market band

Later Donna and I rode the Spyder over the causeway to the next island – Deer Isle. Of course Deer Isle is larger area-wise than Little Deer Isle. We rode down to Stonington on the southern tip of the island. Stonington is the largest lobster port in Maine. The town only has about 1,100 residents, but more lobsters are landed there than anywhere else in Maine.

Lots of fishing boats and lobstermen in Stonington

On Saturday evening, we were in for a treat. Roger bought four lobsters that were about a pound and a half each. He boiled the lobsters over a wood fire in the yard while
Georgia prepared baby red potatoes and corn on the cob. It was a feast fit for a king!

Home cooked lobstah – the real Maine thing

I paired the lobstah with barrel-aged old ale I bought a few months ago in Tombstone

While we were in Blue Hill yesterday, I bought two racks of babyback ribs. I prepared them this morning and I plan to smoke them Memphis-style this afternoon on the Traeger wood pellet-fired grill.

Please excuse any formatting errors in this post. Our Internet connectivity is spotty and I’ve been working for a couple of hours to put this post up. I also had to reduce the photo quality to a smaller file size.

Alabama Hospitality

My last post was on Monday, so I have some catching up to do. Between travel days and a stop without a good Internet connection, I haven’t been able to post. Nearly five years on the road and I can only think of a few instances where our Verizon Jetpack wasn’t able to pick up a good wireless signal.

In my last post, I mentioned I was waiting for a package to arrive at the Hattiesburg post office. I followed the tracking and it showed it was available at the post office in the historic downtown area of Hattiesburg Monday morning. Hattiesburg isn’t a large metropolis by any stretch, but it does have three post offices. I’ve always been a little leery of having parcels sent to General Delivery in larger post offices.

I rode the Spyder downtown to collect the package. The diagonal parking on the street was all metered. Uh-oh. I didn’t plan for that. I found two dimes in one of my pockets and wondered how long the line was in the post office. I put a dime in the meter and found that bought me 36 minutes of parking time! I was able to retrieve my package in a matter of a few minutes. I won’t be so leery of General Delivery from now on.

The package I was waiting for came from Famous Smoke Shop in Easton, Pennsylvania. That’s right. I’d ordered cigars. I got a box of cigars from Tabacalera Oliva in Esteli, Nicaragua. Oliva makes a large number of hand-made cigars for their own brands and others. The cigars were boxed in a beautiful wooden box also made by Oliva. They have their own wood shop making cigar boxes! Last year, they made over 60,000 boxes there and are expanding to be able to supply up to 100,000 boxes annually. They are a big part of the economy in Esteli. The box was made with interlocking box joints and a hinged snap clasp – exquisite construction for a consumable. No paper covered cardboard at Oliva!

Beautifully made cigar box

On Tuesday morning, we made the coach ready for travel. Before we hooked up the trailer, I drove to the dump station to dump and flush the holding tanks. Then we drove back to our site to hitch up the trailer and were on the road by 10:15am.

Our route took us away from Hattiesburg up I-59 to Meridian where we made a stop at Walmart to stock up. The road surface was good and the traffic light. There was dense forest most of the way with fewer pine trees than we saw south of Hattiesburg and more hardwoods. Mississippi isn’t like I expected.

I-59 gave way to I-20 and we were on a northeast heading. Our next stop was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the Pilot Travel Center. This is our first trip to Alabama in the coach – I’ve flown into Atlanta several times before but never visited any other part of Alabama. We continued toward Birmingham on I-20 and exited at mile post 100 before we hit Birmingham.

We found the Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park there. They have RV sites located in three campgrounds. We were lucky and scored a pull-through full-hookup site for just $25/night. Our site was more than 80 feet long! We paid for two nights.

The park is in a heavily forested, hilly area and Mud Creek runs right through it. Donna went out on her knock-around bike while I puttered around our site. She found a few trails and points of interest. It was hot and very humid – temperatures in the 90s. We had both roof air conditioners on for the duration of our stay.

On Wednesday morning, I took Donna’s bike and traced her route from the day before. After going up and over a steep hill, I found some historic buildings. There was an old forge – the blacksmith shop – and a grist mill that dated back to the civil war.

Tannehill Forge

John Wesley Hall mill – note the waterwheel on the left powering the grist mill

Mud Creek

On Wednesday afternoon, Miriam Armbrester and her husband Rand picked us up at the park. Miriam has been a subscriber to Donna’s organizing tips newsletter for more than 15 years! They live in the area and it was Miriam who gave us the tip about the campground at Tannehill State Park.

They took us up to Bessemer where we had lunch at the oldest restaurant in Alabama – the Bright Star. The Bright Star opened in 1907. It’s well-acclaimed – it’s listed on MSN’s list of 60 iconic restaurants you must try before you die. It’s also a James Beard Foundation award winner for American Classics.

Sign in front of the Bright Star restaurant

Rand grew up in Bessemer and has known the restaurant owners since he was a young boy. We met Jim and Nick Koikos, the brothers who have run the family business since 1966. Since it was our first time there, they started us off with a taste of their seafood gumbo – gratis. Donna and I ordered the daily special – grilled red snapper stuffed with lobster and crab au gratin. It came with a choice of three sides and was fabulous.

Miriam, Donna and Rand at the Bright Star entry

Rand hosted the lunch and very generously picked up the tab. Thanks again, Rand! Miriam made up a goody bag for us containing stuff made in Alabama, everything from old-fashioned ginger ale to syrups, barbeque sauces, grits, chips and coffee plus a couple of books written by a pastor friend.

All made in Alabama!

She also gave us a sour cream pound cake that she made. Delicious – I’m sure it’ll put a pound on. Thanks, Miriam!

We had a thundershower Wednesday night but it was dry out when we woke up Thursday morning. It took me a little longer than usual to get squared away for the road. The hoses all needed to be wiped clean from the rain and mud. Also, I didn’t notice it before but one of the cabinet doors in the trailer must not have been secured. It popped open sometime on the road and spilled its contents on the floor. I put everything away and made sure the doors were secure.

We hit the road around 10am and took I-20 into Birmingham. Rand warned us of road construction in the city. I looked at alternative routes but in the end figured it wasn’t going to be much better to try and skirt around it. My hunch proved true – we didn’t have any issues with construction traffic and hit open road again on I-65 once we were past Birmingham. A couple of hours later were crossed into Tennessee.

I noticed something I don’t remember seeing outside of Texas before – armadillo road kill. I’ve seen dead armadillos on the roadside in every state we’ve been in since we were in Texas – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee – even right outside of Nashville. I know they’re expanding their range and I also know I never saw them in Tennessee before.

The traffic in the Nashville metro area was terrible. There are a few junctions where multiple freeways converge and traffic stops. You need to plan ahead to be in the correct lane or you’ll end up on the wrong freeway. Many people don’t do this and try to make multiple lane changes at the last instant. Scary!

We were thinking about going to the Opryland Resort to dry camp but changed our plan en route. We booked a week at the Grand Ole RV Resort and Market on the north side of town in Goodlettsville. They did’t have a full hook-up site available, but they put us into an electric only overflow site for two nights, then we’ll move to a full hookup pull-through site for five nights. They discounted the weekly rate for us.

The staff is very friendly. A woman from the office drove me around in a golf cart to look at various options for dropping the trailer and different sites. After conferring with a guy from the office, they put us in the overflow site and suggested I drive across the lawn and pull into the site from the back, leaving the trailer hooked up. I told them I could just as easily back into the site and not make a loop across their nice lawn. They didn’t seem to think I could maneuver the trailer in reverse like that. Donna directed me and we were in without any issues at all.

After dinner, a thunderstorm moved in. It looks like we’re in for more warm weather with a high probability of daily thundershowers. The shuttle to downtown Nashville starts running on Monday, so we’ll probably just hang out until then before we check out the downtown music scene.

 

 

From the River to the Lake

Tuesday was hot and humid in Baton Rouge. The temperature reached 92 degrees and the humidity was heavy. Donna went out in the morning for a bike ride. She took her hybrid knock-around bike on the Mississippi River levee trail. Here are some photos she took on her ride.

I-10 spanning the mighty Mississippi

Casino parking – notice the high water level on the left

Casino on the river

USS Kidd – a floating Veterans Memorial and museum

Raising Cane’s River Center Arena

Opposing statues – two of 22 cast iron and aluminum statues scattered in the downtown area

Baton Rouge is spelled out in large red letters on the levee

After Donna’s bike ride, we rode the Spyder to Garden District Coffee. We needed coffee beans and wanted to try some locally roasted coffee. This shop is definitely boutique and buying coffee from them was a splurge. We bought a pound of the coffee used in the porter Donna tried yesterday at Tin Roof Brewery – Italian/Espresso – and a pound of Ethiopian Sidamo.

Then we made a stop at Trader Joe’s to stock up on produce. Our refrigerator is fairly full, but we can always use fresh fruit and vegetables. We don’t know how accessible a good grocery store will be at our next stop.

By the time we finished running our errands and dealing with Baton Rouge traffic, the heat was taking a toll on us. We spent the rest of the afternoon indoors enjoying air conditioning and a bit of solitude. We didn’t make it to the Old State Capitol. When it cooled down in the evening, we enjoyed sitting outside and watching the horses. The workers at the center put the horses in the stables at night and let them out in the pasture in the mornings.

Horses in the pasture by our site

In the morning on Wednesday, Donna went out for a run in the neighborhood by the BREC Farr Equestrain Center while I packed up the chairs and loaded the Spyder. We weren’t in any hurry but we hit the road at 10:15am. I had the generator running and the front roof air conditioner on while we traveled.

The drive through Baton Rouge to I-12 wasn’t fun. The roads are narrow and in terrible shape. The interstate through the metro area is bumpy and erratic drivers are everywhere. Once we got away from the city on I-12 east, the road surface improved and the traffic settled down. We made a stop at the Pilot/Flying J Travel Center in Hammond. Donna bought a couple of Arby’s roast beef sandwiches while I pumped $160 worth of diesel to top up our tank. We rarely eat fast food other than an occasional  Subway Sandwich or a taco, but the Arby’s was convenient and it hit the spot.

Our destination was the Elk’s Lodge near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This was our first time in Mississippi. I was surprised at the number of pine trees lining the interstate. I was expecting to see cotton fields. Our original plan was to exit the interstate at Covington and take state highways. We changed the plan on the fly. The road surface was good and the driving easy, so we followed I-12 to I-59.

We had to drive for about 8 miles on narrow county roads to the find the Elk’s Lodge. The lodge is located on an amazing property – I’ve never seen a lodge like it. They have 1400 acres of land and a lake – Elk’s Lake – behind the lodge. They have 50 RV sites available for Elk’s members with fresh water and 50 amp electrical service for $10/night! Many of the sites are on the waterfront.

The area around the lake is forest with many tall pine trees. Maneuvering our rig in the park was difficult. I had to get us turned around in a limited space to drop the trailer and back into our site. It took patience, but it was worth it.

Our site on the lake

There’s a little cove to the left of our site

Donna’s looking forward to hiking in the area and getting the kayak in the water. Tonight the lodge has a special steak dinner – we put our reservations in. The forecast calls for a high of 92 today. The hot temperatures will continue through the weekend – but the lodge has an Olympic size pool that will open tomorrow! I need to run a couple of errands and may take the Spyder into town today.