Sunday, July 28, 2013



Iowa that is.  It is unbelievable to see the fields of corn. Every where you look there is corn.  Said to Chuck, that would not be surprised to see a golf course planted with it. Of course there are a few fields of soy beans here and there.  We had left Rapid City, headed for Harlan, Iowa.  With my heart in my throat, as we had to pass through Kadoka, North Dakota.  Two years ago we broke down and spend 11 days there, and all I can say is it was a very, very long 11 days.  Fortunately we breezed right by.  Spent the night at a passport park, and it was a first.  We had power and sewer, but no water connection.  As it were we were tired, had water in the tank, so we did not even unhook.  In the morning we had water, but coming from the sky. 


We were off to visit with a couple who we met  when we were wintering in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.  As they spend their summers in Harlan, where they own a lovely country home, which was just a few miles off our route, we could stop for a visit.

DSCF0877Dave & Bev

We arrived just a head of the annual ragbrai, (                       which was very lucky for us, as there are some where around 15,000 bicycle riders, making the ride border to border of Iowa.


The first stop was Harlan, which at least triple the population of the small town.  But it made for a fantastic fundraiser.  There were so many food booths and would not even hazard a guess how many pies, but Bev’s church alone had over 300.  Along with a spaghetti dinner.  A lot of them travel with a company that provides tents, handles luggage, pretty much all they have to do is ride, and find food.  


There were tents everywhere, Everything seemed to go very smoothly, and the next morning there was hardly a sign that they had been there. 


DSC04485                DSC04490

We spent a couple of days camped in their lovely back yard, enjoying the quiet country living.  Did get a few bridge games in too.  They had made plans to attend a get together of “Winter Texans” who spend the months at Alamo Palms.  There are a number of people in the surrounding area.  Destination was the Amana Colonies.  Well, we are always up for a new adventure, and it sounded interesting, and having spent 2 winters there we surely would know a few people.   Along the way we came across some of the bikers again. 


We had not heard of the Amana Colonies and were pleasantly surprised.



There are five small villages, plus a large campground, (Passport America) and the prices of everything was very reasonable. 


The gathering took place in the building of the RV park, and there actually were more people than we had expected to know attending.  Of course Chuck knew a whole lot more than me, but it was fun.  It was a cocktail party the first afternoon, and a wonderful catered dinner (noon) the next day.  

DSCF0870          DSCF0874

The only disappointment was that we were too full to take advantage of some of the scrumptious sounding restaurant fare.  Although we did manage to have a farewell breakfast with Bev and Dave before we started traveling in opposite directions the following day.  We are off to Goshen/Elkhart, Indiana. 

Friday, July 19, 2013



After spending a week, relaxing and playing tourist, we moved to the Hart Ranch.  It is a lovely campground just outside of Rapid City.  Seems to be a top quality RV resort.  We would seriously consider becoming a member, but because we have the next 24 month pretty much penciled in, and none of it in this area, it is something we will file away.

We met 2 couples that are friends who spend time in Jojoba Hills with us.  Also bridge players, so we managed to get in  couple of games, so we all got our bridge fix.  And of course eating, one night Mexican, then Rich fixed his amazing hamburgers.  Amazing that we could fit it in our mouths!


They were so good.  The time just flew, and before we even seemed to get started we were into our farewell dinner.  We could nor pass up the Alpine Café in Hilltop.  A little walk before we began the wait for dinner, some of the hand crafted statues that are created literally of nuts and bolts along with anything else that would fit,


The horse was beautiful, the donkey quite creative, and the man was well…..enough   said.




We were and hour early, yes the people do line up for a setting when the doors open.  They opened the bar, so we were inside and the time went fast, it was like a huge family get together, and everyone was enjoying the togetherness.  We had stopped at a winery before arriving here, and the wine tasting had been rather extensive, at least on my part.  Here we are getting started with salads, great steaks, and yes, we did partake ofNew folder some of their 29 desserts.


We were absolutely stuffed, but one we got back to the RV we decided that we could managed just a few more hands of bridge.  But we didn’t last too long, and some of us were planning an early morning.  During the night a storm came through and the thunder had us sitting right up in bed a few time.  But morning brought sunshine and we were off to our next adventure. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013




And also the scraggiest mountain goat.  I believe it is the same one we seen six years ago at this very site.  And he has in no means improved with age!  He was in the process of shedding his winter coat which contributed greatly to his appearance.


We took the day to take a drive of the area, and to have lunch at the Alpine Café in Hill City.  Which is a must do when in the area.  During lunch they have a wide menu, strongly German, very good, beautiful presentation.  Dinner is filet mignon, 6 or 9 ounce only, 8 to 10 dollars,  AND dessert, over 30 of them!  That way you only have to make one choice, what dessert.  Chuck and I shared a sandwich and and apple napoleon dessert.  Soooo good. 


From there we went on to Mount Rushmore.  Having been there many times we decided that we would by pass the 11 dollar parking fee (entrance is free) and see what we could for free.  Love this view with George Washington in the background.


Then there is this one, as you come out of a tunnel.  Could not get a good enough picture while we were in the tunnel though.


                   They frown on your stopping IN the tunnel.


Taking a very windy road through some beautiful country we made our way to Custard State Park.  The buffalo were in several huge herds,


but several time we found ourselves sharing the road with one of these big guys.



It was a great drive, good weather, good food and good company.  Doesn’t get any better than that.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013



What a great time we had!  Chuck and I were both on the volunteer crew, him, parking and I did registration.  This meant we arrived a few days earlier for orientation, and vendor & early  parking.  We also had a huge welcome happy hour, followed the next day by a wonderful thank you banquet.  Seeing all friends from far and wide. was a wonderful treat.  Opening ceremonies, were highlighted with a wonderful talk by Kay Peterson,  so inspiring, so funny, what a great lady.  Once the rally officially opened we were so busy going from one seminar to another that we were literally exhausted come the end of the day.  The nightly entertainment was outstanding.  There was a couple who sang, mostly RV related songs, (Your Awning Flapping in the Breeze, Road Alligators, Stop and Hold Your Noses, and more).  Another was a ventriloquist, who was truly a wonder.  She had Bob Pinner as a straight man for a bit, what a hoot..  And having to choose what social hour to attend was also hard as it seemed that there again we were running from one to another.


               Class of 07, those that made the social.


It was all good, the weather was wonderful, till the last night, at about time for the fireworks display, (4th of July) it came down in buckets.  But the show went on, we watched from in side the rig, all nice and dry.  What a great job the Escapade staff did.  Seemed no matter what bug-a-boo(and they had plenty, from hail stones to kidney stones) got thrown in their face, they just brushed it aside and powered on.  Thanks for throwing one great party.  Before we knew it people were hooking up and the wheels were rolling.           

BY Friends

Now we HAD to come up with a plan on where we were going.  Spending a week or so in the Rapid City area seemed like a fun idea, then off to Hart Ranch, where we will endure a sales pitch, all for 3 nights of camping at a 12 dollar price.  Only because some friends are there and we will get to visit with them,  They were also at the Escapade, but hardly saw them, except for one afternoon we did get in a fast game of bridge.  After that we are meandering out to Goshen, Indiana.  Attending a FROG rally.  That is Forest Rivers Owners Group.  Our little trailer is that make, so we have a welcome mat out.  It is scheduled for the 4th to 10th of August.  We have a few friends scattered along the way, which will give us plenty of reasons to stop and enjoy the scenery. 

Which reminds me of a gentleman I stuck up a conversation at a rest stop with the other day.  He was so proud……..been on the road for three weeks.  Left Dallas, traveled to the Pacific Ocean, up the coast, all the way to Canada, now here he was in Wyoming near Devils Tower.  But he was going in to Rapid City, then coming back to Devils Tower the next day, then on to Mount Rushmore, Black Hills.  Planning on being back in Dallas by the 12th.  Which took me by surprise as the day was the 9th. When I expressed my surprise he said, his fiver weighed 18,000 pounds and he had no problem going down the road at 75 miles an hour.  What fun traveling with him it must be!  wheeeeeeee

We are currently at Ellsworth AFB famcamp overflow.  Not bad, we have power, but later today will be able to move into the campground.  They have started taking reservations so for us that travel light it makes it harder to pop in.  We have been in this area several times before, which will not stop us from doing it all over again.  Love Mount Rushmore and the area.  The weather seems to go through the whole gambit each day.  From clear and sunny to severe thunderstorms.  Think we have had a storm every day since the 4th. But it usually is in the evening, today we started with clear and by 9 AM we had severe warnings, and now the sun is out. 10 AM.  LOL

Living in this small space has taken some getting used to, but all in all we have not done too badly.  (we are both still alive)  Will be nice when we are able to stay in a place for a longer period of time, then we will set up to do most of the cooking outside.  Think that will be a big help, seems like I can manage to make a bigger mess in a little area than the other way around. Eating out get old real fast, not to mention expensive.  Also looking into an induction burner to use out doors.  Looking forward to restocking this RV from the annual yard sale at Jojoba. 

Till the next time, Life is Good, Travel Easy, Travel Safe.