Winkler, Manitoba – Triple E / Leisure Travel Van 50th Anniversary Rally.

Spent September 7-12 in Winkler, Manitoba for the Triple E / Leisure Travel Van 50th Anniversary Rally.

The rally was held at the Mennonite Winkler Bible Camp. They treated us great — fed us three meals a day, met a lot of interesting people from all over US and Canada. Got to see new products, go on various tours around the area and we got a few repairs done to our rig, including a new 2 door refrigerator.

The last evening featured Ray St. Germain and fireworks. Ray St. Germain performing was a real coincidence. I just started a book about one of the best guitar players Ever to live, “One Long Tune: The Life and Music of Lenny Breau”, in which Ray is quoted often, besides finding out that Lenny was married to his sister. I had never heard of him before, and here he is performing at our Canada rally. I talked to him briefly after the performance. Interesting guy with an interesting career. Weird…

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Graham’s Island State Park, North Dakota

Spent Labor Day weekend in North Dakota.

After we got set up, I struggled to get the satellite positioned, trying to get it working for the US v Peru soccer match – finally got things going in time for the second half. One of the other campers came by and offered us fresh vegetables from her garden – Linda fixed a great batch of green beans to go with our dinner as we watched the U.S. Come from behind to beat Peru.

Outside of a forest or wilderness setting, this is probably the prettiest park in which we have stayed – hookups, clean bathrooms, showers, large grassy areas, long arc driveway pull-thrus (2 rigs, AT LEAST, could fit in most) I’d say 2 out of 3 have fishing boats. Large, but constantly windy, lake – it has quadrupled in size since the early 1990s! It is around 3,800 square miles and growing.
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We were hoping to get out on the lake this morning, but the wind is keeping us from launching our little kayaks. I was counting on catching my first walleye – it will just have to wait…

The people here are great. Relaxed, North Dakota accents, polite, welcoming us to “God’s country, ya know. — Oh, that’s just what ya say — everywhere is God’s country, don’t ja know…”

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Wall Drug, Missile Silo, Corn Palace and Road to North Dakota

Left the Custer/Mount Rushmore area with Larry and Betty Allen. We crossed South Dakota on I90 towards Mitchell. Saw Wall Drug, Minuteman Missile Historic Site, and the famous Corn Palace in Mitchell. The trip north to Devil’s Lake, North Dakota was long, straight, and corny…

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Custer, South Dakota

“Somewhere in the Black Hills of Dakota…” No sign of Rocky Raccoon… Actually, we stayed in Fort WeLikIt RV Park as a base to explore Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, The Mammoth Site, Needles Highway, the Wind Cave National Park, and the towns of Hill City and Custer. Nice park with lots of space, level sites and grass and trees.

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Box work in the Natural Entrance tour of the Wind Cave

Box work in the Natural Entrance tour of the Wind Cave

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Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

From Gillette we headed towards Deadwood, South Dakota. First we stopped at Devil’s Tower National Monument, where prairie dogs greeted us as we drove into the park. The movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” used the tower as the location of its climactic scenes. It is a favorite spot for rock climbers. We hiked around it and snapped a few pics – there were several groups of climbers. I wasn’t one of them…

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We got to Deadwood on Saturday night, only to find Fish n’Fry Resort, the campground we had picked out, was completely full. There were a bunch of cool little vintage trailers, mostly restored, taking up the whole park. We found out that it was “Sisters on the Fly”, the largest outdoor women’s group in the U.S. – there motto is “no men, no pets, no kids, be nice.” Linda and I ran into the same group, camping near Mt St. Helens a few years back. Anyway, we found a nice place just down the highway. Hidden Valley Campground was a nice, well manicured place. We setup, then went back into town to see Deadwood. We landed at Cadillac Jack’s, gambled a little (I actually won a bit…) then ate dinner while watching the Chargers pre-season On the restaurant’s TV.

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Sunday morning we took our time — did some laundry, even practiced my bass a little, and packed up before heading to Mount Rushmore area.

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Wyoming — From Cody to Gillette

IMG_6825We left Yellowstone Thursday morning after a pancake breakfast at the Fishing Bridge Store. On the road leading out the East entrance Continue reading

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Yellowstone

Spent three days in Yellowstone National Park. Visited all the hot spots. Even got up at 5:00 AM one morning, going out to the Lamar Valley, to try and see more wildlife. We did get to see elk, deer, bison, geese, and three dark spots in the distant grass that we were told were wolves.

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Linda proved to be much more adept at spotting real, live animals than I — on the way into the park she pointed out 2 elk, a couple of bison, and some Canadian geese. By my count that was only around 5. I clearly saw over 7 tree stumps and two wolf-like boulders. 9-5…
We met up with our friends, Betty and Larry Allen at the RV Park and toured saw most of the sights with them. At the Fishing Bridge RV campground, we even paid our respects to the Sylvester the Squirrel Memorial – placing donations to Sylvesters family into the soda can designated for that purpose by some enterprising young person.

I have to say, by the time we left I had improved my wildlife spotting skills greatly — quickly pointing out baby tree stumps, and even entire herds of boulders with ease.

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The trip begins. San Marcos to Island Park, Idaho

 

Got a late start on Tuesday, arriving in Mesquite in 109 degree temperatures. We opted to stay in air-conditioned room instead of the RV park for Mia’s comfort. Had a meal and did a little gambling. We left for Salt Lake City area in the morning, arriving at Utah Lake State Park, only to find it closed. We found a nice park close by to spend the evening. On our way to visit my brother and his wife in Red Rock RV Park, we stopped at the famous Temple in Utah  — Cabela’s.

We had a nice visit with Newt and Donna, and their dog, Enzo. Took in a cattle cutting competition, where we saw Rich Hunt Sr (Rich Hunt, Jr had Rich Hunt Guitar in Escondido for years). We had a great encounter with a moose, saw a production of Damn Yankees at a West Yellowstone theater, flew Newt’s drone, visited Quake Lake and Hebgen Lake, and ate more than our share of meals and ice cream. IMG_3742 IMG_3707 IMG_3736 JohnLindaCattleCutting mooseKnee

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Fall Pre-Trip Plan – Leg 2.2 – New England – Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh

Revised version… I split the second leg into two parts.

This part of our trip is our chance to see the Fall colors. We want to explore New England –  We have never been there.  The stops I have picked are quite arbitrary and are subject to change based on your helpful comments and Jeff Foliage’s blog (http://www.jeff-foliage.com). The only “set-in-stone” stop is visiting my Aunt Aud in Pittsburgh.

PLEASE leave us comments to let us know what not to miss – or special places to stay.

We figure to give the big cities a miss.  Can’t see driving into Boston, New York, DC with RV and dog.  If we can figure out how to stay outside of town and make a couple of trips in with the dog, we might try it. We can always make a separate trip of just visiting New York or Boston on their own – at a later date – certainly more than enough to justify a plane flight.

Screenshot 2015-07-01 16.40.541. Campark Resorts, 9387 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, ON L2E6S4
*2. Niagara Falls, ON
*3. National Baseball Hall of Fame, NY
4. Clarksburg, MA
5. Charlotte, VT
6. Franconia Notch State Park, NH
7. North Woodstock, NH
8. Chocorua Lake, NH
9. Greenville Junction, ME
10. Acadia National Park, ME
11. Portland, ME
12. West Greenwich, RI
13.  Mystic Seaport Museum, CT
*14. New Haven, CT
15. Philadelphia, PA
16. Timberlane Campground, 117 Timberlane Rd, Clarksboro, NJ 08020
17. Lake-In-Wood Resort, 576 Yellow Hill Rd, Narvon, PA 17555
*18. Pittsburgh, PA

*friends/family/must-do

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Fall Pre-Trip Plan – Leg 3 – Pittsburgh to Home

We hope to time the weather JUST RIGHT… and get to see the “Autumn Leaves” and friends and family in leg 2, then start the last part of our journey, heading south, to what we hope will be warmer weather. Trying to guess what weather will be like is foolish, but, so am I…

Please leave a comment below that would confirm or change plans based on other things to see. Highlights of the trip home will be visiting our friend, Roy in Charlottesville VA – (maybe catch the University of Virginia/Syracuse football game?), Seeing Savannah, GA, my cousins in Louisiana and Texas, and get home by mid-November…

Unlike omitting Boston and New York in Leg 2, we have decided to include New Orleans – maybe find a place to board our dog while we go into New Orleans…

Keep in mind that we will be in a motorhome and have a dog… And I know, “we can’t do it all.”

1. Pittsburgh, PA
2. Charlottesville, VA
3. Charlotte, NC
4. Savannah, GA
5. Montgomery, AL
6. Perdue Hill, AL
7. New Orleans, LA
8. Boyce, LA
9. Houston, TX
10. San Antonio, TX
11. Home

 

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