Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A blood bath...

Last night was awesome if you like thunderstorms. 

We spent the night in St. Cloud, MN in a really nice campground, but didn't have much time there before we were in for the night...and what a night!

HUGE thunderstorms!!!  It wasn't a rain shower, it was a DELUGE!  You know how soothing it is to have the sound of rain on a tin roof?  Well, think of it hitting a tin box like a sandblaster - felt like we were under seige!  Flashes of light, crashing ever 25 seconds, and then the thought that we were sitting in a metal box with trees all around...hmmm...good thing I wasn't still wearing my aluminum foil helmet to get cell phone reception. 

The dogs weren't too crazy about it - that's for sure. 

We spent half the night cuddling on the floor with them, and to keep Julio calm, it helps when I sing a lullaby.  I know that's sappy - but it's true.  He especially likes the songs from The Sound of Music, but about the third time through "My Favorite Things" I had to switch to my old folk song repretoire - which means I  break out Joan Baez.  After a couple of choruses of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and I was ready to run screaming into the night with a Confederate Flag. 

Anyway, we made it through the night and woke up to that incredible smell in the air when everything's been thoroughly washed with a good drenching,. 

We headed out earlier than usual this morning and were on the road by 6:30 a.m.  Don unhooked the power, water and sewer and we jumped in and hauled butt.  We hadn't done any of the awning/pens/astro-turf stuff so it really was a breeze to break camp.  We didn't even get dressed and drove about 150 miles in our jammies!!

THEN we decided if we were going to get out with the dogs on a potty break - we'd better get dressed. 

But about the blood bath...

If we were to have a visitor to our humble abode...they would think we'd had a shoot-out!  Everywhere you look there are blood splatters on the walls, the blinds, the ceiling, floors...

It's those damn mosquitos again!!!  Gotta question though...HOW can a little bitty bug carry that much BLOOD!!!  I was using hydrogen proxide to get all the blood off the blinds and walls - but if a forensics team ever came in here they'd swear it was the hideout of a serial killer!!! 

So this evening, we went almost 500 miles today and we've stopped in Modera, North Dakota.  It's at a campground that's back into the hills...past the Cowboy Hall of Fame...don't ask. 

It really is restful and beautiful, very laid back and there's an elderly couple at the clubhouse singing old cowboy songs, very Willy Nelson-ish.  There's also something about being near these painted canyons and seeing the grasses on the plains waving in the breeze...

Can't help but drive through this country and think how incredible it is to be able to travel from one end of it to the other and not be stopped and asked for your "papers" or passport...and other than the toll roads - it's all pretty much free!

Free...what a cool concept - huh?  :o) 

Tomorrow we head out for Montana...remembering out eastbound trek - we're looking forward to it being a much better trip westbound.

We'll keep you posted! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No news is good news!

Yes, we took off from Vermont and headed back home last week.  We are still in a Westerly direction, and changing our course to go the "Northern" route to try to get out of some of the record heat they've been having in the Northeast.  We don't "do" heat well, and consider it stiffling when you can wear your sandals without know you are! 

I haven't been blogging because while we did meet up with family back in Sandusky, Ohio, and we DID cross the Mississippi River (finally) it's been fairly long days, and when we found a campground, got settled which as you remember entails the following:

Park the RV, turn on the electricity, hook up water and sewage hoses, put the dog pens up, walk the dogs, do the awning dance, walk the dogs, feed the dogs, walk the dogs, fix something to eat. which by this point in the day, it's usually a sandwich...

Sing with me now:
"My bologna has a first name, it O-S-C-A-R,
My bologna has a second name, it's M-A-Y-E-R,
Oh I love to eat it everyday, and if you ask me why I'll say...

'Cuz Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A."

You can barf now, because that's what I'm gonna do if I ever have to see or smell another Bologna sandwich!!! 

oh yeah, then we get the dog dishes washed, sweep out the camper, walk the dogs, go take showers, get the bedding all put down, walk the dogs, and then go to bed. 

Not a lot of time to blog.  We do go to bed pretty early because we have to get up multiple times throughout the night to take Missy Moo out (yes, she's a old girl and we're still having issues with waking up in time to not wet the bed, etc.) and to be honest with you, driving endless days - there just isn't that much to blog about...

Anyway, we are making progress back home - we've been trying to get at least 300 miles under our belt each day.  I know that doesn't seem like much, but we are not driving a Corvette - we're driving a brick...a very heavy brick...and we have a leak in the main-Dane, so that means a lot of stops.  It's actually not so bad because about the time that one of the "kids" needs to go potty, we both are ready to stretch our legs too.

So, the photos I'm posting today - yes, it's a double blog that you'll be seeing today... 

I'm also including one from the Cheese Capital of the US...Wisconsin!! 

We made a piddle stop and couldn't resist getting a family shot with this local celebrity...don't know what he's really called, but we named him Fatso-Ratso!  Classy mascot, don't you think for a state that we actually found quit charming.  Very pretty green rolling hills, nice people, lovely farms off in the distance...just one of those places that makes you think, hey, there might be other places in the US where it might be nice to live...if it didn't snow so much 

Oh, so I forgot - it hasn't been ALL, we had something scary happen.  There was an accident about a 1/4 mile in front of us.  We didn't see it, but everyone hit their brakes and it took us a while to figure out what had happened.  It appears that a vehicle towing a travel trailer (we couldn't tell if it was a car, truck or 5th wheeler) but something must have flipped over and a trailer sort of "blew up" and looks like it skipped down the road in a splintered mess.  It was awful to see pieces of insulation, wood and personal items scattered down the road...  We don't know if anyone was hurt, but said a prayer as we went by and thought, but for the Grace of emergency vehicles zoomed by from both directions... 

After that, everyone sort of drove a bit wonder....

Will try to get another blog off, but know that as long as we're making progress and nothing too "exciting" is's probably a good thing! 

G'night!  :o)

Water. Water! Cool, clear, water…

Last note talked about getting settled in at the BFH and battling the insects, and only hinted about the water source. 

Like a lot of small places, not just in Vermont, but anywhere, water can be a bit of a challenge.  Having lived most of my life in larger cities and suburbs where water comes out of the tap in plentiful, clear, seemingly unlimited supply, the idea of having to “worry” about water is alien, or at least, unusual.  I’m aware that people all over the world have much bigger issues with water than we do, but it’s something to comment on here, and so my whining and ramblings will hit the higher points of what makes the BFH water an item that brings grins to most of us when we’ve contemplated visits in the past, and this time was no exception. 
So, before you read this, go into the next room, in a land blessed with cool, clean running water, and don’t taunt me that it’s not only chilled, filtered, softened, purified, artisanal, mineral enhanced, vitamin infused and comes in a variety of flavors and I’ll tell you my tale…or rather, here’s the sit’ch:
While the Roaring Brook – as mentioned and pictured in the previous blog – is strategically located directly across the street from the BFH, approximately less than 100 yards – please know that at no time (in the recorded history of the Bilger Family) has that flowing resource of clear, cascading water ever been tapped to flow within the confines of the BFH. 
In the summer, it’s what’s normally called a “creek” and the Bilger kids played in it, dammed it in places to form “swimming holes” and did all sorts of other “kid” things you’d expect living near a brook that wasn’t overly dangerous.  In the Spring, after winter thaw, it takes on the characteristics of a river – boulders and tree stumps may crash down, and the ice broken up from the mountain above, has been known to create a jam large enough to cause the road below (at the small bridge on the main road in Stamford) to overflow.  I’m thinking at that point - Roaring Brook is probably an apt name. 
So, a moving water source (you’d think) would allow the homes near it to have a consistent source of clear, moving water, n’est pas?
Hmmm…well, I have discovered that a majority of homes in this bucolic valley (and probably a lot of the state) have their potable water supplied by wells.  Most Vermont natives are rabid supporters of the environment and the fact that they draw their life-sustaining resources directly from it, would make a pretty good case as to why it’s important to keep the water, air, land as pristine as possible.    
That is the case here and the well is located underneath the house, in the “basement” – which is an entirely NEW topic for discussion…
However, I’m going to stay on topic (water) and explain why when you’re staying here, you have to consider how your water consumption (from the tap for drinking, bathing, washing, etc.) will affect, not only yourself, but the entire household. 

I’ve been down into the basement (only once) to check out the well, and just going down the stairs creeped me out so bad that I got to the bottom of the stairs, looked around, said, “Uh-huh, that’s a well…” and ran back up the stairs.  I’m not big on fright movies, so am certainly not an expert, but I’m thinking that a stone lined, subterranean basement with a 12 foot well in it would be the perfect place for a babysitter to discover, only to find smoke billowing out from under the door, dim lights  beckoning, as the music builds to a crescendo with a hollow voice intoning, “GET OUT!”    Muwahahaha!!!!!  Of course, this is where the dumb babysitter starts walking down the stairs…geez, dumb broad!   See, this is where I run to the RV, grab a big dog and both of us huddle under a quilt on the bed until sunrise. 
Oh yeah, the photos I’ve added of Donald filling up a couple of our empty containers at a free-flowing faucet on the side of the road – IS Vermont’s version of “bottled water”  =  Your bottle, Faucet Provided by spring water from the local spring…simple, easy, cheap!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The eagle has landed…

Well, we aren’t exactly the “eagle” and we haven’t just arrived on the face of the Moon, but it certainly does feel like we’ve been away for a long time and traveled a very long way. 
We arrived in Stamford, Vermont on Saturday, the 16th, and while I’m aware this is now Thursday, the 21st – it still feels like we’ve landed on the moon, but more accurately the OTHER SIDE OF THE MOON!!  If you can remember from watching the movie Apollo 13 or just science in general – we here on Earth cannot receive any radio transmissions from the “dark side” of the moon, due to radio waves, radiation, interference, blah, blah, blah…
Now, tune into the Geography channel and check your maps for Stamford, Vermont. 
Let me know what you think…dark side, or light side?
We have actually tried to contact people on our cell phones from the Bilger Family Home (hereafter referred to as the BFH – and you can assign any other acronyms you wish on this one) but we have tried to get decent cell coverage from the backyard of the BFH, the front yard, the deck, downstairs, upstairs, and was even going to try (at my darling husband’s suggestion) “from the top peak of the garage” to see if there was some way we could actually contact someone “on Earth” through the marvels of technology from this seemingly black hole.  AND…
it just ain’t happening…well, every once in a while, if I hold the phone up over my head, which I have  wrapped in aluminum foil (my head in foil – not the phone!) and stand on my right leg in a pirouette upon Donald’s shoulders – who by-the-by has to be rolled in 6-yards of chain-link fencing, and we are BOTH leaning toward Mecca, with me firmly grasping a sterling silver soup spoon in my left hand – it has been reported by the person on the receiver (who may are may NOT be the person we have actually dialed) says, “I can hardly hear you – sounds like yer calling from underwater in a Dempsey Dumpster.” 
What a picturesque image that must paint…
Aside from the lousy reception here in Stamford, let me give you a few other observations from this hamlet that is the cradle of my beloved’s childhood…
The hills are a beautiful green, rolling over lush valleys.  As twilight approaches, the landscape changes from shades of emerald green to a deeper hue of sage and evergreen and then blends into darker, dusty shades of verdigris…and that’s when the real drama unfolds…
We had scarcely gotten to the BFH, fiddled around to find the best place on Dad Bilger’s property to park, plug in, tap into a “water source” <- loose description here, more on that later, and “TA-DA” (drum roll please) deployed the AWNING!!!
WAHOO!  We did it in record time!!  It went up without a hitch and we have it unfurled in all its mildewed glory! 
We also got the ex-pens up for the dogs, which here have additional real estate options.  (That’s snob-speak for putting up extra plastic fencing and poles so that instead of having a postage stamp area of green astro-turf, they now have THREE postage stamps of space where they can languish on the REAL GREEN GRASS!!  It’s not just grass – it’s clover and grass. 
I can hear them crowing to their canine friends, or more likely howling into the night, what I think is an old drinking song, “Roll me over in clover and do it again!”   Certainly not a hymnal – well, at least not in the Southern Baptist Church of Sturgis – but even so, one can tell that it’s in doggy delight.  Especially Julio who keeps spending a significant amount of time rolling in the grass…as all canine’s should.  Heck, we ALL should do it!  He snuffles and snorts and wiggles and squirms, and looks entirely TOO blissful for it not to be an almost divine experience…maybe the old “roll me in clover” does have some ecclesiastical connections.  Ya think?
ANYWAY, I digress…what’s new!
Back to the “drama” of the evening…before the sun has fully descended from view – there is a swoosh of wind, a flutter on the non-existent breeze, and whirring of wings above, and then (quivering crescendo from the strings section) out of the darkness we are assaulted by flying creatures whose soul function is to torment, stab, sting and suck blood of any living thing.  I’m not talking vampires here (though the word “twilight” might have started to sway you) but mosquitos – the size of Chihuahuas, deer flies that have mini-machine guns, and these gnat-like things that “oh they don’t bite” but will show later (when smashed on the walls) to be sesame-seed-sized-blood-sucking-devils-with-wings which do indeed bite AND leave a welt that will itch the livin’ daylights out of you for the next 6 days.  
It’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s muggy, AND before I get totally wrapped around the axle with how “icky” it is here - there is the most wonderful sound especially at night (if you can get over the droning of the insects) of the Roaring Brook – which is across the road from the BFH and has been known to lull one to sleep…if you can stop slapping, scratching and fidgeting to keep from being eaten alive. 
I’ll give you more insights into our stay in the next few “editions” of this blog, but for now, I’m going to retire to my sleeping abode where I’ll huddle under numerous sheets to sleep…since we failed to bring netting.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Passing trains that have no names...

Sorry I haven’t been online for a few days – was planning to put one together on the 12th and ended up camping for the night in the path of a thunderstorm.  Since our camping site was directly over a large (but beautiful) tree – I didn’t think it was prudent to sit there, on an electronic device that was tethered to a small post of electrical wiring, sitting in a metal box, and continue typing away while lightening cracked overhead…call me “chicken” but when it comes to lightening – I’d make Colonel Sanders mouth water and I DO believe all those National Inquirer stories like the woman while sitting in her bathtub talking on her phone during a storm got short-circuited…permanently. 
A few days ago, we were on the way to an intermediate stop that would put us in close proximity of a rendezvous with family members in Fort Wayne.  Our odd schedule and less than stellar performance getting out of the chocks meant were wouldn’t be able to catch them on the Eastbound trip, but will now catch them on the flip side.   
The destination we planned for today was Kankakee, Indiana and while it would take us off the main highway and down into smaller routes that traversed some interesting little towns and some VERY flat, straight patches of road.  It was fun to have different scenery than the Interstate. 
Donald did an excellent job mapping…plotting…planning or trip, and doing all the driving…he’s just awesome.   SO – you might wonder what exactly am I doing and in addition to being the consummate housekeeper for a vehicular kennel (that isn’t managed by Animal Control) I’m the one in charge of monitoring the levels of fluids in the various holding tanks.  Yes, not only am I responsible in making sure we have adequate water until our next stop, but I’m also the Chief Operator of the Poop System – COPS for short.  (Yes, I just figured out that acronym for the folks I work with - who are REAL COPS!)
For those of you not familiar with how RV’s work, I’ll give you a brief overview of a couple of things that I’ve learned.  While Donald and I share the dumping process (there are certainly enough latex gloves to cover us both) we’ve learned that two sets of hands are MUCH better than one when it comes to keeping really nasty hoses all going in the right direction at the right time.  If you’ve ever watched the old series, “Lost in Space” when Robby the Robot started waving his hose type limbs and shout “WARNING, WARNING, WILL ROBINSON” – you might understand how those flailing hoses can become quite unmanageable – quickly!
So, the other part of the waste management system (other than the dumping) is to make sure that while you’re carrying around 20-30 gallons of “YUCK and MUCK”.  I said I’d be giving the “uncensored” version of our trip, here’s the sanitized version – if you’ll forgive the pun: 
First off:  It’s important to make sure the holding tanks are properly monitored so that the amount held in each is at the appropriate level so that as you fly down the highways and byways you are not mistaken for a Porta-Potty on wheels. 

Secondly:  It’s necessary that you do not exceed the amount of fluids in any of the waste holding tanks as even the smallest miscalculation might result in an incident requiring the services of a HAZMAT Squad or the filing an environmental impact statement. 
In order to facilitate that obviously unsuitable situation, we’ve learned that you need to drain the tanks frequently, or whenever the Tank Testing equipment tells you to.  However, a day or two into the trip (when we had the tires incident, and all the other stuff going on) we realized the Tank Testing light – you guessed it – didn’t work.  So we became very aware of what went into and out of our tanks.  So, when we completely emptied the tanks after day two - we were under the impression that we were “good to go” - you veteran RV’ers are already grinning, aren’t you!
Yep, well about half way to one destination (and having successfully completed our first mutual dumping exercise) we were patting ourselves on the back for completing the task without, how should we say…letting the sh*t hit any fans.  We were blissfully tootling down the road (in 90+ degree weather) when we started wondering what the heck had gotten stuck underneath our vehicle ‘cuz something certainly had crawled up there and died! 
When we walked into the bathroom (which is about the size of our standard high school locker) it made our eyes water.  Okay, back to the drawing board, or in our case, the RV-ing for Dummies book, and lo’ and behold – we found a checklist that looks something like this: 
·         Empty (in an appropriate place) the holding tanks for the “grey water” and the “black water” - CHECK!
·         Add the appropriate chemicals to deodorize holding tanks – CHECK!
·         Continue to add these chemicals on a daily basis, based on the use, and temperature of the holding tanks – CHECK!
·         Ensure that after emptying the holding tanks and they are well flushed, add enough water to ensure that they have enough water for the deodorizing chemicals to react efficiently – OOOPS! 
We’d put in the chemicals, but there wasn’t enough water in the now empty tanks to give the deodorizing chemicals a fighting chance! 
You can bet that we quickly found a water hose, filled them to the appropriate level, and have been adding more deodorizing chemicals on a regular basis.  I can assure you we now travel without cars and trucks swerve off the road to avoid us…         
…and we just thought they were giving us a wide-berth out of respect. 
Let’s see, where else have we stayed…
We spent one night at the KOA Park in Kankakee, Illinois.  When Donald said where we were going to spend the night, I got sorta misty eyed.  Kankakee is a town mentioned in one of my favorite songs (back in the early 70’s) about an old railroad train that ran through that small town in what was (and still is) a bastion of the finer days of railway travel. 
The song is “City of New Orleans” and if you Google it, you’ll get all the details.  The part of the song that I remember is it talks about this train rolling along “past houses, farms and fields” and it make me think about what people are doing these days in our RVs…getting off the beaten paths.
When others are heading for more fancy, more “entertaining” destinations, there is a group of people who want a simpler type of vacation.  In more than one of the campgrounds we’ve seen a LOT of kids riding bikes, scooters, skateboards, running, playing badminton and laugh and squeal as they jump, skip and bounce up and down between campsites, the pool, the playing fields and the woods and fields surrounding them. 
We’ve remarked how infrequently we have seen kids on video games, or watching TV, but every now and then hear a little whining, “…do we HAVE to come in and go to bed?”  …where I’m sure they fall asleep immediately – exhausted from all the activity of the day.     …and here I sit on my laptop…geez! 
The more we continue on this adventure, the more we like it and have started looking at destinations that we can do on three or four day weekends when we return. 
So, I’m shutting this down for the night and hoping you have dreams filled with sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors and new places…you know, the ones like you had as a kid when you fell asleep, spent from a day of playing outdoors. 
Oh yeah – and FIREFLIES are magical!!!  I don’t want to know how they work; I want to keep thinking they are fairies like mystical sparks caught on the wind!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ice-cream can be magical!

I’ve been chastised (yet again) because photos I’ve posted that "supposedly" include Rose’e (who is normally referred to as “our black child”) doesn’t actually SHOW Rose’e.  We were accused of “leaving her behind and being too embarrassed to admit it.”  I won’t say WHO it was (Keri) but I want to prove that Rose’e is, indeed, with us.  In fact, she’s so “with us” that Donald can’t get to bed without having to nudge his way past her, and usually between at least two kids.  (Exhibit A)
I chose to sleep in the RV's overhead compartment.  You know – that shelf up over the cab where you always wanted to sleep when you were a kid?    …but as an adult, it reminds you of a coffin with mini-blinds?  Yeah, up there, that’s where I climb each night to slumber.
I’ve actually gotten to like it.  It reminds me of when I was on a ship in the Navy and our “racks” were about the same size.  They hardly had enough room to sit up but had a flip top to a locker/compartment underneath where you could stow all your worldly possession.  It also boasted a flimsy curtain that pulled across but didn’t really provide any semblance of privacy, and a crappy mattress.  Navy folks are nodding their heads up and down for I speak the truth. 
But back to the Rose’e issue being a “racial thing” – it just ain’t so!  As you can see, we have three “fur-faced children” – two are what we refer to as “the blondes” and Rose’e – who is the black one, and she is indeed black.  See?  Nothing racial about it – just a descriptor. 
Let’s see - details about how how it went today…

Carpe Diem - we got up early (5 a.m.) eager to get on the road but first our most pressing task was to again demonstrate our mechanical talent and ability, once more show our grasp of the finer points of awning retraction...ahem… 
After getting all the “stuff” stowed, kids fed, and basically attired.  I’d like to point out here that there is no earthly reason to fix your hair, put on make-up or dress “cute” when you KNOW you’re going to spend the next 12-18 hours getting your hair blown, your clothes shed, slobbered and stepped upon…and you’re also going to climb in and out of an RV into sweltering heat multiple times to water and walk the kids.  I vainly (and admittedly, there is vanity involved) attempt it anyway.  My results are visible by the fact that I’ve posted NO photos in which I appear.  ‘nuf said. 
Anyway – back to the Awning Adventure:
We had such a lovely time trying to get it open and functioning the previous evening that you can scarcely appreciate our zeal in getting the d*mn thing retracted.  Let’s reiterate – we had no directions, and were fumbling in the original endeavor to put it UP.  We had the same directions and insights in taking it DOWN. 

Numerous attempts at using this “thinga-ma-jiggy” to depress that “gizmo” while sliding those two “jobby-doos” into that…”what-cha-ma-call-it” resulted in nothing more than some new and (I might add) very creative swear words.    
With Donald’s encouraging remark, “If we don’t get this f------ thing down we’re going to be hauling down the highway with it hanging off and flapping on the side.”  I visualized that event which led us to proceed with renewed vigor to return the awning to its original configuration WITHOUT resorting to the use of an impact wrench, blow-torch or sledge hammer.  Needless to say it was anxious and tense at our campsite, but once more, diligence, patience, and a few more creative swear words, and we miraculously got it retracted and locked in place…vowing “never to open that d*mn  thing again.”   
“But honey, what about when we have to open it to scrub the mildew off?  We can’t keep that skanky thing attached – it’s probably infectious!”   
“We’ll worry about that when we’re parked in our driveway.”    <- good plan – gotta a love a man who suggests a great solution rather than the name of a divorce attorney. 
So, the rest of the day actually went pretty darn well…ney, I would say doggone well.  We made over 400 miles, through highways that were draining from recent flooding.  (Exhibit B)
For a very serious moment here - the amount of devastation that the recent flooding caused to beautiful towns, homes, farms, ranches and LIVES is…well…heartbreaking.  There are numerous agencies trying to assist the victims, but honestly, it will be years before what the River has taken can be repaired, reclaimed or remedied.  Anything we, as Americans, can do to help our own countrymen is not only appreciated, but appropriate.   
We also went through miles and miles of construction and could almost hear the drivers behind us saying, “I-hate-those-stupid-old-people-in-that-d*mn-RV- slowing- down-traffic.”  To which we would like to reply, “No sweet-cheeks – we’re going as fast as the vehicles ahead of us, you just can’t see past our hulking mass to know that we are not the problem, but please thank your State Department of Transportation in conjunction with your Federal Dollars at Work.
Let’s see, oh yeah!  We finally found a Dairy Queen for Donald to get his most favorite dessert – a Peanut Buster Parfait.  He really had put up with a lot so far on this trip and when I kept saying we should stop for one, he declined because we didn’t need to stop.  After enough convincing (nagging is such an ugly word) he gave in and we swerved off our original course for 30 delicious minutes at a DQ.   It was worth it - he and the kids enjoyed it immensely.  (Exhibit C)   
Recap of the day  - Good day overall, which ended with an early turn-in (to yet another KOA campground) and a refreshing dip in the pool.  Gained 400 miles on the map.  Bypassed flooding…mostly.  Survived killer temperatures with a helping of soft-serve ice-cream, and avoided bloodshed in the retraction of the awning. 
Ahh..another successful day in the Three Danes Inn Adventure, and I’m heading to bed and my comfy coffin with mini-blinds, but CLEAN COOL SHEETS!!!  (FAB-ulous Laundry Facilities at the KOA!)   ;o)     

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Now where were we?

Remember me mentioning the KOA campground?  Well, we spent last night in Gillette, Wyoming, and it should not be unreasonable to add that we practically kissed the ground as we exited Montana.  Not to give Montana a bad name, but we drove over the border into Wyoming feeling like Custer wasn’t the only person to get their butts kicked in that territory! 
There was no posting yesterday because it was pretty uneventful (Halleluiah!) well...other than a weird campground named Green Trees – Crazy Woman Campground.  NO LIE!!!  I’m not making up this stuff!  This was a small (and a tad creepy) piece of property nestled between the Campbell Country Hospital and a REALLY nasty looking Laundromat right off I-90.   The whole place had an odd feeling - starting at the campsite they originally assigned us not being the correct number AND that it was covered with downed tree branches and a goofy guy at the registration desk. 
Don:  "Do you offer any discounts for AAA, AARP or Good Sam's Club members?
Goofy Guy:  "They endorse us, but no, we don't offer any of their discounts."  

Me:  HUH? 
Oh well, we only stayed the night and got up and out of there really early, congratulating ourselves on getting better and faster at setting-up and break-down camp each day.  Also, we’ve gotten pretty darn snappy with getting three Danes down three steep steps and out one little door without increasing our vocabulary of cuss words.  Timing is everything. 
But, not to disappoint - we did add one more critical element to our routine this evening – we decided to try to set up the awning.  (Stop it!  I can here your "oh-oh" even through the internet!) 
The guy we got the RV from said he never used it, but that it was pretty simple and the directions were in all that stuff from the original owners.  Really?  We should have had him show us. 
The directions we got from him were to a different make and model.  BUT - Donald, being brilliant – figured it out and showed once more why he is “my hero!”  After some fiddling - Donald rolled the awning out - in all its moldy magnificence.  Note: Don't be so trusting, and that's one more thing we need to fix when we get back home.  
So this evening, after setting up camp and getting the “kids” settled, we got out of our sweaty clothes and went for a dip in the campground's pool.  Ahhhh!  It was the perfect end to a long day of driving but we even got in a few “side trips” – nope, not to Mt. Rushmore (Old faces, Same places – their billboard, not mine!)  
We stopped in Sturgis (three weeks too early for the 71st Annual Motorcycle Rally, and NO we didn’t get “Born to be Wild” tattooed on our butts either!)  For crying out loud – it was Sunday morning and the streets were empty.  The parking lot at the Evangelical Baptist Church showed attendance there was even a little skimpy.  Not even a Harley with an "I |heart| Jesus" bumpersticker.  We couldn’t find a coffee shop either - and that brings up another questionL  There is a Starbuck’s in BEIJING but they can’t have one in Billings????  What’s up with that? 
Another stop was a Wall Drug Store <- you’ll have to Google it, ‘cuz I have no clue how I’d describe it without using the word “tacky” extraneously but  got a photo of Donald there.
Anyway, long day, good miles, not too much chaos.  Check out the photos.  They're labeled, but if you're having problems with identifying who's who - Don’s the tall one who does NOT have his tongue out, panting…usually…