Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Monday, October 31, 2016

IA & IL Visiting Friends and Family

October 13-29 , 2016

On Thursday Mark and Nancy arrived at Volga River State Recreation area. Since October of 2013 we have been meeting up with them in the northern midwest. This year we had chosen a place in MN but it was an eight hour ride for them so we decide to meet a little closer to their home in IL. Volga River SRA was about 3 hours for them. They arrived around noon and set up in the site next to us. The next four days were filled with catching up, good food and lots of laughter, the guys did a bit of fishing and there were always walks to take since Mark and Nancy brought their dog Gracie. The evenings were almost always spent around a campfire.

On Tuesday we all headed to Thomson Causeway COE park which is less than 10 miles from their house. Mark and Nancy were kind enough to play tour guides one day, then poor Mark had to work a few days.


Their home town of Fulton IL is home to a large Dutch population hence the windmill, the major tourist attraction in town.

Across the Mississippi River is Clinton Iowa, we took a ride through their beautiful city park. Eagle Point City Park is home to this castle like structure which when you climb to the top you have an expansive view of the river.

While at Thomson Causeway we were visited by other friends. Alex and Paul belong to our Grand Design Owners group and were on their way back to AZ and decided to stop in for an overnight visit. Thanks guys for stopping by, it was great to see you.

Our last evening with Mark and Nancy was spent at the Alder Theatre in Davenport Iowa attending a Moody Blues concert. Many years ago (1986) I had attended a Moody Blues concert with Mark and Nancy, when Mark found out they were playing in the area there was no question we would be going. What a great night with even better music, they played almost all of their hits and even a few obscure songs.

On Sunday 10/23 we said goodbye to Mark and Nancy and headed four hours south to Bo Woods COE on Lake Shelbyville. We use this campground as our base while visiting my folks who live about 25 miles away. We had reserved site 113 one of our favorite full hookup sites.

We were fortunate to visit as the fall colors were really popping. 

Our week was spent visiting with my folks, taking some drives around the area and seeing more of my extended family. 
While in the area we stopped at the Lake Shelbyville Dam Visitors Center where we inquired about possible volunteer positions for next summer. One evening one of the rangers stopped by and interviewed us. Sounds promising.

We had a great few weeks visiting friends and family in Iowa and Illinois, now we're on our migration south to TX where we'll spend the winter.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Iowa-Visiting Friends and Great State Parks

October 5-12, 2016

Wednesday morning the weather had turned for the better, it was a beautiful for traveling. About 3 hours later we arrived at Brushey Creek State Recreation Area near Ft Dodge Iowa. We were able to score a full hookup walk in site. We'll be here for 5 nights, off season rate for the site is $14/night, can't beat that price.

We enjoy our 5 days here doing a variety of things we haven't had much chance to do lately. We finally got the canoe back in the water and spent a few hours paddling around the lake.

We took a 10.7 mile hike/walk around the lake on a beautiful fall day.

Dinners cooked over a campfire.

Beautiful evening skies

Best of all was our proximity to Des Moines and the chance to spend time with our friends Cindy and Paul who are headed back to AZ this winter. Sure going to miss meeting up with them this winter.

On Monday we moved east across Iowa to Volga River State Recreation Area. Our friends Mark and Nancy will be here in a few days but we had another couple to visit prior to their arrival. Site 17 has full hookups and is again only $14/night.

On Tuesday we headed to Prairie Du Chien to visit our friends DuWayne and Jackie. After a quick lunch we headed to the marina where they keep their pontoon boat docked. It was a beautiful afternoon for a ride on the Mississippi River.

Barges filled with grain heading down the Mississippi River.

DuWayne and Jackie recently sold their house to their son and moved into their motorhome. After our boat ride we headed over to where they have built themselves a home base. They hope to have a site for visitors ready for next summer, looking forward to bringing our house to Dujac Farm.

Another month and we'll see them in TX, we're looking forward so spending the winter hanging out with them.

One more day and our friends Mark & Nancy will be joining us for 10 days of camping in Iowa and Illinois.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Finally...Relaxing In South Dakota

September 27- October 4, 2016

Monday when we found we wouldn't be getting new sneakers for the truck once again I started making some phone calls to places down the road. A call to Tires Plus in Fargo ND gave me cause for hope. After telling him how disappointed we'd been twice already he assured me he had the same tires in stock and could get us in on Tuesday and could hopefully do the alignment.

Tuesday morning we were on the road by 7:45am so we could get to Buffalo River State Park in Glyndon MN and drop the RV then head back to Fargo about 20 miles away. We arrived at Tires Plus just about noon and Glenn was all ready for us. The tires were there and they were ready to install them. We knew it would take a few hours so we headed to lunch then for a walk. We decided to take a walk over to the Chevy dealer and talk to them about the check engine light that was staying on. With the information, we had from when the engine code had been read last time we were told it should be covered by warranty and they could get to it on Wednesday. We were also given the option to bring it in later Tuesday afternoon and we could get a shuttle ride back to the park. As we were getting done at the dealer we received a call from Tires Plus, the truck was ready, new sneakers and an alignment. In the end we saved about $400 from when we initially tried to get new sneakers back in Cochrane AB.

Since we had the canoe still on the truck we rode back to the campground and dropped off the truck then headed back into Fargo to the Chevy dealer. A shuttle ride back to the campground and we were home, seems strange to not have a vehicle.

Buffalo River State Park is a small park with 35 electric only sites, this time of year there is no water so we came with enough for a day or two. The cost is great at $25/night, 50amp, we have a great Verizon signal and the Dish satellite works just fine. The first evening there was only one other site occupied by folks in a tent.

Wednesday afternoon we got a call our truck would be done soon, they sent someone to pick us up. The truck had a full diagnostic done and a few things were addressed, most were covered by warranty. Afterwards we headed over to the Valvoline store and had the oil changed, since there was a Walmart nearby I headed there to get a few grocery items since we knew our next place would be out in the sticks. By the time we left Fargo we had dropped quite a few $$'s, but the truck is feeling much better.

Thursday morning we headed on down into South Dakota to Roy Lake State Park, what a beautiful park it is. We scored a site right on the lake with good Dish and Verizon signals. The sites in this park are electric only but at this time of the year they still have the water on so we filled our tank before heading to our site. We stayed here 3 nights, what a restful place it was.
Another beautiful state park, well kept and a great day use area also. The emphasis here is fishing but there is also a disc golf course which if it hadn't been as windy we would have taken advantage of. Lots of geocaches in the park and we found a few of them, a short trail on an island. What a beautiful place to spend the weekend. Neither one of feel like exploring the area, think we're both burnt out from the constant on the go when in Alaska. This park was a great place to decompress.

During one of our walks Dave spoke to the owners of this rig. It's owned by a local chiropractor and restaurant owner. The back of the rig is turned into a large bbq and smoking area. They do a lot of BBQ competitions and were on a weekend off but still cooking. We were the lucky recipients of a smoked chicken and some smoked brisket. YUM!!

Dave got out and spent some time with the camera. 

Finally a real campfire!!!

With bad weather in the forecast on Sunday we headed south 3 hours south to Lake Vermillion State Recreation Area about 25 miles west of Sioux Falls SD. Monday high winds were predicted and Tuesday the prediction was for rain and thunderstorms. We  headed south as we are meeting friends at Volga River State Recreation Area in Iowa on 10/13 so were moving when the weather is nice and just wandering around the area checking out different state parks. The SD parks are easy on the budget at $19/night, can't beat that. 


There is a local sculpture park nearby, unfortunately it is closed but we did get a picture of the worlds largest bull head.

If a restaurateur recommends a place to stop it's usaully a good place to eat. The owner of the BBQ rig recommended Red Steakhouse in Vermillion SD. On our last evening at Lake Vermillion we took the 75 minute ride to Vermillion, Red Steakhouse is housed in an old bank. A beautiful place with outstanding food though a bit pricey. Appetizers of onion rings and escargot, followed by a steak dinner for me and pork belly and shrimp for Dave were delicious. Our waiter Jake was great, attentive and there quickly to take dirty plates or refill our drinks, top notch service. Dessert was bread pudding, of course I was enjoying the experience so much I forgot to get a picture till dessert and then didn't take any pictures of the beautiful old bank. Red Steakhouse was a great way to finish our time in South Dakota.

Until next time...