Hopkins Trip West, 2004

Comment from RunnerDuck: This travelogue was submitted to us by Doug and Betty Hopkins from Virginia, USA. Their trip covered a month long trek to the Pacific Ocean and back. We hope you enjoy their story. If you have a travelogue you'd like us to post on our web site just sent it to travelogue at runnerduck.com and we'll work with you to get it posted.

Well, to start off I was not all that thrilled to be taking an 8,000 mile trip, as I am pretty much a homebody.

The First Day, Saturday, April 17th,
We had only been on the road for about 5 hours and the front right brake started grabbing and after several attempts by Doug to get it to free up we finally stopped and had it fixed. After about 4 more hours at the garage and $126.00 lighter we were on the road again. I was beginning to wonder if it was an omen for us to just turn around. Might of been just my wishful thinking...lol. But we moved on and made it to Greenbrier Forrest campground in W. Va. I believe. It was a very tiring and disheartening day for a first day, but we hope that would be all the problems for the trip instead of views of things to come. Since there was no power, water, etc. at this campground in the woods, it was an easy early to bed night and we needed it...

Day 2, Sunday, April 18th,
We were up and on the road fairly early and Doug fought cross winds all day. Such fun. Made it to Weather Rock Campgrounds in Indiana. Another tiring day. After all that wind today, you might know that the wind would stop just when we needed a breeze to cool things down for restful sleeping. I would of slept out on the picnic table except this place had only 4 foot long picnic tables, not quite long enough for me, so went out for a bit to cool off and then in to the camper to sleep.

Day 3, Monday, April 19th,
We made it into my friends place around 5 p.m. just north of Kansas City, MO. Sure was good to see her and was not near long enough for us to visit and catch up. She fixed us a nice supper and she and I chatter till near 11PM. I believe and then I decided to call it a night. We had a really big storm overnight. Doug slept through the most of it. Then Jeannie had us breakfast of Pancakes and sausage all ready bright and early, bless her heart, and then we said our goodbyes and were on the road once more..

Day 4, Tuesday, April 20th,
We traveled to Holiday Campground in North Platte, NE. We had WIND again and some snow. Not too impressed with the southern part of Nebraska, after the first 15 minutes you have seen all you are going to see for the rest of the state. Maybe it was the weather. Anyhow, after getting all plugged in and a bite to eat, we hit the sack early again.

Day 5, Wednesday, April 21,
After another day of Doug having to fight the wind and some snow we finally got through Nebraska into Wyoming to the RV Word Campground. It was pretty cold, but with our heater and an extra blanket we were snug and warm. Wonder if Doug is tired of TV dinners already..lol. The motor home didn't like the cold either as we had a time getting it started the next morning.

Day 6, Thursday, April 22,
Well, Doug finally got the motor home started and thinks it was just a little fuel line freezing. Thank goodness, nothing solid. The motor home was running a little rough but we made it into my sister-in-laws in Gunnison, Utah in late afternoon. She was not home when we arrived but came shortly. Was so good to see her and be in a familiar place for a change. Other than seeing my Sister, as I call her, the other best part of this day was the trip through the Provo Canyon. Also only took Doug on one unplanned excursion into parts of Provo. Never did find that other route I was hunting for, Oh well, we managed to get to Route 15, which is what we needed to get to Gunnision. We had a nice dinner, and chatted some and hit the sack.

Day7, Friday, April 23,
We had a really nice day with Betty Ann. Started out with us going to Wal-mart and then we met my niece Laurie for a nice lunch at a Mexican Restaurant. Never know what to order at those places. Anyhow, had a taco salad and it was good. Then we went to a spot where a guy we saw at the restaurant had said he saw some Elk and Deer earlier, but of course, they were not in site when we got there, so we headed back home. Doug decided to have the motor home checked and after talking to Betty Ann's mechanic, he decided to go get a new set of plug wires and put them on. Well, that took him the rest of the day. We sure did enjoy the visit but I was antsy to get along with this trip, so I could see us heading EAST, so we decided to leave in the morning, instead of Sunday. We had a nice supper, visited some more and then hit the sack.

Day 8, Saturday, April 24,
We left Betty Ann's about 9:20. Motor home was hard getting started and wasn't running quite right. But we left anyhow. The cruise wasn't working either. Doug said it seemed like a vacuum hose was off. After pulling over three times, Doug finally found the problem, and sure enough it was a hose. Once he put it on everything ran fine after that. We made it into Vegas, parked at Nellis AFB campground. It is a nice good size campground.
Doug got a ride onto base and rented a car at 5 p.m., so he could take me to the "STRIP" so I could see what it looked like at night with all the lights as I had only been through there during daylight hours on our 1996 trip out there. I took camcorder pictures from one end to the other. Sure hope they show up good. We went to the MGM Grand Casino but was so loud in there we decided to go across to the Tropicana Casino. We had a fairly good buffet dinner there. There was a singer just outside where we went into the buffet, singing. On the way out he was singing to a lady from the audience, who had just turned 88 years old. He even danced with her a bit. Hope I can move that good at 88. She had a red dress on and that is what he sang, Lady in the Red Dress. She sure did look like she was enjoying it. It was neat. It seemed to take forever to get back OFF the strip. Took several changes at each stop light before we could get through each. I took some more camcorder shots. Would of liked to get footage of the water fountain display to music that one of the casinos had going on in the front of it, but we were tired and as it was about midnight before we got back to the motor home. Since we had the car till 5 the next day, we decided to stay at this campground an extra day to take a break. Yippee.

Day 9, Sunday, April 25,
Doug went down to the campground office to see if we could get the space for another night, and we could, another Yippee. It is to get quite warm today here, believe 91. Doug took the laptop to the office to see if he could get online as they have WI-FI, which is some sort of wireless connection to the Internet. He will call Dell for assistance on setting it up as a default. Before we take the rental back we need to go to the store for a few things. I might go to the office tonight and see if I can send some e-mails out to a few people to let them know where and how the trip is going. Well, Doug cam back from the office, and we will go back tonight when we return and try it again, the Internet. We got cleaned up and went to a Casino I saw on the way in, the Cannery Row for an early dinner before the rental is due back. It is not on the STRIP. I don't ever care to go back to the STRIP, just not my bag and Doug says it is not classy like it used to be years ago when he and a buddy where there. But we really liked the Cannery Row, and the buffet was 100% better than the one at the Tropicana the night before. Oh, if we had only gone to this place instead of the STRIP. Oh well, live and learn. It was an experience anyhow. Doug said the Cannery Row was much more like the casinos used to be years ago. We enjoyed it. I put 4 quarters in a slot machine just to say I did. We stopped at Wal-mart on the way back from there. Not the nicest Wal-mart I had seen. Oh well, the rental car is due back so Doug took it and will catch a cab or ride back to the campground. He paid a couple young servicemen to run him back over here to the campground. It was too far to walk in this heat or anytime, but not miles. So I was glad he didn't have to walk it. Otherwise we would of had to unhook the motor home so I could follow him over. But then we found out that we didn't have the insurance card for it and so could not have gotten on base anyhow. It worked out anyhow. Then when it cooled down some, we took the laptop up to the office and sat out on the patio and messed around with it some. I received some e-mail, but it would take too long to go through at 10 at a time through my servers web-mail, so just deleted all 578 of them...lol. Hope nothing too important. I call my niece Shirley every few days, so if anything important, she would let us know. We got back from the office about bedtime. We wanted to get out and on the road before 9 or 10, so hit the sack. Was a good day.

Day 10, Monday April 26,
Well we left the Eagle Nest Campground around 10:20 a.m. We got gas at $2.19 a gallon for premium, then onward. Not much to see for the most part as we travel west from Vegas, till we got to almost Lemon Grove Campground, just outside of the Sequoia National Park.. A few interesting rock formations but mostly just dry and windy. Coming across the desert it was a hot 101 degrees outside and around 90 inside. The outside generator, which runs the AC while we are moving, even stopped a few times and we had to stop so Doug could re-adjust it for the lower altitude there.
But all in all, not a very scenic day. I even laid down an hour or so while we were crossing the desert as it is so hot up in my seat from outside air coming in under the dash from somewhere and for some reason I didn't sleep too well last night, sooo. We have tried several times, even before the trip to find the opening, with no luck. So I was too warm and went in the back and laid down. Then when we got to Vasalia, CA. we had to get gas again, this time it was $2.39 a gallon, whew. After getting gas, we only had 30 minutes to get to the rental car place before they closed and had no idea where it was in this town. We finally found it and of course, the only thing they had left was an SUV or a truck, and very expensive. I would of reserved a compact car if we only knew when we would be getting there, but since we didn't and that was all they had, we decided to just forget it for the day and deal with it in the morning and besides everything was closed or closing so no use it trying to find another rental place tonight. It was a long, hot day and we were tired.
Doug has done all the driving so far. I have offered, but with it being so windy and my shoulder not the best, guess it was just as well. Anyhow, we will try to get a rental in the morning and go to see the Sequoias in the afternoon and then go on towards Redding Wednesday. We will see how tomorrow goes up in the park. For now, we are just gonna get a bite to eat and hit the sack.
I am a little homesick, but have been since we left home...lol. I think I am starting to get better at this traveling thing though, so that is good. I am getting lots of camcorder shots of our trip to enjoy later. It was beautiful just coming from Visalia to the campground here. Came past LOTS of fields of various things they are growing here in massive fields. It would be nice if they would put up a sign or two letting you know what they are growing. I guess it would be oranges, olives, pistachios and probably lemons and limes, but don't know for sure. Would of loved to stop and just pick an orange or two, but being in jail is not an experience I want to partake in...lol. Some of those oranges were just laying on the ground, who would care...right? Well, guess I will hit the sack. Hope the weather is nice tomorrow. So long for now.

Day 11 Tuesday, April 27,
Got up at 5:30ish. It is to be hot again today but hopefully it will be cool in the park in the mountains. We are going up to the office after we shower and dress, to call around about a rental car. We don't, or I should say, I don't feel comfortable about taking the motor home up in the park on those roads as they say not to take anything up there over 22 feet long and of course we are 24. I am not good with heights so don't want to be up any higher than I have to be...lol. Oh yah, this turned out to be a nice quiet campground. We have been in some that were close to the thruway and the truck noise never stops. We'll will add more later.
Well, no rental so we are going to take the motor home up into the park. I am a little scared about this as the roads are somewhat narrow. The lady up at the office said if I was afraid of heights that maybe we should wait till we can get a rental. She said she doesn't advise us taking the motor home, but we don't have a choice. So off we go. Doug took it slow. Some of those turns were kiss your ass (oops) types and the lady at the office said I, in the passenger seat, would be against the mountain side most all the time. She lied. I had many butt quivering experiences on this road....lol. It was all worth it. We climbed really high up and there were some awesome views. The BIG Sequoia trees are unbelievable. A picture truly worth a thousand words and we took lots of those. It is hard to imagine a tree that is 31 feet across in diameter. Finally found something that makes me look little..lol.

Betty in front of a Giant Redwood
Betty in front of a Giant Redwood

We took all day just wandering through the park. There were pull-off places so we could pull over and let traffic behind us pass. But surprisingly there wasn't all that much traffic. Guess it is too early for that yet. We also bought a year pass for all National Parks when we entered here as we will be going to several and it will pay for itself in no time. We stopped and went through the museum also up there, was very interesting and I did the camcorder thing for the whole thing. Hope it comes out good.
We decided to stay the night at one of the campgrounds up there. It was just so beautiful, very quiet and peaceful. I think if I had to pick a place to die, this would be it. It is almost spiritual up there amongst those beautiful big trees. The campground did not have water, sewage, or power, so it was an early night, once it got dark as we were not allowed to run the generator after 9. That was fine, we were tied anyhow. The campground was so beautiful though and we were glad we stayed there. I was glad to be in a motor home and not a tent as they have bear boxes there to protect your food, so there are bear there. Just didn't want to meet one of them personally...lol. This turned out to be one of my most enjoyable days so far.

Day 12, Wednesday, April 28th.
We got up and left the Azalea campground around 8ish, after going outside and getting the area on camcorder. On the way out of the campground, I saw this awesome big pine cone.. Doug stopped and got it for me. It must be over a foot long. The biggest pinecone I have ever seen. Don't even think it is one from the Sequoias...I had gotten one of the Sequoia tree pine cones. I knew it was one after going through the museum. But I love it and am so tickled to have it. When I get home I will shellac it. The trip down the mountain was beautiful and pleasant. I must of gotten used to those roads where the guard rail looks like it is attached to the pavement with nothing behind it.. straight down...lol.. Got a personal relationship with the TOPs of some of those trees up there as they are right there off the road, it is so straight down...lol. Guess you could say I faced my fears and realized there was nothing to fear. It helped too that we saw several busses traveling up there to, so, if they fit, I knew we would...lol. And my sweet husband took it slow and easy too.
Then, once we got in the valley and coming up to Cottonwood, just south of Redding, the wind was TERRIBLE. I mean they even put up flashing signs warning of dangerous winds. Boy, Doug is going to have some awesome muscles after this day and tired ones. We lost the TV antenna off the roof, which is designed to withstand wind. That is how windy it was. Not fun to ride in or drive in either.
We finally pulled into the Alamo RV Park around 6, another long tiring day. Outside of the Sequoias I have not really been impressed much by California yet.
There is a phone line at our campsite here at this campground, so I got to call Shirley and Betty Ann to let them know how and where we were and that was good. We tried to get online here but couldn't. We called Ken, our server, but he wasn't there and Dave, the guy who was, wasn't much help.
There is a South Wind motor home just a space away. I talked to the lady a few minutes and they bought it new. It was an older one like ours, but in much better shape, looks wise anyhow, bet they keep it in storage or a garage when they aren't using it. We look like the Clampettes in most of these parks, amongst all the big beautiful motor homes...lol Oh well, ours gets us from point A to point B and ours is paid for.
I also called my cousin Michael in Redding. We are just outside Redding. He didn't sound so happy to have us stop by for a couple hours, but his new wife Edie, seemed nice and gave us directions and told us to stop by. So we will go there for a bit tomorrow and then move on. Michael is 89 and set in his ways but this is probably the last time I will see him and probably the only chance to meet Edie, soooooo. Then Doug wants to cut across from Redding and go up and see the Giant Redwoods and I do want to put my toes in the Pacific Ocean, so that will be good, then on to Oregon. Three mores stops, if we make them all, and we will be EASTWARD bound, Yippee.
We had Mexican or I should say Doug did, at the little restaurant at the campground. I am not a big Mexican food fan, so I had a burger and fries. I hope we get to have a decent home cooked type meal soon. It has been 2 nights of TV dinners and no other meals the last 2 days.
Everyday is exhausting. I think we are both getting tired out. I know I am. It is about time for a 2 day stay at a campground, I think, for a rest. I know I am ready for it, will see.
Well, it was good to talk to Shirley and Betty Ann and so guess it was a good day all in all. It's time to hit the sack, so night for now.

Day 13, Thursday, April 29,
(Redding to Trinadad) (Pacific Ocean).
Got up and headed to Redding to see Michael and Edie. The directions Edie gave me didn't get us their, we couldn't find the streets she gave us. Hmmmmm. But Doug looked the map over and figured it out and we got to there house just as they and Edie's daughter and her husband were about to leave to have lunch, literally. We stood in the driveway about 20 minutes and chatted. Michael looks good so I guess marriage must be agreeing with him. That marriage thing is a whole other story...lol. I have only met him once before, when his wife Margarete, my cousin, was alive and they came to Ohio to visit my Mom. Edie is about 16 years younger than him but she must be taking good care of him. She seemed really nice. I will have to write them when we get home. They don't do computers. I hugged all and asked Edie to keep in touch, she said she would. Then, we left and headed to the Pacific Coast.
We went across 299. A beautiful trip but some more butt quivering times for me.. Lol. High about a beautiful Trinity River. Such Clear Blue water. Was a little scary for me. So high up from the River and straight down in many places but I got some beautiful camcorder shots of it. Once we stopped at an (sorta) overlook and with Doug hanging on to me I was able to get up to the EDGE and get some nice footage. Butt quivering and knees shaking the whole time. Guess if Doug ever wanted to get rid of me, that would of been the place as one step and I would of been in mid air to a drop of hundreds of feet to the river never to be found or heard from again...lol. So guess he likes having me around... lol.
We stopped about midway to the Ocean to have lunch. We also went to one of those roadside stores where a man was selling carvings. He does it using a chain saw. There were some really nice things there but expensive and large. Doug let me buy a little image of a Redwood tree, carved by chainsaw out of redwood, too neat. This was a nice little town in the Mountains but they get too much snow for me. lol. Then on to the Ocean.

Oregon Beach, Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean

Clam Beach is where we were told we could camp for the night by a nice husband and wife we keep meeting at the Sequoias. So we found it, parked in the reg. parking lot and headed to the beach and the Pacific Ocean On the way there we were approached by a lady who saw we were out of state and began telling us the perils of the Pacific Ocean and that a lady just the week before had been swept out by undercurrents and that there were Great Whites out there. Well, I told her I only had plans of putting my toes in it anyhow. Then as we were walking away from her she said.. "I got some really good brownies here if you are interested?" Well, I never did pot, but I had heard plenty of stories about how brownies can be cooked with POT in it. I told her no thanks and held up my cigarette and told her that this is as lethal as I get. We laughed and walked on.
It was a very long beach and sand is hard to walk in, but I made it. Doug was way out if front though. I took off my shoes and waded ankle deep in the Pacific Ocean. It was COLD. I hadn't expected it to be that cold. Anyhow I did it and then scouted for some shells. We couldn't find any but picked up a few rocks and a couple pieces of broken sand dollar, just for memories sake. We probably spend about an hour there and then headed on north toward the Redwoods. A bit further up the road the beach was a lot closer, oh yah, that Clam Beach campground consisted of a parking lot with someone to collect money. Nothing else there so we didn't want to stay there. I got some beautiful shots and footage of the Pacific Ocean and it beaches and cliffs. We found a campground called Azalea Glen Campground. A small but very nice one at the beginning of the Redwoods. They even had a modem hookup in the laundry room. And it was a very nice clean campground. Even had a library in the laundry room you could choose one book from for free. Thought that was neat. I chose one. As a remembrance, I also called Fay in Oregon, an Internet friend I met in 1999, but not in person, to let her know we would be in her neck of the woods that next evening and what campground we were going to stay at and for her to call and keep checking when we get in otherwise I would call her when we did. This was a good day, quivering and all. Yep, think I am finally getting the hang of this traveling thing, though it is tiring. So long.

Day 14, Friday, April 30
(Azalea Glen Campground to Myrtle Creek, OR.
We went up 101 to 199 at Cresent City and took another beautiful butt quivering ride across mountains with the Smith River at the bottom...lol I got some more beautiful footage of it. We stopped half way across, at a really nice and beautiful Lodge at Patrick Creek and had lunch. I had a Plank Walk, sounded dangerous, but was a delicious sandwich with chips, just mentioned that because of its name. We ate in a Florida type room with sky lights and overlooking their beautiful grounds, pond and the sound of a babbling creek, so nice. Then we went out and got the camcorder so I could take some shots of the creek and grounds and then walked under the roadway over to the Smith River where I took some stills and more footage. It was such a pretty place in the mountains. We got into Myrtle Creek at the River RV Campground. Oh how I wanted to fish in that river. Oh well, no license and we knew Fay and Bob would soon be there as there was a message waiting for us when we checked in that Fay had called several times. The manager let me use her cell phone to call to let Fay know we were there. They came shortly after Doug got us hooked up. We chatted a few minutes inside the camper but Bob doesn't smoke, so we all decided to head outside. I did finally remember to take some camcorder shots of Fay and Bob, I had forgotten to do that at Betty Ann's and Michael's. Oh well, can kick myself, but too late now. It was sooooo good to finally meet Fay and Bob. She is just so pretty. She had lost some weight and pointed out that I was bigger. Thanks Fay...lol. Really though it was as though we had known each other all our lives. Talking with them was so easy. I think Fay and I could of spent a week and never lacked for something to talk about. It was a very good visit, but too short. Hope someday they will make it to the east coast. It was a tearful goodbye for me. And after they left I cried. Doug said what's wrong. I simply said I would probably never see Fay again and it made me sad, so I cried. Sure would be nice to have a friend like her back home. Oh well. They left about 10:30 and it was getting chilly out so we came in and closed up and hit the sack about 11:30. We hadn't eaten so we had an orange, we bought those in CA., fresh, and some corn chips for a snack and then hit the sack. Was a long day but very enjoyable.

Day 15, Saturday May 01, 2004 halfway mark....
WoW, it is May... (Myrtle Creek, OR. to South of Portland)
Since we were up later than usual last night, I figured we would sleep in some. Well, we got up at 6:30 but moving slow..lol. We might get out of here by 11. We showered, dressed. Don't know how far we will go today. Hope it will not be a long day as we need to find a Wal-Mart to buy a few things, including laundry detergent as we need to wash clothes. Only washed them once so far, thanks to Betty Ann, we really appreciated her letting us use her facilities. So we will see.
Well, we pulled into the Pheasant Ridge RV Resort at 5p.m. I am tired even though it wasn't such a long, on the road, day. But we got a late start and also stopped at the Fish Ladder place Fay and Bob told us about, just one exit up from where we stayed last night. It was neat, we saw 4 huge Chinook Salmon in the ladder waiting till they could move on. There were Plexiglas panels so we could see the ladder at several places but those where the only 4 in them. We talked to a man there that told us that they were being held there and that is why they hadn't moved on. Not sure if it was so there would be something for people to see or if there was another reason. He explained a lot about the whole thing to us, it was really nice of him and we also found out that he lives at the campground that we stayed at last night. I noticed and admired a necklace he had on. It was a Grizzly Bear Claw hanging with beads made of glass and bone on it. I told him I would love to have a necklace like that. He said he had killed the bear himself in British Columbia and he had made the necklace. He also said that Tom Cruise had offered him $5,000 for it but he would not sell it. He said he makes them, sells some, but also gives then to friends and relatives. He confirmed my suspicions that he was indeed Native American, handsome fellow. I said Oh, I would love so much to have a necklace like that. Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out one. It was a Mountain Lion Claw on this one. Oh how I wanted that and said jokingly. I Want One! I asked him how much he was going to GIVE me it for...lol.. He said he had it 10 years, hesitated and said he would let me have it for $25.00. I held it looked at it and told him I would give him $20.00. He said I was a hard bargainer but he agreed to let me have it for that. I told him I would have to go back up to the motor home where my purse was. So we started back up the longgggg flight of stairs, stopping halfway to rest. Doug had still been down looking at the fish during this conversation, but caught up with us at the top. Good thing as I didn't have the keys to the door for the motor home anyhow I told Doug I had bought this necklace. He took it, looked at it and reached in his pocket and paid the man, neat. He also gave us his business card, also neat. So if I would ever want another necklace, that was handmade by a Native American, I might just give him a call, who knows. I am so tickled to have it. I just keep looking at it all the rest of the day and somehow felt akin to the Mountain Lion who had lost his life. Yet a part of him was hanging around my neck with pride that I had it. If there is such a thing, I was hoping that the Mountain Lion knew I was proud and honored to have it. The Man and us said our goodbyes, me thinking I had gotten the better part of this deal, I thanked him again.
Well, we pulled into a really nice campground just south of Portland. Once we get set up we are going to go down and do laundry. I want to try to call Shirley Ann too. We will probably hit the sack early so we can get and early start tomorrow. I was concerned about traffic going through Portland but Doug just reminded me that tomorrow was Sunday, so traffic shouldn't be bad at all.
This is a VERY nice campground. But no payphones and the girl at the office said I could not use the modem phone line as it had a filter on it. But she was very sweet to let me use her cell phone. First time I had ever used one. She said she had unlimited free long distance on the weekends. It was a tiny little phone about the size or less of a pack of cigarettes. Anyhow, I got to call Shirley for a few minutes. She was so sad as her friend Frieda, who has been in the hospital with cancer, was not expected to live. So young, younger than me. I am glad I was able to call Shirley, and she was too. She said she was doing OK. I tried to encourage her and told her I will if you will and she returned my words, I told her to keep her chin up and I would call again in a day or two. We exchanged our love you's and hung up... I sure do love that girl. She and I have always been close.
OK, well Doug and I finished our laundry, and used the office girls phone again, to order pizza delivered to the campsite. Now this is really roughing it..lol.. We ordered it from Dominos but it was really good. We will have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. It wasn't long till we decided to hit the sack... Lights out...lol

Day 16, Sunday, 05-02-04...
(South of Portland, OR. to South of Spokane)
We had a nice day. We drove along the Columbia River and Doug even stopped on the roadside to get me a "Columbia River Gorge" rock. It was so nice of him to do that for me. He knows I collect rocks while we travel from the various places, for my rock garden. This was a VERY wide river and I took some nice camcorder footage. There were still many mountains but no butt quivering ones...lol.
We pulled into Mallard Bay RV Resort at Cheney, WA. around 6:00ish, had a TV dinner and Doug hit the sack around 8:30. I tried to stay awake to watch a movie, mini series named "10.5" but was watching from the bed and missed a lot. Dang commercial get me every time.
I could have fished there as we were parked by a nice 110 foot deep lake that was 2 miles long, but had no bait and no license.

Campground Lake
Campground Lake South of Spokane, Washington

So Oh well, I hope I get to fish before this vacation is over.

Day 17, Monday, 05-02-04..
(South of Spokane, WA. to Ennis Montana)
I got up at 4:30, couldn't sleep. Doug got up about 6:00ish and we got ready and hit the road about 8. We came through some very steep mountains but not butt quivering ones as we were on the throughway and not on 2 lane mountain pass type roads. Then we finally go down to some, what I thought, were more Montana type lands. But all the way through Idaho and the first part of Montana we traveled in the passes through some mountain mountains. So it wasn't too scary. Then through the grassy hill and farmlands and cattle ranches, on and on. Finally we stopped to see about a rental car in Butte Montana to use while fishing and going to the Yellowstone National Park, but we decided not to get one there as we would have to bring it clear back up this way to take it back and that would be out of the way. We would just go on to the campground and see what was available in that area.
On the way to the campground we came through Virginia City. It was not open so to speak as their tourist season starts June 1, but I took some camcorder footage of it. It looked just like a town was way back in the Cowboy and Indian, western, type days. It was too neat. We might get back to see it more closely, not sure, in a day or so. We arrived at the Ennis RV Resort about 7:00p.m. We are tired, I am exhausted, but it was a good day.
We got here and all hooked up just before a storm came. We are in this huge valley between mountain ranges and it is weird, you could see the storm approaching, came, left, and sun came back out, but the storm was still to the east of us approaching the other mountain range. While the storm was on us, it was windy but I went on the side of the motor home that was sheltering me from the wind and rain and took some camcorder footage of the storm and of a rainbow that went from ground to ground, you could see the whole thing. It was beautiful and then another started to form. I also got a shot of some lightening, neat.

Rainbow after a storm in Ennis, Montana

Then the back side of the storm came and I started to get wind and rain so had to quit and go inside. It wasn't very long till the sun was back out and the sunset was beautiful too. This valley is neat, I might be able to get used to being able to watch the weather like this, but NO, second thought, they get too much snow here for me, like in many feet....lol..
This is a nice park. Not much in the way of trees, but we will probably stay here a few days as Doug wants to go Trout fishing, with hopes of filling the freezer like him and a buddy did years ago around here on their visit. I hope to do some lake fishing. Tomorrow we will go get bait and 3 day licenses.
Any how, we ate another TV dinner. Doug is brave, he is trying to finish watching this movie that is on, "Bless The Child", not me, I would miss the end, but have seen it anyhow, but it is a good movie. Well, night for now.

Day18, Tuesday, 05-04-04
Ennis, Montana, (day 1)
Well I didn't get up till 8:30, slept in. Was kind of nice for a change and probably needed. Doug was up early and off loaded the camcorder snap shots to the laptop so it would be set to go for the next 30 snap shots, for this day. He plugged in the walkie-talkies, so they would be charged for when we went fishing, so we could communicate, as I am a sit still fisher and he is a walk around fisher. He also started the extra camcorder battery charging so it would be ready for its next use. He also went and got a rental car already. He said the guy up at the rental place came and picked him up, nice, well, it was only about a mile away. It was nice of him to do that. Doug also went up to the office to pay for the site space for a couple days and when he gets back we will get out the fishing gear and take off to find a fishing spot for him and me or several, and just explore. I will camcorder it all.
We are getting a late start for fishing, but it is only our first day and we are scouting and will get an earlier start tomorrow. Hope we catch a lot. We plan on going to Yellowstone Thursday and then hitting the road again Friday, unless the fishing is just soooo good we can't tear ourselves away..lol Will see.. At least we will not have to travel in the motor home for a few days as we plan to keep the car till we leave here. Doug mentioned we may stop at Shirley's, not sure, depends on how much time we have. Pepper is doing good. She is a good traveler. She will stay here in the motor home while we are out fishing and that will be fine, we won't even have to turn the AC on as it is only to get around 70 or so with a nice breeze, so she will do fine. Well, Doug is back from the office, so bye for now.
Well, it is now 3:45, I think, not sure what time zone I am in or not in yet here. Just got back from our first Montana Fishing expedition and for this one, Doug caught 2 Brown Speckled Trout. One is 18 inches the other pan size. He is cleaning them now. NOOOOOO, I didn't catch any, unless you count that pan size sucker, I threw back and was even tempted not to tell Doug about, but couldn't do that as then he would of had my shirttail...lol I think the sucker was on the wrong end of the pole...lol We are going out fishing again as soon as he gets these cleaned, basically came back to tend to letting Pepper out and give her a break and some time to investigate things outside, on a rope, of course. And we will also go into town and get a bite to eat before heading out fishing again. It rained a little, but not much and the sun is out again, and still windy. It can rain and sunshine here like that anytime. Oh, didn't say, but I could not go fishing in the lake earlier, as the wind was sooooo bad that you could of surfed on the waves on that lake. It is a big lake, but we went up a gorge that the lake drains into which became a nice size creek, sorta, and that is where we caught the fish earlier. Well, we are off again, sure hope I can catch a bragging keeper this time.

Day 19, Wednesday, 05-05-04
Ennis, Montana, (day 2)
The sun is up over the mountains and it is 6:30 a.m. and Doug is still asleep. I am about ready to leave here but guess we will Friday after we go to Yellowstone tomorrow.
Back to last evening.
Well, last evening we went to dinner about 5:00 at Ennis Restaurant. We both had a Buffalo Burger with fries and iced tea. So now we both can say we have had it. Tasted just like a regular beef burger to us both. Oh well. Then we set off, with some discussion about what direction to find the part of the Madison River that is open to fishing with live bait, which is what I use. I don't use lures like Doug as I would just lose them. That may be why he is catching the keepers though. We found the Madison and stopped a few places but I did not fish, Doug went and tried but he said it was just too swift moving for even him, let alone me using a bobber. I think Doug is a little disappointed with the fishing here compared to what it was like years ago, when he was here. We did see some Antelope in a field on the way to finding it and we got some camcorder footage of them. They are pretty. They have this WHITE butt that looks like a heart shape when you see them from behind. They are a curious animal and don't run, just stop and look at you, from a safe distance, of course.
When we got back to the campground last night, I called Shirley on the pay phone at the office. I sure do miss her and my computer and playing on there every night with her. Oh well. Her friend Frieda is not doing well but still hanging in there. Tina, Frieda's estranged daughter, has been in to see her at the hospital. Sad when something like this has to happen to bring family back together!! I went back to the camper and Doug was already in bed, watching TV. It wasn't long till we both were asleep.
Back to day. Hope fishing is better today. The Wind is picking up again today. Maybe it is like this here everyday. The little tree on our lot here is opening up to bloom in just the couple days we have been here and it smells so sweet. Don't know what type it is, it is white blossoms and not as tall as the camper. Doug is getting some good rest, still asleep and it is 7:03. Glad he can rest good. I know we should be out on a bank fishing early, but just can't bring myself to wake him. Well, will be back later with how this day continues. Doug got up around 7:30ish and is now taking Pepper out. Be back later with more.
Well, I caught NO fish today, not even a sucker. No luck for me, sure wish that old saying about smoke following beauty stood for wind too, as where I asked Doug to drop me off at, where I could just sit by the water and fish, I never even got a bite. I am just not a creek fisher person I guess. It was just too windy, period. But I kept trying but nothing. I tried to call Doug a few times on the walkie-talkies, but he must be too far down stream for me to reach him and down stream the water is swifter and louder, so maybe he didn't hear it. Doug finally came back to get me and he had caught 2 more trout.
We called it a day as we were out there for some time and were tired. Now the fish are cleaned and in the freezer with Doug's other two. I laid down, felt a little sad and a little homesick, so decided to make myself scarce. It wasn't too long till I heard Doug showering so I got up and once he was showered and dressed I showered and dress and we went for supper in town. We went to this bar with a little restaurant in it. I ordered a burger with fries and a salad and Doug ordered a Club, Fries and a salad. It was very very good but so huge that we both ended up bringing half our sandwich and fries back to the camper. It was MUCH better than the buffalo burger we had had the night before. We were in bed by 10.

Day 20, Thursday, 05-06-04
Ennis, Montana, (day 3)
(Off to Yellowstone)
We set the alarm for 6 but were up before it went off. We hope to be outta here and on our way to Yellowstone National Park no later than 8. We are going to take Pepper with us as we don't know how long we will be as it is about 75 miles to the Park or how hot it is to get this day and don't want to leave her alone that long. So better hush and get myself washed and dressed so I am ready when Doug is. We will head EAST again tomorrow a.m. Not too soon for me...lol.
Well we didn't get back to the camper till almost 8p.m.So it was a long day and we were beat but it was a GREAT day. We had breakfast at Yellowstone West, a town just outside the park. It was a nice restaurant and we both had pigs in a blanket, mine with plain pancakes and Doug's with blueberry. It was good and very filling, then on into the park.

Yellowstone Steam Pots
Yellowstone Steam Pots

We saw lots of Beautiful sights and scenery and I took lots of camcorder footage and used up all 30 still and could of taken more I got picture of Buffalo, lots, and Elk, a Wolf, Eagles, Coyote and beautiful country and streams and waterfalls and did I mention Buffalo..lol.

Yellowstone Wolf
Yellowstone Wolf

Pepper Barking at a Coyote
Pepper Barking at a Coyote

Buffalo and baby
Yellowstone, Buffalo and Baby

And of course we were waiting for Old Faithful to do its thing. We were not all that impressed with its show. Maybe it was just having a bad day. Pepper now has a new pastime, Buffaloing! She barked and barked and barked. I will be amazed if you can hear any of my narration on the camcorder over her...lol. There was no shutting her up. One time, Pep and I stayed in the car, my knee and shoulder were hurting and he went on the 1/4 mile walk to some mud pots and small geysers to look and get a few shots and while he was gone, there was this I would say crow, but no, he was a Raven. A HUGE black bird and he was helping himself to someone's cooler in the back of their truck. He kept pounding it with his beak till he busted the cooler lid apart and then proceeded to drag out zip loc bags till he found one that suited him and began eating. Pepper was going nuts, bark, bark, bark. I knew there was no way I would be able to get out of the car without her to chase him off. So I hollered to a passing lady to go clap her hand and chase him away. Well, it was too funny, he would go but come right back, then someone else would chase him off and on and on. Meanwhile, Doug could hear Pepper barking and I blew the horn a couple times in an attempt to scare him off before the crowd got involved, so Doug cut his trek short and came back to see what was wrong. About that time the owners of the truck came back too. They were really calm about it and said that it was fine, as they eat too much anyhow. I think Pep was really frustrated because I would not let her out. Bet she could of chased him away and chased and chased. We might never have found her. I know she must be really tired after all the barking and excitement of the day for her.
Doug got me to the edge of a REALLY butt quivering waterfalls, down a bunch of steps to the very edge of where it goes over.

Yellowstone Falls
Yellowstone Falls

I had been to Niagara Falls many times as I used to live close to there, but this, somehow was different, almost made me sick to my stomach. But I did it. I made it. I took camcorder of it. I dun good...lol. Anyhow, it was a Great Day and we all enjoyed it very much, but it was very tiring. We got back, as I said, to the camper about 8, so it was a 12 hour adventure. We ate our leftovers from supper last night and hit the sack, whew, great day...

Day21, Friday, 05-07-04
(Ennis, Montana to Buffalo, Wyo.)
We left fairly early. On the way we stopped at Little Big Horn. The generator wasn't running right, to run the AC, Doug had to make another adjustment. I didn't want to stay there anyhow. I felt sad there. It was like the Indians were saying. We fought for what. It made me feel sad like there were unrested souls there. I told Doug to go ahead and look around and Pep and I would stay in the camper. No animals were allowed there. But he decided to go ahead and leave. We had used our Golden Pass to get in, so we had not paid to get in so leaving without seeing much didn't hurt. I felt better once we were back on the road.
We went on and stopped at Deer Camp RV Park. This is a really nice campground. Guess I like northern Wyo. better than I do the southern part. It is prettier and a little more green..lol. This campground even has wireless Internet. Our campsite was not far from the office/store, so we tried to get the Internet from inside the camper. We could but would disconnect off and on, so we moved to the picnic table outside but it wasn't much better out there, so I told Doug I would carry it over to the nice front patio at the office/store. There were about 8 picnic tables under a roof and power outlets and phone line hookup even.
I took the phone and was able to call Shirley, using my calling card, of course, it is so neat and handy. And then I checked my e-mail and went through all 587 of them, mostly trash. We asked the lady inside the office where was a good place to eat. That was before we set up, in case we needed to drive there, but they said that down a path was a really nice restaurant. They had a menu in the office and loaned it to us. I called in an order for Doug and I of Fish and Chips with side salad and Doug went over and picked it up for us. So sweet.
We sat out on the office patio and ate. It was good too and was a nice change from the motor home or a restaurant. Then Doug decided he would go get Pepper. She was all excited. We sat there for a while then Doug decided he was going to go watch some TV and then hit the sack.
I called Shirley and let her know I was going to be online to play a few games of dominos with her. This was the first time since we had left that she and I were able to do what usually was a nightly ritual. It was fun but after a few I was getting sleepy and the bench was getting hard, so closed up shop and carried everything back to the motor home, chatted with Doug a for a bit and then hit the sack also.
The owner of the campground told us about another place we should see called Devil's Tower. So tomorrow we will get an early start, stop by there and then head towards Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Then we will head on Easttttttttttttt.. Yippee... The campground owner also told us we should have no problems at all driving to any of these places in our motor home, which is good, then we don't have to worry about a rental car. Well enough for now.

Day 22, Saturday, 05-08-04
(On to Devil's Tower, Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore)
We got up around 5ish and hope to be ready to leave at around 8. Doug is showering and then me and then we will be off. I didn't mention that while we were eating on the office/store patio, last night, we saw 2 deer stroll through the bottom area of the campground. That was neat, and Doug said that Pepper was hot on the trail of a couple this morning early, probably the same two. Ever since the Buffalo in Yellowstone, she has become a herder. Carries on barking and barking when she sees anything that might be one be it cows or deer, whatever, if it is big and brown, it has to be a buffalo as far as she is concerned. she don't care....lol.. Too funny.
Well, we decided to go to Devil's Tower. Doug let me know we were running short on gas. I told him that there wasn't much up this way, hoped we could find some gas. Well, we got to Devil's Tower, but the place that would sell gas was not open yet for the season and so we kept on going. Well I will just say we made it to a little town just before the station closed for the day and was able to get some gas. Actually it was the cheapest gas we had bought on the trip, only $1.85 a gallon. It was some sort of CO-OP. It was sure a life saver way out there...lol. Then we headed back to see Devil's Tower. Well, we could see it but we wanted to get up close so we went into the park and it was really worth it. It is awesome and strange. It is this tree stump like HUGE rock jutting up in the air 687 feet, amazing.

Devil's Tower
Devil's Tower, Wyoming

The Indians have this tale of how it came to be. It goes, "There were these little Indian girls and they were being chased by a bear. So they jumped up on this tree stump and prayed to the tree gods to save them. The stump grew and grew till the bear could not reach them. The scratch marks on the side are from the bear claws and his attempt to reach them", neat story. Doug took the 1.3 mile walk around it. I just sat near the visitor's center and chatted with different people and waited. When Doug left, I didn't know he was going on that kind of hike and don't think he knew how far it was either. I think he was tired.
We went inside the visitor center and looked around and had some lemonade. It looked like a storm coming up so we decided to leave. It is hard to tell just where storms are going to go out there. We did stop at the bottom of the hill to see the Prairie Dog Town, there must have been hundreds of them. I took some footage of them. They are so cute; I didn't know they didn't have ears. Well they have ears, just that they don't stick up from the head like most animals do. Then we stopped on the way out, just past the toll booth to Devil's Tower, at the Trading Post. Really just a tourist trap, but had some neat stuff. We looked around some and I got another charm for my bracelet and another key chain for Shirley, neat.
It started to rain and get windy just as we got back to the motor home so we decided no more stops so we might get out ahead of the worst of the storm. Well, that storm chased us all the way, but we kept ahead of it and we finally got to Rapid City, SD and on south of Hill City to the Bar J Campground at around 5:30p.m. Finally stopped and the wind did too. And no more cows for Pepper to go nuts over...lol. She was on and off her dashboard/bed/ perch a hundred times, running back and forth to see them and bark at them. Drove me nuts, along with the howling wind and Mountains and Pepper..lol. Not far to drive...lol. Guess we took more time going to Devil's Tower than we expected so will have to do Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse tomorrow, but it was worth it.
Doug got us all hooked up. We ate leftover Pizza for supper. I wanted to watch Survivor. I was tired but stayed awake till time for it to come on. I was laying on the bed watching TV through the mirror. I dozed off a few times. I woke to see a commercial for Survivor on tomorrow night. Guess I have lost track of days. Doug was already fast asleep, so I shut off the TV and was soon asleep myself..

Day 23, Sunday, Mother's Day, 05-09-04
(To Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, then on Eastward/Northward and Pierce, SD.)
We are Up and getting ready to go to see Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore. I hope the sunny skies and no wind stay with us. We will head for North Dakota when we leave here, just so we can say we hit that state. More Later. Well, we got to Crazy Horse and we could of spent lots more time there as the Native American Museum was big and so very much to see and read about. When we first got there the 20 minute orientation movie was about to start that showed how this all began and it was very interesting and we were glad we saw it. We would have been waiting for the next one to show had we not been there right when it started. They run over and over all day long.
The Museum building itself is beautiful and in the art gallery part there are these huge windows that face the Crazy Horse Mountain and the view is breath taking. The paintings there are so beautiful then you go into another large room and then another. Like I said, you could spend hours there looking and learning. They also have bus trips to the base of the mountain, but they were not running yet at the season hadn't quite started. You could go to the top, up on the arm of the carving on the mountain, but that was sort of expensive, $125.00 person. It is because of the insurance they had to have to take you up there. I can understand that. It would have been something to do. I suppose one day, they will have cable cars that can take you there. I imagine the view would be something to behold. I doubt we will get back out this way but if we ever do, we would want to stop here again and see the progress and would allow more time to be there. It is really worth the visit, especially if you have any interest at all in the Native Americans, which I do. Then we left there and went on to see Mt. Rushmore.

Doug at Mt. Rushmore
Doug at Mount Rushmore

Doug and I were both a little less impressed with it than we were Crazy Horse. I suppose, you see pictures of it all your life and expect it to be much grander than it is, or seems. It is actually only a fraction of the size that Crazy Horse carving is. Like I said, we were surprise and not so impressed. We did stop in the gift shop and pick up a charm for my bracelet and a key chain for Shirley. Anyhow, we were there and saw it.
Then we headed out up into South Dakota towards North Dakota. We stopped at Wall, South Dakota. There were all kinds of billboard signs for miles advertising it, and it was at our turn off, so we decided to check it out. It was nice. It's mostly a tourist trap but decided to get a bite to eat there before heading out, this was the first we had eaten today, a burger and fries.
We have done that many times, gone all day without eating, we need to be more balanced at that. Anyhow, the place we picked was giving Mother's a free donut, Mother's Day you see. Well, I am a Mother of sorts, to Pepper...lol. I was either really hungry or it was the best donut I ever tasted, could of been because it was free...lol.. Coffee was free too, and I shared my donut with Doug... After we ate, I wanted to just check a couple of the stores out. This Walls was sort of like an early version of the modern day malls, lots of different shops. There were too many places to look at and the prices were high also. Again, it was a tourist trap, but there was some nice window shopping and a break from the motor home. Then we headed north again.
We don't really have a reason to go into North Dakota, except to say we had been to that state. It is the same with MC and WS. We just want to say we have been there. Then there will only be Michigan, Alaska, and Hawaii, left for Doug to visit and Michigan, Louisiana and Hawaii for me. Then we will both have been to all 50 states. Trust me, I am all for the Hawaii and Alaska trips. Those we'll fly to, except for the Alaska, will fly into Washington. State and take the cruise up the Inland Passage to Anchorage and then the old train into Fairbanks. Since I lived in Alaska 4 years, I will be the tour guide on that trip...lol.
Now then, back to this trip. We have some hard driving days ahead of us as our time is starting to get limited. Doug has done every bit of the driving, bless his heart. We are both tired of traveling now, I think and ready for home. We pulled into a campground about half way to N. Dakota. So far this is such a desolate state we traveled today. Just fields and fields of what ever they plant. It's mostly just rolling hills though and no mountains. I needed to get out of the motor home and saw this couple with two children fishing in this lake, so I walked over towards them to watch. They were really nice and the husband even went to their car and got me a chair. They do a lot of fishing in the backwater there of the Missouri River. I would of LOVED to be fishing there too. But, oh well. It was about dark and I thanked them for their friendliness and headed back to the camper. Doug and Pep met me half way. He was coming to see if I had gotten lost. Well, it has been a very long day and from what the young couple told me, we were not going to see much different scenery the rest of the way, so tomorrow will probably drag. Oh well, onward, and goodnight for now.

Day 24, Monday, 05-10-04
(Pierce, SD to Sauk Centre, MN)
I woke about 5. We crossed over into another time zone, just before we got into Pierce last night, so guess I am a little off, more than normal....lol. This is a really nice campground. I made a pot of coffee when I got up, Doug is still snoozing. He is the one who usually makes coffee while we are on the road, in his LL. Bean coffee pot. I am not the best at it, but manage. I'm not as good at controlling the gas level so the perk is just right. The smell of the coffee woke Doug. So guess it at least smells like coffee...lol. After a cup, he did the downloading of yesterdays pictures off the camcorder onto the laptop so we could clear the camcorder and have it ready to snap shots today. That is if there is much to snap shot of. Guess I had better get washed and dressed as we are about ready to get "On The Road Again"....lol.
Well, we got to Sauk Centre, MN and the Sinclair Lewis Campground at around 6:30ish p.m. so it was a long 10 hour drive day. I saw a fish jump here as we were looking at the sites, to pick one. Yep, there is a lake here. Like this site, we are about 10 feet from the water. So nice and even have a dock. Boy, do I want to throw a pole in that lake. I feel like a hand tied kid in a candy store..lol. Oh well, maybe I will sneak out after dark, sit close to the motor home, after Doug goes to sleep and just toss one in for a few minutes. Yah, right. Yah, well I guess there is no sense in buying a license for just one night. Oh well, I will live. When we first got here, I walked out and sat on the dock and watched this guy with his black lab. He must of been training him for a competition or something as he was using a whistle and commands and tossing this duck looking thing out into the water and then the dog would sit next to him till he got the command to go get it. They were on another dock. That dog would take a running jump and splash, in the water he would go. He would land about 10 feet from the dock and swim out and once he had it in his mouth the guy would blow the whistle and the dog would turn and head back for shore. They did that over and over, probably 10 times then they left. It was neat to watch, but bet that was one tired puppy. Anyhow, it was a nice distraction for a while.
Well, Doug hooked up the Satellite Dish, so we have TV. I am just fixing Chili Dogs with chips for supper I guess. Maybe some green beans too, Yum, must be my body needs them; think I could eat a whole can of them myself. We want to get out of here early tomorrow as it is supposed to be really windy. I hope we can get out ahead of the wind. Anyhow, guess I had better get supper, then will clean up and watch a little TV then hit the sack so we can get up early and on the road. So Long.

Day 25, Tuesday, 05-11-04
(Sauk Centre, MN. to Mahonet, Ill.)
Well, again, we want to get up and get out of here early today. We will stop and get a bite to eat before hitting the road.
Well, it has been another long hard drive day, 10 hours and over 600 miles, but we did beat the wind and storms for the most part. Not much to write about today as we are headed HOME. We went through LOTS of farmland, mostly planted corn fields. No Cows for Pepper to go nuts over. When we got in to the campground, I called Shirley to let her know we would be in to her place tomorrow and she told me her friend Frieda had passed away on Sunday, Mothers Day. So Sad. Shirley had been running herself ragged and maybe it is good, so she would be occupied. I am glad we will be there for her tomorrow and I know she is glad we will be there too. She would go back home with us and wants to, but also wants to stay in Ohio so she can be at the graduation of her last niece, the 28th. She has been to all the others and doesn't want to miss this one. She will come visit later. I may go with her to Frieda's funeral, not sure as I don't have anything but tees and jeans, will see. Shirley is wore out and sad and her broken foot has not been given a chance to heal, so we will see. Also when we got to the campsite, while Doug was hooking us up, I took Pepper out on the long rope leash so she could do some running. She hasn't been able to do a lot of that for the whole trip. This campground had a really big area just in front of the camper, guess she was allowed to run there, anyhow, she did and she loved it. She nearly jerked my right shoulder out of joint a couple of times, not to mention choking herself till she learned the rope limits. She ran and ran, bet she will be happy to be back home and in her big fenced in yard and off a leash.
We stopped to eat at a nice restaurant, just before we pulled in here. It was good and nice also I wouldn't have to cook. It was a long day so doubt it will be long before we hit the sack. Doug wants to be out of here by 8.

Day 26, Wednesday, 05-12-04
(Mahonet, Ill. to Wintersville, Ohio, at Shirley's)
Well, since Doug wants to be out of here by 8, which is 45 min. from now, I will shower as soon as he is finished, he will dress and unhook as soon as I finish and we will be on the road yet again one more day. We got into Shirley's about 5ish. Was not a bad trip day. We will stay just a day here and we will leave for HOME on Friday. Yippee....lol. It is good to see Shirley. We will take her out for supper and it probably won't be long till Doug hits the sack after that. I may sit up with Shirley for a while, not sure.

Day 27, Thursday, 05-13-04
(At Wintersville, Ohio)
Well, I stayed up till almost midnight. Talking to Shirley and also was trying to get some camcorder footage and sound of Precious, her parakeet, it talks. It took about 8 minutes, got some of the things it says on record and some nice footage. It is a pretty little parakeet. Its name fits. Well, today, guess we will go to Wal-mart and get back as Jimmie and Connie are to come this afternoon to visit a bit. Then we will go out for supper. Just spend the day with Shirley. She decided not to go to the funeral. She has spent so much time in the hospital and had gone to a couple viewings and that is enough, she needs to have a break from all the sadness and I guess we are a good excuse. I told her I would go with her if she wanted and would support her if she did not want to go, as long as she would not beat herself up later for not going. She said she wouldn't and that Frieda's family understood. She will be there for them if they need her.
We had a nice visit with Jimmie and Connie and Steve, their son, and Mel, their daughter stopped by. I called my nephew Ralph, just to say hello. I told him not to try to come as he lives an hour and a half away and I knew he worked and it would be hard for him. It was good just to talk to him. We took Shirley out for supper, came back to her place and chatted for a while and hit the sack. Doug wants to be out of here early so we can make it home tomorrow. We usually stop half way at this state campground in MD but we want to get home, so will drive straight through. Night now.

Day 28, Friday, 05-14-04
(Wintersville, Ohio to HOMEEEEEE in Virginia) Yippee...
We got out of Shirley's around 8:30 a.m. Drove straight through, stopped only for gas. Got home around 6. It was a good trip. A long trip. BUT great to be home again. I think we have decided that a month is a bit too long for one trip. I know Doug and I are both tired, Pepper too. She ran and ran, I know she loved being free in her big fenced in yard. She is a good dog and a good traveler. We all can rest now, we are HOME. It was an 8,700 mile trip. Good to be HOME!!!!!

Our Newsletter
The AllAmerican RunnerDuck Review

Visit our Blog, www.runnerduckreview.wordpress.com, and sign up to receive notifications when it is updated. Our newsletter is a monthly blog with woodworking projects, crafts, recipes, and more.

When you get to our blog just enter your email address and click "Sign Me Up".

This is what it looks like: