Heading Back East, Part 1

Dates: July 30 to 31, 2018

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

Our first stop on the way back east was at the Spokane KOA. The trip through Washington wasn’t too bad. Leaving at the end of rush hour on  Monday wasn’t terrible, traffic-wise. Washington was still a bit smoky from forest fires, but not near as bad as last year.

The only small thing we ran into was that the site the KOA assigned to us was (still) occupied by an RV (we were in well past check-in time). We called the office and told them a couple nearby sites that were empty and they reassigned us to one of those. We left the truck hooked up to the trailer since we had recently filled the tank and didn’t need to run any errands.

IMG_5864

Site at Spokane KOA

Dates: July 31 to Aug. 1, 2018

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

Our second stop along the way was our favorite little KOA in the middle of Deer Lodge, Montana. We’ve apparently been here enough that the owner remembered Malcolm’s name. We unhooked here and Malcolm headed downtown to pick up a couple grocery items and fill the truck with fuel. He also did a little photography while out on his errands.

IMG_5870

Deer Lodge KOA

Dates: Aug. 1 to 4, 2018

Location: Red Lodge KOA, Red Lodge, Montana

We stopped in Red Lodge, Montana for three nights so we could do some sight-seeing for a couple days. We stayed in the same KOA that we attended a rally in last year.

IMG_5880

Red Lodge KOA Site

The rally organizers, Tom and Sherry Egenes, still have their respective businesses in downtown Red Lodge, so we stopped in to visit both of them our first full day there. We also did some shopping while we were there. Lunch was at the local pizza place.

IMG_5887

After a little more shopping, we headed to Red Lodge Ales so Malcolm could sample some of their beers so he would know which ones he wanted to pick up at the store. We also picked up a couple souvenirs while we were there.

D927AA1C-39B6-4A00-8E25-69D91CF67D72

That evening, we drove over to Absarokee and visited with Malcolm’s cousin Sue and her husband Rich. We had a fun visit and met them at the Cowboy Bar restaurant for dinner. We said our goodbyes there and we headed back to the campground.

The next day we took a day trip with the truck (but not the trailer) over the Beartooth Highway. We drove about 38 miles of it to the Top of the World gift shop. We bought a couple souvenirs and turned around to head back to Red Lodge.

IMG_5911

IMG_5897

Malcolm took a lot of pictures with the big camera. They are posted in his gallery [HERE].

Once back in town, we had a late lunch at the Red Lodge Ales brewery (downtown was really busy) and did a little more shopping downtown. We also picked up some groceries at the store and headed back to the trailer for the evening. We stayed in and ate dinner at the trailer.

Dates: Aug. 4 to 5, 2018

Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

We left Red Lodge and headed on to Buffalo, Wyoming, staying in the KOA there. The only trip out we made was to fill up the truck with fuel nearby and then walked through the store at the KOA office, picking up some postcards.

IMG_5927

Buffalo KOA Site

Malcolm wandered around and dipped his toes in the creek that runs behind the campground (cold, as expected). He also went to mail out some postcards we had written to different people. On the way to drop them off at the front office, he found these two young rabbits (and later, their mother), frolicking in the grass near the main building.

IMG_5937

As we were hitching up the trailer to leave, Malcolm found this painted rock nestled in the trunk of the tree next to our site. On the back was instructions on logging your find on a Facebook page (Casper Rocks). You can keep the rock, or re-hide it either in the same spot, or, as we did, in a new spot. We thought the rock might enjoy a trip to Wall, South Dakota, so we took it with us.

IMG_5945

Painted Rock find

Dates: Aug. 5 to 6, 2018

Location: Sleepy Hollow Campground & RV Park, Wall, South Dakota

We had an uneventful drive to Wall, South Dakota. There were hundreds of motorcycles on the road (and in Wall) due to the nearby yearly bike rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

IMG_5947

Teepee found at most South Dakota rest stops

We set up in the Sleepy Hollow Campground, which is only a couple blocks from the famous Wall Drug complex. While we could have walked over, we elected to drive over in the truck so that we could subsequently run by the gas station and fuel up while we were out. We bought a couple souvenirs and did some Christmas shopping before heading out to the gas station, then back to the trailer.

IMG_5949

Sleepy Hollow Campground

Malcolm found a place to hide the painted rock in the campground. On the way back to the trailer, he was stopped by one of our neighbors who was interested in both our Florida license plate and the University of Kentucky sticker on the back window of the trailer. As they talked, Malcolm found out that the other gentleman and his wife live in the next RV resort south of ours in Florida (less than a mile away). He also grew up in Kentucky about an hour from where Malcolm lived as a child. Small world!

Dates: Aug. 6, 2018

Location: Lake Mitchell Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota

Malcolm had made our reservations here based on three things we expected to do in the area. The first was to get the truck serviced. Based on our mileage, Malcolm saw that we would be in this area about the time the oil change was due and that there was a Ford dealer almost across the street from the campground. As it turns out, the “Change Oil Soon” indicator came on literally 40 miles before we got here.

IMG_5960

Our site at Lake Mitchell Campground

The second reason we chose this stop was that Val wanted to take a day trip to De Smet, where one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s homesteads is located. And the final reason was to visit the Corn Palace (again) while we are here.

We got set up here about 3:00. Malcolm called the Ford dealer to see what day we could bring the truck in for its service. They indicated that they had an opening an hour later at 4:00, so we took that appointment and Malcolm headed over to sit at the dealer while they did the work (about 45 minutes).

IMG_5968

Old inventory in the showroom

With that out of the way, we plan on heading up to De Smet tomorrow and the Corn Palace the day after tomorrow.

IMG_5971

Lake Mitchell

From here, we’ll be driving pretty much on through to Nashville (with appropriate overnight stops along the way).

 

Advertisements

Smooth Sailing On West

Dates: June 9 to 11, 2018

Location: Lafayette KOA, Scott, Louisiana

We ended up staying through to Monday morning. On Sunday, we met our friends Andy and Joanna Grimes for lunch since we missed coming on over on Sunday to camp with them.

On Monday morning at 7:30 Malcolm called the local Goodyear dealer and found that they had two tires in stock that we needed for our trailer. They told us to come on over and they’d take care of us, so we packed up the trailer, hitched up and headed over.

IMG_5028

Ready for new shoes

They had us in and out the door in a little over an hour, so we continued on our way north and west pretty much on schedule. The plan is to get two more tires put on in Washington to match the new Goodyears on the left side if nothing happens along the way (it didn’t).

Dates: June 11 to 12, 2018

Location: Texas Rose RV Park, Tyler, Texas

We found this little RV park near the interstate in Tyler, Texas. Malcolm called ahead and talked to the owner who happened to be out of town at the time, but gave us instructions to check ourselves in and pay for our spot with the envelope drop. Using our Passport America card, the price was only $20 for the night.

IMG_5030

The campground was a bit older and had lots of longer term residents, but it was kept very neat. For the sites on our circle, the campground even provided a fairly new charcoal grill and a plastic tote with charcoal and lighter fluid in it if you wanted to cook out. Nice little touch.

Dates: June 12 to 13, 2018

Location: Cedar Valley RV Park, Guthrie, Oklahoma

We stayed in this campground in Guthrie (no pictures). Their Passport America rate was $18 for the night. It was a quiet park, but rather old and decently kept. It was fine for an overnight.

Dates: June 13 to 14, 2018

Location: WaKeeney KOA, Wakeeney, Kansas

This KOA is kept very neat. They serve ice cream in the evenings and offer pancake and sausage breakfast (we took advantage of both) for a reasonable cost. They’ve been filling up every night during the week as there isn’t much else close to the interstate through western Kansas.

IMG_5040

Dates: June 14 to 15, 2018

Location: Fort Collins North / Wellington KOA, Wellington, Colorado

This KOA was fairly nice, as well. We had a nice, wide concrete slab to park on. When we were rolling in, there were storm clouds over the front range of the Rockies. They eventually blew in, bringing lots of wind, but no rain.

IMG_5047

Malcolm found a couple friends in the pasture adjacent to the side of the campground where the tent sites are. Several of the campers were enjoying our visitors.

IMG_5058

Dates: June 15 to 16, 2018

Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

Due to re-scheduling our stay here and then scheduling it back, we ended up with the last available site that would fit our rig – a really nice patio site. It was only $6 more than what we would have paid for the site we originally booked.

IMG_5091

It was a little windy as we arrived here and it was blowing in cool weather. The temperature was around 70 degrees when we arrived and fairly quickly dropped into the low 60’s. Overnight, it was around 50 degrees. We ended up turning on the furnace in the morning. We also did a little antique shopping in downtown Buffalo.

Dates: June 16 to 17, 2018

Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

When we arrived in Deer Lodge, it was around 50 degrees and drizzly rain. It stayed like that all night. We had the furnace on overnight.

IMG_5097

Snow on top of the nearby mountains

Deer Lodge is one of our regular stops. The owner came out and gave us a hug when we arrived. It’s not much of a park, but she keeps the place very neat and tidy.

IMG_5099

Dates: June 17 to 18, 2018

Location: Spokane KOA, Spokane, Washington

When we arrived in Spokane, the temperature and weather had improved considerably. It was sunny and in the 70’s when we got there.

IMG_5110

After we got there, we contacted our friends Tim and Emily Rohrer. They were in the area and agreed to meet us for dinner. In addition to Tim and Emily, Tim’s parents, Bonnie and Doug, also joined us. They recently just started full-timing and were traveling with Tim and Emily.

IMG_1741

Dates: June 18 to ???, 2018

Location: Washington State Fair Campground, Puyallup, Washington

On Monday, we rolled into Puyallup and set up at the fairgrounds campground.

IMG_5121

Now it’s time to visit family. We’re actually keeping the grandchildren for a couple days as Elizabeth and Cole are out of town. Elizabeth flies back in on Thursday.

The trip here from Florida was 3,435 miles. There are more direct routes than what we took, but we wanted to visit folks along the I-10 corridor, so that added a couple hundred miles or so. The following map shows the approximate route here (note the other trip earlier this year to Tennessee and Kentucky is on the same map).

IMG_5122

Rolling East – Part 1

Location: Green Tree’s Crazy Woman Campground, Gillette, Wyoming

Dates: Sept. 10 to 11, 2017

After leaving the rally in Red Lodge, Montana, our next stop was in Gillette, Wyoming. We arrived mid-afternoon. After setting up the rig, we went to the gas station and the grocery, then back to the trailer for dinner.

IMG_1965

We were anxiously watching the news reports and our security camera on our site in Florida as Hurricane Irma passed through the state. Even though the eye of the hurricane practically passed right over our place, we didn’t have any damage. Some aluminum trim blew off a neighbor’s RV port and landed next to our car (not on the car). Also, our car cover blew off but is still wrapped around the rear tire. We’ll clean up when we get there next week.

IMG_1975

Malcolm got up early and took the truck to the Ford dealer across the street from the campground. It was due for an oil change and we thought it might be time for brakes on it. Mid-morning, Malcolm dropped off a payment for a second night’s stay but the truck was done about 10:30 since it didn’t need brakes yet. We called the office (they weren’t in yet) and told them to void out the check for the second night’s stay.

IMG_1976

We went ahead and rolled on out around 11:00 am and headed on east.

Location: Arrow Campground, Wall, South Dakota

Dates: Sept. 11 to 12, 2017

We took a little shorter drive today since we left Gillette later than we usually leave on a travel day. We arrived around 4:00 PM, got the trailer set up and headed out to fuel up the truck. We also walked around Wall Drug for a while, eating dinner in their diner. We ended up back at the trailer for the rest of the evening.

IMG_1980

We packed up and headed out fairly early from Wall since we had a longer drive to our next stop.

Location: Sioux City North KOA, North Sioux City, South Dakota

Dates: Sept. 12 to 13, 2017

On our way through South Dakota, we stopped at the rest area near Chamberlain. This time last year they had just unveiled this statue, named “Dignity”, that we didn’t notice through here last year. Tomorrow (Sept. 13) was to be her first birthday.

IMG_1983

We arrived at the North Sioux City KOA late in the afternoon since it was a longer driving day. After getting set up, we took one of our quilts over to the laundry to wash it (Callie had thrown up on it the other night).

IMG_1991

After doing our laundry, Malcolm grilled dinner while he flushed out the black tank and emptied the gray tanks. We left the truck hitched to the trailer for tonight’s stop. Tomorrow, it’s on to the Illinois-Iowa border.

 

 

 

Wyoming and Planning

Current Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

This morning we decided to take up the Mt. Rushmore KOA on their offer of all you can eat pancakes for $3. Though we only ate what they originally put on our plate (3 pancakes), it was a pretty good deal. After breakfast, we went back to the trailer, hitched up and headed out.

We had a windy drive today. A couple gusts hit us broadside and reminded us to take it easy, so we slowed back a bit. We stopped in Gillette, Wyoming at a truck stop and had lunch. It was about an hour from there when we arrived here in Buffalo, Wyoming. We were able to score the same creekside spot we had last fall when we were heading east through the same route.

IMG_6923

Creekside spot at Buffalo KOA

After we got set up, Malcolm took care of some work. Afterwards, we decided to eat out at a local steakhouse. The food was delicious and plentiful. We’ll have leftovers for dinner tomorrow night, for sure. After dinner we went to the grocery to get a few items and stopped to fill up the truck with fuel.

Our original plans had us stopping in Montana on Thursday, then on to either Coeur D’Alene, Idaho or Spokane, Washington for a two-night Friday/Saturday stay. It is still summer, though, and campgrounds in both areas are booked solid through the weekend.

We adapted and decided to stop in Livingston, Montana tomorrow night and Deer Lodge, Montana on Friday night, even though Deer Lodge and Livingston are not real far apart. On Saturday, we’ll make a fairly long (380-ish mile) trip on over to Moses Lake, Washington. There, we hope to find an empty spot in the Grant County Fairgrounds campground. Given that nothing is scheduled until their fair in a couple weeks and they have almost 300 campsites, we figure we’ll be able to find something.

Summer destinations are the bane of the full-time RV traveler. Many campgrounds understandably book up in advance for the weekends, requiring some pre-planning or flexibility on the part of the full-timer. Once we’re past Labor Day weekend, things typically open up pretty well.

 

Creekside In Wyoming

Current Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

Pretty quiet travel day today. We left Montana around 8:45 AM and arrived here in Buffalo, Wyoming around 4:15 PM. We were put in one of the nicest spots (in our opinion) in the campground, right next to a creek and with our door facing away from everyone else.

Our site looking up from the creek

Our site looking up from the creek

Once we got set up, Val started preparing dinner while Malcolm pulled out the grill and a couple chairs. Dinner was cooked on the grill and we ate at the picnic table outside the trailer. Today’s temperatures were in the 70’s and 80’s (the upper 80’s at one point).

After dinner outside, we took everything in and headed downtown to the grocery store to pick up a few items and stopped by to fill up the truck on the way back. At the gas station, Val saw someone coming out with soft  serve ice cream on a cone. We decided we needed to check that out and ended up with cups of ice cream as a dessert. Back at the trailer afterwards, we put away groceries, washed and put away the dishes and settled down for the evening.

Tomorrow it is on to South Dakota.