7/15/2018-7/22/2018

We left Rockford Illinois on Monday without really exploring the area. It had rained,the mosquitoes were terrible & we couldn’t get motivated & we were okay with that.

Our next stop was Middlebury Indiana. As we got closer to it, I started to see Bob Evans billboards & the turnpike signs started showing distances to Toledo, signs of home!! It was hard to not keep going east.

I love Amish country. It’s not everywhere that you see sights like this

This part of the country is home to the second largest Amish population in the country. I wonder if it might be the quilt capital too as there are quilt shops everywhere. I only went into a few but had a little sit and sew at one of them😜

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Most of these little towns take a back seat to Shipshewana which is a huge tourist attraction, but they have The Heritage Trail driving tour. You can pick up at CD that narrates the drive & takes you through several towns. We didn’t drive the whole thing but were able to get a few shots of some of the 18 quilt gardens.

For my quilting friends, I think you can google Heritage Trail quilt gardens to see them all & get the patterns.

The towns all had beautiful hanging flowers & quilt murals

The town of Shipshewana hosts a huge flea market & auction building that sits on 100 acres. It is open on Tuesdays &Wednesday & is the midwest’s largest outdoor market. We did the unthinkable. We parked in the back, walked down one row, checked out a few shops downtown & left. All under two hours! We did spend a little time admiring the Amish made furniture

One day we went to a creamery to see cheese being made—the curds & whey being separated.

We stayed at the Middlebury KOA & one night when we came home from dinner, our neighbors had opened the side of their tow trailer & were providing entertainment.

They were from Ontario Canada & were on their way to an organ festival in Dayton Ohio.

We had reservations for a week at a Muskegon campground. When we arrived & went to our spot everything went south. After changing sites twice & sparing the unpleasant details, we got our money back & left. Luckily, the KOA in town had a spot for us for one night. It’s a really nice park on a lake & we wished we could have stayed.

We were again lucky to find a family owned place across the expressway on a lake.

It’s bike weekend in Muskegon & this place is packed!! Of course it has rained the entire weekend ruining the fun of the bikers. It let up for a bit this afternoon so we spent a little beach time at Pere Marquette park.

We found this gem & have eaten here three nights & probably will again. They sure know how to fry their fish. So far we’ve had perch, blue gill & walleye

I have never seen Blue gill on a menu & have been talking about fishing for them this whole trip.

The first night I had bluegill & Jeff had the perch. The next next we both had the walleye dinner. Two drinks each & our dinners & the bill was $26.00. Amazing! Last night I had perch. I am definitely getting my fill of lake fish.

The weather is supposed to clear up later today so there’s more exploring in the future.

7/8/2018-7/15/2018 DOOR COUNTY

We loved Door County Wi. We stayed in Bailey’s Harbor at Bailey Grove campground. For activities, we went exclusively off recommendations from friends & our camp host &they really came through! Our first stop was at Al Johnson’s for their famous Swedish pancakes. The roof is covered with grass & their goats graze on it.

I went for the pancakes & meatballs. Since it was 2:30, this was more than enough to be my only meal that day.

After this experience in Sister Bay, we continued up the coast to Gill’s Rock. Along the way we stopped at Seaquist orchards. It has a cute market that carries everything cherry. The cherry trees go on for miles.

This curvy road was fun to drive.

We hiked Cave Point County Park which had a great coastline

Egg Harbor &Fish Creek had some great restaurants, shopping & pretty beaches.

While driving, we saw this guy working & stopped to watch him work. He was commissioned by the church to create John the Baptist. This was his seventh day at work

In Sister Bay we had pizza at Wild Tomato then enjoyed a concert in the park & watching sunset paddle board yoga in the bay.

We spent our last day enjoying the beach at Whitefish Dunes State Park

One night we saw a car show & I found my first car that I didn’t keep because I didn’t like driving a stick shift. BIG MISTAKE!

The weather had been perfect until the day we had to leave. Hooking up & driving wasn’t fun. I was mesmerized by the sky

The next stop was Blackhawk Valley campgrounds outside Rockford Illinois.

Here we haven’t done much exploring here because after two weeks of very touristy places, we need a break. We have to remind ourselves that in our former life, after vacation, we were tired & ready to go home. Since our home is always with us we have to consciously turn off vacation mode once in a while.

Have a great week!

7/1/2018-7/8/2018

We stayed at a really nice KOA in Hixton Wi. It seemed that the young families were on the bottom flat level & from there it terraced up. Beautiful views!! One of the employees took this sunset one night with our 5th wheel in it. I love it!!

This Is a pretty rural area but great scenic drives. One day we visited the Black River.

Another drive was to the Wazee Recreational area. This lake was so clear

We took a road to get to Rustic trail but had to put the truck in 4wheel drive twice to get through it. Trust me this looks much tamer than it was.

Off to the Wisconsin Dells.

We stayed in a privately owned campground that was very family friendly & busy. This rig parked next to us. I had to google it. (Iron Castle). It came in on wheels & then the guy cranked it down to the ground. An ice shanty in winter & camper in summer

The only way that I know how to describe the Dells is this water park capital of the world is that it’s like the Las Vegas strip for kids. There are water parks, rope courses,go-cart tracks,escape houses,mystery hills, putt putt courses over &over for miles on both sides of the streets. Our grandsons would LOVE this!!

We were able to find some great side trips. The first was to Lost Canyon where a horse drawn wagon took us through an amazing canyon. I was sitting on the outside & several times I had to lean in &duck.

Notice the horse diapers

It was so cool! The woman who owns it is 88 & still takes tickets & does the books. Our guide told us that she’s had it since the sixties. It is such a prime location right in town that multiple times she has been offered many millions. He said her kids are just waiting.

Can you see Eagle Rock?⬇️

Another day we took a beautiful boat tour of the Upper Dells river. That had two stops where we got off & walked for awhile.Where are the tree roots??

This is the famous Leap Rock which initially drew people to the Dells. I wish I could post the video! Can you see the dog jumping?

Our last day trip was to House on the Rock about an hour west of the Dells.

This was probably one of the strangest places I’ve ever been to. It says to allow 3-4 hours but if you want to see everything it would take days. It is a huge house complex built on &around a huge rock out in the country. He filled it with collections of just about everything.

This is the infinity room that we could walk out on

Also, during the week, our son sent us a photo from their vacation,

so of course we had to send one back!

The weather has been perfect.

We just pulled into our spot in Door County & it’s time to go find dinner.

It’s going to be a great week.

6/24/2018-6/30/2018 Wisconsin

We woke up Sunday in Superior Wi. (Northland camping & rv) to cold wind & rain. That did not motivate us to do much more than spend the afternoon laying in bed watching golf.The weather didn’t improve much during our stay so we had to push through if we wanted to knock a few drives off of our list.

A long time ago I bought Jeff this book for Christmas . This is when I thought we would golf across America. I’m still game to ride in the cart.

The first drive was the scenic 61 up the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota . The lake was so red. I thought it was because of all of the iron ore but found out that they had had a massive historic rain storm the week before & that the red was from mud runoff. We were stopped several time during the week for road replacements from the washouts.

Our first stop was the town of Two Harbors. I was so happy to find these lilacs. It’s been a long time! The car smelled so good all day.

We then drove further north to Gooseberry Falls State park where we hiked to the middle & lower falls

The last stop wasSplit Rock Lighthouse & State Park. It was very interesting but the cold wind whipping off the lake cut our visit short.

The next day we drove another of the scenic drives & drove the south shore to Bayfield & the Apostle Islands. It was a nice drive but most of it was tree lined, not water. We got to watch these young junior rangers take their oath at their swearing in ceremony.I got so excited to see this guy in the distance!!!

Yeah- not so much!

GOT ME!!!

The wild lupines all along the highways are beautiful

We have passed many quilt stores along the way but I had to stop at this one. It is a retired Catholic Church & very cool

When in Duluth…….

We had to check out the no pinch, no stink, no sweat briefs

We then headed south to the small town of Hixton, just north of Black River Falls where they are having record heat. Go figure.

The drive here was beautiful. Lots of rolling hills, woods, & big dairy farms. We are anxious to explore the Black River Forest area.

Happy 4th!!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

6/17/2018-6/24/2018

Sunday afternoon we pulled into Sioux Falls. We asked our camp host for the must see places & can’t miss restaurants. It is another smaller city that has a wonderful downtown. We first went to Falls Park which is what drew people here . It was beautiful & so powerful.

We spent some time exploring the area & learned about the Queen Bee Mill

The downtown was only a few blocks away & we went to the highly recommended Minerva’s for lunch & browsed the cool stores. This is the fifteenth year of their sculpture walk. Everyone is encouraged to take a ballot & choose their favorite. Here are a few

This is of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Another day we toured St Joseph’s cathedral. It was very impressive.

Next stop was Prior Lake a suburb of Minneapolis. We were very surprised that we were in a resort park that is part of the Mystic Lake casino. They even offer drivers to pick you up & return you from the casino.

One night we had dinner at Charlie’s on Prior. This would be a Great Lake to have a summer home.

Even though neither of us a big shoppers, The Mall of America was amazing & pretty overwhelming. You definitely could spend a week there. We opted for lunch & got tickets for one of their feature attractions. It was called Fly over America & even though we wished it would have been longer, we really enjoyed it.The grandkids would love this!

Yesterday we headed north through Duluth & into Superior Wi. Last night we went to a favorite “local” restaurant & stuck up a conversation with our server & before you knew it we had two napkins full of suggested places to go & things to see. It is cold & windy here today so we might opt for indoor exploring.

Have a great week!

6/10/2018-6/17/2018

We checked into our first KOA camp Sunday afternoon. Shortly after settling in we found an Urgent Care for Jeff’s earache & got a few restaurant recommendations in the area from the staff. When we got back we tried to FaceTime with our son & his family but were experiencing our first hail storm & it sounded like we were in a popcorn popper!

There is so much to do & see in Rapid City. My. Rushmore was so much more amazing than I expected!!

The next stop was the Crazy Horse Memorial. There was a 20 minute movie that explained the history of this build.

I wish we could have gotten closer.

Another day we drove to Devils Tower. You can see it from miles away but up close it is amazing!

On the way back we stopped at Deadwood for lunch & a very touristy afternoon.

Everywhere we went, the views were so beautiful. I told Jeff that if I had $5.00 for every time one of us said “gosh that’s pretty” or something like that, that we could finance this whole trip.

When you see this sign, you just have to visit, right?

We had a great time tasting all of the yummy wines & Jeff (not a wine drinker) even found a few that he liked. I bought a few bottles of the rhubarb & wish I would have gotten more😜.

Rapid City is not a huge city but their downtown was hopping every time we went there. They have statues of the presidents on the street corners

They also have an art alley downtown.

We kept seeing this gas station/convenience store & got a kick out of the name. I wonder how many times I asked Jeff to stop for a loaf of bread or a jug of milk when the kids were little.

We headed east & stayed in a little town off I90 where the population is 274. There is one gas station at the exit, one very small grocery with limited hours, a library,post office & a garage & grain elevator. But it is the county seat.

When we checked in, we were given camp information. We were told that they have a lot of big storms & if we needed shelter, we should use the laundry/ shower building. But…. if things got real bad, they had a key to the courthouse across the street & that we could shelter there. I wonder how many county seat court houses give out their keys to a campground. I also learned that the legal driving age is 13 in South Dakota & that the nearest real grocery is 30 miles away & the nearest movie theatre is 65 miles away. So they have very young teens driving very long distances & think nothing of it. Yikes!

We are eastbound today. Happy Father’s Day!!!

6/3/2018-6/10/2018

We really enjoyed our stay in Colorado Springs. We stayed at Goldfield RV park which is in the middle of the city. Sites again were packed in tight with no room for outside relaxing but that was fine. There was great WIFI & cable & we spent very little time there anyway. We spent a lot of time walking 2 blocks to the historic district where there were lots of cool shops & restaurants. The only downside to Colorado Springs is the huge homeless population. No one was aggressive.We only encountered a few beggars & most seemed happy enough but it was still a little disturbing that there are so many without. We spent a day at the Garden of the Gods. Beauty in every direction …Kissing Camels

The famous balancing rock

Another day we drove up Pike’s Peak. It is a 17 mile drive & takes about 1 1/2 hr of beautiful but white knuckle driving (riding for me). I knew that I didn’t like heights but had no idea how nervous I would be. There are several hairpin turns & switch backs & a lot of them don’t have guard rails. It is SO psychological! The road is plenty wide enough & even though it was scary, I was hanging in there. Once we went above the tree line —– OMG!!! I can speak for both of us that it was a game changer. 14,000 is way too high for me! I was so focussed on worrying about the drive down & catching my breath in the thin air that I didn’t get any pictures. Surprisingly, the drive down was much less stressful but I would NEVER do it again!!! This map shows how curvy the road is

On Wednesday we left for Wyoming through Denver & had a beautiful drive

Mile high stadium.

Cheyenne is just over the border & we stayed in a privately owned campground with it’s own barbecue restaurant which was very good. Funny thing about how different state laws are: in Colorado medicinal & recreational pot is legal. Across the border in Wyoming, you can’t buy beer in a grocery story.

The Curt Gowdy state park was close & was so beautiful! I wish I could have gotten a reservation here to just relax & enjoy the views

On the way back we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch & I told the waitress that we kept seeing Rocky Mountain oysters on menus & asked if they were the real thing. She answered yes & that they sell a lot of them. A bit later she brought us a sample & said that rather than to say bull balls, they refer to them as Swingin Sirloins!

They weren’t bad but I don’t think that I would ever order them.

The weather has been so nice here!! It is so good to be out of the heat but every night a big front goes right over us which makes for interesting skies

Antelope have big white tails

We are off to explore South Dakota.

5/27/2018-6/3/2018

We left the Collin Park Marina campgrounds early Tuesday for new territory. We made the 7 hr drive to Caprock Canyons State Park.

The drive to our site was amazing & we knew that it was going to be a good stay.

Our site was nice with plenty of room & we noticed cow patties in the yard. The next afternoon we found out why when these visitors showed up.

These were taken outside our window. You could see the bugs in his coat.

There were signs all over the park to stay at least 50 yd away from them especially if there are babies as they can charge.

FUN FACT

When a bison raises it’s tail, that means it is agitated & could charge. You’ve heard the saying “high tailed it out of there”? Thats from the early settlers who knew that if the tail was high, you needed to get away.

Since there are about 100 of them roaming the park,you never knew when you were going to be hiking or just going outside & run into them,it made being outside a little more exciting.

We also had an active prairie dog colony near us which was very entertaining to watch

They suggested to be done with your hikes before 2pm as the heat in the canyons can raise to 130 in a very short time when the rocks heat up. We tried to be done by noon & were still very hot!

Warning!!! Beauty spam

k

This is called a a hoodoo.

The Natural bridge.

It was definitely a cross between the Grand Canyon & Sedona with none of the touristy things, or crowds . We would definitely return but only when it is a lot cooler. The evenings weren’t even cool enough to sit outside.The closest town was so small (population 411) that it didn’t have a stop light, or a restaurant but I was told by the girl at the only gas station & the girl at the only grocery store that there was a library (I was looking for WIFI) but neither of them knew where it was. We dove around & couldn’t find it either. Amazing!

On Thursday we left for the long drive through the Texas panhandle to New Mexico where we had reservations at a beautiful RV resort &were going to spend the week exploring the Enchanted Circle. Along the way we kept seeing what we thought were low hanging clouds. As we got closer to the mountains we realized it was smoke. We stopped for gas & the police told us that our roads would be blocked & that they were evacuating the nearby towns. It is still not contained but they are calling for rain today. It is called the Ute fire.

Below are images that I took from the internet. The first is the route we needed to take

Hwy 64 went right through it.

We quickly decided to skip to New Mexico for now & headed to Colorado. Our evening stop on the way up was definitely a place to sleep only, & lock everything up. Sometimes beggars can’t be choosers. We called ahead & luckily got a last minute spot in downtown Colorado Springs. Again, not our favorite but is okay & makes up for it in its proximity to a lot of the local things we want to see & do & walking distance to historic downtown.

It should be a great week!

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5/20/2018-5/27/2018l

Since we are still outside Dallas, there aren’t any scenery pics so l thought I would show pic of the inside of our 5th wheel.

This is what it looks like when we bring the slides in to travel

It’s definitely a one person kitchen

We are very happy with it & have decided that we like small houses.

We had a good week spending family time, we saw a few movies, & more dr appts. We are ready to move on next week & are looking forward to finding cooler temperatures!!!

5/13/2018-5/20/2018k

On Sunday we moved to Lake Livingston state park which is considered part of the Piney Woods region in Texas. It was so nice be in the pine trees. Our site was again very private with a beautiful view

This would be a great place if you had a boat.

One morning we took a walk to the duck pond

Going in! We got abound 20 ft in & stopped to read this sign when the mosquitoes swarmed!

After a trip back to the truck & a shower of Deep Woods Off we started again. The whole trip is about a mile long & is on an above ground boardwalk.

The main reason we went this way was to stop in the town of Livingston to check out the Escapee corporate site which is where we have our mail delivered. We paid them a fee & in return they gave us an address. When mail comes in,they scan the envelope & email it to us. We decide if they should open it & scan the contents, toss it or send it to us somewhere down the road. We can ask camp parks that we have future reservations at if they will accept a mail package for us & if not we can call a town’s post office & get instructions for general delivery. As you can imagine we are trying to switch to online bill paying & notifications as much as possible.

On Tuesday we packed up & headed near Dallas. We are currently at Collin park Marina,again with a great view from our windows

Most of this week was filled with doctor &dentist appointments. Just a FYI for those that have asked. It has been 15 months since I fractured my humerus & the bones have still not all healed, & the muscle damage will probably not get better. It is a big bitter pill that I am trying to swallow. I will see the doctor again in 4 months & in the mean time will continue with the bone stimulator & am looking into herbal remedies. Enough about that!!!

Friday night we welcomed Julie,Phil, & the boys to see our new home on wheels,have a cookout & do a little fishing & a few shenanigans with Seth & grandpa.

Alex didn’t have an early Saturday game so he became our first overnight guest. Gracie was happy!!

He even got in a little early morning fishing with Grandpa.

It is so good to be back around family.

After Seth’s game, Jeff went to a crawfish boil at his old office. So fun!

We finished the week with the kids seeing the Avengers, having a cookout. Have a great week!