Last Train In Clarksville

 

Rudds Creek Campground

Boydton, Virginia

 

There is something special about a fall campground. Things slow down. Instead of the mad-dash to the lake, kids spend time experiencing the forest.   Bugs and mosquitoes are gone with the summer – now’s the time to find wooly-bears, collect leaves, build forts and blaze new trails.

Army Corps of Engineers Rudds Creek Campground - Boydton, Virginia

Army Corps of Engineers Rudds Creek Campground – Boydton, Virginia

Last weekend the campground was full of boys on bikes and mysterious missions into the forest.  By this afternoon this 100-site campground was pretty quiet and empty….only about 10 of us campers left.  The quiet is nice…just acorns falling on the roof but….we miss the sounds bike bells and spooky night-time fires.

Our campsite here at Rudds Creek

Our campsite here at Rudds Creek

This campground closes for the winter on Friday and that’s the day we’re leaving.  It’s a shame that people will miss the remaining fall beauty on this beautiful lake.

10-27 Rudds Creek Campground VA

Today, we drove into the next closest town to us, Clarksville (about 6-miles) to get some groceries and check out the train line that goes through there – we heard a whistle in the night.  Unfortunately we seem to have missed the last train!  This is the old train station.  The buzzards are keeping an eye on the place

10-27 Last Train Clarksville

The last train in Clarksville railroad club, Clarksville, Virginia.

Back at camp it was marshmallows over a quiet night-time fire.

Thanks for Riding Along,

Coll

 

A Marching Band and Brunswick Stew

Boydton, Virginia

 

The nearest town to our campground is Boydton and today was the 38th annual Boydton Day Celebration…..we had to go!

Boydton, founded in 1812 by Alexander Boyd – a Scottish Immigrant, survived the Civil War and has managed to remain small and prosperous ever since. It is a lovely “Mayberry like” town. Today’s event was truly a celebration of small town life. The streets were lined with booths touting local businesses and hometown craftspeople; and the food….oh the food! Hotdogs, fried pork rinds, hamburgers, shishkabobs, funnel cakes, fries…fries…fries, fish sandwiches, booth after booth of homemade baked goods and the Boydton specialty…..kettle cooked Brunswick Stew!

Brunswick Stew at Boydton Day - Boydton, Virgina

Brunswick Stew at Boydton Day – Boydton, Virgina

You buy it by the quart.   There was a line 15 people deep to get some of this hometown favorite. People were buying 10 and 12 quarts of this wonderful cauldron brew. One guy told us that he comes down from Philadelphia every year for this day just to get some Boydton Brunswick Stew! I learned that Brunswick stew is a southern Virginia claim to fame. Traditionally it is thick enough to stand your spoon up in and is made with squirrel and/or rabbit meat….I didn’t ask but I think today’s stew had big chunks of chicken (it tasted like chicken…doesn’t everything?) and bacon….whatever…..it was fantastic.

At 11:00 on the nose the annual Boydton Day Parade began! People were waving and hollering at the participants because everyone seemed to know everyone in the parade. First down the street was the local VFW carrying our nation’s flag….everyone fell silent in respect.

The Boydton VFW led the Parade

The Boydton VFW led the Parade

Next came the Bluestone High School Band – they’re from Skipwith.

10-25 Boydton Day Parade (2)

Oh Boy, I Loved That Band!

10-25 Boydton Day Parade (3)

Bluestone High Marching Band

Fire Engines…..Politians….Rescue Squads….and Antique cars….

10-25 Boydton Day Parade (4)

With the horses bringing up the rear….good call because they kind of made a mess of Main Street.

10-25 Boydton Day Parade (6)

We hung around for a while after the parade watching the families and listening to the local musicians – they had country western band and a gospel group. Andy was a hit everywhere we went …especially with little girls and big dogs.

Back at the campground, Ted washed the front and rear of the coach and I (feeling very southern rural) fried catfish for dinner. A great day!

Thanks for Riding Along,

Coll

 

Scary….Spooky…things in the Woods!

 

Rudds Creek Campground

Boydton, Virginia

 

This morning we checked into our home place for the next 7-nights: Rudds Creek Campground on John H. Kerr Lake at the Virginia/North Carolina Border. The campground is an Army Corps of Engineers property so of course, it is very neat and well maintained and only costs $12/night for lucky seniors.

We have spent the last month and more traveling and visiting relatives – wouldn’t trade that for the world! But, today it was fun to once again experience a new place and explore a new campground.   We reserved our site (unseen) so we didn’t have to do the drive through to find “the perfect spot”…. A lot less stressful when you just reserve online.   Soon as we found our site, we docked; leveled; hooked up water and electric and then took off exploring to check-out our new surroundings.   We shower in our coach but, always peek-in the shower house just in case we want a long… slow shower. Our coach shower is wonderful but, if we don’t have a sewer hook-up (we don’t here),  we have to watch our water use or we’ll have to make a mid-week trip to the dump station ‘cause the grey tank is full. Our grey tank holds 60-gallons which is great but you can’t take a 10-minute showers.

We are in a small loop that gives us access to the lake via a path from our campsite. The path takes you about 100-yards to the water where, if you have a boat, you can dock it for easy access; or, if you don’t have a boat (us) you can go to sit quietly and contemplate the lake. We did that at sunset.

Rudds Creek Campground at John H. Kerr Lake - Boydton, Virginia

Rudds Creek Campground at John H. Kerr Lake – Boydton, Virginia

As soon as the sun set we started seeing spooky lights and Hanging Things in the woods….OOOOOhhhhhhhhh! There are maybe 4 or 5 different loops in this campground and many of the sites are decorated for Halloween. Witches and Vampires hang from the trees or float above night-time campfires….campfire stories are extra spooky at this time of year.  Trick or Treat will be a lot of fun here!

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

Farmville

Sabillasville, Maryland to Farmville, Virginia

 

Yesterday we pulled up the levelers and said bye to my sister Jodi and her family. We had a really nice visit. Jodi and her husband Tom own a beautiful 13+ acre property on top of Cascade Mountain in Sabillasville, Maryland. Their near neighbor is Camp David – the presidential retreat, so all is quiet and peaceful on that mountain. Tom made an RV pad for us complete with 50-amp service so whenever we visit Maryland we always have a place to stay (my other sister Deb also has an RV hook-up for us in PA!).

My mother lives about 5-miles below Jodi in the Smithsburg valley – it’s an easy downhill to great family dinners. Mom outdid herself while we were there…..spaghetti with pepperoni; pork and sauerkraut; and her own creation: kielbasa alfredo (heart attack here I come).   Mom just turned 83 and she can knock out a family dinner with the best of them.

We timed our visit in Maryland so that we’d be able to take advantage of Maryland’s Early Voting window; so on our way out of town we stopped by the voting location for Washington County and made or voices heard! What a zoo, we had to wade through a sea of signs to get into the voting hall….happily, everyone was in a good mood and respectful of the voters.

Washington County, Maryland Early Voting

Washington County, Maryland Early Voting

Next stop out of town was to dump at an AC&T Truck Stop near I-81 in Hagerstown. They only charge $10.00 to dump and take on water. The parking lot is a little cramped and Ted had to do some major maneuvering to reach the water fill-up area but, we managed without incident.

We headed south on I-81 as far as Front Royal, Virginia. The wind was really strong as we followed the Blue Ridge Mountains along the interstate. It was a relief to leave the highway and continue south on secondary roads and state highways toward our current goal which is an Army Corp of Engineer campground on the Virginia/North Carolina border.

About 4:00 pm we decided to search out a Walmart for the night. That’s when we came upon this Facebook Farmer who said there was a great one in Farmville, VA….we followed him there. Can I water your plants for you while I’m here?

Pumpkin Truck - Snap shot from Dash Cam

Pumpkin Truck – Snap shot from Dash Cam

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

What Do John Brown, Lewis & Clark, Stonewall Jackson and the Appalachian Trail Have In Common?

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

 

Yesterday, Ted and I visited one of our favorite places: The Harper’s Ferry National Park in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

Harper's Ferry Selfie

Harper’s Ferry Selfie

I grew up in this area and used to visit Harper’s Ferry with my father (a Civil War Buff) before the National Park Service took it over.   Then later, when Ted and I owned Garringer Images – a local photography company, we often went to Harper’s Ferry to photograph this unique town.

Harper's Ferry downtown from the Armory.

Harper’s Ferry downtown from the Armory.

Harper’s Ferry is a real piece of American History.  It was here where the Shenandoah  and the Potomac Rivers meet that George Washington built the first US Armory and Lewis and Clark outfitted and planned their famous exploration;  John Brown and “Stonewall” Jackson both made history here during the Civil War; and the famous C&O Canal and the Appalachian Trail cross paths here.  If you are ever in this area, plan to spend time in Harper’s Ferry…hiking, boating, train watching, and learning about the incredible history of this unique town will easily fill 2 or 3 days!

Today as we hiked along the trails and walked through the restored town I realized that we could not take any new photos better than the ones we used to sell.

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia taken from Saint Peter's Catholic Church

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia taken from Saint Peter’s Catholic Church

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia - Confluence of the Shenandoah and the Potomac Rivers. Taken from the top of the Maryland Heights Trail.

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia – Confluence of the Shenandoah and the Potomac Rivers. Taken from the top of the Maryland Heights Trail.

Harper's Ferry Tunnel

Harper’s Ferry Tunnel

If you ever have the chance you’ve got to visit Harper’s Ferry National Park.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

 

 

Playing “Catch-Up”: We’ve Had a Busy Month….

 

Iowa-Indiana-Ohio-Pennsylvania-New Jersey-New York-Connecticut to Maryland

 

We left Iowa on September 21st and started our trek back east to check in with family and take care of business….something most full-timers have to do at least once a year….for us it’s twice a year.   We have two home states: Connecticut, where we lived most of our lives (that’s where our hearts are….with our daughter Corrie, snl Will, and our granddaughters); and Maryland-our state of “official” residence, where my Mother, Aunt, Sisters (one is actually in PA) and extended family live.

Maryland is an expensive state to live and work in but current Maryland tax laws are actually pretty reasonable for retirees, especially if you don’t own property in the state. We lived here before going full-time so all of our doctors, bank, etc. are here. For now it makes sense for us to keep our Maryland residency.  We timed our visit to Maryland so that we’d be able to take advantage of Early Voting for the upcoming elections.

With all the miles driven and family visiting I have fallen way behind in my Fools On’a Mission blog (I concentrate on family when we visit….not web site)….so, I decided to catch up by posting Ted’s Fools On’a Mission Facebook Page entries. He is very good at posting one or two liners (always bracketed by 7 annoying ******* asterisks!) to update our movements. If you are on Facebook, be sure to “like” our Fools On’a Mission page so you’ll always be up on our foolish movements.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

******* Buffalo, Iowa ~ Nappanee, Indiana ******* ******* September 22nd ******* A 260-mile day. I-80 all the way. Breezed through Southside Chicago before the rush ******* We’re camped at the Newmar assembly plant / factory for the next few *******

Downtown Nappanee, Indiana. Public horse and carriage stalls for parking.

Downtown Nappanee, Indiana. Public horse and carriage stalls for parking.

******* Nappanee, Indiana ~ September 24th ******* ******* Dutch Kitchen Restaurant ******* We had an excellent meal this afternoon at an Amish restaurant. Pork chops, mashed potatoes & gravy, green bean & bacon, corn chowder, beef noodle soup and ice cream for dessert *******

 

******* Nappanee, Indiana ~ Amherst, Ohio ******* ******* September 26th ******* An I-80 drive day… We took on fuel at a Marathon truck stop in Bristol, Indiana. The sign said $3.45 for diesel, in very small print it said “off road use price”. Add another 30-cents for road use tax. They should have just advertised $3.75, bustards *******

 

******* Amherst Rest Area ~I-80 eastbound ******* ******* September 27th ******* We docked for the night along the Ohio Turnpike. Ohio has set aside an area for RV’s only with 50-amp service for $20 a night. There are 10 RV spaces limited to 40-foot in length. Today we’ll continue eastbound *******

9-27 Welcome to PA

******* Amherst, Ohio ~ Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania ******* ******* September 27th ******* I-80 eastbound all day. We’re docked at the Bloomsburg Walmart along with two other coaches & five OTR truckers ******* The coach mileage improved to almost 8.6-MPG through IA, IL, IN & OH (flat land) ******* Had to buy a new battery for the Jeep this afternoon *******

Threading The Needle...on the Tappan Zee Bridge into New York.

Threading The Needle…on the Tappan Zee Bridge into New York.

9-28 Tapan Zee

******* Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania ~ Groton, Connecticut ******* ******* September 28th ******* A tense driving day. We took a new route to Connecticut this time, over the Tappan Zee Toll Bridge just north of NYC. Way too much traffic even for a mid-day Sunday *******

 

******* Groton, Connecticut, September 30th ******* Colleen & I have been helping Will and Corrie paint their kitchen and living room. The paint prep is almost complete, painting begins tomorrow or Thursday *******

 

******* Groton, Connecticut ~ October 3rd ******* ******* Painting Continues & roof maintenance ******* Colleen & Corrie resumed day number two of painting. They’re doing a great job ******* I washed the coach roof & sealed a few places where needed, routine maintenance ******* Liquid Spic & Span ~ 1/4 cup to a gallon of warm water, excellent on a rubber roof *******

 

******* Groton, Connecticut ~ October 5th ****** ******* Painting Update ******* Colleen & Corrie moved the paint project into living room and hall yesterday ******* Jill had soccer in the AM then we played Sorry the rest of the day ******* Grace was with Will most of the day *******

 

******* Groton, Connecticut ~ Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania ******* *******October 10th ******* Corrie and Coll finished painting on Wednesday ******* We put the finishing touches up on Thursday ******* We walked Grace & Jill to school this AM, said our goodbyes & began our drive south ******* We’re docked at Sam’s tonight, taking the Jeep to Sam’s tire center in the AM because of a slow leaking tire *******

 

******* Wilkes Barre ~ Jeep tire, slow leaker ******* ******* October 11th ******* The Sam’s tire guy found a small 1/2″ #4 screw in the tire, repaired for free *******

 

******* Sam’s 2 Sam’s / Wilkes Barre, PA ~ Hagerstown, MD ******* ******* October 11th ******* We arrived in Hagerstown around 4PM. Docked at Sam’s again tonight ******* Church this evening at Saint Mary in Hagerstown ******* Supply shopping & dumping the tanks in the morning *******

 

******* Hagerstown MD ~ Sabillasville MD ******* ******* October 13th ******* We’ll be docked at Colleen’s sister’s home for the next two weeks ******* Jodi & Tom (Kingdom Landscape) have made a nice RV pad for us on their property ******* While here have a dozen “must do” errands to take care of ******

Allenberg Apple Orchard, Smithsburg, Maryland.

Allenberg Apple Orchard, Smithsburg, Maryland.

******* Smithsburg, Maryland ******* ******* October 13th ******* The apple growers in the Smithsburg area are having a great year. The orchards are full ******* The autumn colors are just coming on in the Cumberland Valley, higher up the mountain along the Appalachian Trail the trees are further along *******

 

October 14:  Hagerstown, Maryland

Ted the Tool Man installed a hand rail for Aunt Gwen this AM…..is there anything he can’t do??

Mister Fix-it

Mister Fix-it

******* Sabillasville, Maryland ~ October 17th ******* ******* The To Do List ******* Complete except for Maryland early voting on the 23rd, my Cancer Doc visit & our dental cleaning on Monday *******

 

The Worlds Largest Truck Stop!

Shady Creek Campground

Army Corps of Engineers

Near Muscatine, Iowa

 

Our quiet little campground is now full to capacity.  Campers started rolling in on Friday afternoon and soon every spot was taken. We really enjoy watching families’ set-up for a weekend of camping, although it is surprising that any campground is full this time of year. I’d say that 90% of the campers here are local – within 15 or 20 miles.   Guess everyone knows that they only have a couple of nice weekends left before it’s just too cold.

Our neighbors are in every kind of camper…. Tents, pop-ups, trailers of all sizes, old and new.   When we arrived here on Wednesday, there was another full-time Motor Home couple here but they moved on yesterday. They were from Massachusetts and were newbie’s — full-timers for about 3-months. Unfortunately, they had had a series of “expensive” problems with their older Winnebago and so were a little bummed. In fact, the day they closed on their house, they had to have the Winnebago towed out of their “sold” driveway because the engine chose that moment to fail. We swapped travel stories and hopefully they are feeling a little better about their decision to live life on the road.   I have a feeling that a newer motor home is in their future.

Today we decided to explore to the north. We drove about 20-miles to Davenport, Iowa and headed for their Mississippi River Park where we knew we’d find another walking trail. What we found was a thriving downtown community area right on the river. There were three separate festivals going on down there today: (1) The Irish Rugby Riverssance Festival….complete with kilted rugby players medieval warriors and lots of bag pipers (fun to watch but not really our cup of tea); (2) The WQPT Radio Brew Ha Ha….for $35 you can sample all of the local brews you’d like (no dogs or wine drinkers allowed); and (3) the biggest most beautiful Farmer’s Market we have ever visited! I guess being in the heart of mid-west farmland makes a difference.

Davenport, Iowa Farmer's Market...every Saturday at Riverside Park.

Davenport, Iowa Farmer’s Market…every Saturday at Riverside Park.

We strolled around the market place for a while, sampled some wares, and then headed off down the river path for a nice 5-mile hike.

Back in the Jeep, we had to scratch an item off Ted’s Bucket List…..a visit to the World’s Largest Truck Stop!

The World's Largest Truck Stop on I-80 in Walcott, Iowa.

The World’s Largest Truck Stop on I-80 in Walcott, Iowa.

For years Ted has heard pieces of stories and driver tales about the wonders of “The World’s Largest Truck Stop” in Walcott, Iowa…..how the lot can hold hundreds and hundreds of trucks that pass through from every corner of the USA……how drivers can buy ANYTHING they need…….how there is an Indoor Chrome Shop and Big Rig Showroom! ….. and that you can get any kind of food you want!!

So here we are….

I-80 Truck Stop

I-80 Truck Stop

Leaving Andy in the Jeep, it was cool enough, we walked into the place like we belonged there! It was something! It almost reminded me of Wall Drugs back in South Dakota – there is that much stuff under one roof. First Stop: The I-80 Kitchen where for $12.00 you can belly up to a buffet bar and eat like the pros.   I am not proud to tell you that I couldn’t pass us the stuffed Iowa pork chops…..I had two and they were at least a quarter pound each – not to mention the trimmings.

Next we toured the chrome shop and the indoor big rig showroom…everything was flashing lights and shiny trim – beautiful. If you need it – they have it here. Oh, and if you want something in camouflage….they have it. Oddly enough, we managed to tour the place and leave without buying anything.   We have our little home just about the way we want it and we don’t need to add any chrome or lights. If you ever travel I-80 in Iowa you gotta stop for the pork chops if nothing else.  Oh, by-the-way, gas was $2.97 at a nearby station – lowest we’ve seen in the last 5-months.

Back at the campground, we hurried up and changed for church then headed south for Saturday night Mass at Muscatine’s 170 year old Saint Mathias Church.   One of the things we truly enjoy about our travels is being able to visit a different parish every Sunday.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

 

 

 

 

The Pearl Button Capitol Of The World!

Shady Creek Campground

Near Muscatine, Iowa

 

Today was a beautiful day here on the Mississippi. This morning, we drove about 10-miles into Muscatine to explore their downtown Riverfront Park. The Riverfront includes 3 or 4 green areas that are connected by a long and winding biking/hiking walkway that runs about 5-miles along the Mississippi River.   Walking shoes on….ready to explore….we set out heading south. We were treated to the sights and sounds of the river which include barges, trains and wonderful smells.

Muscatine, Iowa Riverfront Park

Muscatine, Iowa Riverfront Park

The walkway is clean and well maintained with plenty of benches where you can sit and quietly contemplate the River. This was one of Mark Twain’s favorite places, he lived here for a time and even wrote about Muscatine’s stunning riverfront sunsets. “I remember Muscatine for its sunsets.  I have never seen any on either side of the ocean that equaled them.”

Along the walkway there are fountains and several bronze statues that help to tell the story of Muscatine’s founding and growth.

Mississippi Harvest Bronze on Muscatine's Riverwalk

“Mississippi Harvest” Bronze on Muscatine’s Riverwalk

This is Muscatine’s famous “Mississippi Harvest” bronze by Erik Blome. It is dedicated to the men and women of Muscatine who made this city the Pearl Button capital of the world! Look close and you can see the mussels and clams at the feet of this clamdigger.

The inside of the shells have a pearlized layer that reflects many colors of natural oyster pearls. Back in the late 1800’s a German immigrant moved here to establish a better life. In Germany, he had been a successful button maker so, he looked around Muscatine to find some natural material that he could use to produce buttons here in the states…..he found the perfect, beautiful material inside Mississippi River mussel shells and began harvesting the shells to make buttons…I can only imagine the amount of mussels that man’s poor family must have had to eat! The production and sale of his “Pearl” buttons soon become one of the biggest booms the city has ever seen.

By 1905 Muscatine produced 1.5 billion pearl buttons annually. With nearly 37% of the worlds buttons coming from Muscatine, the town became the undisputed Pearl Button Capital of the World.

Here’s a close-up of the bronze from below.

"Mississippi Harvest"

“Mississippi Harvest”

We walked about 3-miles along the the trail. On the way we met a very knowlegable local man who told us all about Muscatine and the many responsible corporate citizens who help to make the city a great place to live and raise a family.   There is a lot more for us to see her in Muscatine.

By noon we were back at our campground and ready for lunch. Today was pasta day with homemade sauce chock full of veggies and chunky ground beef with just enough heat to make it interesting!

The campground is starting to fill-up for the weekend. They say it is filled every weekend of the summer till it closes for the season in October. Guess we were lucky to get a site.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

Stinking Fish

Yankton to Muscatine via Anamosa Iowa

Shady Creek Campground

 

We had a very relaxing week at the Army Corp campground in Yankton, South Dakota.  All was quiet and peaceful….except that they “poisoned” the lake while we were there.

Yankton Lake, South Dakota after controlled poisoning of invasive carp.

Yankton Lake, South Dakota after controlled poisoning of invasive carp.

It seems that in 2011 after a flood hit this area, the lake was taken over by an invasive species of carp.  Things got so bad that the carp multiplied and multiplied till there was no room for other fish.  Normally, Yankton Lake is home to bass and even sturgeon but, after the carp invasion, fishermen weren’t catching anything but the inedible carp.  So, the officials determined that the only way to get rid of the carp and restore the lake to its former natural state was to kill everything in it and start over. On Monday, we watched as they began to drain the lake. Next day, we saw them placing barrells of a chemical poisen at every inlet and low spot around the lake.  We were told that the chemical would not harm birds or poodles and other air breathing creatures. The chemical actually took the oxygen out of the lake water thereby causing all of the water creatures to die……99% invasive carp.

Invasive carp in Yankton Lake, South Dakota....after poisoning.

Invasive carp in Yankton Lake, South Dakota….after poisoning.

By day three, the lake water was very low and the dead fish were uncountable. The smell was not pleasant.  Lucky for us, our campsite was not right on the water, we could smell it all right but it was not unbearable….not so nice for many of our camping neighbors.

The plan for the lake is to let the fish rot naturally over the winter and, in the spring, re-fill the water from the nearby Lewis and Clark Lake.

On Monday we checked out of Yankton and headed for Anamosa, Iowa where we had an appointment on Tuesday to have our steps fixed at a Newmar dealer.  We overnighted at a Sam’s Club in Waterloo and pulled into Lasso RV on Tuesday around 1 pm.  They took us right in and an hour later we were fixed (it was a big bolt in the step thing-a-ma-gig that broke) and ready to go.  We decided to spend the night there ….why not….since they had a really quiet spot for us on their back country lane.

Near Amber, Iowa.

Near Amber, Iowa.

This morning, we waved good-by and headed toward the Mississippi.  Tonight, and for the next 5-days, we’ll be soaking up the sights and sounds of Old Man River.  We are camped just outside Muscatine, Iowa at another Army Corps Campground: Shady Creek ($8 a night for seniors).  Our campsite backs up to the Mississippi and an active train line runs on the other side of the campground. Ted is in heaven with his two loves: The Mississippi and Freight Trains.  More later.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

Blame it on that Cigar Smoking Alice!

Cottonwood Campground

Army Corps of Engineers

Yankton, South Dakota

 

You’d never know that we are full-time Motor home people because, for the last month or so, Ted and I have been “touring” like vacationers and, it is exhausting! It started back in mid-August with the Wyoming State Fair in Douglass; then on to Cody where Ol’ Buffalo Bill settled a cowboy town; next Yellowstone for 8-days of hiking and buffalo hunting; back to Cody for a couple of days to see what we missed the first time; then, on to Devil’s Tower (love that place); next we made Custer, South Dakota our tour base and we visited the Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore, and the Jewel Cave and Custer State Park; Whew…..just thinking about all of the Visitor Centers and Gift Shops we been in makes me dizzy (I have 2-new baseball caps!).

Custer Slept here and so did we.

Custer Slept here and so did we.

We left Custer on September 3rd. Our first stop, just 40-miles down Interstate-90 was in Rapid City to shop at the first Sam’s Club we’ve been near since Casper, Wyoming. We stocked up on freezer food, paper goods and stuff that is affordable only at a big box store: walnuts, craisins, coffee and granola bars.

Next stop was at a gas station not too far from Rapid City. That’s where we met Rover. This poor guy pulled up beside us at the pumps. It seems that his family is moving to Alaska and they just loaded him in the truck – house and all. He wasn’t very happy but he was comfortable.

Alaska or Bust!

Alaska or Bust!

Back on the road, we started seeing signs for Wall Drugs….Wall South Dakota. There were signs along I-90 every couple of miles….. “Free Coffee and Donut for Honeymooners”…… “Best Western Steaks You’ve Ever Eaten”….. “Doesn’t Matter What it is – We have it!” Well of course we had to stop!

Wall, South Dakota

Wall, South Dakota

The way the story goes….the original owner of a small drug store in the cowboy town of Wall wanted to attract customers to the store so they put up a series of signs on all of the roads leading to and from the Drug Store….wasn’t long before the place became famous!  I didn’t see anything that looked like a Drug Store.

Wall Drugs in Wall South Dakota

Wall Drugs in Wall South Dakota

The whole place was a little overwhelming. I sat down beside this old gal, Alice, to take it all in.

This is cigar smoking, card play'n Alice.

This is cigar smoking, card play’n Alice.

Much to Ted’s horror, we were there an hour before he could get me back in the coach….blame it on Alice and her stupid card games! I couldn’t wait to post a picture of Wall Drugs on Facebook and it’s lucky I did, because one of my FB friends told me about the Corn Palace that we’d be passing along the way! Late in the afternoon we stopped for the night in Chamberlain, SD at a private campground on the Missouri River – but, not before we visited “Al’s Oasis” where you can pet plastic Buffalo and buy Indian jewelry and western wear like the cowboys used to sport! We liked Chamberlain so much we stayed two nights.

Leaving Chamberlain, we left I-90 and headed south on secondary roads so I never did make it to the famous Corn Place in Mitchell. Instead, we had an enjoyable drive through very rural farmland and small towns till we reached the South Dakota/Nebraska boarder where we knew there was an Army Corp of Engineers Campground.

It’s a great spot right on the Missouri River at Yankton, South Dakota… we can see Nebraska just across the water. And, best of all, the campground is quiet, inexpensive ($8 a night for seniors) and there isn’t a Visitor’s Center in sight. We are treating ourselves to another vacation….this one will be full of rest and relaxation – we’ll be here a week.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll