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September, 2007

Saturday, September 1:

Happy Anniversary to us! 

Today is our three year fulltime anniversary.  Here's where it all started:  August - October 2004

 

Lions and tigers and bears oh my! Well maybe not lions and tigers but definitely a bear! We saw our first bear today, a black bear. And from the way the traffic was backed up you would have thought it was the only bear in Yellowstone, maybe even America. We were headed up to see Tower Falls and were in a long traffic jam. We thought it was to see the fall but no there was a black bear in the field and all the cars were stopping to look and get a picture. We didn’t get a picture of it on the way up to the fall but we did on the way back down. We again got stuck in traffic and while going forward stop and go we could see the bear clearly and got several good pictures of him. It was awesome to see the bear. But that was actually later in the day.

When we got up this morning it was very foggy, still a chance of rain today but we’re going to the park today no matter what. So after the fog burned off we headed out to Yellowstone. We knew it would be crowded since it’s a holiday weekend and we weren’t wrong. There was a long line at the gate to get in and everywhere we went there were many others out enjoying the park too.

We drove up to the Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park. We stopped at many vista points along the way and admired the views. The Mammoth area is where the original fort was and now the administrative offices are in those buildings. There are many old buildings that are now on the national register. We arrived around lunchtime in Mammoth so we decided to eat in the restaurant. We had a nice lunch too.

Mac is such a goofball at times. The view out our window at the restaurant is of the main road and there is a sidewalk that runs beside the road. Well, on this sidewalk was a pile of elk poop. Mac kept watching the people walking on the sidewalk to see if anyone would step in it. He was even taking pictures! The lady at the next table started looking out the window to see what was so interesting but I just waved her back with the wave “Don’t ask”.  Boy, he can be embarrassing at times! He’ll probably even add the pictures he took from lunch to the blog!

Oh yes, you don't think I'd deprive our readers of seeing a photo to go along with this story do you?

 

After our exciting lunch and poop/people watching we decided to leave the park, turn around and come back in. The north entrance has the Roosevelt Arch and it is such a great entrance to the park. I really like the stone arch and the words on it “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”. That is so impressive to see when you enter the park. So again we sat in line to enter the park but it wasn’t that long of a line thankfully.

After entering the park and driving back towards the Mammoth area we saw many people pulled over taking pictures. There were several momma mountain goats and their babies close to the road. We got some pictures too. The babies were so cute to see, they are so tiny compared to the adults.

We drove up to the Tower Falls area enjoying the views along the way. Yellowstone has such varied landscape. The whole area has many interesting rock formations. We stopped and saw Undine Falls, quite beautiful. We also stopped to see the Petrified Tree on the way up to the falls. The falls were quite pretty. I just love all the waterfalls in Yellowstone.

We drove back down to the Mammoth area, getting the pictures of the black bear that we saw along the way. We reached the Mammoth Hot Springs area, parked the car and started walking. It’s quite a hike up the stairs, ramps and walkways to reach the top. About half way up we looked up and saw cars. We didn’t realize that you could drive up to the top and view it from up there. So, I turned around and headed back to the car but Mac pressed on walking up. He was not impressed once he got up there either. I suppose if you were into the geology of the area and understood how many eons it took to build this all up then you’d be impressed, but he wasn’t. So, after we rested and caught our breath we drove up the road to the top. I got out and yeah, I wasn’t impressed either.

I'm not going to say I wasn't "impressed" but it sure wasn't worth climbing the equivalent of a 25 floor building for what was at the top, when we could have easily driven up there.  On the way up there were some interesting formations, but I could have missed them and lived with it ;-).  The photo on the left below shows some of what you see on the way up.  The one on the right is what you see when you arrive at the top.  You be the judge.

We drove back towards the west exit and stopped along the way to view some great views. One of the amazing things we saw is right by the road is some water and another hydrothermal feature. The sign says hazardous thermal area, boiling water. And it was boiling water! The water is very shallow and it’s bubbling away. You can hear it, like a rolling boil. Wow, that’s some hot water there.

On our visit today to the park we saw many buffalo/bison again. We also saw some pronghorns and mountain goats and one bear. We’ve seen many Canadian geese, didn’t check their passports but they are definitely Canadian geese. We saw some beautiful waterfalls, great unusual rock formations, and one unimpressive Mammoth Hot Springs.

We got home this evening around 7 and we are very tired. We had a quick dinner of packaged heat and serve chicken parmesan. I think we were in bed and asleep by 10 tonight, it was a tiring day but filled with interesting sights. 

Click here for Mammoth Hot Springs photos

Sunday, September 2:

Today was a lazy day. We stayed home and piddled around at the RV, took a nap, read a book and other various relaxing things. We did go for a walk along the river behind our campsite though. It was fun. We saw some trout too. I love days when we just relax.

 

Monday, September 3:

We went to Yellowstone Park again today. The line to get in the gate wasn’t as long as the line on Saturday was. We drove over to Midway Geyser Basin. It’s a beautiful place to see. We walked along the boardwalk and admired all the springs and geysers in this area. We then drove over to the Old Faithful area (Upper Geyser Basin) to walk around the different geyser areas there. We got to see Old Faithful erupt again too. We’ve seen it erupt from three different locations. I actually like the further away locations more than the one set up right in front of the geyser. When you’re further back you can see the scale better, it’s awesome to see all that water and steam shooting out.

We enjoyed walking around and seeing all the different springs and geysers. Some are just so interesting looking. There is so much to see and do at Yellowstone. We didn’t do even half of it. It’s an amazing place. I’m glad they had the foresight to make this area a national park way back then. Otherwise it may not have been here in such a natural setting for us and future generations to enjoy.

Of course, along the way as we’re driving anywhere in the park we stop and admire the views or to see the animals. Today as we were headed towards home we saw some cars stopped and saw that there was a male elk with a nice set of antlers out in the field. We pulled over and walked out to admire the elk. He was awesome to see. Mac mentioned that his younger brothers would be quite tasty too.

As we turned to walk back to the car we saw a building, it’s a junior ranger station. We went in and admired the view of the elk from the spotter scopes set up inside. We also got to hear the elk bugle. Wow!

A few mornings here at our campsite I’ve gotten up before daylight. When I go outside to admire the stars occasionally I can hear an elk bugle. They don’t do it frequently; I guess they don’t have a lot to say. But when they do bugle it is awesome to hear.

We spent too much on souvenirs for family too. I guess we got carried away with the beauty of this place and want to share it with family. I’ll admit it we bought several for ourselves too. We’ve really enjoyed our visit here at Yellowstone and look forward to returning in a few years and seeing it again.

Photos are here:  Midway Geyser Basin -- Upper Geyser Basin, Old Faithful

Tuesday, September 4:

We left the Yellowstone area this morning. Our kitty has been “off his feed” for a few days; he’s not eating, he’s drinking water and will lap the juice from tuna but he’s just not eating real food. Of course, this would happen on a long weekend too. We called locally for a vet this morning but no vet around except on Monday and Wednesday. Mac called a vet in Cody WY and we have an appointment first thing on Wednesday morning. We probably could have made it to the vet office today but we don’t really know how long it will take to get out of here and through Yellowstone Park. We know there is construction along the east road in Yellowstone and the delays can be long. So better to have an appointment that we know we can make than one we have to cancel.

Mac worked some this morning and will try to get some work done on the road too. We packed up and headed out to Cody WY. We drove through Yellowstone Park and there are many large herds of bison that we see along the way. Animals know when the weather is going to change; it’s obvious from the larger herds we’ve seen. We also know from reading the weather report that colder weather is arriving tomorrow. It’s so very cool to see these herds on our last visit to Yellowstone.

I got so excited to see the buffalo, even right next to the road. I was trying to get my camera turned on and was so excited that I dropped my camera, only about 3 feet to the floor of the RV but it seems I broke it. Mac has attempted to fix it but it is broken. I really loved my camera too. Maybe it’s repairable but so far it seems not.

We stopped at a pullout along the lake. While stretching our legs outside and admiring the view we saw a bald eagle and a golden eagle!  It was so incredible to see both of them. We had to get the book out and it was definitely a golden eagle. This was the first time that I’d heard an eagle too. They were talking to each other, it was great.

There was a lot of road work being done; it’s down to one lane in a lot of the area. We were stuck waiting for only about 15 minutes though. That was great, we were told it would be about 30 minutes but it was 15. We finally made it out of all the road work area and left Yellowstone.

The east side of Yellowstone and the outside area are very pretty too; lots of high hills. This is grizzly country too! I’m glad that we didn’t see one though. As we drove along the road admiring the many interesting rocks and water in this area we saw smoke. A very recent accident had occurred and a pickup truck and pickup camper had an accident and was on fire. We moved on since there were plenty of people helping out. As we continued on we also saw many fire fighting vehicles coming to this accident to put out the fire. I hope no one was hurt.

We arrived safely in Cody WY and parked at Wal-Mart # 1778 for the night. Mac went in and picked up a few supplies including a loaf of 9 grain Italian bread, that’s some good bread too. When we went to bed tonight the wind started really blowing hard. It rocked the RV quite a bit. We started thinking about moving to a spot facing the wind because it was such strong gusts but then once it started raining the wind wasn’t as strong. Thankfully it didn’t rain hard or long either.

Yellowstone Photos -- click here to see them all

Wednesday, September 05:

Mac took K.C. to vet this morning and came home with the cat within an hour. The vet is running some blood test and asked us to call for the results in a couple of hours. Mac called back for the results and talked to the vet. K.C.’s liver and kidneys are in pretty bad shape. After talking with the vet and reviewing all options we decided to have the cat stay at the vets overnight. He’s going to have an IV for fluids, nourishment and medication.

After lunch I decided to wash the clothes. I’d looked online and found a Laundromat. It was very clean, with several various sized front loaders. The dryers were 50 cents to start for 12 min, then a quarter for each additional 6 minutes. Whoopee, how I love doing laundry!

I also had looked online for any thrift stores in town and found one listed. I stumbled across another one while driving around town. But alas, there was nothing for me to buy in either thrift store.

It’s been cloudy today and late this afternoon into evening it got cloudier and then started raining. It rained pretty hard too. Thankfully, the rain was over in less than an hour.

We’ve had a quiet evening of reading and watching a little television. We decided to call it an early evening and went to bed before 10:00. We’re both kind of tired today.

Thursday, September 6:

We called today to see how K.C. is doing and he’s doing better. He ate a little and is perking up some. He’s staying at the vet again tonight so this afternoon we went to visit with him. He does seem to be feeling better; he was in the mood for a good petting. We really hope that he gets to feeling much better and can come home soon.

After visiting Kitty we went to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center www.bbhc.org.  It’s very interesting, with 5 different sections in it. An art museum, Plains Indian museum, museum of natural history, a huge firearm museum, and a Buffalo Bill museum. Oh and of course a gift shop. We spent a few hours there and will visit again tomorrow. The cost was $15.00 each but is good for two days so that’s really quite reasonable. We really enjoyed seeing the exhibits we saw today and look forward to returning tomorrow.

We drove out to Buffalo Bill State Park http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Parks/BuffaloBill/index.asp to check out the sites and how much it cost. Since we’re going to be here a few more days we thought it would be nice to stay at the park. It is a nice park and the sites have a great view of the lake. There is quite a breeze this afternoon and the lake has many white caps on it, very pretty sight. There are some wind surfers out on the water too. They really seem to like wind, I wonder why????

After returning to our RV parked at Wal-Mart Mac went online and looked up some information regarding overnight parking here in Cody and it seems that the Wal-Mart here doesn’t mind how long you park in their lot. They have a sign posted that tells where the dump stations are and there is even potable water on the west side of the parking area. So we decided to stay here and not move to the park tonight. I don’t think we’ll enjoy the park as much because of the gusty wind this evening.

After that decision was made we were both hungry and decided to eat out this evening. We’d seen Bubba’s Bar-B-Que from our parking spot and BBQ sounds good this evening. It was pretty good stuff too. I had BBQ chicken which is half a chicken served with choice of two sides and garlic bread; Mac had BBQ brisket with two sides and garlic bread. Both these dishes and our drinks totaled less than $25.00, not bad for dinner.

Friday, September 07:

We were really hoping that K.C. would be well enough today to come home but the vet recommends that he stay on the IV treatment over the weekend. We were hoping that he’d be well enough that we could give him oral medication but he’s still pretty weak; so no kitty for a few more days.

We went back to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center this afternoon and visited for a few hours again. There is a lot to see there and it is interesting, well worth the money.

We decided to eat dinner this evening at Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel Restaurant & Saloon. www.irmahotel.com  We’ve seen so much of Buffalo Bill already we might as well see the hotel and restaurant. It’s a really nice place to visit too, listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The décor is very interesting with a great cherry wood bar that was a gift to Buffalo Bill from Queen Victoria. Irma’s is famous for prime rib so we had the prime rib buffet. It was a very tasty meal for less than $22.00 each for the prime rib buffet. The prime rib was very good Mac had 3 servings!

After such a big dinner we walked around the downtown area and visited a few of the shops that were open. I found some really nice souvenirs for family too. I would tell you what they are but I want to surprise the family with their gifts. Several interesting shops were closed for the day already so we’ll visit them tomorrow. We have several other places of interest that we plan on seeing this weekend too.

Photos from the Buffalo Bill Historic Center are here including Firearms Museum, Western Art, etc. You'll recognize several pieces of art.  Also, have you ever wondered what happened to the revolvers that the Cartwright's carried in Bonanza or James Arness used in Gunsmoke?  Here they are!

 

Sunday, September 09:

Well, this weekend has been a washout in many ways. It’s been COLD, 40’s throughout the mornings, maybe low 50’s high 40’s during the day. We’ve also had periods of very fine rain, like a mist but it wet the roads and everything else. It has been a weekend of staying in the RV, reading good books, goofing off on the internet, watching movies, etc. whatever was needed to stay warm; even had to crank up the heater which hasn’t been used for months. Out the window went any plans to go sightseeing this weekend; just too cold, wet and windy for us southerners. We’d had plans that included lots of walking outside and we don’t have the clothing for that since we try to avoid this kind of weather.

Saturday, we drove the RV over and filled up the propane tank. It lasted quite a while since our last fill up on July 18 at Boomtown in Verdi NV. Hopefully this fill-up will last a while but if we have to use the heater a lot then I don’t think it will.

On our way back to Wal-Mart from getting propane Mac looks at me and says “DataStorm”. It seems we had forgotten it was deployed and we drove away with the dish up. Thankfully, we’d been driving a short distance, had not been going over 30 MPH and we did not go under anything. After getting parked at Wally World again we checked it out and yea we hadn’t harmed it.

We’ve also made some changes in our travel plans. We’d planned on leisurely driving across the country, seeing Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Devil’s Tower and many other sights. But daughter Tina has asked us to come to Rushville IL and stay with the granddaughters while Tina is out of town at a business conference. So, many of the sights have been put off until another trip and we will be hitting the road with many miles to cover daily to get to her house by the 15th. We’ll have to get some work done daily along with those many miles of daily driving.

After our visit with the family the plan is to go to Elkhart IN and get some new captain chairs. Hopefully, nothing interferes with those plans, our chairs are so in need of replacement and we’ve had this plan for months.

Monday, September 10:

Yea, we got to pick up kitty cat today! The vet says he is doing so much better, his blood test are improved and he can come home to us. The vet gave us some liquid medicine to give K.C. twice a day until the medicine is gone. K.C. does seem to be better; he’s still weak but much improved. I think he’ll be with us a while yet.

We loaded up and headed out from Cody WY traveling east. We drove through some of the most beautiful country. There were sections of our drive today that were as beautiful as the Painted Desert in AZ; many colors in the hills, just beautiful. The WY Bighorn Mountains are just gorgeous. We took the Cloud Peak Skyway http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2165/  through the mountains on Highway 16, just wonderful country to drive through. http://www.roadnotes.com/scenicdrives/wy03.htm  This pass through the mountains had the least grade, we climbed to the summit of 9.666 feet, saw snow in the shade of trees and up on the ski slopes there is some snow. It was really beautiful. We saw many deer and cattle near the highway, just didn’t see any of those big horns this trip. We really thought this was spectacular country and plan on returning here to camp and explore. The area of Ten Sleep (love that name) was beautiful too. We got on I90 at Buffalo WY and saw many pronghorn as we drove to Gillette WY to Wal-Mart store # 1485 to spend the night.

Tuesday, September 11:

We hit the road this morning around 9:00, stopped on our way back to the interstate at the Flying J Truck Stop and filled up with gas. They also had a dump station, so we dumped our tanks and filled with fresh water. That was nice that it was free.

We headed out to Devil’s Tower http://www.nps.gov/deto  and got there before 11:00. Wow, it is really impressive! We took many pictures and checked out the visitor center quickly. We also got a chuckle out of the prairie dogs that were in a meadow. They are so cute and make such cute sounds talking to each other.

We quickly got back on the road and headed towards I-90 again. We stopped at the Welcome Center for South Dakota for a break and had lunch in the RV. After resting a short while and conducting a little business we continued on down the interstate heading towards Mt. Rushmore. We saw many deer, pronghorn, wild turkeys and even a mountain goat today. A lot of beautiful country was seen too.

We finally arrived at Mount Rushmore http://www.nps.gov/moru after 3:00. We spent a couple of hours admiring the work that went into creating this monument. We’ve seen many programs on t.v. about the making of Mt. Rushmore, the artist and the history of the monument. We knew we wanted to see it but couldn’t spend much time here today. We’ll be back to this area another time. There is much to see and do around here that we had to miss today.

After leaving Mt. Rushmore we headed back to the interstate and drove to Wall SD. We had dinner at Wall Drug http://www.walldrug.com/ making sure that we got some of that free ice water and a 5 cent cup of coffee. Mac had a buffalo burger, said it tasted just like a hamburger; at least it didn’t taste like chicken!

Today was a great day of seeing many sights that we wanted to see but all of them were quickly seen and moved on. Someday, we will be back to savor each of the sights that we quickly saw today. Today was like Cliff Notes, just highlights, no details.

Wednesday, September 12 – Friday, September 14:

These few days have been just work some, drive a lot and no stopping to look at the sights. We spent Wednesday night at Cabela’s in Mitchell SD www.cabelas.com  They have a very nice RV parking area that is separate from the truck parking. There’s also an outdoor kennel and a dump station, no potable water though. This Cabela’s store has a restaurant but it was closed this evening for cleaning. At this exit there is a Wal-Mart, a Menard’s and a few restaurants or fast-food places. We walked over to the Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner. They have a pretty good salad bar so I had that and 2 mini turkey burgers. The turkey burgers were really good to me, I’m going to make some turkey burger patties and keep in the freezer for when Mac is grilling burgers. That way I can have turkey burgers and he can have his beef. Mac doesn’t like turkey meat like I do. I don’t like traditional roasted turkey like at Thanksgiving but I like turkey ham and ground turkey. Mac likes turkey cooked and served the traditional way.

Many of the rest areas that we saw along the interstate in South Dakota and Iowa have a dump station. That is very nice; so many states are RV friendly. Now if they’d just have potable water too. Many of the rest areas in IA have wireless internet too, that is really nice to stop, stretch the legs and check email. Mac doesn’t really need it though. He’s been working online while I’m driving. Isn’t technology great! You can be on the internet while driving down the road.

Thursday night we stopped in Altoona IA at the Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino. www.prairiemeadows.com  We picked up a couple of players cards and learned that the county owns the place and the proceeds go to help the schools, etc. We had a nice dinner at the buffet, less than $25.00 for both of us. We played a little and walked around looking at all the games offered. There’s a sign that says No Camping” but since we’re not camping there is no problem with us spending the night.

The weather these past few days has been pretty windy. First we had a wind out of the south and then it switched over to a north wind. It wasn’t too bad when I was driving south but when I turned east then the wind is a crosswind and it makes it harder to drive. I’m really glad we got that work done this year at Henderson’s.  I can really tell the difference in the before and after especially when driving with a crosswind. It is so much easier to drive now.

We arrived safely in Rushville IL around 5:30 on Friday after a full day of driving. This is the first time that I got to drive the RV all day. I wanted that in the blog so that Mac will never forget it…I drove all day long! It was another windy day of driving too. But we arrived and are enjoying seeing the family again.

Sunday, September 23

Just an update on where we are and what we’re doing. We’re still in Rushville IL and will probably be here another week. Daughter Tina had a safe uneventful trip and we’re all happy that the curse has been broken. This is the first year that she has had no problems or delays on her return home.

We’ve been busy scanning family photos onto the computer. We’ve been meaning to do that for years but haven’t until now. So I’ve been scanning in several pictures at a time and then Mac comes behind me later and splits them apart, dating the pictures, labeling who’s in the pictures, etc. Once these are all scanned we’ll leave the originals here with Tina. We still have many photos in storage that we’ll get done someday, hopefully within the year.

We think it’s very important to get the photos scanned and stored somewhere else beside the RV. Readers of our blog know that my parents lost everything in Katrina and had to start over again in Texas. I did mention at that time that their family photos were lost too. So it is important to us that none of our family photos are lost due to my laziness. We feel it’s very important to get them stored digitally so that they’ll never be lost for us and our children. We’ll also give the children a DVD of all the photos so they’ll have a copy too.

So we’ve been busy working on photos, working on the business side of life and spending time with the family. Children grow so fast and each year they look and act different than the year before. I must boast that I am so proud of daughter and her daughters. The girls are growing into delightful young women who act responsibly.

Sunday, September 30

A few lines to close out September.  We very much enjoyed our visit with our daughter Tina, and grand-daughters Amanda and Lindsey. 

As I write this we're already into October and have made some changes to our travel plans.  We'll update you in the next few days (see October 7th blog entry for an update from Chris). 

The Camping Expense Report for September shows us slightly under 2006 for average cost per night :-)  We've had 99 free nights so far, and when we did pay we averaged $12.67 per night.

Year to Date Avg $ per Nite Avg $ per Paid Nite # Dry # Elect # FHU # Free %Dry % Free
2007 $8.08 $12.67 168 21 84 99 62% 36%
2006 8.11 $15.45 136 27 107 129 50% 48%
2005 8.23 $12.79 167 17 85 96 62% 36%

 

Continue Reading October 2007

 

What did we do in September's past?  Take a look at:

September 2006

September 2005

August - October 2004

 

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