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September, 2009

Tuesday, September 1:
 
Check out time is 11:00 and all good things must come to an end.  We packed up and drove over to the dump station and then filled with fresh water.  We hooked the car up to the RV and headed out.  We drove through the park again heading for the Mammoth area.  We saw many buffalo today, the most weíve seen this trip.  We also saw a coyote and while driving through the Fort Yellowstone area we saw a large herd of elk including a big male elk. 
 
We left Yellowstone and stopped in Gardiner to fill up with gas.  Drove up to I-90 and headed east.  Itís very pretty country we drove through.  We saw prong horns and even wild turkeys on our drive today.
 
We stopped in Billings Montana at Cabelaís for the night.  There are a few other RVs here for the night.  Mac cooked us a nice dinner and then we relaxed the rest of the evening. 
 
Wednesday, September 2:
 
We worked this morning and left around lunchtime.  We drove to I-94 and continued east.  We stopped at Wal-Mart in Miles City and bought groceries.  After putting things away we continued driving east and stopped at Flying J in Beach North Dakota to fill up with gas.  We had intended to drive further but decided to spend the night here since we are tired.  Mac fixed us a great salad for dinner and we relaxed the rest of the evening before heading to bed around 10.
 
Thursday, September 3:
 
We left around 10 this morning and continued driving east.  Not very far down the interstate we see the exit for visitor center of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Right as we enter there is a buffalo next to the sign.  Itís just too picture perfect.  Mac at first thought the buffalo was chained to the sign but heís a free spirit.  The attendant said that some people swear that the buffalo must be mechanical.  Heís a real one though and just likes the area around the sign. 

There are some awesome views from this location.  We walked around admiring them and then stopped in at the visitor center.  We picked up some information regarding the park and plan on spending more time here in the future.  It looks like a great place to explore. 
 
On our many trips around the country weíve seen various signs regarding the Lewis and Clark trail, and other historical information about their exploration.  Recently I became interested in learning about their journey and had done some research online.  I found the website http://www.lewisandclarktrail.com/ and it whetted my appetite to learn more.  While at the visitor center today Mac found the book ďThe Journey of Lewis and ClarkĒ.  We are both looking forward to reading it and learning more about their explorations. 
 
After our visit we continued driving east and stopped at a rest area for our lunch break.  We stopped again around 3 at a rest area and rested for an hour taking a short nap. 
 
We drove to Wal-Mart store 1649 in Jamestown ND to stop for the night.  After getting the RV set up for the evening we walked over to Grizzlyís Grill Ní Saloon for dinner.  Tonightís special was all you can eat fajitas and Mac had that and I had the fire grilled Asian grilled chicken.  We both enjoyed our dinner very much.
 
Today was my first time to see North Dakota and Macís first time in western side of the state.  It is very pretty country.  Sure there is lots of agriculture but there is more than just that to the area.  It was not a boring drive today.  I enjoyed driving through the country today and look forward to returning again when we can get off the interstate and get a closer look.
 
A few fun items of interest in North Dakota that we had to pass but hope to return and see are:
The Enchanted Highway http://www.enchantedhighway.net/
The Worlds Largest Holstein Cow http://www.realnd.com/salemsueindex.htm
The Worlds Largest Sandhill Crane http://www.sandhillcranefoundation.org/

Friday, September 4: 

Midwest Casino Tour 2009

We had a long day of work so we got a late start heading out today.  We only drove to Fergus Falls Minnesota.  We stopped for the night at Wal-Mart store # 1696.  Across the street we could see a restaurant and since both of us are quite tired this evening we decided to go out for dinner.  It was Mable Murphyís  It was a nice place, attractively decorated and we enjoyed our meal. 
 
Saturday September 5:
 
We drove to Prior Lake MN and stopped at the Mystic Lake Casino RV Park.  Before we got set up on our site we took advantage of the RV and car wash here and gave the RV a good wash.  It was in desperate need of one for sure. 
 
Sunday, September 6:
 
I didnít feel very well and slept a lot.  Good thing it's a long weekend.  We did go to Mall of America today.  I was disappointed; itís just a big mall.  I had it in my mind that it was something wonderful but itís just a really big mall.  We did go to Sears and found a couple of items on sale that we bought using the gift card we had received from Harrahís Paris Casino back in May. 
 
Monday, September 7:
 
I didnít do anything all day. Slept a lot, read a book and just relaxed trying to get rid of this bug.
 
Tuesday, September 8:
 
Today we drove to Red Wing MN and got set up at the Treasure Island Casino RV Park.  Mac had a meeting this afternoon for the magazine article heís writing.  Later we went in to the casino and looked around.  The pay tables were pretty lousy on video poker; 6/5 bonus and 8/5 JOB.  Yuck. 
 
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
 
After working a few hours today we did a couple loads of laundry.  Prices were $2.00 for washers and 25 cents for 10 minutes in the dryers, not too bad. 
 
The casino has a ship, Spirit of the Waters, and they have cruises on the river so this evening we went for dinner cruise on the boat on the Mississippi river.  It was a very enjoyable cruise. 
 
We saw several bald eagles but didnít get any good pictures.  It was awesome to see them.  The leaves are just starting to change colors so we had fun teasing each other that fall has arrived.  Our dinner was quite good too. I had chicken and Mac had walleye.  The dessert was scrumptious and too big with loads of calories but tasted wonderful.  Who could resist?
 
There are some swans here at the casino in a large pond.  It was pretty cool to see them floating around on the water.
 
Thursday, September 10
 
We hooked up and left around 9 this morning and drove to Turtle Lake WI.  It was a very pretty drive today.  We admired many of the turning tree colors of orange, yellow and red. 
 
We parked at the St. Croix Casino RV Park and weíre the only people here right now.  Mac went in for his tour this afternoon.  Later we went in and had the buffet then looked around the casino; lots of interesting stuff around to see. 
 
Each site has a fire pit so tonight we had a fire, very relaxing. 
 
Friday, September 11:
 
After working till about noon we went into casino and had lunch at the restaurant.  Then we headed out and drove west on highway 8.  We drove to Forest Lake MN and then headed north to Stacy MN.  We then drove to the Chisago Lakes area, specifically the town of Lindstrom.  We parked and walked around the town.  We used to live in Stacy and came to this area a lot to eat at restaurants, go fishing on the many lakes, visit the parks, etc.  We enjoyed seeing the area again but so much has changed since we lived here in the late 80ís.  A few businesses are still here but many are gone. 
 
As we drove back east on highway 8 we stopped to see what the many huge sculptures were.  Turns out it was Franconia Sculpture Park www.franconia.org .  There are over 50 sculptures here at this time and Iím sure more will soon be added.  We spent at least an hour there walking around and admiring the sculptures. 
 
We then drove to Taylor Falls and decided to have dinner here.  We found the Tangled Up In Blue Restaurant and were glad that we did.  We had a wonderfully prepared meal and we relaxed over our dinner.  We both enjoyed it so much.
 
We then stopped at Wal-Mart in St. Croix Falls and picked up some groceries.  Then back to the RV where we relaxed the rest of the evening before going to bed.
 
Saturday, September 12:
 
We slept in late this morning and after a few family phone calls we filled with fresh water at our site.  Then we drove over to dump the tanks and then across the highway to the dry camping overflow parking area to park the RV.
 
We then headed out in the car to have some lunch and visit a local store.  The restaurant was the New Frontier Restaurant.  After we were seated we were asked what we wanted to drink and I said Diet Coke.  She left to go get that and I looked in the menu to see if there were Coke or Pepsi products.  They did have Coke.  Then after I verified that I looked up at the wall and noticed the Coke border, the Coke pictures, and other misc. Coke items around.  We said this must be the only place in Wisconsin and Minnesota that serves Coke and they were proud of it.  I was very pleased to finally get a fountain Diet Coke and not Pepsi.  For over a week it seems like everywhere served Pepsi.  I had two glasses I was so happy to get a Diet Coke.  The food we ordered was very tasty and quite inexpensive.  I had a senior priced omelet and it was less than $4.00.  It was served with some great homemade bread too. Yum, yum.
 
After lunch we drove over to Northwoods Gifts.  We had intended to stop in and visit the store before but never got around to it so Iím glad that we stopped in before we left the area.  Mac had a nice conversation with the owner of the store and I got to look around for a while.  We found a few things to buy and I was very pleased with the items we found. 
 
If possible I like to buy usable souvenirs, not just t-shirts but something that we can use in our daily lives and it will remind us of our wonderful visits to different areas.  Iíve found kitchen towels before in Key West and a few other locations and today I found a towel that was quite nice and very reasonably priced around $3.00.  We did find a few other things but that one stands out because Iíd been looking at various gift shops for some and they were all too expensive.  This store had reasonable prices on the items. 
 
We drove back to the RV and hooked to car up.  We headed out east on Highway 8 and then got on Highway 53.  We stopped for the night in Chippewa Falls WI at Wal-Mart store # 5373.  We donít have to be at our next location till tomorrow afternoon and this is a good half-way location.  Mac went in and asked if we could overnight at this location and they told him yes and where theyíd prefer RVs to park for the night. 
 
We parked and then unhooked the car.  We really need to do laundry and Iím in the mood to get it done today so of course thatís what we did.  Mac found a coin laundry online that wasnít too far away so we loaded up and drove there.  Turns out it was a pretty good place too.  It was air-conditioned, large front loaders, nice sized dryers that were a quarter for 8 minutes.  But what was the best is that we had the place to ourselves!  The time flew by while we listened to the news on the TV and we were done in about an hour and a half. 
 
We returned to the RV and put all our nice clean clothes away then I took another shower for the day.  Weíre not used to the humidity again after being in the desert and other parts in the west.  I think todayís temps were in the mid to upper 80ís but I think the humidity was also in the 80 percent range. 
 
Mac went into Wal-Mart and bought a rotisserie chicken for dinner.  We had a relaxing meal at home and goofed off the rest of the evening.

Sunday, September 13:
 
We had a leisurely start to our day today; enjoying our coffee and breakfast.  I went in to Wal-Mart and looked around.  They were having a clearance sale on clothing but I didnít see anything I wanted to buy. 
 
Around 10 we hooked the car to the RV and headed out.  We drove to Bowler WI. 
 
We stopped at the Mohican North Star Casino.  The RV Park is nice, kind of rustic with dirt sites and they are all full hook-ups.  We have a bird feeder right in front of our door so weíve had fun watching to see what birds come to eat at the feeder.  So far weíve only seen a nuthatch come and grab some seeds then fly to a tree nearby. 
 
We took a short half-hour nap and then went in to check out the casino.  Most of the pay tables on video poker are pretty lousy but we found one bank of machines that werenít too awful. 
 
We ate dinner at the restaurant and we each had a sandwich with fries.  I had a Ruben and Mac had a French dip.  They were pretty good sandwiches.
 
We walked around the RV Park a couple of times after dinner to work off our sandwiches and then relaxed the rest of the evening on our computers and reading our books.
 
Monday, September 14:
 
We got up early and started our workday.  Around lunch time Mac went in for his meeting.  When he returned we packed up and headed out.
 
We drove about 20 miles to Keshena WI to the Menominee Casino.  They have overnight parking for RVs which is basically a parking lot with electricity.  After Mac went in and got us registered he was told security would come out and unlock the electrical box.  After about 1 1/2 hours he called and they came right out and unlocked it.  We got the air-conditioner running then.  Even with a nice breeze it was pretty warm this afternoon.  There is no shade in the parking area and parking lots always seem warmer. 
 
After dinner we went in and checked out the casino.  We found some old coin dropper quarter 7/5 bonus poker to play.  In less than 15 minutes Mac hit a royal flush!  We couldnít use our camera so Mac asked if he could have his picture taken.  They took his picture and as soon as we scan it weíll add it to the blog.  After playing for a while we went home and read our books for the rest of the evening.

Tuesday, September 15:
 
After working this morning Mac went in to the casino for his meeting.  While he was gone I continued my work for the day and then I got stuff put away around the RV in preparation for our departure. 
 
When Mac returned we went into the casino and had lunch in the restaurant.  We each had a sandwich and brought back about a full sandwich for lunch tomorrow.  In addition Mac had a bowl of stew that had venison and pheasant sausage in it.  It was very tasty.  Too Italian for me, but Mac enjoyed it very much.  The prices were very reasonable and the portions are large so lunch is a good value.
 
We returned to the RV and hooked the car up and left heading for our next destination.  We took back county roads and along the way we stopped at a produce stand and bought lots of vegetables including sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes, some purple plums, cantaloupe, and a watermelon.  All of this was less than $15.00, canít beat those prices for farm fresh food. 
 
We drove to Marinette, WI and stopped at Wal-Mart store # 2545 for the night.  It has an easy in and out with a large parking lot that is attached to the mall parking so plenty of room for rigs.  Mac went in and verified that overnight parking was allowed and also to pick up some milk.
 
Right down the street I saw a Goodwill thrift store so I walked there and looked around.  I found a few bargains and had fun shopping in a thrift store again.  Itís been a while since Iíve been to one.
 
Mac and I cleaned some of the veggies for dinner and we had some wonderful sweet corn on the cob, new potatoes, green beans and slices of pork loin that Mac had frozen from cooking it at Yellowstone.  Yum, dinner was so good.  Also every time we open the refrigerator we can smell the melon.  It smells so good!  Iíve already tried the plums and theyíre very tasty and I can hardly wait to have some melon; probably for breakfast.
 
After washing dinner dishes I polished my toenails and Mac has been reading various forums and whatever else he does to entertain himself.  After my nails dry Iím going into Wal-Mart and look around, maybe get something to go with the melon for breakfast.
 
The weather is nice and cool this evening; the forecasted low tonight is 48.

Wednesday, September 16:
 
We worked this morning till about lunch.  After lunch we headed out driving to Harris MI.  We took the more scenic route and while driving along a flock of many wild turkeys crossed the road in front of us.  That was pretty awesome to see.
 
We drove to the Island Resort and Casino and got set up in the RV Park.  They have paved sites and many are pull through.  Most of the sites have a fire ring also.  Itís not very far to walk to casino but if you prefer they will come get you if you call for a shuttle. 
 
Mac cooked us plenty of our fresh vegetables in a stir fry dish for dinner.  It was so good!  Yum, he can create some wonderful meals. 
 
Later we went in to check out the casino and I found one machine that had decent pay tables.  Mac played some blackjack and I played on the machine with a good pay table and I only lost about $20.  But we got $23 cash back which we used for gas the next day.
 
Itís really very cool this evening with a low of about 40.  I had to put on my heavy socks to get warm enough to sleep even with the blanket and quilt on top of me.
 
Thursday, September 17:
 
It was very confusing with time zones today.  Yesterday when we were driving here to Harris Michigan we saw a sign that said we were entering Eastern Time zone.  Shortly before we got to the casino we both swore we saw a sign that said we were in the Central Time Zone but it turns out weíre actually still in Eastern Time at this location. 
 
So I either worked till way after lunch today or till about lunchtime; it was too confusing.  After I ate lunch I took a shower while Mac was gone to his meeting.  When he returned we headed out, stopping for gas before leaving the casino location.
 
We drove south to Green Bay WI.  We had intended to stop at Wal-Mart but instead we drove to the  Oneida Casino  to check it out for our other website of www.casinocamper.com.  Itís a very nice place for RVs to park.  They do have some electric hookups on a first-come-first-served basis and of course they were all full.  So we parked back in the overflow area with a few other RVs and some big rig trucks.  It was nice and quiet though since the trucks donít run their engines like they do at some truck stops. 
 
After dinner this evening we went in and checked out the casino and the only decent pay tables we found were on spin poker.  Iíve never played that before but betting only 3 lines itís like playing a triple play.  I had a blast playing it and managed to leave with some money in my pocket at the end of our play time.
 
Friday, September 18, 2009
 
We worked this morning till around 9 or 10 and then got the RV ready to roll.  We figure it wonít take too long to get to our next destination of Hammond Indiana.  Our GPS said weíd get there around 2 or 2:30 and Mac said it would probably be around 5.  It took a long time to get there today.  I think it was around 6 by the time we arrived at Cabelaís for the night.
 
There was a lot of road construction and at various places it was stop and go traffic.  Other things took a lot longer than expected too.  We stopped for propane at Flying J and with filling the propane tank then getting gas it took almost an hour.  We also stopped for lunch so that took some time and various stops for bathroom breaks and to stretch the legs too.  These stops added up and before we knew it we had driven most of the day.  But we finally did arrive. 
 
Mac fixed us dinner and then he went into Cabelaís to look and buy binoculars.  We had looked at some at the last Cabelaís we stopped at overnight but didnít buy any at that time.  Mac did some more research and felt that the ones he bought tonight are of good quality and are much better than our old ones.  I relaxed playing some computer games and then read a book this evening.
 
Saturday, September 19:
 
After some family phone calls this morning we unhooked the car and headed to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN.  When we entered we saw some signs for a promotion about new members or for inactive members to get a free buffet.  We went to the players club and checked it out.  Since I had not played there since last year Iím considered inactive so after earning 15 points I earned a free buffet. 
 
We met John for lunch at the buffet and had a nice meal and good conversation.  John is the Editor of Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine.  Mac writes a monthly column for this magazine titled "Road Report".  Here's a link to a recent article in the September issue.  After lunch we played a little longer and we left with a tidy profit in our pockets today. 
 
I really wanted to go to the used bookstore that we went to last year when we were here.  But when we drove to the location it was closed and empty.  Thereís no longer a bookstore there, what a bummer.  I was really looking forward to shopping for some books.  Mac looked online and found a couple of others listed and the first one we drove to wasnít there either but the second one was.  It was Bargain Books and we found a few books that weíll enjoy reading. 
 
As mentioned before weíre reading the Journals of Lewis and Clark; Macís almost done with it then I can read it.  And today we found the Lewis & Clark For Dummies and another book about them too.  I also found a couple of paperback mysteries by some authors that I like.  The prices were very good so we felt like we got some good bargains at Bargain Books today.
 
Heading towards the RV we stopped at a grocery store for milk and a few other things.  We had meatloaf for dinner along with the last of our fresh vegetables that we bought at the produce stand the other day.  The rest of the evening has been spent with me writing the blog and looking around on the internet.  Mac has been enjoying looking at the new books. 
 
Iíll mention some information that I looked up today and you may enjoy it too.  Somewhere along our journey to or from Yellowstone Park weíd seen a sign about the ďOld Yellowstone TrailĒ.  I wrote it down to look online for more about it and finally got around to it today.  Itís really interesting to read and think about the old roads back in the early 1910ís that were created so that people could vacation and visit our beautiful country.  The road originally was from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound and was called the Yellowstone Trail.  This is one of the websites that I found on the subject today:  www.yellowstonetrail.org

Sunday, September 20:

Itís been cold cloudy day with a few patches of sprinkles; a good day to stay inside and read a book and of course take a nap.  We had intended to drive over and spend the night in Elkhart Indiana.  We were planning on being at the RV Surplus when they opened on Monday.  But late in the afternoon we changed our minds. 
 
Around 4:00 we decided to just leave and head on down the road towards our daughterís house.  So we hooked the car up to the RV, dumped the tanks and headed out.  We drove to Wal-Mart store # 1125 in Normal Illinois for the night.  From this location we see a Goodwill store; so I intend to walk over and shop there tomorrow.
 
Monday, September 21 Ė Sunday, September 27:
 
Monday morning after working a few hours we walk over to the Goodwill store.  Mac carried the bag of donations that weíd collected.  I looked around in their store but didnít find anything today.  Oh, well, thatís the way it goes sometimes.
 
After I got back to the RV we headed out and drove to Tinaís house in Rushville Illinois.  She left today for 5 days on a business trip and weíre here to make sure no wild parties happen while sheís gone.  She arrived back home Friday evening.
 
Saturday she and I drove to Springfield and shopped at a few thrift stores and a book store.  We found a few bargains too.  The Salvation Army store was having a half off sale and we found several books to buy and a few other items.  We ate lunch at Dennyís and it was pretty good; I especially enjoyed my coffee.  On our way home we stopped at a produce market and picked up some fresh veggies and a watermelon. 
 
Sunday I finally got around to scanning pictures that Iíd been intending to get done all week.  Since it does take up quite a bit of room to have the scanner set up next to the computer we donít really have a good location to do that in the RV.  I did manage to get quite a few done on Sunday so I feel good about that.  I donít have that many left to scan and then Iíll be done!
 
Weíve enjoyed our visit with daughter and granddaughters.  Kids grow up so fast.  Itís hard to believe that our oldest granddaughter is old enough to be in college!  She's a freshman at Western Illinois University and seems to be enjoying it -- hopefully she learns something too.
 
Monday, September 28:
 
After a hectic morning getting some work done and getting the RV ready to roll we finally headed out after lunch.  We drove to Macomb IL and stopped for gas and then stopped at Wal-Mart for a few groceries.  Itís been chilly, windy and gusty today.  Not a fun day to drive at all.  Of course I drove while Mac worked.
 
We drove to the Wal-Mart store # 1285 in Ottumwa Iowa and spent the night.  We kept an eye out but never saw Radar OíReilly.
 
Tuesday, September 29 Ė Wednesday, September 30:
 
We left this afternoon around 2 and drove to Tama Iowa.  Weíre at the Meskwaki Casino for two days.  This is an interesting casino; there are many tribal displays around.  It was very educational to walk around and look at the artifacts and photos; I felt like I was in a museum, thatís how good the quality of displays was.
 
The RV Park is close enough to the casino to walk or you can call for a shuttle if you prefer.  On Tuesday we were on a spot in the front of the park, closer to the office and laundry.  Wednesday morning after it warmed up outside there were many yellow jackets, wasp, and bees that were very interested in our RV.  For some reason theyíre fascinated with our door and a few managed to get inside.  We killed about 5 that got in the RV.  We finally decided to move to another spot at the other end of the park.  The new spot we were on we only saw a couple so it was much better.  We never figured out why they seemed to like our door so much.  We were just happy that we could move away from them.

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