Tuesday May 1
We got up and left the FREE
RV site in St Francis. Filled up at the local gas station for $2.89. a
gal diesel. Headed off for points east unknown. Actually we kind
of had checked out the Harlan County Lake as a possible stop.
It is the only Corps of Eng. projest in this part of NE and we like how
they do things.
We are at the bottom right
Just a few miles south of
I-80 in central NE. We love to stay off the Interstates at all costs and
explore the towns on the blue roads. They are full of life and who wants
to pull a 5er in high speed interstate traffic. We like to get the Duramax
diesel up to 55 - 60 and it runs at 1700-1800 RPM for better millage all
day like this.
OK so we got to the Corps
of Eng. Lake and went to Methodist Cove campground and a lady pulled
up behind us as we were stopped at the entrance station. There were
no camping fee slips in the box and she came up and said the park was not
open yet but we could go and camp for FREE. There you go again with
that word FREE. The whole place about 155 campsites had been mowed
and the water was turned on but no electric till opening on May 10. So
we could stay for free till then. Other Corps campgrounds opended an May
1 and were charging. We did drive and look at Hunter Cove but came back
to this one as it was much nicer and let me use that word again... FREE.
Click on the graphic for
their web site.
We are now planning to stay
here an extra day or more, and explore the area. Oh and did I say we were
the ONLY campers in the whole campground. (150 - 160 spots) It's in the
mid 70s and mostly sunny skies. What could be better than this.
We found several towns along
US 34 that had free RV parks within their city limits. Will make
sure they are listed in www.freecampgrounds.com
Such as McCook, NE
RV Park on east edge of town w dump station. Cambridge, NE-
East edge of town on US 34 w electric W and dump. Orleans,NE- right
north of HW 136 eeast of town. Sign said as we tried to read it as we went
by- first night free next night $10. Seems like all these town out in southern
NE and all of KS are very RV friendly. WE like that! Why stay in a Wal*
Mart when you can have a relaxing stay in a friendly small town city park
FREE or next to free campground who wants your company. Oh, did I say we
stopped at the Wal*Mart Supercenter in McCook, NE for stuff and got
out for $51.
It's a shock crossing into
Central time zone. It is now 6:45 PM and still have 1 1/2 hours of
I remember this winter it
got dark and cold at 4:30 PM in Quartzsite.
WOW this is nice. Time for
a shower and relaxing before sunset. Later.
So now American Idol is
on soon. So we do cop out and watch it. Didn't say we were pure,
not even close...
Wednesday May 2
This is where Terry does
his post after I got the picture to load...
It was a quiet day at the
Harlan County Lake just outside Alma, NE. For some reason we slept
in, really slept in, It was 10:00 am before we ever got up.
Nothing like a unstructured day, nothing planned and nothing to worry
about. One of the joys of full timing, not having to worry
about a schedule or a fixed
destination. We will get where we are going when we get there.
After a simple brunch we
relaxed, We deserved it after the last two big days. Monday's
jump form Cimmarron, NM to St. Francis, Ks was a very big day for us,
and the jump on Tuesday from St. Francis, KS to Alma NE was only slightly
less stressful. Tomorrow we will be somewhere in Eastern NE.
We did go for drive this
afternoon, had to go to Republican City NE to see the dam.
The picture above really does not do justice to the view. The dam
is quite massive, and the lake would be very impressive if they could get
enough water in it to fill the lake. Currently is probably about
twenty feet low, judging from the high water mark. Its been a long
time since the reservoir has been full, some of the trees growing on the
shore line are about 5 inches in diameter and 20 to 30 ft tall.
Stopped for a few groceries
in Alma, and were surprised by the very nice grocery store. Its in
a older building, and is somewhat cut up, but they have everything you
would need. Needed milk and a few other things. We are now
fixing supper, grilling chicken and baking potatoes.
Tomorrow we will be moving
on. Might even make it to the Missouri River. Think US 136 is cool route
to take. How many times we used to rush across NE on I-80 in the
past to get to points west for a rushed vacation. NOW we can slow
down and enjoy the country of blue roads and see the small towns and experience
what they have to offer.
Some of the places we found
researching the web as to where we can stay. Which one will we choose to
land at? Depends on when we get up and hit the road.
Thursday May 3
by Ron so you know it's good.
left Alma, NE Harlan County Lake (see above) at about 9:30 AM in the fog
and and off and on drizzle and at times just plain rain. Heard on
the NE Public Radio this AM while still listening laying in bed, that the
Harlan Lake is 2 feet up from last year due to the spring rains. They are
thrilled. The rain and drizzle lasted all day and we looked at a couple
of city parks along the way but, in the end just kept driving and have
arrived at Waubonsie State Park in Iowa. We stopped at the Lewis and Clark
visitor center on the hill overlooking the Missouri river at Nebraska City
right on HW Route 2. Terry got a shot of the boat they have out front.
small NE state park in Nebraska City was covered in trees so we didn't
think we could get out with the satellite. Also you have to purchace a
park pass. But you can't get it on site. You have go to back into town
and buy it. BUT you can pay the camping fee on site. How dumb is
that. So we took off for Waubonsie State Park in IA just over the
river. (see map above).
picked a pull through and just knew we would get a signal out through the
trees. It helps to have a compass in the rear view mirror. AND it worked.
This park is also heavily wooded and this was probably the only one that
would work that wasn't already taken. Site fee $16. At least Iowa
has NO entrance fees. They tried that a few years ago and the public rejected
it. Parks should be free for everyone and not just those who can
afford the fee. There are several other campers in the park. We have gotten
used to being the only campers and having the whole park to ourselves.
Seems strange to find other campers out and about.
Went in the 5er and pushed
the find Sat. button and a little later it said 89W Sat. found and locked.
So opened the rest of the slides.
Got settled, and went for
a tour of the park but still foggy and drizzel so will try tomorrow to
see the view of 4 states per the brochure.
We shall SEE... get
it. This park is high up on the Loess Hills, which are wind blown mounds
from thousands of years ago.
Americans think of Iowa as having little topographic variation. However,
in westernmost Iowa the Loess Hills rise 200 feet above the flat plains
forming a narrow band running north-south 200 miles along the Missouri
River. The steep angles and sharp bluffs on the western side of the Loess
Hills are in sharp contrast to the flat rectangular cropfields of the Missouri
River flood plain. From the east, gently rolling hills blend into steep
See and read more about the
of the Loess Hills, Iowa. A well done USGS web site article.
We may move on or just stay
here and explore the area. That will be determined in the AM after we take
a look at the weather reports online, and see if we want to relax with
a non rushed breakfast, or get in gear and move off on down the road. As
we get closer to our several months summer landing spot we tend to go slower,
because when we land, we land, for a few months and we would rather be
more like on vacation for a few more days. Also when we land I need to
get in and sechedule doctor apointments. You know how us male type species
love to go to a doctor. I want and need to get my left shoulder bone spoors
removed as it has been bothering me more and more the last few years. Should
have had it done when diagnosed when it did hurt, as it got better and
didn't bother much till now when it has flared up.
Terry sez supper is ready
so enough of this.
Friday May 4
and about by 10:30 AM would you beleive. Then fired up the computer
and saw on the Iowa State Parks site that this weekend is a feee weekend
for residents. That means if we try to get to Green Vally State park we
may be out of luck. We called the DNR as their web site kind of indicated
non-residents may have to pay for all three days if they show up this weekend.
took of from Waubonsie State Park and got to the Green Valley Park at about
2 PM. WOW.. what a mess.. filled and as in some state parks the sites
are just a patch of grass between the signs. Not defined sites at all.
This is not camping. Wal*Mart would be more fun. So went back into town
to the city park http://www.mckinleylakepark.org/
we are now in Creston Cozy Campers RV park which is in the city park for
$10 a night. Went for a drive and toured the town like we try to do in
all our stops to scope out the local life. It has warmed up 78 and humidity
of 60. Not used to this. Not real bad but something we will have to look
forward to in the days and weeks to come. Going to grill a couple of steaks
and have baked potatos with fat free sour cream. We are back in the area
where Fareway Food Stores have stores and we love their meat department.
They sell a so called charcoal steak and is priced right and very thick
and good. So after a couple of margaritas and supper we will watch Bill
Maher on HBO later.
Saturday May 5
your roving reporter Terry
was not a good day to be living in a travel trailer or mobil home in the
upper Midwest. We awoke with news of a large tornado going through
the town of Greensburg KS. We have gone through the town of Greensburg
in the spring and always had our eyes on the skies, watching for any sign
of inclement weather.
were in the city park in Creston IA this morning and decided to try
and stay ahead of the storm system. We were able to be on the road
at 8:30 heading East to I35 then North to our summer base. Everywhere
we have been driving for the last few days we have noted the very soggy
field conditions. They have been getting a lot of rain the past week
or so in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas. Ron and I were somewhat worried
about being able to get to the RV pad, thinking that the driveway
might be very soft. Two years back we ended up spending a few days
stranded in the middle of the lawn when we drove off of the gravel while
trying to turn around to back into the pad. Last year we backed
in from the road, and we repeated the process this time. We had to
back in and make two 90 deg turns in the process, no problem for
a professional driver, but we are humble amateurs. We took a couple
of tries, and much backing and pulling forward, along with a modest amount
of agitated discussion.
trailer is all situated, now we just need to get settled in.
we had the trailer parked we drove into town to get a few groceries, and
see what had changed over the winter. There are a few more buildings
that sprang up over the winter, a few vacant spaces where business
have left over the winter, and the usual home building action. Can't
imagine where all the people are coming from, or what they do, but the
Des Moines Area seem to keep on growing while the rest of the state struggles.
cleaning out the freezer compartment of the refrigerator for for
supper. WE had a leftover ham bone form earlier this spring, and
we are going to have ham and beans over fresh corn bread for supper.
Found a few other goodies in the freezer, and will have to do some creative
cooking to use up our frozen larder.
to get some free space, the local Fareway Grocery Store has a special on
whole pork loins for 1.66 / lb. Only trouble is that the loins run
about ten lbs each, that's a pile of chops, but lots of good eats.
Monday May 7
had storms move through Sat. night into Sunday early morning. The
weather radio blared about 70 mph winds on the way at about 6 AM, nice
to wake up to that, but we didn't get it, thank god. Some places
just south of us did. It has been raining big time since we got here all
weekend. Flood warning on many of the rivers. Just a couple of weeks
ago the two rivers that merge in Des Moines were flooding and they had
to close the flood gates to the big fresh water plant in Des Moines and
the main north south city thoroughfare had to be closed.
stayed tight and inside the 5er with a Sunday paper and relaxed watching
the weather reports.
on Monday it cleared enough for me to get out the lawn mower and start
on this large wet overgrown acre of grass. I started with the blade
way up and going slow but as the day went by I could lower the blade and
speed up a little. Later when Kathy and Mark, Terry's sister got
home a neighbor came over and cut down a large tree as it was cracked and
needed to come down or fall on its own on the drive way and any cars parked
there. Not like the pictures in KS but when is fell gave that storm
damage look. It was just waiting for another strong wind to take it all
Terry got my old 94 Grand Am out of storage from winter storage and
got it started and washed. No we can try to not drive the truck so much
while here. It is a 4 banger and gets great mileage and still in
great shape with low mileage.
Tuesday I need to get to town and get my mail from the PO Box in the local
town. We left Quartzsite before the mail service forwarding mail got there.
We filled out USPS forwarding card and it takes 20 days for that to happen
and then it gets sent back to or mail forwarding service in SD and now
we hope it will meet up with us here in IA.
is already going to do measurements on his sisters duplex that he is going
to remodel while we are here. New windows and kitchens.
year he remodeled his sisters personal home kitchen and den. A very
large job that took all summer. Old large home with lathe and plaster and
floors not level.
care of the grounds, mowing, etc. Terry does work for them at a reduced
price, and we get a full hookup site. Work camping at its best.
retired from this area and sold our home just south of here in Ankeny,
so this area is like home. I get doctors appointments scheduled and tests
done so we can travel the rest of the year. If Terry has time he also has
contacts with local contractors who like to sub-contract work to him. We
seem to get back to this base later each year and try to leave sooner so
we can spend more time out west before we have to give up and move south
to AZ to keep warm in the fall. Last year it got cold early and we only
got to mid WY before we headed south through UT and NM and on into AZ.
year we hope to get good weather and spend time in WY and ID and then go
to AZ for the winter.
we shall see what happens... life is a trip and it can change day by day.
Stop back and see how we do it and what we find.
Saturday May 12
your roving reporter Terry
have had a steady week here in the heartland. Nothing much of interest
to report, but we have been staying busy, what with getting the garden
tilled, and a couple of tomato plants in the ground, along with a bit of
broccoli, and a row or two of green beans, storing the generator
for the summer, getting the lawn mowed, and a couple weeks worth
of laundry done, et, it was a busy week. Hope we are able to get
a few home grown tomatoes to eat before we end up starting our fall travels.
was one of the first things I did this week, Monday being the traditional
laundry day and all. Made a quick trip into town to the laundromat
and got everything washed, then hauled the wet clothes home to hang
on the clothes line. The smell of the clothes when they are dried
on a cloths line is one of the things that brings back all kinds of happy
childhood memories. Its also lot of work, (appreciate how had Mom
had to work on the farm, cooking canning and cleaning), then
because we had not done laundry for a couple of weeks I ran out of
cloths line and I had to stretch a temporary line out for the overflow.
Got it all dried, and folded and in the laundry basket, now
only have to put it away.
the garden also presented its share of difficulties. When you only
run a small engine once or twice a year its always surprising when they
even start, but I was able to get the roto tiller running and then
coaxed it into working till I was able to get the garden tilled, and am
now working on getting it planted. My Sister and Brother-in-Law
had three tomato plants in the ground, and I have added three more,
along with some flower seeds, a row of green beans and a couple of
also made a stop to the local RV dealer where we picked up some caulk that
is supposed to be non yellowing, Now I will have to dig out the old
caulk that I had recommended and us the stuff that Ron has decided upon.
Time will tell which of us is correct. If this yellows, will have
to try something else. While in town we also got paste wax
and cleaner so we can wash and wax the trailer(so I can wash and wax the
trailer under Rons supervision). I am thinking that waxing the trailer
might be the first thing on the schedule for next week, I can only
hope for rain.
unpacked the tool boxes in the back of the truck, and got the generator
out and summarized it for storage while we are hooked up to shore power.
Last year we did not properly store the generator and it gave us lots of
trouble when we started to use it last fall, Finally had to have
the carburetor cleaned when we got to Quartzsite. That was
a $70 mistake we wish to avoid this yr., so I drained the gas, cleaned
the filters, and put a teaspoon full of oil in the cylinder to keep it
from rusting. Will have to get a new spark plug some time this summer
to complete the maintenance.
had a nice fire last night, and it was enjoyable to sit outside on
a nice evening watching the sun set and shadows deepen. Everything
is so green and lush after setting in the desert for a few months.
We were serenaded by the low drown of tractors being driven in the fields.
The farmers are all putting in lots of hours to get the corn planted and
get started with planting Soy beans after they have been kept out of the
fields for a week or so by the heavy rains of the last week and a half.
planned supper of grilled pork chops and sweet corn on the cob was
put on hold and we had to settle on a take out pizza since we spent to
much time relaxing and enjoying the sunset. Supper was just a little
late, and we were able to finish just in time for the HBO show Real Time
With Bill Mahr to come on.
on another campfire this evening spent listening to A Prairie Home Companion
on the local public radio station. The weather is looking like a
repeat of last night so it should be a wonderful evening.
will have to beg for your indulgence for the next few weeks, while
we are docked for the summer we might not update on a regular basis,
We have not lost interest in the site, but much of what we are doing
for the summer is rather boring and mundane. We will try to keep
you our readers updated somewhat reguralry but do not want to bore
you. Untill next post in the we wish all of our readers well, and
in the words of Red Green form the Red Green show on PBS,
pulling for you, we're all in this together."
Friday May 25
OK It's been a while since the last post. But that tends to happen
when we have landed at our summer location.
what has been happening to us... We have had to pull in the slides
a couple of times due to weather storm warnings. Still ok, no storm
damage. Knock on wood. Terry has been busy and waxed both sides of
the 5er and the the front cap. Just needs to do the rear now. That
is a big project to get down. Much easier than what he did last year when
the sun had oxidized and turned the gel coat gray. He had to sand
it down and re polish inch by inch. I have been mowing our hosts huge lawn.
We are also working to clean up the Chevy diesel PU. I did a post
on the forums to see what would work to restore the Rhino spray on bed
liner and then got the Rhino Shine Ultra restore product. I have used Armour-All
on the inside and rubber parts, so the bed liner is the last thing to be
done, except to wax it.
went this week across the state to visit Terry's parents and eat at the
local casino buffet (which was awful). It was his mothers 81 st. birthday.
is already Memorial weekend and I had been worried about a doctor's appointment
for late today but the blood tests were ok and they didn't keep me. All
the medical records have been converted to digital (never thought I would
see it done in my lifetime). The doctor said he hates it as much
more work for him. He was just able to hit a button and my blood tests
printed out for me to keep. And when we are in AZ in the winter and
if I had to go to a hospital all my records could be accessed online. Now
if they would just do email for consultations. My doctor is great as we
are one the road and I am not able to get in for checkups every 3 months
as they would like so I do two visits in the spring to summer and then
none for a year. I will be going in for a bone spur in my shoulder
which needs to be removed while we are here for the summer. I have had
it for 5 years and have put off getting it fixed. Now is the time.
front moved through and it is clear and cool today (Friday) and looks cool
and rainy on Sat. for the amateur holiday campers. We have a large COE
lake and campground near and we like to drive through and view the campers
and see how they are doing on their rushed weekend of fun. We remember
it well of trying to get as much fun in before we had to return to back
to work after a camping weekend. Not anymore now we stay away and
leave room for others while we can go out during off times and enjoy the
facilities without the crowds.
Monday July 2
July already... As you can tell we have not been posting much this summer
which is normal for us as we are sitting still in Iowa for most of the
have had several doctor and dentist appointments. Have a front tooth to
get fixed as a cavity fell out right in front and I thought it would need
a cap or something but the dentist sez a filling will take care of it.
even had a MRI on my upper spine and if came back as nothing much wrong
except a small common genital spinal abnormality. So on we go with the
medical profession not finding the problem but getting paid for the big
tests. The second specialist said right out if he could find anything that
he needed to work on he would, because he is good at finding even little
things to operate for. So for now it's back to putting up with the little
pains and mark it up to getting older. In one respect it is good
they didn't find anything serious.
have had pretty good weather with only a few of times so far have we had
to head into the buildings to take cover. No trees down like last year.
We do pull in the sides when we get severe weather warnings. I have
a great link to the local TV station with weather rador loops taht get
it down right to block leverl so we can get near real time info. We need
to get a couple of gals. of hydraulic fluid as the sides are getting slow
I received a big box from Attwood Mobile Products. They are the ones
who make the ranges and stoves and much of what we have in these RVs.
hade looked at my product guied and found the parts lisr and email them
and Sue sent back the prices aand told me to call her to order. I did and
whe was grat to work with. Ordered on Thursday and UPS showed up today,
Monday with all the parts to replace the front panel, grate, under bunner
panel and a new cover panel. Boy does our range look great now. After 4
years it was getting that used look.
it looks brand new and will have to be cleaned EVERY time we use it. Yah
how long will that last.
the all new front panel behind the knobs. The panel came without the graphics
and they had to be applied as a stick on label and if applied wrong you
are screwed. I lucked out and got it on just right. Cleaned the knobs which
held up, just need cleaning.
bottom line is if you want to update your Attwood range to make it look
new just do it. The parts were much less than I thought they would be as
if you look at the price to replace the whole unit is seems more than a
home stove would be. But the parts were not out of line. New grate= $36
New under bunner top= $45 New front panel with label= $16.
So do you think I am a happy camper, you bet. And only wonder why
I didn't do this sooner.
tomorrow after my dentist appointment, plan on hitting Target to look for
a new fry pan and wok skillet.
you have a Great 4th of July... Soon we hope we will have country
we can be proud of again.
pray and support for our troups who are doing the best they can as they
So get out there and have
a hot dog and a beer. A little campfire would be nice if you want.
is our view out our 5er door. It is an older pic. as now the garden has
grown up big time.