Saturday, August 30, 2014

A New Blog!

It seems a shame to give up the blog about our Navion now that our trip is over. Since we've been having so much fun with it we've decided to start a continuing blog called Naviontales! Check it out and don't forget to make your comments in the comment section - there's always a chance you'll be the one claiming one of those unique little trinkets we pick up on our travels!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Days 43 & 44 - The Final Two Days!

Sadly, when we woke Monday morning we had to pack up for the final trek home. We set off about 8:30 and had breakfast in “The Silver Capital of the World” - Wallace, Idaho (yes - another state for the 
map!) at the Brooks Hotel and it was a nice meal today. 
The Brooks Hotel - nice meal.
We continued on our way and it was a “Kodak” day for me. The endless scenery was breathtaking - wheat fields for miles and miles with the mountains shimmering and hazy in the distance.

Wheat Fields for Miles Upon Miles!
We had to keep stopping to the dismay of the teens who really wanted to get home as we’d had no internet for four days! One small town after another - all the same and yet different. There aren’t enough words to describe it all and the photos I took don’t do it justice one bit - We’ve been luckily blessed to see this all!

Hot Dog!
We saw a smoky cloud north of us in the distance that we could only guess was a fire as over the next 1/2 hour we passed and were passed by numerous fire and rescue vehicles hurrying in that direction. I’m not surprised at this at all because the temperature hovered between 98* and 106* all day.

We travelled on Hwy. 2 through from Couer d’Alene to the I-5 - we prefer the lesser travelled roads - we see so much more that way. When we came to Leavenworth, Wa. it was closed because of fire - two in one day! We had to detour through Chumstick and Plain,WA. joining the #2 again just past Lake Wenatchee at Cole's Corner,Wa. Another fantastic back road with amazing things to see - including a train carrying the fuselage of 1/2 dozen old jet planes.

We got to the Angel of the Winds Casino just before 8:00 PM. and had dinner there from Katie’s Kitchen - Fish & Chips, or Hot Dog and Chili Fries depending who you were! We spent some time in the casino (lets not talk about that LOL) and then off to bed. We got up about 8:00 and headed for home - sadly arriving back home at 10:00 AM! Blogging this at home now we have internet.
Idaho - the last state to add to the map!

Days 41 & 42 - Sloway Campground

After leaving the rest area near Columbus we started to look for breakfast, travelling through the first town Reed Point,  with nothing but McDee’s so we motored on up the highway to Big Timber and had “brunch” as it was now after 10:00 AM. Dale and Kasey had breakfast and Dillon and I chose lunch, a burger for him and hot beef sandwich for me. Everyone else's meal was fine but the gravy on my sandwich must have come straight from the fridge it was so cold. After trying to get both waitresses attention for about 10 minutes I finally took it to the counter myself. They said they’d get me another. When it came about another 15 minutes later the others had already finished so I started on mine - the bread was so soggy it wouldn’t stay on the fork and the gravy was so unbelievably salty I drank mine, Dale’s and Dillon’s water to wash it down but the fries were good. Off we went again. We travelled through Montana seeing a lot of half empty and/or almost ghost towns - nothing really to tell about. 
Sloway - Montana Forestry Service Campsite
About 3:00 (or 4:00 pm) we started looking for someplace for the night and came upon Sloway National Forest Campground - a beautiful spot right along the St. Regis river - so nice we decided to stay another night. We spent the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday just swimming in the river, resting, lazing, and just plain old doing nothing - it was GREAT!
The river was nice and refreshing on the hot day!

Gloria - if you’re reading this blog you’ll be glad to know it was a “REAL” campsite - the train came by every few hours and blew it’s whistle - LOL!
A "Real" campsite - TRAINS!
We met some new friends Saturday night - Sharon and Omer from San Fransico area and Sunday night Edward & Mickele (?) and their three children from El Centro, Ca. We shared a campfire and fun times with them on each night.
Campfire Time!

Hanging & having fun with new friends.

Saturday night we had Sesame Ginger Chicken with Steamed Snow Peas for dinner and Sunday we had SPAM, Eggs and Pancakes for breakfast, Wieners and Beans with Honeybutter Biscuits for lunch and Lamb, Brats, Scalloped Potatoes and Greek salad (minus cucumber) for dinner. The only downer on the two glorious days was I fell asleep reading in the shade and the sun moved and I got a real bad sunburn - ouch!
Note: No internet - posting this a few days late!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day 40 - Back On The Road Again!

We woke at 5:30 or 8:30 depending on who you were. Dale and the teens went down to Papa’s Breakfast Tent where they serve breakfast every morning - “All you can eat Pancakes for $2.75”! Not being much of a breakfast eater I chose to stay behind and have peace and quiet - I’m starting to feel the 40 days on the road! When they returned I had a cup of tea and we all started on a quick clean-up/pack-up and get everything ready to travel. When we were all done we headed for one last shower and then hit the road about 10:00 AM.
At the Wyoming Visitors Centre

That's not a sourpuss face - it's a lollipop!
We headed down the road towards the Crazy Horse Monument and Devils Tower, Wyoming. As we were driving, I’m not sure how it came about but I was out-voted on the Crazy Horse Monument - I think everyone is out-touristed and ready to head home. I did however put my foot down (even with my still sore ankle lol!) about Devils Tower! We once again saw some fantastic scenery on our drive - I wish we could have stopped every few minutes - there were beautiful landscape “Kodak Moments” around every bend in the road! I had to settle for once or twice.

Beautiful Scenery - Wyoming

We got to Devils Tower about lunch time (we just snacked), took some photos, added Wyoming to the map and headed off again. Funnily enough the sticker for Wyoming is a picture of Devil’s Tower so we had to add it there!
Adding Wyoming to the map.

Guess where this was taken?

Devils Tower is now on the map!

Buffalo grazing by the road outside of Devils Tower, WY.
Not far down the road we saw some Buffalo grazing on the side of the road - of course this was a photo stop! I shot some great photo’s of them as well as some longhorn cattle not far from them.

This is definitely cattle country - we saw hundreds of them but I’m not sure Wyoming should still be called “Cowboy Country” - the only two I saw were herding cows on ATV’S - I’m sure that’s against the rules of real cowboying!
Longhorn Cattle

About 4:30 PM (or 5:30 - we’re never sure of the time because some of our electronics keep showing one time and others another - where exactly the time changes are we don’t know!) we stopped for dinner at a rest stop near Sheridan,Wy. I stir fried the leftover Pork Tenderloin with some Onions, Mushrooms, and Garlic and made a gravy with it, and served it with Idaho Red Skinned Mashed Potatoes (Packaged) and Blue-Cheese Broccoli Slaw (no coleslaw dressing!). Some of you may be wondering why I always mention what we ate. That’s because it’s become a family thing about how we usually eat better while “Camping” than we do at home. Some  of our Best, some of our most Memorable, and sometimes the strangest meals have been while on the road or camping! Ask me and one day I’ll tell you about the “Peanut Butter Fiasco” - it’s still talked about! I’ve decided to log them for eternity and you never know - I may even write a recipe book of “On the Road Again Cooking” - it could fund my retirement or at least the “manner I’m quickly becoming accustomed too”!!!
We had to wait our turn in a lineup
for this one - Tourists!

We set off once more towards the Montana border, not too far up the road, with Dale wanting to put some real miles on towards home. We had stopped for diesel already but coming close to Billings, MT. we were only at 260 miles on the odometer but on our last “bar” on the gas gauge. I should explain that we’re not to sure about the gas gauge because I once ran out of diesel with 3 bars showing (in the border lineup no less - ask me - I’ll tell you about it someday!) so we now reset the trip-tik thingy every time we fill up because we average about 300 miles per tank of diesel. The running out in the border lineup did happen right after the Gas/Diesel Fiasco - (ask Dale about that one someday!) so it may have been just a one time thing but we never like to go below 3 bars/300 miles to be safe. It seems the gauge must be working again because 8 miles from Billings all the bars had disappeared and the gas light came on - we were now worried! Then we started to PANIC because at 5 miles from Billings there was now a steep hill to climb!!!! Halfway to the top it started flashing red - I can’t tell you how I was feeling - there are no words to describe it. It was dusk, very hot (we’d turned the AC off miles back) and we we’re on an uphill of a major highway and no idea how far the nearest gas station was - at least we had “Coachnet” but what good would that do with no cell phone reception - believe me I was trying it! You can’t believe how relieved we were to crest the hill and see the lights of Billings - not too far if one of us had to walk!!!! Lets hope there was gas (with diesel) at the first exit. We managed to get down the hill and off the first exit and there were TWO gas stations! WWWHHHEEEWWW!!! So much for 16MPG and 300 miles per fill-up - we only got 267 and probably 13-14 MPG with the heat, AC and strong winds on that trek! One good thing is we now know the gas gauge is working fine again!
Henry adding Montana to the map!
We headed up the road another 40 miles to a rest area - it was now 10:00PM (or 11) and time for a good nights rest!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day 39 - Fun At The KOA

Fun on the Lake!

We got up about 9:00 (I of course was awake at 6:30) and had breakfast. I went to sign us up for a trail ride - the earliest available was at 2:00 PM so we had the whole day to play. The teens went to the morning activity - punch/stamping a leather bracelet each. After that they went canoeing on the lake while Dale and I went for a swim.
Kasey Canoeing

Dillon Canoeing 
Dillon joined us shortly after while Kasey went for a nap. We had a wonderful lunch of stir fry Broccoli & SPAM over Kraft Dinner - It was actually quite delicious! At 1:30 we had to report to the stables so off we went.
Roy Rogers & Dale Evans? Lone Ranger & Tonto? Hoss & Little Joe?
Nope - just Kay & Dale!

Dillon & Torch

Kasey & Tigger
We had a great trail ride on Tigger (Kasey), Torch (Dillon), Concho (Dale) and Chain-saw (Me) for about an hour and fifteen minutes. We looped through a scenic forest with Elkhorn Mountain just above us - it was cool under the trees on this very hot, sunny day (FINALLY!!!).
Kasey (Red Shirt) ahead of me on the trail

Dillon (Green Shirt) on the trail ahead
When we got back - achy and very hot and sweaty, Dillon went boating again, Kasey had another nap and Dale & I did something we haven’t done for ages. We went over to the onsite PUB and had “Happy Hour” - $2.00 beers and 1/2 price appetizers from 3:00 to 5:00 PM everyday! We shared an order of onion rings that were way more than we could eat so we took 1/2 of them back for the teens to finish. I then had a nap while Dale went for a swim and the teens did I don’t know what. (I’m a great Mom aren’t I?) They actually came in every few minutes because the screen door would slam so I knew they were OK but WHY can’t they close the door quietly?!?!
By the time I got up at 6:30 PM it was almost time for WINE TASTING again so I quickly threw a roast pork and potatoes into the convection oven, grabbed some dirty laundry to throw into the laundromat next door to the Winery and off Dale and I went. On the way back I threw the clothes into the dryer, quickly made a salad and we had dinner - a perfectly cooked Pork Tenderloin, roast potatoes and salad (I’m a great Mom/Cook aren’t I?). I went back and folded the clothes at the laundromat, Dale went for wood and got a fire started, and the teens did the dishes. We chatted around the campfire until 10:00 PM (11:00 central time lol) and then off to bed. I quickly blogged this because we’re on the road again in the morning and I don’t know when we’ll have WiFi again.

Day 38 - Wall Drug and Mt. Rushmore

The location in case you miss the 100's of signs!
We set off from Blunt about 9:00 AM and headed to Pierre, S.D. - the state capitol. We had a coffee at McD’s so we could do the last 2 days of blogging and check emails. As we were traveling along Hwy.14 towards Mt. Rushmore we kept seeing signs for “Wall Drug” - more and more as we got closer. It piqued our interest until we could no longer stand it - we had to see “Wall Drug” - the power of advertising.
Only one of about 50 signs I took photos of!

Another one to add to the "Bucket List"
of things we've seen!

Five Cents?

You never know what we may need!

We had to go - the sign says so!

Dang it - we're 32 years too late

Could this mean it's going to be a "Kodak Moment"?!?!?
Once more we couldn’t believe it - a whole town dedicated to a drug store and bustling with tourists. You must read the Wall Drug History to understand this unique opportunity we had come upon. We had to try the Buffalo Burgers, $.05 (yes - 5 cents!) coffee and of course the free water! We checked out all the attractions, ate lunch, did some shopping, got diesel and then headed on towards Mt. Rushmore. Another couple of hours spent in fun and totally unplanned.

Buffalo Burgers for Lunch

Kasey riding the "Jack-a-lope"

Friendly here at Wall Drug!

The "Wild West" way of traveling instead of a Navion!

We passed up stopping at the actual Mt. Rushmore monument as the three lanes into the $11.00 (for cars - I didn’t catch the RV price) parking lot were lined up out onto the highway. A little ways ahead there was a small pullout so I quickly took some photos and away we went. Being 3:00 PM Central time or 2:00 PM Mountain time depending on whose clock/watch we were looking at, we decided to stop for the evening. 

A little ways down the highway we found a KOA and they had only a few vacancies left. We decided to stay put for two days as this KOA has 2 pools, a water slides, riding stable, WINE TASTING, laundromat, a bunch of bouncy castle thing-a-ma-jigs, playgrounds, crazy golf, lake with boats and canoes, numerous restaurants and snack bars and tons of activities happening daily.
Kasey Tie-Dyeing her T-shirt
Everything was free except for horseback riding and restaurants. What a find - some fun playtime coming up!!!! We settled in, explored the place, Kasey tie-dyed a T-shirt ($6.00), the teens had some fun golfing and boating, Dale & I WINE TASTED, we had dinner and campfire and then off to bed to rest up for another fun-filled day. An added bonus - really great free WiFi!
Oh Yes - A photo I took of Mt. Rushmore!