Friday, August 13, 2010


August 12 – This is a most unusual happenstance. We were sitting outside our rig at the Omak Fairgounds campground, enjoying a glass of red wine. A gentlemen riding a bike came over. He wanted to know about staying over night. We showed him where the office and suggested he ask them, but Ken felt it would not be a problem if he set up his tent in a private part of the campground.

He introduced himself as Joe. He said he was riding across the country and was headed for the Okanogan City Park where he could stay free for the night, but he saw the lush grass and shade trees of the Fairgound campground and decided to stay here if he could.

We asked where he was heading – San Francisco. We asked where he had started – Yorktown, VA of all places!! (Small World.) When he gets to San Francisco, he plans to fly back home to Thailand! We asked how he happened to begin his trip in Yorktown. He is a member of an international cycling club; they have a number of planned trips. He chose the Cross America trip beginning in Yorktown. It has taken him about three months to reach Washington.

We wish him all the luck in the world!


August 12 – We Made It!!! After barely making it through the narrow bridge at the Grand Cooley Dam, and missing a vital turn that caused us to drive the rig down Main Street of the small town of Omak, we arrived safely at the Omak Fairgrounds. We are very happy with our accommodations.

We drove into town to pick up our rodeo tickets for Saturday night (Chute seats) being held at Will Call. We decided to buy additional tickets for Friday night. Rodeo tickets include admission to watch the Suicide Race.

Then we drove to the area where the Suicide Race is run. You can’t tell it here but this cliff is located in a vacant lot between two houses on a residential street beside the river.

Each evening during the Rodeo about 10-12 Indians race at break-neck speed down this hillside, into the river,
up on the other side, and into the rodeo grounds where the winner is announced.

Pretty exciting!!


August 11 –Ken has driven all day long for the last two days. Last night we stayed at the Wal-Mart in Bozeman, It was so nicely landscaped and had so many rigs staying there that it looked like a real campground!! I have never seen so many RVs at a Wal-Mart before.

Today we had made reservations to stay at a Passport America park in Kellogg, Idaho – Big Creek RV Park. The only thing good we can say about this campground is that it was conveniently located – right along I-90. It was terrible. We immediately decided to leave and drive another 50 miles to the Elk’s Lodge in Coeur D’Alene.

We had stayed there before, but I felt it was too far for Ken to drive, but we’re glad we did. We were parked on lush green grass, had full hook-up with 50 amps, AND could wash the rig and car!!

Monday, August 9, 2010


August 09 – We were driving through the North Dakota rolling hills and fields of Sunflower when suddenly we looked to the right and saw this spectacular view!!

The Painted Canyon, a part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

We stayed one night at the National Park in the far western part of North Dakota. Park admission was FREE with our Golden Age Pass, and camping was only $5 (no hook-ups).

We took the 36 mile loop drive through the Park. Saw plenty of Prairie Dogs in the Prairie Dog Towns.

Saw a token herd of wild horses!

And a herd of Buffalo!

But this one was King of the Hill!!

But most amazing – I was able to see this little Pronghorn in the far distance and yelled for Ken to stop the car!!

We knew we were really in the Bad Lands when we stopped at this overlook!

The Park entrance is in the little town of Medora, ND. We drove in town to get ICE!!


August 07 – This is our very first time in North Dakota. We marveled at how clean the highways are. As we drove along we noticed fields and fields and fields of bright sunflowers!! I guess the North Dakota state flower is the Sunflower!!

We stayed at the Frontier Fort RV Campground and Frontier Village in Jamestown, ND. It just so happened that this village had a buffalo herd with the only three Albino Buffalo in existence – White Cloud, her offspring Dakota Miracle, and Dakota Legend born of two brown buffalo!! This is what we saw of the buffalo.

They also have a statue of the World’s Largest Buffalo.

The General Store had this collection of Coca Cola stuff for sale. It reminded me of JoAnn who has a collection of Coke paraphernalia at home. The difference is, JoAnn’s collection is authentic and first editions!!


August 06 - We arrived at Camping World at about 10 PM on Thursday. They did have electrical hook-up as Mitch had said. We had never noticed that some Camping Worlds have hook-ups!

On Friday morning, Camping World technicians confirmed the worse -- the refrigerator cooling unit was bad and had to be replaced, or we could buy a new refrigerator. The cost of the second option was prohibitive!!

After we decided to have the cooling unit replaced, we were told they were made to order by Norcold and it would be something like three weeks before it could installed!! What!!???!! Other arrangements had to be made!! Since we were going to be in NW Washington for several weeks, we asked if the unit could be sent to Camping World in Burlington, WA and be installed there. We spent all day Friday with the staff at Camping World working out the details of such a plan.

So now we are living out of coolers until we can get the new cooling unit!! UGGH!!


August 03 – Barb and Mitch met us on the road and showed us the way to their private camp site in front of their son’s cabin on the lake. We parked the Highway Runner next to them.

After exchanging greetings, the first thing Barb did was to make a batch of Tennessee Lemonaid. You can see that Jack was the main ingredient, and we surely did need it!!

She packed some munchies and we went down on Mitch’s pontoon boat to cruise the lake.

This is their son’s cabin and Mitch’s other boat under the blue tarp.

Since arriving in Wisconsin we had seen numerous signs “Wild Rice; 3 lbs for $9.99”. Barb and Mitch showed us the wild rice growing in parts of the lake and explained how the rice was harvested. Barb also warned us not to buy the cheap rice; they buy brown wild rice for $9.99 a pound!! So much better!!

Mitch showed us how he secures his pontoon boat on “Sea Legs” rather than docking next to the pier. He just pushes a button and the legs come down and lift the boat out of the water. Amazing!!

After securing the boat, we all jumped overboard into the cold, cold lake!! Burrrr! But it was fun!!

The next morning we drove to the nearby tennis courts and played a little Pickleball. The young man who took the picture was at the park to jog. He asked if we were playing Pickleball – they teach it in the schools in the area!! I’m surprised he recognized our game as Pickleball!! HA HA

That evening Mitch grilled pork chops on the fire and Barb made a casserole of Wild Rice, mushrooms and almonds. She further explained the difference between the brown rice she uses and the cheaper black rice. At any rate, it certainly was good the way she prepared it. Later we sat around the fire eating Some Mores!!

The next morning our troubles began again. After playing some more Pickleball, we discovered our refrigerator was not cooling and there was water in the ice tray!!! What to do?? We contacted a local RV repair shop. He sort of confirmed out suspension – the cooling unit was bad!!

There is a Camping World near Minneapolis about 120 miles south. It was not in the direction we were heading, but we decided that was our best option. When we called them, they said they would work us into their schedule the next morning for a diagnosis.

We quickly packed up and said a said a quick Good-Bye to Barb and Mitch and made an abrupt departure for Camping World. We had had such a great time with Barb and Mitch, we hated for it to end that way, but they were so understanding and helpful. Don’t know what we would have done without them!! Thank you Barb and Mitch!!


August 02 – We left Munising in high spirits. I had hoped to pause along the way to see a few more lighthouses, but it was a rainy day and not conducive to touring. So we kept driving until somehow we ran upon a service station next to the Bad River Casino in Ashland, WI. We noticed electric hookups for RVs so while Ken was pumping diesel, I asked the attendant what was the deal for RVs at the Casino. She said it was FREE!! Just hook up and enjoy. So we did.

I talked Ken into driving me up to the Apostle Island National Lakeshore, about 25 miles north. I was anxious to see the Islands, and they would stamp my National Passport Book. The drive along the shore of Lake Superior was very disappointing after being in Munising where the water was so beautiful and accessible. Here we could not even see the Lake. When we got to the Apostle Islands, we were told the only way to view them was on a tour boat and no more tours were scheduled that afternoon. For many $$$ we could take a ferry to Madeline Island, but that island was not a part of the Apostle Island chain. We decided to pass.

We took a picture of the marina and I insisted on a drive further up the coast. The Lake must be visible from some point!!

Here – turn down this road!!

So we did and ran into a dead end and still no water view!! Ken was backing up to turn around and scraped a real estate sign with the back passenger side of the car!!! It does not look damaged – just a lot of green paint!!

The only good parts of that drive: I did get my Passport Book stamped in two different Visitors Centers, and Ken found the North Coast Coffee Shop where we enjoyed an ice cream!!

That is not the end of our problems in Wisconsin!! On the way back to the Casino, we passed a new Wal-Mart and decided to have the oil changed and the tires rotated. The oil change was no problem but when they rotated the tires they noticed they were badly worn and recommended that we get new tires. Well, I guess it was about that time!! We did not buy the tires at Wal-Mart but opted to get them at the nearby Sam’s Club.

The next morning we had planned to drive to McGregor, MN to visit with Barb and Mitch. Instead, we found the Sam’s Club in Duluth and had new tires installed. After that, we found the Sears Auto Center nearby and had the car aligned!!

Now, at last, we were ready to leave Wisconsin (Get me out of here!!!) and drive to Minnesota to see Barb and Mitch!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


July 29 – August 01 – I am always ready to view a waterfall or lighthouse!! Munising provided endless opportunities.

Ken and me at Munising Falls.

And at Wagner Falls.

Miners Falls (near Miners Castle seen on the Pictured Rocks Tour).

All quests are not successful, as in the case of the Autrain Falls. The write-up failed to mention an abandoned hydro-electric plant that diverted up most of the water in the Falls.
Peeping through the trees, trying to get a glimpse of the upper part of the falls!!
Scott Falls right on Hwy 28.


One of the most popular lighthouses in the area is the Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse. You can only see it by boat, and we passed near it on the Pictured Rocks Tour and the Shipwreck Tour.
But, I was most fascinated by the Grand Island Harbor Range Lights. Range lights are different from traditional lighthouses because they were not used to warn away ships but to provide them with a line of travel through the dangerous waters. They are designed to work in pairs with a rear and a front range light. By keeping the rear range light aligned with the Front Range light, mariners were able to properly navigate the narrow channel.

The Christmas Range Light was located just outside the Bay Furnace entrance. We drove by it many times without even noticing.

Ranger Ian from Bay Furnace NP discusses the operation of the lighthouse. The smaller front range light is located across the highway on the water.

The other range light is located right on Main Street in Munising. The sister light is across Hwy 28 and up a hill.

I also went in quest of the perfect sunset. No luck there. This is the best I could do, but a good way to say good-bye to Munising!! What a wonderful time we had in this little seaside town!!