A Travellerspoint blog

August 2013

Great Falls, MT

Dick's RV Park - 2 nights

sunny 88 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

We arrived in Great Falls coming from our one night stay in Garryowen, MT. The weather is getting a little cooler and the wind is definitely picking up. I guess that is why they have all the wind turbines out here. We have seen more of these in Montana then anyplace else, so far.
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In looking forward on our trip, we decided we better make a run to Walmart while we are here because it looks like for the next couple of weeks, grocery stores and the like are not going to be quite as accessible or reasonable. As much as I hate doing that, we will make that stop. We also went looking for an adult beverage store to replenish the stock and went into a couple of places before there was any kind of selection at all. Every street corner has a casino/liquor store but the liquor store turns out to be a smokey bar. I guess you buy the bottles behind the bar. It was really great up to here, because we could buy liquor in the Walmarts. I don't know why all Walmarts don't do that. Also, after being here, I see good reasons not to have "uncontrolled" casinos in Florida. I'm not sure what the criteria is to open a casino here but it seems every gas station, convenience store, liquor store, etc. has what they call a casino, which might consist of a few slot machines.

Anyway, if you go to Great Falls, I guess you have to see THE Great Falls, which were really pretty but not so great because there wasn't that much water running this time of year. This is the Ryan Dam built behind the Great Falls.
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There is a nice little park just down from the Dam but, since it is about 12 miles out of town, not sure how many people go there.
P1060798.jpgMissouri River Gorge as seen from Ryan Park
We went to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center which gave the history of their Great Discovery expedition with emphasis on the Great Falls Portage. It is really unbelievable all the hardships people went through back then. They certainly had more endurance than most people today.
P1060824.jpgcanoe similar to the kind used by Lewis and Clark

From the interpretive center, you can take a walk down the Missouri river, passing the lookout to the Black Eagle Dam and on to the Giant Springs and Giant Springs trout hatchery.
P1060819.jpgBlack Eagle Dam
Giant Springs originates in the Little Belt Mountains and according to radiometric dating, the water takes almost 2,900 years to travel underground before returning to the surface at the springs at a temperature of 54º. The spring is the headwaters of the 200-foot long Roe River, the shortest river in the world according to Guinness Book of World Records, which flows into the Missouri River.
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Some of the water from the spring is diverted to the trout hatchery next door.
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Our last trip in Great Falls would be to the "First People Buffalo Jump" which one of the sites where the Indians would herd the buffalo over a cliff, killing or maiming them, making it easier to get a large number of buffalo at one time. This was out in the middle of a great plains, and on heading out there, we ran across an air force security patrol. We stopped to ask if we should be concerned since they were out here in the middle of nowhere, but, we were told they were just doing security for some field maintenance nearby.....NOTHING was nearby!
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Off to cooler weather and fantastic vistas!! Can't wait!

Posted by scpurvis 07:54 Archived in USA Tagged great_falls giant_springs buffalo_jump Comments (1)

Garryowen, MT

7th Ranch RV Park overnite stop

sunny 88 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Traveled about 5 hours from Custer, SD to Garryowen, MT. We paid the highest for gas today, $3.69, since we left FL; the least expensive was in GA and AL and slowly went up from there.
P1060762.jpgheaded west on I-90 in Montana with view of Yellowstone ahead
P1060764.jpgCrow Indian Reservation
There is not much to Garryowen and since we have another 5 hour drive to Great Falls today, we didn't even unhook the trailer when we got here so we didn't get to check everything out. lol. Here is an excerpt from Wiki:
" Garryowen is a private town in Big Horn County, Montana, United States owned by Chris Kortlander. The "Townhall" currently houses a Conoco gas station and convenience store, a Subway, an arts & crafts store called "The Trading Post," and the Custer Battlefield Museum. This town is currently for sale, but an auction in August 2012 was cancelled after no one registered to bid. It has a population of only two.

Garryowen is located on the same lands that the southern edge of Sitting Bull's encampment once sat upon. Major Reno and his detachment fired the first shots just a few hundred yards away from Garryowen."

Sorry we didn't get to the Custer Battlefield Museum, maybe next time. We are still having warm temperatures during the day but only up to like 88º and the cooler nights, 58º. Okay, that about covers Garryowen, MT. Movin' on.
P1060765.jpg7th Ranch Park OfficeP1060771_copy.jpg7th Ranch Rv Park

Posted by scpurvis 07:31 Archived in USA Tagged garryowen_mt 7th_ranch_rv-park Comments (2)

Custer, SD

Stop #9 Big Pine Cpgrd #73

sunny 92 °F
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Arrived mid afternoon having driven across Nebraska.....boring! The campground in Custer is on the side of a "small" mountain in the pines, thus, the name, Big Pine Campground. The weather is cooler here and we were actually able to sit outside and enjoy the pine scent and cool weather. After the sunset, it actually got too cold to sit outside. We could have built a fire, but, it had been a long day.
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First full day.....
Today we did a loop on the Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway winding through Custer State Park, along Needles Highway and down Iron Mountain Road on its way to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. We first hit the Needles Hwy and, oh my gosh....it was so breathtaking. I am only sorry the pictures of the scenery we take really don't do justice to the actual thing.
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After riding the Needles Hwy, we took the route to Mt Rushmore winding around the Byway, through numerous tunnels, the first being only 8'4" wide. Some of these tunnels were strategically placed to frame what would be Mt Rushmore. Awesome!
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Finally arrived at Mt Rushmore with the other million people and I have to say, I liked it better from the distance.
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On leaving Mt Rushmore, We headed to Rapid City to check out the area. Stopped in at Murphy's Pub and Grill for a few drinks and something to eat. The bartender was great, food was good and we were on our way to the, okay, get ready, Central States Fair in Rapid City.
P1060544_copy.jpgLake on our way to Rapid City\Murphy_s_pub.jpgMurphy's
And the fair was really lame, but, it could have been something great so we didn't want to miss out!
P1060596.jpgThe only bear we have seen so far was at the fair!

Day 2.....
Another road trip today to check out Crazy Horse Memorial, Spearfish, Sturgis and Deadwood. Well, Crazy Horse was pretty impressive but Spearfish and Sturgis were DEAD, unlike Deadwood which was hoppin'. I guess Sturgis without the Bike Rally is like any other place. Deadwod was having the "Kool Deadwood Nights" which brought in a collection of "street machines" aka, old cars, lots of entertainment and hords of people. Deadwood is another of those former gold mining towns which attracted outlaws, gamblers and gunslingers along with the gold seekers. Wild Bill Hickok was one of those men who came looking for fortune. But just a few short weeks after arriving, he was gunned down while holding a poker hand of aces and eights – forever after known as the Dead Man’s Hand. Today, thanks to limited-wage gambling and lots of saloons, Deadwood lives on.
HPIM3649-2.jpgCrazy Horse Memorial
SturgisMotorcycleRallyb.jpgSturgis during bike rally 31A11B892219AC6817378EA90B82150A.jpgSturgis with no Bike Rally
P1060608.jpgPactola Lake on the way to Deadwood from CusterP1060649.jpgDeadwood
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Day 3.......
Today is ANOTHER driving tour, but a short one. Going back through Custer State Park and takiing the Wildlife Loop to try and catch some of those Buffalo, Pronghorn, Big Horn Sheep, Deer, etc. So, Bob tells me we have to leave by 6:30am because the early morning is the best time to see all this wildlife. I want you to know, I was up, dressed and out the door before 6:30! The problem, which we discovered after the first sighting of deer, was we had forgotten the battery to the little "point and shoot" camera and something weird was going on with our better camera, all pink and pretty colors. If you wanted a rainbow, it would have been great, but, for wildlife, not so good. Since we don't have many pictures, I can tell you we saw lots of deer and lots of the pronghorns, 3 buffalo, counting the baby with the mama.
HPIM3666.jpgpronghorn taken with camera which was dyingpronghorn1.jpgHPIM3679.jpg
buffalo.jpgNo special effects around buffalo, just dying camera!
So, we are hoping when we get to Montana, we will see loads of wildlife....didn't do so well here.

We got back to the campground around 11:30 and spent the rest of the afternoon doing the "stuff" that just has to get done, cleaning, laundry, etc. I also took the time to do some research on our camera to see what was going on. TRASH! It is the CCD chip and HP doesn't sell this part. The camera was old but this same thing happened when we first got it, and fortunately, the camera was replaced under warranty. I see Canon will replace theirs for free, shipping included, both ways even if it isn't under warranty.....maybe I should look at Canon?

Day 4.....
Off to the Badlands. But first, we had to stop by Wall to peruse the Wall Drug Store. It is enormous, has everything you could ever think you might need. Seems the original owners bought it in 1931 and weren't fairing very well because it was off the main roads going west. In watching the bands of cars pass by their little town in the South Dakota heat, the wife came up with the bright idea of giving away free ice water. Signs were made and placed strategically along the highway and the next thing you know......BOOM! Today, bus loads of people come to visit Wall Drugs.
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Everyone should get to visit the Badlands at least once in their lifetime. It is truly an amazing site. It is so hard to comprehend this was the result of erosion by wind and water. You see sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires along with the largest grass prairie in the United States. Just awesome.
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We decided we would take our first real hike even though it was quite warm.
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The "Notch Trail" is described as a somewhat strenuous trail not to be attempted by those afraid of heights about 1.5 miles, up. We decided we would give it a try even though I keep telling Bob I do not do hikes in the HEAT. I had envisioned these hikes in 65º or 70º degree weather with the sun shining. Nice, refreshing and enjoyable! Maybe the next one. A short ways into the hike, you have to ascend a ladder made of cable and wood. I was wondering if maybe we should turn around.
P1060683.jpgon the way up
As I climbed that ladder, I kept wondering, how in the world am I going to get down from here. Going up is okay with me, it is the coming down that gets me. Regardless, Bob and I both made it up and trekked to the end of the trail where it teminates at a "notch" in the Badland wall giving a dramatic view of the White River Valley.
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Now we just had to retrace our steps, go down the ladder and get to the air conditioning!!!!
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The rest of the trip through the Badlands would be in the comfort of an air-conditioned automobile. We did happen upon some cute little prairie dogs and ol' eagle eye Bob saw a mule deer up on a plateau.
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On leaving the Badlands, heading back to Custer, we swung by another one of those old mining towns, Scenic, SD. Unfortuately, Scenic has scene better days. They just need to get some casinos because all those other old mining towns were thriving with casinos.
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But right near Scenic, we saw acres and acres of sunflowers. That's a lot of sunflower seeds.
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We decided we would swing by the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park one more time to see if we could happen upon something real exciting. And, what do ya know.....the first thing we see is this huge buffalo herd.
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We caught a group of burros with one of the pronghorns and a prairie dog on the side....lucky shot!
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That was a great day! I think we have seen all we can see in South Dakota on this trip. It has been wonderful. See you in Montana!

Posted by scpurvis 06:31 Archived in USA Tagged mt_rushmore deadwood badlands_sd custer_state_park Comments (2)

Sidney, NE

Stop #8 Cabela's campground at Headquarters

sunny 85 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Today starts the beginning of our 4th week on the road. Wow, this has gone by really fast. Things I have learned in these 3 weeks: I brought way too many clothes (but we haven't gotten to the cold weather yet), brought too many shoes, Bob and I can actually live in 290 sq feet of living area and actually enjoy it, and there is some awesome country out there in the good ol' USA and I don't won't to miss any of it; I'm already thinking of where we want to go next trip and we are only about a quarter of the way done with this trip! The only drawback to this is not being able to get together with our "kids" and granddaughters! You just need that "fix" every now and then. Bob has been a patient and wonderful driver and even though I have offered to drive, he has declined my offer for some reason. I think he just doesn't want to be the navigator. :-)
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Well, we are in Sidney, NE for a one night stopover. I guess you can tell by my rambling above that there is almost NOTHING here...only the headquarters for Cabela's, with a big Cabela store and a campground which is where we are staying. I think this says it all......
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Corporate Headquarters for Cabela
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Cabela's (okay, you have probably seen a Cabela's store before and this isn't anything special)
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Well, that's it for Sidney, NE. On to the Mount Rushmore state.

Posted by scpurvis 13:37 Archived in USA Tagged sidney_ne cabela's rv_travel Comments (2)

Littleton, CO

Stop #7 Chatfield State Park Littleton, CO(20 miles S of Denver)

sunny 90 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Left Lamar, CO, headed to Littleton and looking for some BIG mountains. It was really strange for me because I never felt like we were in the mountains but when I looked at the GPS, we were over 5000 feet up; not what I expected. We are staying at Chatfield State Park for 5 nites; located on Lake Chatfield, although the campsites are not on the lake. But that is okay because we are right at the base of some very BIG mountains! Arrived about 4pm, got setup and thought we would enjoy the outdoors and the view....not.....it was 90°. I thought it was suppose to be cooler in the mountains. Anyway, by 7:30 it was in the 80's with a nice breeze.
Campgrd_at_Chatsfield_SP.jpgcampgroundView_from_camp.jpgview from campSunset_at_camp.jpgSpectacular sunset first nite

So now, we are on Mountain time and these time zones are playing havoc with our sleeping schedule. We were up very early the first day and got to see some hot air balloons taking off between us and the mountains.
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First full day--------
We decided we would take a road trip this first full day and headed out to Mount Evans which is on the way to Breckenridge. The temps in Littleton today were suppose to top 90° again so we were looking for cooler temperatures on the top of Mt Evans which is 14,265' high. The road going up was quite breathtaking in more ways than one....the scenery was spectacular and the road was, well, you can imagine. We were in God's country today. Really, the pictures we take do not do it justice. The road up, according to Wikipedia which I am sure is correct, is the highest paved road in North America. After reaching the end of the road to the top, there is a nice hike up the rocks to the summit with some awesome views. We did find cooler temps, 47° at the top.
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We had been going to the gym quite a bit before the trip to be ready for these hikes but the gym does not prepare you for the lack of oxygen. I could definitely tell the air was very thin up there. You wouldn't believe the people who were actually cycling up and down the mountain, and they all weren't young! It is 14 miles up from the visitor center parking lot.

On to Breckenridge from there. This was our first trip there; we found it to be a very charming and busy village. All the flowers were in bloom on the streets which were packed with tourist, of course. I would really like to see it in the winter time with the snow.
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After leaving Breck, which is what the locals call it, we headed back to camp. As I said before, it is on Lake Chatfield which really doesn't look to be that large of a lake, but they put some big boats in there. The funny thing is, no one goes anywhere on the boats except out to the middle of the lake, tie up together and spend the weekend. Really looks like a lot of fun!
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Day 2
Started day 2 off getting up at 5:30am Mtn time, good thing our circadian clock is still on EST which mean we felt like it was 7:30am. It would prove to be a long day. We had to be in Canon City, CO (about 2 hours away) for the early train through the Colorado Royal Gorge. We opted for the Parlor/Bar car, hmmm, where the seating is facing out the plate glass window for sensational viewing.
Parlour.jpgPalor_and_..Gorge_Train.jpg
The ride lasted about two hours and took us through the Royal Gorge and under the Gorge Bridge which is temporarily closed do to a huge wildfire a few months ago which destroyed the Royal Gorge Bridge Park. This was the hight suspension bridge in the world until 2001 when a bridge in China beat it out.
Royal_Gorge_Brg1.jpgRoyal_Gorge_Bridge.jpg
The ride along side the Arkansas River, where they have Class 4 rafting trips, was beautiful and just the right amount of time on the train.
Cl_4_rafting.jpgAR_River_-_Royal_Gorge.jpgEC1EB8612219AC6817A2E449F892FBA5.jpgview of gorge from near suspension bridge

After the train ride, we rode over a very short skyline drive in Canon City which really wasn't as scenic as it was amazing they would build this rode over the top of the "hill". It was orginially built to carry prison guards up to the watchtower which was located on the road that overlooked one of the 13 prisons in this town, four federal and nine state.
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From Canon City, we headed to Pikes Peak but happened upon a one street town, Cripple Creek, which was having a day honoring all veterans. All of main street is nothing but hotels and casinos, but the "old west" type being that they are in the historic buildings, most from the 1800's. It is a former gold mining town where one of the largest gold strikes in history was made. Interesting to say the least.
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On to Pike's Peak....WOW! Another day in heaven. I know we take way too many pictures of these vistas, but, they are just so incredible. I must say, the road up to the summit, although very curvy, was in much better shape and a lot easier to drive then the one up Mt Evans yesterday. Bob did another excellent job driving up and down. You even have to stop at a station on your way down to have your brakes checked to be sure they aren't overheating and Bob did such an excellent job, ours were cool! Interestingly enough, they also have the international hill climb which is the 2nd oldest auto race in the US. We drove 19 miles in 45-60 minutes and they do a 12.42 mile course up, the winner in 8 min 13 sec! Here is a link to a video of the winners run if you are interested----some good footage in here: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/pikes-peak-international-raceway-pikespeak/ke1001.html
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Arrived back at camp at 9pm.....a very full day.

Day 3
A day of rest.

Day 4
We rode over to Red Rock Park and Amphitheater today. It is a very well know concert venue and after going over there, I am sorry we didn't get tickets for the concert tonight, Peter Frampton and BB King. I would just love to see a concert there. They have some really good shows coming up, but, of course, we won't be here.
Red_Rock.jpgRed_Rock_Amphitheater.jpgRed_Rock3_.jpgRed_Rock2.jpgP1060473.jpgHPIM3622.jpgDenver_from_Red_Rock__2_.jpgDenver from Red Rock Park

From Red Rock, we drove over to Lookout Mountain, but it wasn't very impressive after going up Mt Evans and Pikes Peak. I did get a shot of Denver from up there but it was a very hazy day.
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After leaving Lookout Mtn, we rode to Black Hawk, CO which is another one of those former mining towns out in the middle of nowhere. According to my friend, Wikipedia, it is the least populous city in Colorado with the 2011 census putting it at 118 inhabitants. Again, it is nothing but casinos and a few hotels. No, we didn't win anything!
4ABABE772219AC6817952EB23CC64CFD.jpg Thanks Wikipedia!

We left there and headed to Golden, CO where the Coors brewery is located, the largest single brewery facility in the world. We were hoping to take a tour but it was too late when we got there so we decided to have an early dinner and then head back to camp to get ready to leave tomorrow.
Golden__CO.jpgGolden, CO
coors_brewery.jpgCoors Brewery

Day 5
Packin' up, movin' out.....
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Posted by scpurvis 18:17 Archived in USA Tagged denver breckenridge chatfield_state_park royal_gorge mt_evans Comments (3)

Lamar, CO

Stop #6 Lamar Sportsman Rv Park scratch Country Acres

sunny 83 °F
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"I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" -- thank goodness we are through Kansas; one long, boring, road.
The_Long_a..inding_Road.jpgThe long and NOT winding roadThe_Long_a..nding_Road2.jpgjust playin' around

We did take a short stop in Dodge City to see some cowboys. This is the town that "Gunsmoke" made famous and it is a good thing because there isn't really anything else there but a whole bunch of feeding pens for cows, fatten them up for the, well, you know, steak, hamburger, etc. And believe it or not, that is one of the "attractions" noted on tripadvisor, the cattle feedlot overlook.........
cattle_feedlot.jpghard to tell, but, those are cows or cattle, whateve,r soon to be burgers
Of course, there is the Museum of Boot Hill made famous by Gunsmoke
Boot_Hill_Dodge_City.jpgBob_and_El_Capitan.jpgBob and charging bull of Wall Street; alright, it is the El Capitan monument on Wyatt Earp Blvd
Cowboys_of_Dodge_City.jpgCowboys of Dodge City

Traveling on to Lamar, we passed some interesting sites, some random metal art and many wind turbine farms. We actually passed by a place that assembled them but we were by it before we realized what it was and pulling a trailer, you just don't whip around to get the picture.
Random_art..random_road.jpgwind_turbines2.jpg

We arrived in Lamar without incident and went searching for the Country Acres RV Park......well, we found it and if the previous park was strike one for Bob, this time he hit a fly to left field and is OUT!!! We drove on by and found a decent one down the road. To be honest, the RV park last night was very clean and safe, just not what we had been used to but it was exactly what we were looking for, a place other then Walmart parking lot to spend the night. And the reviews on the Country Acres weren't that bad and gave no indication of what it really was like. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of it but this is where we ended up....Lamar Sportsman RV Park
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Now, on to what is really suppose to be spectacular......stay on the train, it should be an incredible ride!

Posted by scpurvis 10:14 Archived in USA Tagged dodge_city lamar_co Comments (1)

Wichita, KS - Air Capital of the World

Stop #5 Air Capital RV #54

sunny 83 °F
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Hard to believe.....in 300 miles, we go from this
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to this
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Seriously? Bob? What have you done? You get credit for all the beautiful parks we have been to so far, you must take responsibility for this "parking lot". Fortunately, this is just an overnight stop and we move on. Strike One!

Arrived in Wichita around 4pm so, after a long day riding, we didn't have much time to check out Wichita. We did ride over to the are called "Old Town" which is a restored area of old factories and businesses, now mostly bars and restaurants. Of course, on a Wednesday afternoon, there wasn't a whole lot going on. Touring around the city, we did come upon the Old Town Cow Museum but it was closed and rode along the Arkansas river which winds its way around the city and is currently over the banks. Below, the "Keeper of the Plains" is a bronze statue situated in the middle of the river by the pedestrian bridge
keeper_of_the_Plains.jpgcourtesy 360Wichitacows.jpgP1060194.jpg

In talking with a "friend" at the bar and grill, we learned that Wichita is called the "Air Capital of the World" because it was a major hub for aircraft production in the 20's and 30's where Stearman, Cessna, Mooney, and Beechcraft were founded. Boeing was here for awhile and in the 1980's, they modified two 747's to become Airforce one.

Another interesting note, this is where the Pizza Hut was founded and the first Pizza Hut building was moved to the Wichita State University campus where it resides today.
220px-FirstPizzaHut.jpgcourtesy of Wikipedia

And a tidbit for the musically inclined, In October 1932, orchestra leader Gage Brewer introduced the electric guitar to the world from Wichita using an instrument developed by what would later become known as the Rickenbacker Guitar Company. (also, from Wikipedia)

"And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line" Later------
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Posted by scpurvis 05:35 Archived in USA Tagged air capital rv wichita ks Comments (4)

Branson, MO

Stop #4 Site #21 Old Hwy 86 COE Park,,good sites 21,22,23,24

semi-overcast 84 °F
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We must be travelin' right; I thought we would be inundated with torrential rains from the weather reports, but made the whole trip from Little Rock to Branson with NO rain. This is my favorite park so far! Of course, thanks to Bob's research, we have the perfect spot. Looking out the back of the camper, you think you are on a boat because all you see is water and then the mountains across the lake (Table Rock Lake). Truly stunning.
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We arrived a little early so we had to wait for our site to be evacuated but the ranger let us temporarily park right across from it. We met the people who were in our site and the ones next door who were telling us about all the rain they have had. It has rained every day for the week they have been here and the lake has come up about 4 feet in that time. Finally, we got into our site, flipped some burgers for dinner and headed into town as we had seen in the paper there would be a free concert at Branson Landing which is like an outdoor mall on the river, away from the "strip". We took our chairs, got all setup with perfect seats, got our drinks, jumped up, grabbed our chairs and ran for cover because the deluge hit. There was not little sprinkles to start with, just the bottom falling out with winds to match. Oh well.
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First Full Day----
We decided to drive over to Eureka Springs, AR which is 8 miles south of the Missouri/Arkansas border. This is a victorian, mountain village which sprang up around various mineral springs in the area. One of the things I found so amazing about this town, was the fact it is located on the side of a very steep mountain which means the roads, businesses and houses of the town are litererally stacked on each other up the side of the mountain. Some of the roads go straight up and down which is very scary for this flatlander. Wish I could depict this in pictures but it really doesn't show how steep the roads are. We went to a show, the Ozark Mountain Hoedown, which was exactly what it sounds like but entertaining, singing and comedy.
Eureka_Springs.jpgPassion_Play_Figure.jpgfigurine at Passion Play
We rode up to the Crescent Hotel, built in 1886, which is known as "Americas Most Haunted Hotel" with 8 spirits supposedly residing there. It was featured on the show Ghost Hunters. No, we didn't happen to get a glance of any of the spirits, except the drinking kind, but the hotel was pretty spectacular itself.
Crescent_H..ureka_Spgs3.jpgCrescent_H..Eureka_Spgs.jpgCrescent_H..ureka_Spgs4.jpgcourtesy Crescent Hotel

Day 2---
We had another storm last night but, although cloudy, rain looks like it has moved on for today. We rode into Branson and decided to brave the Strip after a short sample of it on Friday night, we were prepared for traffic like you wouldn't believe. Much to our surprise, it wasn't too bad. Had to stop off at the Table Rock Dam where with all the rain here, the water was really flowing.
Table_Rock_Dam.jpgBoats_on_W..r_below_dam.jpgfishing on White River
We went to the Legends in Concert show featuring Johnny Cash, Celine Dion, Blues Bros, Temptations and, of course, Elvis. Johnny Cash and Temptations were exceptional and even though the Blues Bros weren't that close in resemblance, sure made me miss the John Belushi days of SNL. After the show, rode back over to the Branson Landing for dinner on the river at a Mexican restaurant. Don't bother, overpriced and not the best food.

Day 3----
Rain, again. This would not be a good day for walking around so decided to go check out another show. We opted for one of the smaller theaters and what did we get, a smaller show, tribute to Johnny Cash which the singer also does John Denver tribute. He should probably stick with John Denver. As it seems with other stops along the way, we should be here NEXT WEEK for some bigger name shows.
We stopped off at the Big Cedar Lodge on our way back to the campground which is a resort on the lake and really beautiful. If you are ever in the area, stay or go by here and check out Buzzard Bar where we stayed until about 11pm as the entertainer there was better then anything we had seen in town.
Big_Cedar_Lodge.jpgchapel_at_Big_Cedar_Lodge.jpgchapel at BCLdge

Day 4----
A rough day sitting by the lake taking it easy. Ok, not so rough. We decided to stay off the roads today as we will have a long haul (about 5 hours) tomorrow to get us to Wichita where we will be for one night. I love this park!

Day 5-----
Time to move on; leaving the "Show Me" state. See you in Kansas.

Posted by scpurvis 05:44 Archived in USA Tagged branson Comments (2)

Little Rock, AR

Stop #3, Maumelle COE Park, #B29

sunny 98 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

We left cool breezes across the lake outside Memphis and arrived to sweltering heat in Little Rock, no breezes here even though we are on the Arkansas River and heat index, 108 degrees.
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After getting everything set up, decided we would ride downtown, check things out and find someplace and something cool. We really lucked out in going into the Flying Saucer on Pres Clinton Ave right across from the Riverside Market for brewsky and food. They must have had over 100 beers on tap and the food was very good. The atmosphere was great with lots of overstuffed leather sofas and chairs placed in intimate seating arrangements along side your normal café tables.

On our first full day in Little Rock, we decided we would check out the Clinton Library. It is a very modern structure and to me, not that impressive architecturally. Currently, there is an Oscar de la Renta exhibit included on the upper floor, thus, his picture hanging on the front of the library.
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In the library itself, we found a duplication of the Clinton Cabinet Room and the Oval Office along with a timeline exhibit of all his accomplishments. Sorry, but we just weren’t that impressed with the library. Of course, this is the first presidential library we have visited so we didn’t have anything to compare it to. We will visit a few more when we get to Texas for comparison purposes.  :-)
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okay, that really wasn't in there.

After touring the library, we rode over to Hot Springs to check out Bathhouse Row and the quaint little town. I must say, we were a little disappointed in “Bathhouse Row” itself; they still have the “hot baths” you can go in and of course the massage services. It just seemed to me, they would have more of a draw if they made some of those into B&B’s – maybe they would get more business. Of course with the temperatures pushing 100, who wants to go into a hot spring bath.
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We did happen upon the Ohio Club for a cold beer and discovered it was the oldest bar in Arkansas known for its frequent gambling escapades by Al Capone, Babe Ruth and “Bugsy” Siegel. We sat at the bar with a couple of masseuse from one of the bathhouses and decided we would pass on the massages. Bob wanted the “hot” chick with long blond hair and curvaceous bod for his masseuse, not the 50 year old, grey haired lady with squinty eyes that was sitting next to us. Of course, my ideal was not the grey haired pony tail guys sitting with her, either.
Ohio_Club.jpg

Day Two-------------------------------
Started out the day at Pinnacle Mtn State Park which is right down the road from where we are staying. We had planned on taking the hiking trail up Pinnacle but with it being so hot, 96 degrees, we decided to forgo that hike but just climbed up to the lookout which gave a beautiful view of the river.
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We then rode over to Central High School to absorb some history of the civil rights movement. This was the site of the first important test for the implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954 where the "Little Rock Nine" were denied entrance to Central High School. So hard to grasp how segregated our country was.
Central_High_School_LR.jpg

Bob wanted to check out DeGray State Park and Resort because it was so highly praised online.....note to Bob, don't believe everything you read online. It was okay but nothing like it was portrayed. It did have some beautiful scenery in the area and it was a good day to be in the air conditioned vehicle because it was so danged hot outside!
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Day three--
A day of fun stuff, laundry! I can tell you, it isn't any more fun doing laundry on the road then it is at home. After the chores, we went back to the campground to wait for it to cool off. Our plan was to ride over to the "Big Dam Bridge" (yes, that is the name of it) and walk across for a little exercise. It was still way to hot at 6:30pm so we decided to forgo that and go to the Cajun Wharf to cool off with wine/beer.
Photo LR outsidebig_dam_bridge_.jpg
And a good thing we skipped that, as I saw on the news that all the cars parked at the park were broken into! Anyway, the Cajun Wharf was good, would be great in the spring or fall. It was still 91 at 8:30pm.
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Ok, day four and we are leaving for Branson, MO this morning. Weather is not looking good up that way, flash flooding yesterday and warnings again for today. We will see.

I will leave you with a quote from former President Bill Clinton, "Being president is like running a cemetery: you've got a lot of people under you and nobody's listening". Not sure of the context this quote was taken from, just sayin'.

Posted by scpurvis 06:07 Archived in USA Tagged little_rock maumelle Comments (4)

Meet me in Memphis

Only stop #2

overcast 88 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

We are a week early for "Elvis Week" and I am not saying that is a bad thing. I love Elvis but not sure I want to be here when all those Elvis Wannabe's converge to honor the 35th anniversary, yes, that is 35 years since Elvis went to that great Gracelan' in the sky. After about a 5 hour drive, we arrived at the Hernando Point COE park where we would stay for the next 3 nites. Bob did another great job selecting the best site in the park, #19.
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Since we have been to Memphis a few times in the past, we skipped all the Elvis "stuff". Once every 20 years is enough. We did a "drive around" tour of Memphis on our own and stopped by the Visitor's Center to see if there was any happenings going on that we would want to be sure and see.
BB King270_P1050930.jpg Elvis, of course270_P1050931.jpg
Drove by the infamous Gus' Fried Chicken but the line was too long to stop. There was someone who had come by limo for fried chicken, only in the south.
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We ended up on Beale St where we spent the afternoon listening to some good music. I think our favorite venue was Mr. Handy's Blues Hall and Juke Joint. Reminds me of the little joint in NOLA that we love so much. In fact, one of the guys in the band was telling us he plays Frenchman Street quite often in NOLA. We will have to remember to check to see if he is there next time.
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Sunday morning, we got up to a beautiful morning and spent some quiet time sitting on the lake front. Nothing like it! It was actually the coolest morning we have had; I guess a little cold front moved in and dropped the temps to high 70's and with a little breeze off the water, it was perfect. We spent most of the day just relaxing and enjoying the weather with plans to meet up with a friend, SIL, from 40 years ago. We met for dinner in Tunica with a little gambling thrown in. Wow, so good to see Susan after all those years and of course, we have pledged to keep in touch and get together in the not to distant future. We will definitely follow through!

Ok, time to pack up and move forward. We are headed to Hot Springs/Little Rock today and Bob tells me it is only 3 hours. Hmmm, he has told me that each time and we have yet to travel ONLY 3 hours. I am excited because we are now getting into virgin territory for us, something new to discover!

To quote Elvis, "Thank you very much" for checking in with us and come back soon.

Posted by scpurvis 06:35 Archived in USA Tagged memphis tn Comments (4)

Montgomery, AL

First stop

sunny 89 °F
View Western Loop 2013 on scpurvis's travel map.

Left Leesburg on schedule, kind of. Bob discovered the electric outlet for sprinklers was not working the night before we were to leave so he had to get up, go to Lowe's and repair that before we pulled out. For those of you who know Bob (those who don't, he does not do electric well), he accomplished that even without my help! On the road by 8:30 and arrived at the Gunter HIll Core of Engineer Park outside Montgomery around 4:30, "their" time. We hit some rain on the way and thought we had way overloaded the trailer because whenever we would try to stop, the trailer would slide the truck forward. Very scary and made us wonder how in the heck we were going to go up and down mountains with that happening. Well, about half way here, Bob happened to notice the lights weren't on, on the side of the rv, meaning, the connection wasn't good on cord between rv and truck-----no brake lights and no brakes!!! It was a relief to know that was why the brakes weren't stopping the truck but scary thinking we were driving with no brake lights or brakes that whole way! We ALWAYS check those lights before we leave. Okay, always except for this one time when we got in a hurry....lesson learned.

What can I say about Montgomery? The COE park was very nice as are all the COE parks are we have stayed in and at $11/night, can't beat it! Note to self, we were in site #27 which was on the river and very long and level with full hookup. This is important to know if we ever decide to come back which would only be as it is now, just passing through.
site #27P1050826.jpgview from back of rvP1050828.jpg

We checked out some of the more interesting sites in and around Montgomery. We did not make it to the Civil Rights Museum which is too bad since that is really mostly what this area is known for. We did visit "Old Alabama Town" which was a lot of old business buildings, houses,carriage houses and churches brought in from around Alabama to preserve the history.
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First Whitehouse of the Confederacy first_whit..confederacy.jpg
Capitol BuildingHPIM3542.jpg

We will be moving on to Memphis today looking for some blues, BBQ and beer. As they say in Alabama, ya'll come back now.

Posted by scpurvis 05:17 Archived in USA Tagged al montgomery Comments (3)

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