John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

June 2013 Journal

Nice morning.  We are hanging out this morning.  Doing some reading and practicing harmonica.  We headed out around 230pm to the new house of our niece Yeraldine and her husband Chris.  They are having a family cookout and most of the family doesn’t know we are in town yet.  We surprised a lot of family and had a great time seeing everyone and the new house.  We got back to the campground and saw Paul and Chris and took a golf cart ride and then headed to our bar, Grass Lake Landings for a couple beers with the group.
29   This morning is cool and overcast with a few showers in the area.  That’s ok, it gives me time to catch up on my journal.  We took a walk around the campground and then ended up heading to the Sandbar Island Grill in Twin Lakes WI for lunch and drinks with Ron, Tom, Sam, Ron, Rich, John and I.  When we got back there was a group at Sam and Jackie’s.  We started playing bags.  A few people headed to Mark and Heidi’s for a fire, but John and I grounded ourselves around 9pm.

Today we had a hang out day.  We visited with more people arriving at the campground.  Then headed to the store for a few supplies and then just hung out.  We ended up at Mark and Heidi’s for a fire and music.  We had some rain move in, but we got out our umbrellas and rain ponchos.

“On the Road Again” Since we went to bed early, we were up early.  Again we were on the road by 615am.  We are traveling from West Salem WI to Antioch IL, 220 miles.  We made it there around noon.  Since we will be here for a couple months, we took our time leveling everything and setting up.  We were happy to see all our old friends at Grass Lake Campground.  We had a nice afternoon, just hanging out and catching up.  Rich, Kim, John and I walked over to Bootleggers bar for open mic, but it was cancelled tonight.  So we had a couple cocktails and Sandy met us there and we drove back with her.  John wanted to walk, so Rich came back halfway on the golf cart and picked him up. 

“On the Road Again”.  We set the alarm and we were on the road by 615am.  We’re not sure how far were traveling to day but we know we have 900 miles to Chicago.  We lose an hour going from Mountain time to Central time.  So we drove until around 7pm and made it 680 miles, our longest day ever.  The wind, weather and road were perfect so we ended up going from Deadwood SD to West Salem WI.  We lifted the cow off the truck and did a basic setup.  We had dinner, watched a little TV, and then went to bed.  We have another travel day tomorrow.

Today is our pre-departure day.  We got our domestic stuff done and packed up and reading to hit the road early tomorrow.

After going to the pool and getting some sun.  We took the trolley into Deadwood.  We did a little shopping and checked out the casinos.  Since its Monday it’s pretty quite in town.  We took the trolley back and stopped across the street from our campground at Deadwood Gulch Casino.  We played some video poker, watched the Chicago Blackhawk’s win the Stanley Cup and played some blackjack.  Our dealer Jason from the Celebrity Hotel the other night was dealing here tonight.

   23   We headed about 20 miles from Deadwood to the Black Hills Natl Forest.  We made a couple stops and did some hiking.  Then we had a picnic by a lake and headed back to our campground.  It’s a beautiful afternoon, so we headed to the pool to soak up some rays, do some reading and just relax. 
22   This morning is still raining and cool.  Since I have been lazy on my journal and stuff, I am working on some of that this morning.  We decided to take a drive to Sturgis and check it out.  This is where they have the annual motorcycle rally.  During Bike Week in August they will have about 4k bikers.  However, now it’s just a couple blocks and a really small town with not much going on.  We took a walk around town and then headed back to Deadwood.
We started at the Four Aces Casino.  We got stuck there because it was hailing, so we played more nickel video poker and John got a Royal Flush.  We continued on and stopped at the Celebrity Hotel and played some blackjack for quite a while.  We had a fun group of people and Karen and Jason were dealers and they were lots of fun too.  We did ok and headed back home.

Today it’s raining and cool.  We ended up hanging around the cow and doing some reading.  I downloaded some movies.

Nice.  Sunny and warm day.  We had our morning coffee outside and then headed into Deadwood to the visitors center to get some area info.  Even though we’ve been here before, we want to get the current entertainment info.  We took a short walk and played a few slots.  Then headed back to our campground and to the pool.  We spent the afternoon soaking up some sun and enjoying the pool.
After a little snack, we regrouped and walked across the street to Deadwood Gulch and played some video poker and a few slots.  We were going to play blackjack, but they had a VIP tournament going on so we couldn’t.  We walked into town along the Mickleson Trail which is scenic and runs along a stream.  We saw a deer up on the hillside.  We explored Deadwood, had some cocktails, played some blackjack and slots and took the trolley back to our campground.

“On the Road Again”.  We have a short travel day today.  About 90 miles from Devils Tower WY to Deadwood SD.  We got in and set up early by 11am at Whistlers Gulch RV Park.  We are South Dakota residents and have to renew our driver’s licenses.  They don’t have a regular office to renew.  Today it was at the Spearfish fire department.  It’s only one day a week for most places.  I thought I had everything we needed to renew.  After waiting a little while, we found out we needed a receipt for our stay in South Dakota.  I didn’t have that.  After about an hour, I was able to have our campground fax me a copy and back we went.  It worked out this time and we were able to renew.
Now we headed to Walmart for groceries and supplies.  We were in need of lot’s of stuff.  By the time we got home and got everything unpacked and put away we had dinner and we were done.  We do get 3 TV stations here and one was the Chicago Blackhawk’s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  So we watched the game and it was a good game, especially since they won.

We headed into Devils Tower early.  I forgot my memory card, but luckily we have an extra old camera in the truck.  We joined the Ranger Hike for the 1 ½ mile hike around Devils Tower.  We really enjoy the ranger led hikes.  We learned a lot about the history of the area and the tower.  We saw a small bull snake and lots of climbers.
John needed more hiking so he headed to do the 2 mile Red Beads trail.  I headed back to the trailer to get the memory card I left there and stuff for lunch.  When I was driving back in, I saw John hiking along but he didn’t see me.  He took a couple pictures with me in them and didn’t know it until we looked at them.  We headed up to the trailhead for the Joyner Ridge Trail.  This is just a beautiful and peaceful area.  We set up our chairs, had our sandwiches and even enjoyed some wine while overlooking Devils Tower and the surrounding valley.
After lunch, we headed home and regrouped.  We need gas before heading out tomorrow, so we drover the 10 miles into Hulett WY.  Our friend Gordon and Jeanette lives there.  Gordon passed away a few years back.  Gordon is our friend Chris’s father.  Actually Chris is heading here next week.  But we’ll already be gone.  Chris told us to check out Capt Ron’s Rodeo Bar.  So we stopped in and met a bunch of people that knew Gordon well.  Kay was bartending and Beth and Larry were at the bar.  After a couple beers, we headed home and hunkered down.  We have some rain, wind and thunder coming our way.

17   “On the Road Again”.  Another long day.  We left Big Timber MT at 630am heading for Devils Tower WY, about 390 miles.  We got in and set up by 3pm at the KOA right at the entrance to Devils Tower Natl Monument.  We headed into the park and to the visitor center.  We didn’t take the hike around the tower today.  Tomorrow morning there is a ranger guided hike so we will do that tomorrow.  We headed up to the Joyner Ridge 2 mile trail.
John headed out for the hike and I stayed and practiced harmonica, did some reading and enjoyed the scenery overlooking Devils Tower.  While John was gone, I saw one car and also a deer.  We headed back for dinner and then to the clubhouse at our park.  The movie Close Encounters was filmed here and the park shows it every night.  It was pretty cool watching the movie with Devils Tower in it and looking out the window and seeing the same view.  

16   “On the Road Again”.  We have a long day today.  We left West Glacier MT at 7am and drove about 425 miles to Big Timber MT.  We got set up at a KOA right off the highway and had a couple cocktails and watched a movie.  We were in bed early because tomorrow is another long day.

Our last day at Glacier National Park.  We headed to the Apgar Camping area where the trailhead is for the Lake McDonald lakeshore trail.  John and I did a short hike and then John headed off on the 8 mile lakeshore trail.  I am picking him up on the other side.  On my way I found a nice pull off overlooking the lake with a beautiful view of the lake and the glaciers.  I did some reading and practiced harmonica.  When I picked John up, he had Phil, a tagalong he picked up along the way.  We gave Phil a lift to another trail and then we headed home.  We have meatloaf in the crockpot.
 14   John was in the kitchen this morning making salsa.  We were all ready to head into Glacier Natl Park, when the weather changed.  We had some thunderstorms move in and the rain came.  It looked like a wash out so we did some reading and got our laundry done.  Now if tomorrows nice, we just have a little packing up to do so we will also have time to spend back in the park.

We are in need of groceries so we headed to the market in Hungry Horse to get supplies.  Now we headed into Glacier Natl Park.  First we took a drive along the outside of the park along the Flathead River.  We saw some river rafters.  They have to be cold.  No matter where you go, there are snow capped mountains and glaciers.
Once in the park, we headed on the Going to the Sun road just past the Lake McDonald Lodge.  We turned on a gravel road and checked out a trail John is thinking of hiking tomorrow.  We had a nice picnic and made a few photo stops on the way back to Lake Mc Donald Lodge.  There are deer’s all over.
We walked around the lodge and stopped in the pub.  John got a beer and I got a Huckleberry martini.  Yummy!!  We walked down to the lake and enjoyed the view by the piers.  There was a lone kayaker out on the lake.  He looked so small compared to the size of the lake and the mountains surrounding us.  On our way home we made a few photo stops and one at a tent camping area.
John found his camp host trailer.  Then we saw a Pileated Woodpecker.  They are the largest woodpeckers in North America, about the size of a large Raven.  We got home and had a couple cocktails outside while we were grilling up steaks and potatoes.

 12   We had rain come in overnight and this morning is rainy and cool.  We hung around the cow and did some reading.  It did clear up and John was ready for a hike.  I was not.  My knees were still recuperating from our long hike over 5 miles yesterday.  So John headed out to explore the area around the campground.  He found some horse trails and followed those for a while.  When he got back, we had dinner and watched a movie.

Absolutely beautiful morning at our campground.  The horses next to our site were out, so we took some apple slices to give them a morning snack.  After reviewing the Glacier Natl Park maps, we know where were headed today.  First I got some Beef Stroganoff going in the crockpot for dinner tonight.
Now we are headed on the “Going to the Sun” road inside Glacier National Park.  It’s only open to Avalanche because the crews are still plowing the rest and probably won’t be completely open until the end of June.  Along Lake McDonald on our way to Avalanche we stopped at one pull off overlooking the river and falls.  We were surrounded by beautiful mountains with snow and glaciers.
We parked at Avalanche and started on the “Trail of the Cedars” which leads to the Avalanche Lake trail.  I wasn’t going to do the Avalanche Lake trail because that would make it over a 5 mile trip for me, which is too much, but everyone we met said it was a MUST DO!  So off we went.
We followed the river a long way and the water was beautiful colors.  We saw more and more glaciers and waterfalls everywhere.  When we finally made it to Avalanche Lake, it was unbelievably beautiful.  Pictures just don’t do justice.  There was a nice stone beach with a few log seats.  The trail continued on for about another ½ mile to the other side.  I decided to wait here, enjoy the majestic scenery with glaciers and waterfalls where ever you look.
On the way to the other side, John spotted 2 different sets of scat and another man pointed out, one is Black Bear and one is Grizzly Bear.  John had his bear bell on and the man told him the one with the silver was Grizzly scat.  It has silver in it from the dinner bells people wear (HaHa).  John found me relaxing when he got back.  I was done for the day, so we headed back and stopped at the Rawhide Bar for a couple cold ones and some video poker.

 10   “On the Road Again”.  We were on the road by 8am for a short journey from St Regis to West Glacier MT of about 150 miles, but it took about 4 hour because of the small roads.  We got set up at the KOA which is about 2 ½ miles from the entrance of Glacier Natl Park.  Our site is huge and we can see 2 different snow capped mountains from it.
After getting set up and having lunch, we headed to the park.  We knew West Glacier was a small town, but there really isn’t any town at all.  We went to the Apgar Visitors center which over looks Lake McDonald.  We talked to the ranger to get information on hiking in the park.  We got a couple of Huckleberry shakes and enjoyed the beautiful view of the mountains with the glaciers overlooking the lake.
We got back and headed to the pool for some sun, relaxing and reading.  After dinner we enjoyed sitting outside.  The days are really long up here right now.  Sunrise is around 540am and sunset is around 945pm.

9   Beautiful morning.  We were going to go golfing, but it’s a little windy, so we decided to hang out again at the cow.  We watched the Western Bluebird parents work hard all day to feed the babies in the birdhouse.  Later in the afternoon, we headed to the market for a couple of items, and then took a hike on the trails in the park.  We really enjoyed this park.  It’s very scenic, clean and nice owners.    
8   We took a time out day today.  John actually did a 3 hour hike up the mountain.  He got some good pictures of our campground.  We did some reading and watched the Western Bluebirds parents feed their babies throughout the day.  We took a hike in the early evening and since we get no TV reception we watched some stuff we had recorded.
7   “On the Road Again”.  Today was a big travel day about 400 miles from Issaquah Wa to St. Regis Mt.  We were on the road by 7am and got to the Nugget RV Park and set up by 4pm.  We decided to head to town, which is a small market, a gas station a restaurant and 2 bars.  We stopped at the market and then for a couple beers at one of the bars.  Sunset here is around 930pm, so we came back to our campsite, sat outside, enjoyed a couple beers and some fireball.  We got a few showers which produced a complete rainbow by our mountain.  One side was a double rainbow. 

6   It’s our pre-departure day.  For the last couple months we have had short travel days.  Tomorrow we are traveling about 400 miles, so we like to get all organized.  We are getting groceries, stuff for lunch on the road tomorrow and packing up.  We had an easy evening.

We are taking a time out day and not even leaving our campground.  It’s a warm and sunny day, so we did some reading, got some sun and just enjoyed the day.

   4   Today is another bright, sunny and warm day.  We are actually wearing shorts and short sleeve shirts.  We have a full one ahead of us.  We drove into Seattle and parked near Safeco Ballpark.  It’s about 1 ½ mile walk down to the Pikes Market area.  We walked along the waterfront and saw the Olympic Mountains perfectly.  Since it’s clear today, we can see all the snowcapped mountain ranges around us.  We walked all through Pikes Market and had to stop and watch them throwing the fish.
Now we walked up to the Monorail which runs to the Seattle Center area and the Space Needle.  From 520 feet up in the needle, we had a beautiful clear view of Seattle, the Olympic range, Mt. Baker, the Cascade range and Mt. Rainier.  After enjoying the view for a while, we took the monorail back to downtown and then the light rail to Chinatown for lunch.  We hopped back on the light rail and headed to the stadium area.
We got ticket to the ballgame tonight to see the Seattle Mariners take on the Chicago White Sox.  We went to the beer garden at the park for happy hour and watched batting practice.  John got a ball that came over the net.  About an hour before game time we walked around the park and found a couple seats in the bleacher area to watch the start of the game.  After an inning or so, we moved on over to the right field area and found some seats we liked.  The park was not crowded so we didn’t have to go to our seats.  During the game, one of the players through there bat and it ended up in the crowd.  Some guy caught it perfectly and it didn’t hurt anyone.  The Sox lost, but we still had a great time. 

 3   We have been checking the Mt. Rainier webcam for over a week and it’s always completely clouded in.  When we checked it today, the Mountain was out!  So we decided to head to Mt. Rainier National Park.  It’s about a 70 mile one way drive.  We entered the park on the Northeast corner on Rt 410.  On the way we had a fox cross in front of us.
We were going to go to Sunrise visitor’s center, but the ranger said it was still closed and has about 15 feet of snow.  Next was the White campground area to get close to the mountain.  The ranger told us to forget that and go about a mile past the turnoff to the campground instead.
Great suggestion.  We had perfect, beautiful views of Mt. Rainier at 14,700 feet high.  We drove down to where Rt 410 meets Rt 123.  All along the way were breathtaking views and more and more snow as we went on.  We did notice some areas where avalanches had occurred.  We were so lucky to actually be able to see Mt Rainier.  Most of the time it’s clouded in and your unable to see it.
On the way home we stopped at Tiger Mountain summit and did some hiking.  John and I did a short 1 ½ mile round trip on a logging road.  John needed more, so he did another 4 miles and I hung out at the truck and did some reading and practiced harmonica.     

 2   “On the Road Again”.  We have a short travel day today.  Only 150 miles from Sequim WA to Issaquah WA.  Issaquah is about 30 miles southeast of Seattle.  After getting set up, we reviewed our area information.
I checked to see if there were any open jams and found that there was one tonight at 630pm just about 5 miles down the road at the Raging River Café and Bar in Fall City.  We headed to Fall City early to check out the town.  We walked along the Raging River and stopped at a pub for a beer in the outside beer garden.  It’s a warm sunny day and we haven’t had many of those, so we are soaking it up.
We headed over to Raging River Café and Bar and found out they won the 2010 award from the Washington Blues Society of Best Open Blues Jam.  We also found out they are in the running for the 2013 award as well.  We got perfect seats at the bar next to the stage.  I met Tommy (Organizer, bass and vocals) and Andrew (drums).  Each week they have a well know guest guitarist.  This week it’s James Howard.  James Howard has quite a few of his own tunes and was great.  The three of them played the first set, and then they started bringing people up.  I got to play a few songs in the 3rd set.  We stayed until the end at around 1030pm.  We really enjoy the jams and I appreciate the opportunity to play.  

1   Today is our day before departure day, so we are doing laundry, going grocery shopping and getting packed up.  We don’t have far to travel tomorrow, but we like to be organized.