2009 2nd Qtr Travels

07/06/11

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2nd Quarter

 

April

We started out April in Benson, AZ at the SKP Sagauro RV Park.  While here we visited with friends in the area and Don had some dental work done using their dentist.  We did some geocaching in the area, which had several very clever hides.

Here's Don standing on some dinosaur tracks (really) we came across on a geocache hunt

Here's our friend Lee looking for a cache

The four of us taking a lunch break while out for the day

What a great view from up here. Can U see our car way down there?

April 6th thru 10th -- On the 6th we moved from Benson to Verde Valley, an RV place near Cottonwood, AZ.  Our purpose was to meet with Marvin from PrecisionRV who installed solar panels from AM Solar on our roof along with the necessary control equipment and displays.  This will make us more self sufficient and able to stay most anywhere.  Here is Don with Marvin working on wiring at the battery compartment.    The roof now has 4 panels and the wiring to let them charge the batteries.   We had a difficult finding the best place for the inside display.  There is little wall space in the bedroom area (closest to the battery compartment) that doesn't have a slide out wall or house a pocket door.  We finally found a spot under one of the closets above the furnace ducts.     And here is what the display looks like.    No lights at night (good since it is in the bedroom)  We also had Marvin install an auto generator start for us.  This allows the generator to start automatically if the batteries should fall too low.  Not likely now with the solar, but will also let us set a temperature for the AC or heater to come on when we are not there.  Shadow is happy with the addition.

April 10 thru 15th -- Just off the Interstate 40 a few miles east of Gallup NM is the small community of Church Rock Village.  This is the home of Red Rock Park.  This park has alternately been a state park, city park and privately owned, but today is operated by the City of Gallup.  We were told though that it was soon to be a NM state park again.  There is a rock named church rock.  We thought it was because the pillars resembled church spires, but we learned it was because there is a cross put on the back by nature.  Now we did walk around the rock and saw the cracks in the back.  The lines cross, but....well it would take some imagination.  Anyway, it still has the look of a cathedral.  This is the view out our front window  .  We decided to take a hike around the church rock.  It was supposed to be a 3 1/2 mile loop, but we did get off trail several times so it ended up being much further.  However, a great walk and lots of interesting views.

Man, I didn't realize it was so far...

Anasazi evidence along the way

Interesting rock formations along the way

...and some more

Yikes! That's the path?

It's getting closer

There goes Don way ahead of me...

...still.

Ah, back side is sand dunes

Isn't this interesting

On our way back down. Trail to the left, motor home way down in the Vee.

Great! We made it back.

 

April 16th thru 20th -- We attended "The Rally", this year in Albuquerque, a Good Sam annual production.  We had some specific products we were looking for and hoped to get the usual rally discounts.  Not many photo moments except just to say we were in a "sea of RVs" at the Balloon Fiesta Park. 

April 21st thru 28th -- Palo Duro Canyon.  Who knew?  We lived in Texas 10 years and never heard of it before a couple of years ago.  However we found it is VERY popular.  Not a place for a weekend of solitude.  Not as deep as the Grand Canyon in AZ, but impressive none the less.  Great colors and textures.   

One of the great things about this place was the campsite and the turkeys and bunnies there every day.  One morning I woke to 5 hens feeding under the birdfeeder and 2 toms trying to impress them.

Girls eating and guys just strutting

Man, I'm impressed, hope the hens are

From here we are moving to Abilene to visit a friend before heading south.

 

May

We began May in Abilene for 2 nights visiting with a friend from high school then moved to a few days in Fredericksburg TX.  Next was 2 nights with our friends John & Jill who live out in the country near Bastrop TX before 2 nights in Waco to visit Donna's brother.  Next was a couple of nights in Parker visiting with our former neighbors and good friends Jim & Peggy before 3 nights in Norman OK visiting with Don's sister Janice & Jim.  Then 3 nights at Lee's RV getting our tow hitch replaced as a result of a Spartan recall.  Whew!  We have spent 2 to 3 nights so many places we are ready for a rest!

We have now moved to Cherokee Landing State Park near Tahlequah OK for a week.  Hoping for some R&R and plan to visit an old friend who will turn 90 in a couple of weeks.  We must move on the 23rd to Sedalia MO for the 2009 Escapade (Escapees Rally) to round out May.  Sorry, not much in the way of pictures.   The only taken are of our upgrade to the monitor for our fresh, waste and LP tanks.  Those can be seen on the Upgrade page for our motor home.

 

June

June started out in Hannibal MO, home to Mark Twain, or Samuel Clemmons as his mother knew him.  Hannibal is a tiny town capitalizing on the Mark Twain, Huck Finn and other names.  It is picturesque, located on  the Mississippi River.             

After Hannibal we moved to the tiny town of Moscow, IA where HWH, maker of our leveling jacks is located.  We stopped and within a couple of hours they had replaced the springs and valve on one of our springs so that they now work as expected.  Then we moved into Wisconsin, stopping to see the Wisconsin Dells.  The Dells are an aesthetically pleasing geologic formation with the Wisconsin River.  However the town is interesting in that although only 2500 souls make their life there, it is a giant amusement park with one theme park after another.  The Dells though are beautiful enough to make one want to come see them.  We took a boat trip up & down river....

Lovely along the river

Rocks with history

Stand Rock today

Along the river

,,,,,,and more

Impressive rocks

A lush setting

June 8th thru 13th -- We spent this time at the far northern tip of a tiny peninsula on the Michigan UP.  This area gets more snow than nearly anywhere else.  Mainly because they are surrounded by Lake Superior.  You can see they are proud of their snowfall.....   

Although early June and spring was over most other places we had been, it was just beginning here.  The area is lush and beautiful.  We parked right in front of a lovely lake.  This was the view out our front windshield, left & right...       There is a fort preserved and the drive along the Lake Superior shore was beautiful.  A great area for the summer!  We found a beautiful golf course just a couple of miles from the campground and of course there is always the wildlife....

June 13th thru 16th -- We moved to the shore of Lake Michigan.  The water is 20 feet from our front door and the sun rises over the water  .  Life is good.

June 17th thru 24th --  Moved 100 miles up to the Tahquamenon Falls area.  What beautiful forests, rivers & lakes.  So lush.  However, we had heard about the black flies and the mosquitoes.....well, nothing you've heard could really prepare.  We ran into the black flies in Manistique.  More annoying than anything.  Tiny little flies that just get in your face trying to fly up your nose, in your eyes and so on.  The mosquitoes on the other hand.  The swarms were overwhelming.  Here's a pic of Don's back as we were on one of the trails.  You can count over 50 on his jacket.  Fortunately we got one of those net hoods so they were off the face/neck and it was cool enough to keep the jacket on (which is good because we weren't taking them off!).  Whew!  Don calls this his "mosquito condom"  

One special place we stopped was Oswalds Bear Ranch, a rescue habitat for black bears.  They have areas for the adult females, adult males and of course the babies.  They do not breed the bears, so these are all rescued animals.  The baby we are feeding and petting is one of twin girls who's mother was killed when loggers felled a tree on their den.  Even the adults  are playful with each other and appear to be at ease in their habitat.

The Tahquamenon Falls consists of an Upper & Lower Falls.  Both beautiful.  We spent one day walking 5 miles between them.  Here's Don ahead of me on the trail (as usual)... 

Here we are off to find a GeoCache that is out in the boonies.  We actually see a small black bear in the wild on the road in front of us, but he took off as soon as he spotted us and we couldn't get the camera up fast enough.   

And finally the falls.  So beautiful

The Lower Falls is a series of small falls

The upper falls is 200 ft across and falls about 50 ft

...on down the river

The wild flowers were a burst of color and so beautiful (it is still early spring here).

 

We stayed in state park campgrounds here.  All beautiful and mostly serene.  And of course there are always the visitors... 

June 24th thru 27th -- Moved to Brimley State Park just 15 miles from Sault Sainte Marie (pronounced soo saint marie).  Have reservations for a dinner cruise thru the Soo Locks.

The Soo Locks on the St. Mary River connect Lake Superior and Lake Huron and the locks make the 23 foot difference in the lake levels a smooth transition, rather than the rapids that once had to be negotiated to move between the lakes.  Unlike the Panama Canal, the Soo Locks are without charge and they are quite busy with both small boats and large freighters.

Our trip was with Soo Locks Boat Tours

Here the lock gates are opening so that we can enter

The lock is filling with water so that we will be at the same level

Gates opening and we are ready to exit

 

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