Monday, December 15, 2008

Update and Christmas Greetings!

I figured it was about time to do an update. We left South Dakota the 19th of October for warmer climates and take a few months off. As you know, Bob and I fell in love with South Dakota this past summer. Bob and I made quite a few friends this past summer and for our first workamping experience, we were very greatful to everyone that helped us. We will also miss the buffalo and all the amazing wildlife. We will being going back next summer though, as there is so much yet we want to explore.
We'll take you on a journey of where we have been so far. We left SD at 8 am on the 19th and drove through Nebraska and for our first night stayed at a campground in Sterling, CO. Thought we would stay longer than one night, but there was a snow storm predicted so we moved on the next morning. When we left in the morning the CO sky was so gray and the weather was gloomy all day. On night 2, we stayed just over into the New Mexico border in Raton. Still very cold and the man at the campground told us that the bears sometime come out into the campground at night - Toby was not happy with that so again we moved on the next day.
On day 3, our next stop was Elephant Butte, NM. It was beautiful and WARM. The temperatures were in the 70s and 80s. Now we're talking - our kind of weather. We ended up staying in Elephant Butte for almost 2 weeks. It gave us a chance to recharge our batteries (ours not the RV) and soak up the much needed sunshine. Elephant Butte is a small city between with Truth or Consequences being very close by. There is a park nearby that has a small scale version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall with memorials and monuments of all the wars called the Veterans Memorial Park. It was very touching and beautiful. Bob and I had the opportunity to see the Vietnam Wall many years in Washington, D.C. and the park in NM was an exact duplicate.
After leaving NM we traveled to Arizona and planted roots in Tucson for 2 weeks. Tucson was pretty neat. We went to Old Tucson Studios which is a movie set where a lot of western movies and western TV shows were produced. Spent the whole day there and they even had a western shoot out show and traveling medicine man show. Very impressive!
Also while in Tucson we had the opportunity to meet with 2 couples from the Workamping group we belong to. Bob and I met Jaimie and George and Jim and Sharon at the campground Jaimie and George were staying at in Tucson. Jaimie and George have many years of workamping experience and were so nice to us. Jaimie has written and has published many books on the RV lifestyle which has helped us very much over the years and gave us the courage to do what we are doing. We also had lunch with Jim and Sharon, and they also have quite a few years of traveling experience and they were so nice to share their experiences with us.
Jaimie and George invited us to a parade in Tucson called the "All Souls Procession". This was a parade that reminded me of a combination of Halloween and Mardi Gras. It is a parade in which people celebrate and mourn people in their lives that have died. The first parade was organized in 1990 by a local artist that was mourning the death of her father. It was really pretty amazing all the costumes and the work that is put into this parade every year.
After leaving Tucson we headed to Phoenix, AZ. We stayed at a RV resort in Goodyear which was only about 5 miles outside of Phoenix. Bob and I really liked the Goodyear area. The campsite we had was very large and the weather was amazing. Nice and warm, no humidity. The resort also had a hot tub which we were able to use. We also had a chance to meet another workamping couple - Kimbery and Jerry. They were staying in the same resort and they have been on the road for a few years now too. What a nice couple, they showed us around Phoenix and we were able to spend some time with them before they had to head to CA to manage a Christmas tree lot. We have chatted on and off with them before via e-mail and we follow each others blogs. It was pretty amazing, we had so much in common and felt like we had known them a very long. We really do appreciate their friendship and the time they spent with us.
There was a pretty large Walmart in Phoenix. We had never seen one that big before. We were able to stock up on some groceries before we left - sometimes you don't know where you are going to end up, so it's best to make sure you have plenty of groceries - just in case. I was pretty sad to leave to Goodyear, I really loved the area and the resort we were at. Bob, Toby and I had a very nice Thanksgiving. We made our own Thanksgiving dinner and just enjoyed the day and the weather and gave "thanks" for the opportunities that have been provided to us. We have job leads for February and March will hopefully come back sometime during the winter.
We left Phoenix on the 30th of November to reach our current destination - Quartzsite, AZ. It is a pretty amazing place. Quartzsite is a very popular RV destination for the winter. There is a huge RV Show in January and many other types of shows through out the winter. It's hard to describe - but there is like many tents and buildings that sell anything and everything here. It is like a town that is basically a huge flea/craft market located in the middle of the desert. It's pretty amazing. Bob and I are staying here atleast through January and part of February. We are hoping the jobs we applied for work out so we can back to Phoenix area for 2 1/2 months before heading back to South Dakota. We have friends that we worked with in SD, coming to stay in the campground we are at. They are a great couple, also helpful during our first workamping summer, and we are happy to have them as friends and are very excited to see them.
Bob and I are enjoying the holidays very much this year. It's the first time in a very long time that we have been able to truly appreciate and enjoy the true meaning and the spirits of the holiday season. We are very glad that we have made this change in our lives and very much value the people we have met along the way. We also appreciate the love and support of family and friends back home that have kept in touch with us and support us in our journeys. Enjoy our photos and I'm sorry this is so long - I will try very hard to post a little more often.
We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy Happy New Year!
With Much Love,
Bob, Sharon and Toby

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It Is Almost Time To Move On

Bob and I will be finishing up our jobs in South Dakota this Saturday the 18th. We will be leaving on Sunday for destinations unknown at this time. Our plans at this time is to go to New Mexico. We have never been there so thought we would check it out and see what it is like. Eventually we plan on being in Arizona by the 1st of December to stay for the winter.
Our time here in South Dakota has been wonderful, better than we could ever have imagnined. The area is the most beautiful we have ever seen. The sky is the most beautiful, deep rich blue we have ever seen also. The wildlife and the many, many places we visited has made it a summer to remember. We are going to miss South Dakota, but we are looking forward to new adventures also.
The weather the last 2 weeks has been pretty cold. Getting down in the 30's and 20's at night. Haven't endured this kind of cold weather in a long, long time. We are certainly looking forward to going where it is warmer.
As soon as we get on the road Sunday, we will post again to let everyone know where we are.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

South Dakota Adventures Continue

Summer is winding down and Bob, Toby and I are looking forward to some time off. We finish our jobs in South Dakota in mid-October and are looking forward to getting back on the road and exploring unknown territories. Even though our plans are not written in stone, we plan on going to Nevada to see what the area has to offer. We also would like to go to St. George, Utah and then on to Tuscon, Arizona and visit with a friend.
We have worked very hard this summer and have really enjoyed our days off visiting so many places that we never imagined we would ever see. One of our favorite places to go - Custer State Park. We spend hours there watching the Buffalo, seeing the mountain goats, and the long horn sheep. We've been to the Badlands which was absolutely amazing. The Badlands are South Dakota's version of the Grand Canyon. The colors were beautiful and it was very hot, over 100 degrees the day we went and the air was very dry - no humidity. In Hot Springs we went to a wild horse sanctuary. The sanctuary has over 11,000 acres and they rescue the wild mustangs and other horses that will be put down. They bring them back to the sanctuary to let them run free.
The weather has been great lately. The colors are starting to show and hopefully the snow will hold off until we are ready to leave. We will post again to keep everyone informed of our journeys.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

South Dakota

As you all know we are settled in South Dakota and having a great time. Our jobs are going well and we've been visiting as many places as possible on our days off. Our first place to visit of course was Mt. Rushmore. Seeing it in person was more than I could ever imagine. Photos of it pale in comparison to seeing it for real. The feelings we experienced seeing Mt. Rushmore is something I'll never forget.
We have also gone to a place called Bear Country. It is a drive through wild life preserve that is home to many bears, wolves, bobcat, mountain goats, buffalo, reindeer and many other animals. It was so cool to see the bears up close.
A few of the other places we visited were the Presidential Wax Musuem - on display is a wax figure of every President of the United States. We have also gone to Crazy Horse Memorial, visited a Kangaroo Ranch, and the town of Deadwood. In Deadwood we visited Mt. Moriah Cemetary and saw where Calmity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok were buried. Also in Deadwood, the actor Kevin Costner owns a casino that we visited and he is also resposible for a visitor attraction called Tatanka. Tatanka is the Indian name for buffalo. He commissioned an artist to create bronze sculptures of buffalo being chased by Indians. The Indians used to chase the buffalo for food and clothing and in building their tents. Costner bought the land that was being destroyed as an auto junk yard and cleaned it up turned it into the visitor center. It was really beautiful.
Another thing we did was a 9 hour bus tour that tooks us to various places in the Black Hills. The name of the place that does the bus tours is called Fort Hays. All of the buildings that were used in the filming of the movie, Dances with Wolves (which starred Kevin Costner) are on the property of the tour service. They also have a chuck wagon and dinner show after they bring back from the bus tour. The movie was filmed not far from here and never realized that Kevin Costner had so much interest and was so an advocate on the preservation of the Black Hills.
Custer State Park is another great place we've visited. The day we went we were fortunate enough to see a field of about 200 buffalo, some of them came up real close the truck as we were driving through. There were also quite a few babies in the herd also. I was glad to be able to take so real close up photos of the buffalos.
As I said we're enjoying ourselves, and we'll try not to be so long in posting next time as we visit the many other places we have to go yet while here in the Black Hills. Enjoy our photos, we'll add some more next time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

We left Crescent, Iowa about 10 this morning and decided we would drive to just inside the eastern border of South Dakota. Once we reach SD we are going to stay there for a couple days and rest up. We arrived in Mitchell, SD about 3 pm and the weather was just beautiful. The temperature was still around 70 and the campground was quiet and peaceful. Bob unhooked the trailer from the truck, we went to the grocery store and came back to camp and just relaxed the rest of the day.

On Monday we went to downtown Mitchell and visited a place called the Corn Palace. The Corn Palace is the biggest tourist attraction the town has. The original Palace was built in 1892, torn down and rebuilt in 1905. The third and final Corn Palace was built in 1921. The first 2 were wood structures with the last building being built from steel and brick. The Palace has a basketball court and stage that can be used games, trade shows, proms, graduations, etc. throughout the year.

The outside of building is decorated with ears of corn, rye and oats to create new themes and images. The mural pictures are replaced every summer when the corn matures and starts to decay. They use about 275,000 ears of corn sawed in half and nailed flat-side to the building. It takes approximately 3 months to redecorate and costs over $100.000 every year. I've attached some photos but seeing it up close is even better. It really was amazing.

After our tour of the Corn Palace Bob and I went back to camp and again just relaxed the rest of the day. Tuesday we anticipate driving to Wall, SD. By doing that we will be 3/4 of the way to Keystone which is our final destination.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

We left Concordia around noon today and drove through part of Iowa. The wind as slowed down some, that's why we waited until noon, to see if it would slow down a little before starting out. The high winds certainly doesn't help our fuel mileage either. We stayed outside Council Bluff, Iowa in a campground in Crescent. Not much to write about today. We are thankful that we have had safe travels so far and not too many problems along the way. Toby has been doing well as long as he can sit on my lap. Bob tried putting him in his crate on the day that we left and after listening to him howl and whine for almost 2 hours, I couldn't take it anymore and let him sit in the front with me. I know it's not the safest place to let him sit, but it is the best for our sanity.

Friday, May 2, 2008

We left Paducah, KY this morning at 7:30 and drove into Illinois. It was very windy and rainy all day. We drove through Illinois into Missouri, stopping in Concordia, Missouri. Bob left the 5th wheel hooked up to the truck and it was still real windy. He put the jacks down on the trailer which helped the rocking from the wind. Concordia is about 1 hour from Kansas City, so I'm sure we were still feeling the affects from the tornadoes they had yesterday. The campground we stayed at was right off the interstate and unfortunately could hear the traffic. We didn't sleep well from the road noise and the loud winds. We were more than eager to leave Saturday morning and get on the road and hopefully drive away from the bad weather.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

This morning we left Stone Mountain and our route took us around the outskirts of Atlanta. The traffic was fairly heavy even at 10 in the morning. Bob felt like driving a while today, so we drove through the rest of Georgia, Tennessee and 3/4 of the way through Kentucky. We stopped for the night in Paducah, KY at Duck Creek RV Park. The owner of the park had a fenced in area that he said we were more than welcome to use for Toby to stretch his legs and exercise. Needless say Toby had a ball being able to run. Bob and I decided to turn in early so we could get an early start in the morning.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today we went to the Confederate Memorial which was just an awesome experience. The mountain itself is all granite cut into the side of the mountain is the sculpture. The sculpture itself consists of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson. The carving is 90 feet tall and 190 feet wide and stands eleven and half feet out from the actual side of the mountain. It towers 400 feet above the ground in a frame that is 360 feet square, which equals 3 acres. The sculpture was started in 1915 and wasn't finished until 1970. From 1928 to 1964 all work was halted on the sculpture, so for 36 years it wasn't worked on. It's hard to believe that a sculpture of that magnitude looks so small on a mountain so large.

Bob and I took the skyride, which is basically a swiss cable car, 825 feet up, to the top of the mountain that the memorial is sculptured on and we were able to walk around the whole top of it. We also took a train ride around the mountain, played miniature golf and went to the antique car museum.

Our last stop for the day was the Antebellum Plantation and Farm. This was a plantation from 1845, along with a lot of other buildings on the plantation from that period, such as the smokehouse, a doctor's cabin, slave cabins, schoolhouse, etc. The plantation reminded me of Genessee Country Museum in New York if anyone has ever been there.

We had a great day and a lot of fun. We went back to camp made dinner and made plans to get back on the road tomorrow. It is nice to be able to stop along the way to visit places we've always wanted to see.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We arrived in Stone Mountain, GA at noon today. It is a very beautiful park and our campsite had a wooden deck with a charcoal grille on it. We took a walk around the park and didn't even cover 1/4 of the park it is that big. Later in the evening we made a campfire, which is our first campfire in about 3 years. Never realized how much we missed little things like the campfire. Tomorrow we are going to the other side of the park and view the Confederate Memorial and other attractions the park has.