Our Lazy Daze Motorhome

Our Lazy Daze Motorhome
2009 Lake Louise

Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 August Birmingham, AL to Bozeman, MT

August 3, 2013. Sunday: We are finally on our way!!! We just had our RV roof sealed again, a new HD 26 inch Jensen 12 volt TV installed, and replaced our black and grey tank valves.  We were hot to trot to get out of Birmingham and on to our adventure out West. After checking our new TV’s reception, jeep in tow, we started our adventure with a starting mileage of 70,774.0.  We arrive at Whitten COE campground in Fulton, MS.  We stopped here once before with our friends, Bob and Marilyn Ludwig in 2011 and really liked it.  We had a pull-through site #8 near the water.  $12 with the senior pass.  It was a very relaxing evening, watching the sunset.  We drove 130 miles today.

We take shifts driving so we don't tire out!!

Our first stop.

This was the view from our campsite.

What a way to end the first day of our adventure!
August 4, 2014. Monday:   We departed at 10 am and arrived at 2:35pm at Lake Charles State Park in Powhaton, AR.  Mileage was 80,137.6. We had a pull-through site number 84 with water, sewer, and electric for $24.86 with a senior discount. This park is out of the way on AR route 25 south of route 63, but very beautiful. The actual address is 3705 Highway 25, Powhaton, AK 72458 (870-878-6595).  We drove 233 miles today.

We got a nice paved pull-through.

Our campsite was very near the water.  Ed grilled chicken!  Tasty!!
August 5, 2014. Tuesday: We left Lake Charles State Park at 12 noon. We had lunch at the Country Cottage in Thayer, MO.  We recommend it if you are in the area. At Thayer, we took Rt. 19 North.  It was narrow, hilly and windy.  We took US 60 at Winona east toward Van Buren.  Rt. 60 is a 4 lane, 65 mph highway. We stopped on Rt. 60 for almost 30 minutes to discuss what we were going to do in way of a campground, since we believed there wouldn’t be any Wi-Fi connection at our planned next stop, a National Park campground called Big Spring.   We then took Rt. 103 toward the Big Spring.  We stayed at site 220 for two nights in the only loop with electricity.  With our “Senior Pass” the cost was $17.  The park is located in the Ozark National Scenic Waterway.  Although the signal was weak, we did have some Wi-Fi and phone service.

This is what Route 19 looks like.  A little hilly!

Lots of deer at this campground!

August 6, 2014. Wednesday: Missouri Ozarks:  We drove to Van Buren and had barbeque for lunch. Ed lost the screw that holds the lens in his frames, so we picked up a repair kit at the local drug store.  The towns in this Ozark area are very small.  Except for an occasional McDonald’s, all of the stores are local.  We traveled on route D, 21 and 106 and found a lot of barns for Jeanne to photograph. Note that the county roads in Missouri mostly have lettered routes rather than numbers. We then drove a four mile gravel road down to the great Blue Spring.  We’ve never seen anything like this. The spring just rises out of the rock and the pool at its origin is as deep as the Statue of Liberty is tall.  We continued our back roads adventure to Rocky Falls which at this time of the year was just a stream tumbling over the rock ledges.  Several adults and kids were climbing the rocks of the falls as well as swimming in the pool below the falls. It rained this evening and we microwaved soup for dinner.

The barns on D were spectacular.  The following barns were not all on D, but on our scenic route.

It was a little overcast, but mostly beautiful.

Jeanne loves to photograph barns.  Don't know how old they were, but they were OLD.

Love this one.

This was just a hay barn but we loved it just the same.

Suitable for framing.

August 7, 2014. Thursday:  We left Big Spring in the RV at 10:30 am headed for Alley Mills taking rt. 60, then 19 north to Eminence and then 106 west. The mill is in a really pretty setting adjacent to another natural spring and stream.  The mill building is original, newly painted bright red and is under renovation. We took several pictures and moved on.  Stopped for gas in Houston, MO. We had to visit the Camping World outside of Columbia, MO to buy a table and campground book.  Thought maybe we could stay overnight there but they did not have space available so drove on to Cottonwood Campground north of I-70 at Columbia on rt. 63.  It is a very nice campground.  We stayed here on a previous trip out west.  Charge was $36/night.  Also bought 6 gal of propane.

Alley Mills.  It was a beautiful setting.

August 8, 2014. Friday:  We left Cottonwood CG traveling on I-70 at 9:00 am., stopped for gas near Kansas City and traveled across I-70 and I-29 north to Nebraska City where we caught route 2 to Lincoln, NB, which became route 77 leading I-80 west. We had originally planned to stay at the Pawnee State Park, which sounded very nice with electrical hook-ups only.  When we called that morning, they only had 4 sites with electricity left the night before and didn’t know how many had come in overnight.  Jeanne had discovered a community park in the very small town of Beaver Crossing.  So we drove past Pawnee and went on to Beaver Crossing. Jeanne read that this town had a donation-only town park.  She also read that it had been devastated by a tornado and this was obvious as we drove in as rebuilding was going on everywhere.  The large brick school was completely destroyed. The park itself was pretty bad and the town had seen better times.  We decided to move on to the Double Nickel Campground in York, Nebraska at exit 360 just next to I-80.  This CG was recently purchased by a young couple from California.  We had a full hook-up site without cable for $32.23. A nice view across fields and we did not hear any highway traffic. Although this campground is in the “middle of nowhere” and needed some renovation, it was very nice and the bathrooms were clean, so we would stay here again.

We spent 7 hours on the road today, arrived at 4 pm. Tonight was a frozen dinner for Jeanne, a peanut butter loaded Fiber One Bar for Ed and a bottle of wine. Jeanne was having a really tough time tonight missing her mother.  She is still grieving from her loss of her mother last November.

August 9, 2014. Saturday: It rained throughout the night.  Ed left our chairs out (someone please remind him to put away the chairs each night) and they were soaked.  When we woke, we found an overcast, wet morning with a predicted 90% chance of rain for the day. We dumped tanks, cleaned up RV, made and big breakfast of eggs, bacon and muffins and even took showers.  We left at 12:45 pm for Ogallala SRA.  We stopped for gas in Grand Island, NE and changed our destination en route to the Cabela CG in Sidney, NE. They were pretty full so we took site 30, an electric only site.   We arrived at 5:30 pm MT.  We drove 300.8 miles.  A huge rain storm swept through the CG around 6:30 pm MT. Campground fee was $22.78.  The site was narrow and all on gravel with a good southern sky for the DirecTV.  We parked next to two huge toy haulers pulled by long buses returning from Sturgis.  They were headed home to OK.  The owners, our new friends, Eric and Lynn Pittman, opened the haulers to reveal very expensive bikes costing upwards of $80,000.  Wow, never saw anything so fancy. 

The Platt River Arch on I-80 in Nebraska

This was a horrible accident on I-80.  An 18 wheeler turned over.

Nebraska sky.

Sunset in Sidney NE.

The campground at Sidney Cabela's is level and all gravel.  Very nice.

$80,000 bike.  Customized.  Very nice.

Our new friends are Lynn (second from the left) and Eric (middle) Pittman.  Their friend Shawn is on the left.  And Shawn's mom and dad on the right.  They had a great time in Sturgis, but were headed home in this pic.

August 10, 2014. Sunday:  Nebraska to South Dakota:  We were up about 6:45 am MT to say goodbye to our biker friends.  We walked around the Cabela property and took pictures including the Total Challenge, a massive metal sculpture of two bull elk fighting or rutting.  Cabelas opened at 10 am so we waited and shopped.  Traveled north on 385 stopping for gas in Bridgeport, NE.  We continued our travels on Rt. 26/92 and stopped at Bayard to visit the Chimney Rock National Historic Site Visitors Center.  Although we did not walk out to Chimney Rock we took lots of pictures from the visitors’ center. We have a few brochures on each of the trails represented here: Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express all following basically the same route at this location.  We continued onto Gering and stayed at Robidoux Campground site 16 for $27/night.  They were almost full so could not get a pull-through.  This is a beautiful CG.  We stayed here at a few years ago, but had forgotten how nice it is.  Arrived about 4:00 pm.  Tonight was the largest supermoon or perigee moon of 2014. The closest the moon usually gets to earth is about 30,000 miles, but tonight it was 863 miles closer.  This is the closest the moon has been in 20 years. Ed tried to get pictures with the Nikon D-90, but only got one decent picture. The mosquitoes attacked Jeanne tonight and she had welts everywhere.  She had to take a benedryl to settle it down.

Nebraska is so flat.

Love the windmills.

Chimney Rock in Nebraska.

This is a picture of all the trails that went west.  It was fun to see where they veered off from one another.

Chimney Rock was a landmark for the travelers coming west.

A large piece of wood across from the entrance to Chimney Rock.  Reminded us of driftwood.

Sassy loves the cool air of the west.

We love this park and highly recommend it.  It has the greenest grass of any park we have stayed in out here.

The Super Moon.  Shot taken by Ed on his D-90.

August 11, 2014. Monday: Happy 64th birthday to Jeanne. Ed was awakened by the cat and finally crawled out of bed at 5:45 am.  Jeanne slept in.  A chilly 59⁰ in Gering, Nebraska.  Ed figured it was time to check the tire pressure, so while doing so, he could not get a pressure reading on the passenger side inside dually.   He used our pressure pump to put some air in and when he tried to check it again, the extender blew off and all of the air rushed out of the tire.  A local RV repair person recommended driving to a tire store in town.  He said we wouldn’t hurt the tire.  Instead, we called Good Sam’s Emergency Road Service about 10:00 am.  They contacted a local tire service (Nebraskaland Tire, 709 Broadway, Scottsbluff, NE 69361; 308-632-7731) who said they would be there after finishing another job.  Long story short, we did not get the tire repaired and back on the rig until about 4:00 pm.  The cost of dismounting and remounting and stem repair with tax was $159.  Service call comes with Good Sam’s service so we weren't charged for that.  We had to stay another night at Robidoux Campground, but had to move to another site, without cable for $24.

We drove out to the Scott’s Bluff National Monument Visitor Center and drove to the top for great view.  It was amazing.  We stamped our National Park book at the visitor center, then went to Walgreens to pick up Jeanne’s prescription and ended for dinner at the “Steel Grill.”  Fun restaurant, great steaks and wine and beer.  Waitress was Brook Burford, who explained that she and her husband live and work on her father-in-law's feed ranch that currently has 16,000 head of cattle.  They get the cattle as calves, fatten them up and then get paid $1.69 per pound cattle weight, which is the most they have ever been paid.  We thought that if the cattle cost was up, maybe our dinner would cost less, but not so.  Ed had rib eye, Jeanne had New York, both for $26, but worth every penny!!  After a great dinner, we returned to our CG to find a huge orange moon and we took  pictures before bed. 

Very close to Scott's Bluff.

We drove to the top and took some good shots.

It was about 99 degrees that day.  The sun is excruciating in the west, even though the shade temps are not bad.

This is the true Scott's Bluff.  The wagon trains used this as a directional while traveling west.
Ed, leading the team west!!
Dinner at the Steel Grill for Jeanne's birthday.  Lots of fun.

Yes, we were actually on the Oregon Trail!

August 12, 2014. Tuesday:  We were up around 7:00 am and departed the Robidoux Campground around 9:45 MT.  We caught 71N to 26W and 385 N.  We took an unexpected turn off 385 because there was a sign to "CARHENGE".  We didn't know what "CARHENGE" was, but we were willing to drive 5 or 6 miles off the beaten path to find out.  So Carhenge is just what it sounds like.  Cars that remind you of Stone Henge.  It was amazing.  Antique cars coming up out of the ground and stacked on top of one another.  It was awesome.  The grandsons would certainly approve!!  

We then drove through Custer and into the Custer State Park on 16E.  We reserved site 19E in the Stockade North campground of the Custer National Park.  The fee was $25 + a reservation fee of $7.70 + tax = $34.08.  The reservation fee was good for the length of the reservation, one to 14 days. Then when we pulled in to the guard shack we found out there was an additional $15 charge to get into the park that no one had told us about.  We were not happy to hear of this.  That made our rate $49.08 for one night's stay.  The most expensive stay on this trip.  However, we did get to see the park. We decided to drive through park that evening.  We took the 13 mile Needles Highway up through terrific rock formations and some narrow tunnels 8 to 9 feet wide (not suitable for a motorhome!).  Then took  the 15 mile Wildlife Loop Road, where we encountered two large buffalo herds, deer, pronghorn sheep and a small group of burros.  The burros were people friendly and we took pictures of each other with them.  

We stopped for a late dinner at the “Buglin' Bull” restaurant for buffalo burgers, KJ chard and a beer sampling. Downtown displayed several decorated buffalo statues for seemingly some fundraiser.  It was fun photographing them.

Carhenge Car Art located in Alliance Nebraska off US Rt 385.

Jeanne's family owned a Plymouth just like the one above her head!

It seems every road in Montana there is a rail train coming through.  They are beautiful.  We mostly saw open coal cars.

The entrance to Custer State Park in Custer, SD.

Needles Highway in Custer State Park.

No motorhomes allowed!

Cathedral Spires in Custer State Park.

Several very small tunnels on Needles Highway.

Wildlife Loop Road.

Pronghorn are in the sheep family. 

We saw several buffalo herds.  Many buffalo calves.

We decided this baby burro was too big to still be nursing!

Ed wanted to take this one home....

Buffalo were painted all over town.  When we lived in Billings, MT, we had the "Horse of Course" fundraiser to renovate the old Train Depot.

Love this one.

Ed took the Bull by the Horns!!!

Wish we had taken more pics.  They were on every corner in downtown Custer.

This is where we had dinner at the Bugglin' Bull.
August 13, 2014. Wednesday:   We had reservations at the Indian Campground and RV Park in Buffalo, Wy.  This was supposed to be a 3 hour drive.  Our Garmin and iPad sent us on route 16 west.  We left at 11 am.  Jeanne was driving and there was long road construction at 2 places on 16 so that we covered about 40 miles in an hour and half.  Stayed on 16 until Moorcroft, WY, where we had a Subway sandwich before getting on I-90.  Took pictures of the 80 mph signs. Can you believe??  80 mph??

We finally arrived at the CG at 3:30 pm.  We drove 192 miles in 4.5 hours.  That's an average of 43 miles an hour...UGH!  The Indian Campground was very busy so we parked in a site right at the entrance.  We wanted that site because it had a clear southern sky and we wanted to be able to pick up DirecTV.  They let us stay there and we decided on a two night stay to rest up. Cost $78.97 or $39.49/night.  Full hookup and pretty good cable TV.  Couldn’t connect to their Wi-Fi, even though we were parked 50 feet from office. They had some pretty good Indian made silver jewelry there and we bought a necklace and earrings for Jeanne's brother, Jim to give to his wife, Marian.  They had very large and clean showers and rest rooms and a large laundry.  It was one of the nicest, friendliest campground on this trip.  We would definitely stay there again.

The cloud in this one made the photo.

Another train...

Loved all the oil wells along the way.

The Indian Campground was one of the best.  Check it out at rvreviews!

August 14, 2014. Thursday:  Thankful, we are not driving today.  Neither of us slept very well.  We did laundry and walked around the campground a couple of times.  The campground had a rally of women called “Sisters on the fly,” a nationwide membership of five thousand women who restore and travel in their camper trailers, some dating back to the 1950s.  Jeanne took a lot of pictures and fell in love with the concept of a camping getaway with women from all walks of life and  ranging in age from 20s up through 80s.  Most of them at this rally dressed like cowgirls, boots, hats, and lots of denim.  Their RV's decorations had every theme imaginable from Coke Cola to African. There were 74 units at this particular rally and these women liked to visit and party.

We went into the small town of Buffalo with its historic Main Street.  We bought a watch for Kaeden at a local sporting store that sold everything you would ever need for outdoor adventure.  Also toured the Occidental Hotel, the location for writing of the book “The Virginian.”  We walked the town taking pictures and returned to our CG.
We made reservations at the KOA about 4 miles north of Red Lodge, MT.  The distance from Buffalo to Red Lodge was estimated at 224 miles.

Jeanne fell in love with these small, restored camper trailers.  The Sisters on the Fly are a nationwide group.

They started with only two sisters who loved to fly fish and they invited their friends, and they invited theirs.

So as of July, they have a nationwide membership of 5,000+ women.
Jeanne just fell head over heals in love with these warm, friendly women.

So we are headed down to Colorado to see a man about a trailer!

Hey...by the way, don't squat on yer spurs!!

This lady sold aprons.  We bought a "Route 66".

The Occidental Hotel

Ed wants a shave!

The Parlor Room at the Occidental Hotel.

If we had hung around for a couple hours, their would have been live music.

But we were tired and made our way back to the campground!

Ed modeling an apron that Jeanne bought (Route 66).  He looks cuter in it than Jeanne does!
August 15, 2014. Friday:   Up at 7:00 am, 62⁰. Left about 10:00 am, mileage 81644.6 on I-90 toward Billings.  We arrived at the Red Lodge KOA CG about 3:00 pm.  We had driven 219 miles today.  We got a back-in with electric and water for $38.41/ night or $115.25. The CG was busy with kids on the playground and pool.  It needed some updating, although the bathrooms were clean.  We agreed that if we came back to Red Lodge with our LD again, we would probably camp at the Perry RV Park located on the south side of Red Lodge next to Rock Creek, but without any services.   We will plan a little better next time.  

We walked the streets of Red Lodge, bought a few trinkets and a one day Wyoming fishing license that Ed did not get a chance to use. 

Red Lodge

You never know what you might see in Red Lodge!!!

Lots of locally owned shops.  Some stay, some go.  Every time we come it has a different look.

Jeanne has someone in mind for this shirt but Ed wouldn't let her buy it!!

Red Lodge is a ski town, but also gets very busy in the summer.

August 16, 2014. Saturday:  The goal today was to do a hike on the top of the Beartooth Mountains. Packed water, sandwiches, cameras, binoculars, etc.  It was cold today and overcast.  The wind was howling.  We hiked Island Lake.  The book states it is 3 miles in and out, but we must have gone a little farther because Ed's pedometer read a little over 4 miles.  At 9,500 feet, these Alabamians had a hard time catching their breath.  It was a great hike, very pretty.  Because of the wind Ed scraped the idea of fishing, but once on the hike he wished he had taken some equipment.  We saw several people catching trout.  

The whole area and particularly the drive on the Beartooth Highway is breathtaking.  Everywhere you look there is a beautiful picture that cameras cannot capture.  We came down off the mountain and arrived in Red Lodge about 5:45 pm.  We stopped in a restaurant/wine store that Jeanne had seen called the “Bridge Creek Backcountry Kitchen and Wine Bar,” a very popular restaurant.  We didn't have reservations and were lucky to have gotten a table.  The food was good, but a little expensive.  Of course everything in Red Lodge is a little expensive.  By the time we got back to the RV, we were exhausted.  Over 13,000 steps and close to 6 miles of walking today.

Beginning of the Beartooth Highway on the Red Lodge side.

Many motorcycles on the Beartooths.

Ed taking it all in...

Going over the Bearthooth Highway from Red Lodge, you enter Wyoming and the Shoshone National Forest

This could possibly be our Christmas picture!

At the top of the Bearthooths.

Love this one.  So serene.

Jeanne and Ed at the highest point on the pass...almost 11,000 feet!

Some folks enjoying lunch.  It was too windy for us so we ate our lunch in the car.

Beginning of the Island Lake hike out to Night Lake and Becker Lake

Stones and roots will not deter us!!

Lots of humans, dogs, and equine on the trail.

Island Lake in the background.

Ed mulling it over....

It was a beautiful day for a hike!

Lupine in bloom around Night Lake

If you look directly over the second "t" in tooth, you will see a tiny peak.  That is the Bear's Tooth.

As you come back across into Montana, you enter Custer National Forest.

Sunbeams on the Mountain!
August 17, 2014. Sunday:  We made arrangements to meet our friends Ron and Karin Smith for breakfast at CafĂ© Regis in the Old Grocery Store in Red Lodge.   Afterward, we visited with them at their cabin in the Grizzly Peak community near the ski slopes.  We had not been in their cottage before and they gave us the grand tour.  Our friends, the Johnsons, Griffins and others, have a second home here in the woods.  We drove back to the campground a little after 1:00 pm to work on pictures and travelogue.  Tomorrow, maintenance to the RV at Laurel Ford and dinner tomorrow with Billings friends.

Ron Smith.

Karin Smith

The Smiths at their home in Red Lodge.

August 18, 2014. Monday: We dropped the RV off at Laurel Ford around 12:15 pm and headed off to Billings for lunch with Dale and Judy Peterson at BIN 119 on N. Broadway.  It was good to visit with them and we had such a nice lunch.  Downtown Billings has changed some, but still seems like "home" to us.  We then stopped at Cabelas and Sam’s to shop. Laurel Ford could only do a synthetic oil change, but not the tire rotation and front end alignment since their lift could not handle our rig. We ran to Laurel to pick up the RV and check in at the KOA campground at Billings, which was $44.30 for electric and water hook-up.  Pretty pricey for our blood! 

Then off to Bev Gormley’s new home for cocktails before dinner.  Bev lost her husband Tom last year, but is making wonderful progress with the transition.  She has downsized to a smaller home in a wonderful community where she doesn't have to worry about upkeep on the lawn.  It's all done for her.  Her home was absolutely beautiful inside and out.  Wish we had this type of living opportunity in Hoover!  The Smiths, Johnsons and Griffins joined us there for appetizers and cocktails.  David Johnson and Phil Griffin left to play bridge at the Yellowstone Country Club and Smiths left for home. We went to dinner at the Windmill with Bev, Barb and Judy.  It was so wonderful catching up with these lovely and strong women.  What a great evening!
Dale and Judy Peterson, our dear friends from Billings.  They were busy for dinner so they met us for lunch at Bin 119. 
These women are Jeanne's "Sisters of the Heart".  Left to right, Karin Smith, Barb Griffin, Judy Johnson, and Bev Gormley.  While living in Billings from 1995 - 1998, these women and their husbands took us in and made us feel right at home.
August 19, 2014. Tuesday: We left the KOA at 11:30 am and stopped at Costco.  We arrived at the Bozeman Sunrise CG at 3:45 pm.  We had campsite 19 with electric.  This was the only site available for 3 nights $29.92/n X 3 nights =$89.88.  Nice campground, very accessible to downtown.  Both men's and women's bathrooms were renovated and clean.  The campground was very full.  This was the week that freshman at Montana State University arrived for orientation and there was a lot of traffic. We ate at MacKenzie River Pizza (again) and walked the streets of Bozeman.  When we pulled into the Sunrise, we noticed that there was another Lazy Daze RV in the CG, so we went over an introduced ourselves.  They are Jim and Bev Moore from Salt Lake City.  A very nice couple.  We really enjoyed visiting with them and will continue to stay in touch as they are on their way to Glacier.

Billings to Bozeman is a beautiful drive.  See why they call it Big Sky Country?

The Crazies (mountain range).

Legend has it that a woman went mad and went up into the mountains and was never heard of again.

That is why they call this mountain range the Crazies.

Ed wishes he were out there fishing!

Here we are at the family-run Sunrise Campground in Bozeman.  Very nice.

This is one of our favorite places to eat in Bozeman.  Great everything, including pizza.

Love this bench!

Sunset on Bozeman!

No comments: