Travel Blog

Life of Luxury Day of Details:
Getting down to the nitty gritty fine details of preparing to travel.
Visited with the Marshes. They got an RV dog since we saw them last. We wish them safe travels and good times with their new buddy, Otis.
I noticed the Dutch oven was rusting when checking out our storage. I pulled it out to find we put it away dirty. It still had some cake in it. It isn’t much better after washing it. If anyone has Dutch oven restoration suggestions I am all ears.
Began the potable water tank sensitization. I will drain, rinse and fill it in the morning. I may have found a RV task that I can do.
I washed the stinky dogs. They were hesitant and mopey as usual.
Camping World

Life of Luxury Day of Amnesia:
Woke up bright and early at Onondaga State Park. The dogs and I decided to go on a hike. We hiked the Deer Run Trail. Ellie was our pack’s scout. She ran ahead and scoped everything out. Mingo was my protection detail. She didn’t leave my side. (I will write more on the park and trail on Two Old RV Dogs.)


Some problems with a car dolly happened. Blah, blah blah…so we got a new one. Yay! (Let’s forget that happened until it is time to blog it.)
Joe and I crossed the Mississippi into Illinois. Yay!
We stopped at the Pink Elephant Antique Mall just at closing time so we will have to stop back by there on our way out in a couple weeks.

We did get some fun photos there.
Tonight is our first night boondocking. I am so excited. We are staying at a rest stop and hope overnight parking is cool with Illinois. If we get to stay the whole night we will eat like Kings from the vending machines in the morning.

Life of Luxury Day of Home Maintenance:
Started the day with emptying the tanks. It was quite tedious. The weird, uncovered hole in the ground must be filled with weeds and other debris. It filled up quickly and drained down slowly. While waiting on the poo water to drain Joe exclaimed, “Corn!” I mistakenly thought he was joking.

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Eventually we got to the gray water and just let it go.
I noticed we are getting quicker at breaking down and setting up. Practice makes perfect.
The living room AC started pouring water out of the intake again. Joe said Erv must have known he was sitting down for a minute. He got on the roof and cleaned out both AC drains.
That maintenance task was followed by finding a suspiciously soft area in the living room wall. Joe’s best guess is the AC condensation is running into the screws that is holding on the awning. He got back on the ladder and filled around the screws with silicone. Then it promptly rained.


We had a fantastic dinner of eggplant meatballs in a sauce with pasta, garlic bread, and Jello cake all cooked by Margie. It was delicious. We left stuffed.
We have had a relaxing weekend (if you don’t count the pain in the rear RV chores) and I am ready for a fun adventure tomorrow.

Life of Luxury Day of going, going, and going in Alton IL:
Once again my post is a day late. I am getting caught up soon.
We started our day at the Piasa Bird. It is a huge painting on a cliff face with limestone mining caves under it. It was a strange sight.
We then went to the Robert Wadlow statue and replica of his chair. I felt like “Edith Ann” when sitting in that chair.


We got to the Historic Museum of Torture just at opening. Wow! Torture can be creative. Some items had creative names like “the pear” and “Judas’s Cradle”. Some items had self explanatory names like the “Iron Tongue Tearer” and the”Breast Ripper”. I learned that history really liked putting objects in body cavities and torturing women especially.
This museum was in an old hotel. The girl running It’s Raining Zen (a store that sang to my hippie heart) told us that it is the most haunted building in Alton.

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We went to Argosy Casino for a buffet and free slot play. The slots were terrible and we only played the money they gave us.
Next up was Melvin Price Locks and Dam. In usual Corps of Engineers form the elevator was out of order so there were no tours of the top of the dam. The barge simulator was broke so we couldn’t pretend to drive a barge. Come on, Corps! Get it together!
We drove by the first prison in Illinois. It is really just a portion of a wall but it is a pretty cool wall.

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We drove up the scenic river highway. It was impressive watching the Illinois River roll by.
Then we picked up the girls for a ferry ride. Ellie loved it. She watched out the window and sniffed. Mingo laid down in the car seat until we got off the ferry.

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Life of Luxury Day in a German Town-Part 1:
We are out of Illinois and back in Missouri. The travel is getting uneventful. Just the way I like it.
We are staying in Graham Cave State Park for a couple nights. I am really starting to appreciate state parks. They are reasonably priced. They feel safe. They usually have a vacancy. They have a nature activity. I saw some hiking trails here that me and the girls are going to hit in the morning. Graham Cave was chain linked off and filled with sand. Kind of lame.

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We went to Hermann today and are going back tomorrow. Tin Mill was my favorite. We sampled 10 craft beers. It was all pretty fantastic. Or maybe my favorite was Endless Summer winery. We sampled at least 10 fruit wines. We were the only customer of the day. I don’t know why. It was a nice place. The owner talked to us for an hour about everything that goes into opening a winery. Maybe that was why…
We had lunch at Wurst Haus. The guy serving the samples was wearing the same gimmick hat and jacket that he wears in the ads. They make over 40 kinds of sausage! We decided our Aldi sausage in the fridge at home was more authentic.

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We also sampled wine at Hermannhof. Meh.

Life of Luxury Day in Hermann MO – Part 2:
I started out the day with that morning hike I was looking forward to last night. It ended up being a race to out run the mosquitos. They were thick and everywhere.

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We went back to Hermann for more wine tasting and lunch. Adam Puchta had some great wines. Stone Hill had a good tour. We ate lunch at Stone Hill’s Vintage Restaurant. Joe didn’t like the “no substitutions” policy on the lunch menu. What restaurant does that anyway? Still, we had a really great Reuben.

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We saw some more ridiculous pumpkin spice products. Joe and I got pie to bring home for dinner. I got Yum-Chata made from Rum-Chata. Joe got bacon apple pie. That may have been ridiculous too.


We sampled some microbrews from Bias Winery. Some were really good. One tasted like Dawn dish soap. Also I noticed I could clearly see into the stall next to me in the Bias restroom. Voyeuristic!

Life of Luxury Day of Mid-Missouri Casino:
We made it as far as Isle of Capri in Boonville. They gave us a free buffet and a free place to stay tonight.
It makes me a little shamed that the casino had to put up a sign asking RVers to not dump tanks in the parking lot. What do you think happened here for that sign to go up? It had to be worse than one tank dumping. Come on! Don’t be dumb, RVers. You make me look bad.


The free buffet for first time players is local farm products and the best buffet I have ever had. The desserts to choose from were ridiculous.
We parked right next to the grass which means right next to the train tracks. The RV rocks like it is going to tip when a train goes by. Hold on, Ellie!
I fed the fish surrounding the casino. Isle of Capri is not so much on the Missouri River as it is in a koi pond off the Missouri. Legalities…


We checked out a diesel behind us. I like the diesel and the air horn. What is going on with the tiny tires? They look so cute and deadly.
Lastly, I am glad I don’t smoke especially in that casino. $9… seriously?

Life of Luxury Day of Birthday Celebration:
We are on our way to California starting out with 2,111 miles ahead of us. We were pushed all over the interstate by gusts of wind and welcomed semis to drive next to us to break the wind.


Exhausted Joe made it as far as Indigo Sky and set up camp. Joe is a very lucky birthday boy. He put $20 in the “Super Happy Fun Wheel” and cashed out $170. Heck yeah!


I bathed the dogs with the water source in the vacant space next to us. No one complained except the dogs. I read and had a beer in the sun while Ellie rubbed her back in the grass in protest.
We got to do laundry at the club house for FREE. Whoo hoo! We made it a BYOB affair that was crashed by a pushy Wisconsin lady who desperately wanted the washer.
We came home to a very bad dog. I am going to assume which dog left us the terrible surprise in our bedroom. We can’t really be mad at a dog that punishes herself.
Now we are wrapping up the day WATCHING the Cubs game at the bar. No 1940s style radio ballgame for Joe on his birthday. (We will save that for Tuesday.)
Happy birthday, Joe! Love you.
Good Sam Roadside Assistance

Life of Luxury Day of Exhausting Pucker Factor:
We woke up with only 2,010 miles to go. We are knocking down the miles at a turtle’s pace.
The wind is 30 mph today and blowing us off the road constantly. I was grabbing on to my seat ready to crash or flip.
We cancelled our stop at Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park. Driving was just too stressful to add stops. I saw a sign for the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus. I have made a couple mental notes for places I want to see the next time we are out this way.
Jeez, Oklahoma, ease up on your toll roads! With 4 axles on the ground we paid out $21.35 to drive on interstate. We could fill up Suzuki for that.
We made it to Hinton OK and are calling it quits for the day. So far Casino Oklahoma is letting us boondock in their nice paved parking lot. It’s a huge relief from the howling wind. They gave us a total of $35 in free play (we won nothing). As a bonus, they have a soft serve machine next to the soda machine. Free parking, free play, free twist ice cream. I feel like a winner!!

PetSmart

Life of Luxury Day of Humbling:
Today we are Texas and (as the cliché goes) everything is huge here! Being around such big things makes me realize just how small I am.
We drove by giant windmills that would make Don Quixote shiver. I haven’t seen many. These are impressive.
We stopped by the Groom TX cross. I can’t describe how big it is. I loved the Stations of the Cross. They were kinda graffic. Ellie tried to gets Jesus’s bread at the last supper. She quickly moved on when her scrounging didn’t work.


Cadillac Ranch was big fun. I never considered what decades of spray paint looks like. Man, are those layers ever cool. I am not sure that there is still an actual car under all that paint. We gave a shout out to Tim  and Dana that is probably already covered up.


Palo Duro Canyon was huge and beautiful. It had so many colors in the formation. The juniper trees smelled like I walked past a Bath and Body. Seriously, I never smelled the real thing. I wish I had brought my hiking shoes instead of flip flops. We couldn’t go far down the trails but we did go far enough to get a hot, dusty feel for the park.

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We were starving by the time we got back to Amarillo. Time for The Big Texan! We ate fantastic steaks and the dogs got a few yummy bites of left overs.
We are now at home for the night at AOK Camper Park (at $12.50 for full hook up including 50 amp, that gets a big heck yeah!) chilling out watching TV waiting to head to Albuquerque tomorrow.

Life of Luxury Day of Beautiful Scenery:
I have never been to New Mexico. Let me tell you my crummy camera does not do it justice nor do my words. I have never seen landscape like this. So just look at a few of my pictures and imagine my awe.


Here are my firsts that I experienced today:
– I saw New Mexico and a tumbleweed. I hope we get to run over one with the RV causing it to burst everywhere.
– I experienced dry heat. I need lotion but it’s nice.
Here are my concerns about New Mexico:
– What is wrong with the water? It tastes like plastic. It has a funny texture if that’s possible. It doesn’t seem to touch my mouth. Joe says it is lacking the limestone, minerals, and other kidney stone causing substances I am use to drinking. Whatever. It’s gross. Now I am the one complaining and drinking bottled water instead of Joe.
– Where is the grass? How can my dogs go pee if there is no grass? I took them to the “pet rest area”. It looks like a damn kitty litter box surrounded by chain link. The dogs keep taking turns being finicky about the lack of grass. While refusing to pee in the dirt Mingo stepped on a thorn then limped over to show it to me so I could pluck it out of her paw. They are really good RV dogs but I am not so sure about them being desert dogs.

Life of Luxury Day of Arizona Flavors:
We went to Winslow to stand on a corner, a standard cliché Arizona tourist thing to do. We also saw some train displays and a couple Native Americans chasing each other in wheelchairs.


Then on to Meteor Crater where we got to see a hole in the ground for $40. Man, it was a cool hole.

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I experienced the effects of high elevation while we were there. I climbed a simple flight of stairs to get a good view of the crater. I could not catch my breath and my chest felt very strange. I worried about the episode for an hour until a tour guide mentioned we are at an elevation higher than Denver at 5,800 feet. Oohhhh, that explains it. No wonder I thought I might pass out. I am barely getting oxygen. I miss 900 feet elevation of Branson. Tomorrow we are going to be 1,000 feet higher.
Joe got his ______to’s. He has been telling me for years that the best Mexican food comes from any place ending in to’s. We found Aliberto’s in Holbrook. Holy cow! We got 2 pound carne asada burritos loaded with guacamole and Pico. It was so good I was sad when it was gone.

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We are going to spend the evening relaxing outside at the campground with a beer.

Life of Luxury Day of National Rocks:
We made it to Arizona! Yay!
We got set up at Root 66 RV Park. We have brown water and no water pressure but we will make the best of it.

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We spent the day at the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert. I am exhausted. I think the ladies are beat as well. We walked so many little trails and saw so many artifacts.
We are home now finishing Office Space and completely identifying with Peter. We are happy we blew off real jobs for a carefree life.
Oh, forget Hollywood philosophy. We are just going to watch The Goonies.

Life of Luxury Day of Red Rocks
We spent today in Sedona AZ! The drive was breathtaking. Our first stop was Slide Rock State Park. We were surrounded by beautiful nature. There is a natural water slide that some people were pushing themselves down and one gal was washing her hair in. We seriously heard the shampoo cap click from the ledge we were standing on above her.

Next we went to the town of Sedona. It reminded me of Eureka Springs heavy with Native American and Southwest feel and no bars. We combed through the trinket shops for a string of chili peppers and a blanket for the dogs. No luck but we picked up some good DIY ideas.
So we had lunch instead. We stopped at the Cowboy Club for some speciality dishes. We chose to split an appetizer instead of the menu’s overpriced $15 burgers. We had cactus fries, rattlesnake sausage, buffalo, and cilantro bread. It was unique and pretty tasty.
We visited the artsy part of Sedona where we found sugar skulls and Mexican tile everywhere.


The last part of the trip was a visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. It was another thin air strenuous walk but I am learning to take my time so I don’t feel terrible in this altitude.
We had a fantastic day. It was like I had a private tour guide. Joe is familiar with the area and able to share this beautiful part of the country with me.

Life of Luxury Day of Unbelievable Odds
We started out with a blow out of one of the worst kind. Our sewer hose couldn’t take it anymore. It’s too bad. I really liked that campground. We might be on their shit list. Ha!
We travelled to California. I was not expecting such desolate landscape. I guess in my head the desert was in Arizona instead of the fantastic pine forest that is actually there.


We are getting a little storm here which I find interesting. I read that the Mojave Desert gets 5 inches of precipitation. I think we got to witness 20% of the area’s annual rainfall.
We stopped at a gas station in Ludlow for the night. I have many mixed emotions about this place starting with the $3.49/gallon fuel price. Then again I was excited about the free site for the night until I went inside to buy some beer. I walked in circles around the store 4 times not finding a 6 pack anywhere before I asked if I was in a dry store. No, no, no my friends…I am in a dry town. Who puts a dry town in the Mojave Desert? Is there something else to do here?

Life of Luxury Day of the End of the Road (Yesterday, again we have no signal and just got WiFi)
We made it! After days of driving and sight seeing our driving journey has ended. Our last leg of the trip was through vineyards of Sonoma and into the Redwoods. It was so beautiful. Some of the trees are so ridiculously large they look like an amusement park prop. I have been assured they are real.


The steep grade of the highway was a little rough on the engine but Erv did just fine.
I was told the Eel River is up and swift so I should be cautious with the dogs swimming in it. It is not as bad as the picture that was painted for us. The trail down to the river is Busiek steep. The river is like the James River in a severe drought. I will get pictures this week. I hear the rain is clearing out for a few days.
We met our coworkers. All are full time RVers and younger than we expected. We were warmly welcomed. We start work right away on Sunday. Can’t wait!

Life of Luxury Day of Put Me In Coach, I’m Ready to Play:
We started our day with an alarm. What the heck? We had a day of training how to clean hotel rooms and lodges. There are lots of little details that will require no thought in two weeks. Awesome!
It is pouring rain which we are told should be happening in January and February. The living room slide out was leaking water onto the dinette when we got home from our hellish 3 1/2 hour work day. Joe lowered the jacks on the driver’s side. I ran the hair dryer for about 30 minutes and punched the trim to splash the standing water out.
Also there is water gathering in the wall by the floor behind the passenger seat. Joe ripped part of the wall covering and floor tile off so it can dry or so we can fret as it swells with every drop that is mysteriously seeping in.
We went to the pub for the Cubs game but the NFL sent us to the kids room in back. We closed down the pub with tap water and Zots and a win for the Cubbies.

 

Life of Luxury Day of History
Holy cow! The Cubs win the World Series!!

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The game was a level of intensity that I didn’t know I could handle. Every aspect of it was heart wrenching. The 20 something kids making unbelievable history to the nearly 40 something retiring with a home run in his last pro game. Tear jerking.
In other events, Joe and I went to Ukiah, CA today. The people there have a malfunction. They smell of B.O. and weed wherever you go. I mean everywhere! How do filthy people congregate like that? Nasty!
Now our next decision is do we wash Joe’s lucky shirt before next season?

Life of Luxury Day Amongst the Giants


We took a trip north through the Avenue of the Giants. It is a state park that runs along a scenic highway parallel with highway 101. Oh my goodness, the trees are unreal. We saw groves of trees that average 400-600 years old. We saw trees with huge burls. We may have seen Big Foot. I can’t be certain.


We stopped at a souvenir shop for our snow globe. As soon as we parked the dogs started going nuts barking at a Smokey Bear chainsaw carving.


We took a look at Redway and Garberville. They have some hippie shops, hardware stores, and restaurants. The grocery store even sells organic green peppers for $4.99. I will stick with my GMO Walmart produce I guess.
My mind still cannot wrap around the huge amount of hitchhikers, backpackers, and transients. They seem to only be asking for rides with their cardboard signs. They are all ages, races, some are in button down dress shirts. I saw a couple that had to be in their 80s holding a sign that said “Layton”. They were looking for a ride just a few towns south. Not asking for money is very confusing to me.

Life of Luxury Day of the Chandelier Tree
After slaving away on laundry and hotel rooms for 4 hours, Joe and I went to check out Leggett. The town has a market with gas station prices and turned meat, a gas station with desert prices, and a restaurant. We also went down to the Chandelier Tree. The Suzuki fit right through the 2,400 year old tree.

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We then took the old girls down to the river. Where they waded through the water and we stared at the beauty of this place.

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