September 2009
August 2009 September October 2009
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View entire year's route With Google Earth 546K
View year's Camps With Google Earth 90K
View this month's route With Google Earth 73K
Tuesday, September 1 Todays route using Google Earth
Rolling Hills Campground (Corps of Engineers) Milford, KS Locate this campground with Google Earth $9.50 per night (Golden Age Passport discount)
Beautiful Corps of Engineers campground on a huge lake. We are encamped about fifty feet from the lake with great views. We saw a Great Blue Heron walking along the lake shore a little while ago. We are right next to Fort Riley, Kansas which we plan to visit tomorrow for some historic museums. Because Kansas is so flat, there is an Army joke, that you can't be declared AWOL (Absent without Leave) from Fort Riley until after the second day your gone...because you still are in sight of the base.

Wednesday, September 2
We began today with a visit to one of the few remaining M65 Atomic Cannon, W located on a hill off Interstate 70 at Fort Riley Kansas. Locate with Google Earth . See a YouTube video of the one and only test shot from these massive guns YT. Quite a climb for us, going up some 250 feet above the parking lot. Then we proceeded to nearby Fort Riley and a visit to the US Cavalry museum. A beautiful facility in what was the original base hospital built in the mid 1800's. Locate with Google Earth  . After lunch we went just down the street to what is known as the Custer House where Custer was supposed to have spent his 6 months of duty at the fort. Recent research has found that he actually lived in a house 2 buildings down from this one, but this is the building that has been set up as a museum.  . Then finally we stopped across the street from the Custer House and saw the grave of "Chief". The last Cavalry Mount in the Army.  . More info is available on Fort Riley as downloaded from their website.

Thursday, September 3 Todays route using Google Earth
Peculiar Park Place RV Park   Peculiar, MO Locate this campground with Google Earth $27.00 per night
We have moved east to an area south of Kansas City for the Show Me State Rodeo this weekend Locate with Google Earth. This town has an odd name, "Peculiar". Rather nice campground but it is right on a major highway.

Friday, September 4
Rain for most of the day. We spent time in the trailer doing little things. Frank wrote the reviews for a couple of new webcams, Tom paid bills and did laundry. We did take the truck to a nearby car wash and got most of the bugs off the grill from yesterday.

Saturday, September 5
Well, we did washed the truck yesterday...a mistake. It now has limestone drippings all over it from the rain, and mud from the rodeo site. But the sun came out and we had our friends from Chicago, IL and Front Royal, VA come out to visit and compete. The repartee with the audience was outstanding. Even Tom blushed. One guy in the audience said..."his friend was so dumb, he had to drop his pants to count to twenty one." Oops.

Sunday, September 6
Less people came to the rodeo today, but still fun. They provided food, as well as hosted a 90 person banquet at night. Tom went up to the owner's wife and said... "Forgive me, but I want to talk about your food prices. They are way too low. We are taking advantage of you." She responded... "Gee, you are the third person to come to me today to tell me that today." Rodeo photos will be posted in the gallery section in a few days.

Monday, September 7 Todays route using Google Earth
Cherokee Casino KOA   Claremore, OK Locate this campground with Google Earth $34.20 per night
Sorry for the delay in posting. The weekend was great, but very tiring for both of us, and today was a bit long and HOT. It was near 90 degrees and the humidity was around 60%. We are moving toward Oklahoma City to have trailer work done and Frank needs more meds. This campground is really a parking lot and not very nice. But we were too tired to "bounce" to another one. Along the way we stopped in the small town of Lane, Kansas Locate with Google Earth W where a good friend of Tom's was born. A very small town which makes Clifton look big. The only store on Main Street that was not out of business was the bar. There are no other streets. This is the area on the night of May 24-25 1856, a small band of abolitionists led by John Brown murdered five pro-slavery men just to the north along Potawatomic Creek. This massacre in "Bleeding Kansas" was one of the most famous events leading up to the American Civil War. Brown was later captured, tried and hanged for his unsuccessful raid on Harper's Ferry. W   Further along the route we stopped at a rest area and walked a very nice nature trail through some restored native prairie grasslands. W  
Tuesday, September 8 Todays route using Google Earth
Council Road RV Park   Oklahoma City, OK Locate this campground with Google Earth $25.20 per night
We decided to take the toll road around Tulsa and on to Oklahoma City. That was a mistake because the part around Tulsa (called the Creek Turnpike W ) had no people taking tolls and there was no sign when entering the north end of the turnpike saying you needed exact change. They had bill changers, but they would only take $1 and $5 bills. Closed Toll Plazas   We held up the gate for about 3 minutes while we tried to find enough one dollar bills to use the changer. We are back in a fairly nice campground we stayed in back in May while going the other way. After setting up camp we took the truck to a tire dealer and had the 2 rear tires replaced. The weight of the trailer on the rear axel apparently wore out the rear tires much faster than the fronts which still have a lot of tread on them. We also found a Valvoline quick lube and had the oil changed for $160. The truck takes 15 quarts of synthetic oil so lots of $$ went out today. Tomorrow the trailer goes to the RV center for other repairs. Perhaps lots of $$ there too...but we need to do it.

Wednesday, September 9
We took the trailer to Motley RV Repair Locate with Google Earth Find Motley using Google Maps, 1.5 miles away, to have several fairly serious problems fixed. Last spring one of the front landing gear jacks was bent in a wind storm while we were in El Paso Texas. The wind which hit over 70 miles an hour pushed the trailer several feet forward across the concrete pad bending the jack. We tried just replacing the center part which only helped a little. This time we had the entire system replaced with a better one. Alan, the key technician, did a little plumbing job for us which now allows us to leave our water softener in the front bay without having to have hoses connecting to it through the door. We asked them to check out a loud bang noise which occurred when opening the main slide out. The noise didn't happen in the shop, of course, but on investigating they found a number of parts worn, chipped and bent. So they spent several hours repairing those. One thing that Alan noticed was our steps seemed to be a bit soft and springy. He found part of the mounting bracket was splitting and he welded the failing joint back together. All in all, we spent a little less than $3,000, most of it for labor, but we are very happy with the result and glad they found the other items as they would have gotten much worse, and have cost much more, if not fixed now. Frank is pretty good with understanding mechanical things and he could see exactly what was wrong and agreed they needed fixed. So Motley did not soak us for stuff that didn't need fixing. We highly recommend these people for service. They are fairly expensive, but they are honest with their concerns and recommendations, and in our opinion, do excellent work. This is not one of those places that will damage something and then tell you it needs fixing, or tell you things need fixing when they don't. One look at how neat, clean and organized their shop is, shows us this is a good company to have work done at. See some photos of today's work and their facility.   We had dinner at the Cattlemen's Steakhouse in Livestock City. Best steaks anywhere.

Thursday, September 10 Todays route using Google Earth
Amarillo KOA   Amarillo, TX Locate this campground with Google Earth $35.70 per night
We are headed west again, at an increased speed. After setting up in camp we drove to the west side of Amarillo and did a quick tour of the famous Cadillac Ranch. A tacky touristy art sculpture.
Photos   Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm, and it consists of what were (when originally installed during 1974) either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line (most notably the birth and death of the defining feature of early Cadillacs; the tail fin) from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The piece is a statement about the paradoxical simultaneous American fascinations with both a "sense of place" and roadside attractions, such as The Ranch itself and the mobility and freedom of the automobile. See complete Wikipedia Article W
Friday, September 11 Todays route using Google Earth
Kirtland AFB W Famcamp   Albuquerque, NM Locate this campground with Google Earth $18.00 per night
Another long day just short of 300 miles. We stopped along our way at one of the few rest areas that was open to have lunch.   A bit further on we switched drivers at a rest area where we had lunch at last spring. Frank took a photo because it is the only state rest area we have ever seen with a horse resting area, complete with cattle fencing, gates and fresh water.   We were in this campground last spring and noticed a bunch of construction going on next to the campground. Well the construction ended up being an expansion to the campground and we are now in the new section with 50 amp service, although no trees. Late this afternoon the clouds filled the sky and there were thunderstorms all around us with light rain. The temperature were in the upper 80's most of the day but have dropped into the low 70's. After setting up camp we went to the BX and Commissary.
Saturday, September 12 Todays route using Google Earth
OK RV Park   Holbrook, AZ Locate this campground with Google Earth $32.73 per night
Basically today was another driving day. We are just a bit west of Petrified Forest National Park, which we will spend tomorrow touring. We stayed in this campground more than 19 years ago on February 11-12, 1990.

Sunday, September 13 Todays Tour in Google Earth
Today we toured the Petrified Forest National Park. W The weather was pleasant, most cloudy with scattered thunderstorms which were beautiful to watch. Near the north end of the park is the historic Painted Desert Inn built by the CCC in the late 1930's. W The Painted Desert W was beautiful but because it was cloudy the colors were a bit subdued. Rather than doing a bunch of writing, I'll let the photos speak for themselves.  

Monday, September 14 Todays route using Google Earth
Seligman KOA   Seligman, AZ Locate this campground with Google Earth $37.80 per night
A very windy day with heavy gusts. It was dificult to drive. We were here last February in a snow storm. No snow today with temps in the mid 80's. The campground owner is a very pleasant woman. Some of the scenery here on Old Route 66 is beautiful, but the in town scenery of old Route 66 is a bit tacky. Tomorrow, on to Laughlin, NV and then Las Vegas. Later in the evening Frank shot some photos of the sunset.   A bit later in the evening, Frank tried some night shots with his new Nikon D-700. The results are amazing.  
Tuesday, September 15 Todays route using Google Earth
AVI Casino and Resort   Laughlin, NV Locate this campground with Google Earth $18.03 per night
We moved further west and stopped in Laughlin for the night. The campground is less than 1/8th full and we asked to be placed away from other rigs. We were put on a row with no one else in the entire row. After we got back from the store, a large motorhome was parked right next to us with the rest of the row empty. Frustrating. We went to a hardware and got some screws to fix a lifting arm on the bed which had torn loose a few days ago. The arm is similar to one that might hold up a back window on a truck cap. It was screwed into what is essentially thick cardboard and it just couldn't hold short screws. We also replaced a broken switch in Tom's coffee maker which is almost 20 years old. Later we had dinner at the casino buffet.
Wednesday, September 16 Todays route using Google Earth
Sams Town RV Park   Las Vegas, NV Locate this campground with Google Earth $27.52 per night
We arrived around 1:00 and setup camp. A couple of hours later we received a wonderful visit from our friends Deb and Bill from back in Washington, DC. They were here in Vegas for a vacation to the Grand Canyon and other natural sites in this part of the country. This evening we went to the casino buffet for dinner.

Thursday, September 17
We were met by a couple of friends who are on the World Gay Rodeo Finals 2010 committee and we drove them down to Laughlin to look at the facilities where that rodeo will be held in October 2010. Nice drive and good friends to talk to.

Friday, September 18
Today was a work and shopping day. Tom did laundry, then we went to Fry's electronics, then Whole Foods. In the evening we attended the rodeo contestant registration and met a bunch of old friends.

Saturday, September 19
RODEO! and a Bone yard. Early this afternoon we had a guided tour of the Neon Bone yard in Las Vegas. That's where a bunch of the old neon signs from early Las Vegas have been stored and some are slowly being restored. It was extremely hot, near 104 degrees and there was no shade. At least the tour only lasted about 45 minutes.   Later in the day we went to the Las Vegas Rodeo. This year the rodeo started at 5:00 in the afternoon to avoid the major heat of the day. But starting late made the rodeo run until around midnight. We stayed until about 11:30 before going back to the trailer. Here are some event photos from the rodeo.   More photos can be seen in the gallery.

Sunday, September 20
We went back to the rodeo grounds this morning for the awards cerimony and to watch part of a barrel race which began around noon. A few photos of the barrel race  

Monday, September 21
Today was a lazy day for resting and computer work. Tom got our reservations arranged for air flights to convention, home and Denver. After IGRA Finals rodeo in Albuquerque in late October, we will pull the trailer up to Denver and park it for a couple of months. We will fly to Toronto, then home for a month before flying back to Denver to pick up the trailer and head back to Las Vegas for IGRA University in January.

Tuesday, September 22
We decided to stay one more day because Frank needed to order another medication, which arrived in the late afternoon. This evening we had dinner one last time in the casino buffet, then we went to the Venetian and saw the Blue Man Group. A funny and interesting show. If you go I recommend you take some ear plugs, it is loud.

Wednesday, September 23 Todays route using Google Earth
Willowind RV Park   Hurricane, UT Locate this campground with Google Earth $36.80 per night
We moved north east today toward Zion National Park. Along Interstate 15 we passed through a massive chasm following the Virgin River. The scenery is spectacular in this area.   As we climbed from Las Vegas's altitude of 1900 feet, to our present altitude of 3,800 the temperature got cooler..and better than Las Vegas's 104 degrees last weekend. In two days will be at an elevation of 7,900 feet and cooler yet. One can add clothes to keep warm, but you can only take off so many to keep cool.

Thursday, September 24
Today was spent touring Zion National Park. Where is this place?   W   A spectacular park with a meriad of climate zones, sheer sandstone cliffs and fantastic colors. Zion was one of the first National Parks. During peak season vehicles are restricted from the main Zion canyon and one catches shuttle buses that run about every 10 minutes. We had a late lunch at the Zion Lodge where the service was poor and the food was mediocre. But we had a wonderful day, despite Frank having serious problems with his hips and knees. Just check out our photos.  

Friday, September 25 Todays route using Google Earth
Ruby's Inn RV Park   Bryce, UT Locate this campground with Google Earth $43.79 per night
We left the Zion area today and headed toward Bryce Canyon National Park. Along the way we saw some beautiful scenery and passed through a red rock area with fantastic bright red formations.   In some areas the trees are starting to change into fall colors. Tonight it is supposed to get down to the low 30s here. Well we are at 7,600 feet. Presently it is 75 degrees at 5 PM. That is a huge drop in temperature in a short period of time. And just think, 4 days ago we were in temps of 104.

Saturday, September 26
Today we spent most of our time in Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce is famous for its unique geology consisting of a series of horseshoe shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau W in southern Utah. The weathering force of frost wedging and dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron formation W into bizarre shapes including canyons, windows, fins, and pinnacles called hoodoos W.   At the park visitor center we purchased a Blueray copy of the new Ken Burns film The National Parks, America's Best Idea. In the evening we watched the first episode the day before it will air on PBS for the first time.

Sunday, September 27 Todays route using Google Earth
Thousand Lakes RV Park   Torrey, UT Locate this campground with Google Earth $28.28 per night
We moved further north east going through some more extremely rugged and beautiful scenery. As we climbed to higher elevations near 9,000 feet we were presented with the beautiful gold of the aspens turning from recent frosts.  

Monday, September 28
Today we visited Capitol Reef National Park, a 100 mile long fold in the earth's crust. To the early residents, some of the sandstone mountains resembled the domes of the Capitol building in Washington, DC while the rugged sheer cliffs reminded them of an impassible reef. We had not had any lunch so we purchased a couple of small locally made pumpkin pies from a small store in an historic building in the park. They were delicious, and a delight to eat while in the shadow of these magnificent formations. They even gave us homemade whipped cream for the pies. Within a small portion of the park is the remains of an historic Mormon community called Fruita. A small one room school house and a few scattered buildings are all the structures left but the inhabitants had many orchards which are preserved and maintained by the Park. During season visitors can pick the fruit for a small fee ($1.00 a pound) so Frank and Tom picked some apples which were delicious.  

Tuesday, September 29 Todays route using Google Earth
Arch View RV Resort   Moab, UT Locate this campground with Google Earth $31.33 per night
We moved further northeast today en route to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. This is a fair campground, but with beautiful views. After setting up we drove into the town 12 miles away to find a decent grocery store. We haven't seen a good store since Las Vegas, 7 days ago, and Tom was having withdrawal symptoms (he needs to visit a grocery store at least once a day . The grocery we went to in Moab was called City Market, which is part of the Kroger chain of stores.

Wednesday, September 30
Last night and all day today the wind was gusting producing dust and reducing visibility to only about 40 miles. We toured Canyonlands National Park, even with the reduced visibility due to the dust, the scenery is still spectacular. I recommend you visit their website which is filled with interesting stories and videos about the park. One item is a reprint from a 1960's interview with Bates Wilson, the first superintendent of the park as he reflected the early days of his experiences in the new park.