Friday, July 29, 2011


 After we left the Teddy Roosevelt National Park we were undecided as to where to go. One choice was to make a big circle through Montana and winding back at Gillette WY for the Escapade, or to spend a month in the black hills of SD. The problem with choice one is 1000 + miles of driving  the RV, and the problem, or bonus to choice two being Sturgis, and Bike Week.

 I called America's Mailbox to see if we could get a site at their new CG, the good news was yes they had openings, but they jack up the price during bike week. I figured we could spend the $$ on fuel, or a RV site, and since we visited the Black Hills in 07 and wanted to see more we decided to bite the bullet and pay the jacked up fees so we made reservations.

 So Tuesday AM we headed south. Our GPS took us on route 23 and that was a mistake, after spending two days cleaning on the Kountry Star, hwy 23 is under construction near New Town ND , and about two miles of it was a dirt road. At one point I couldn't see the jeep behind us for the dust being stirred up by all the traffic on the dirt road. So much for the two days spend washing the rig.

 Once we got to Rapid City we passed up America's Mail box and went to Ellsworth AFB, and to our delight they had sites and they don't jack up the rates for Bike Week. So we will be using Ellsworth AFB as a base while we explore the Black Hills and spend a day or two in Sturgis during bike week.

 Yesterday we took a drive in the jeep to Deerfield Lake. It was a very scenic drive, we did a winery taste test, ( I really don't like wine) had lunch in Hill City at the diner, and saw some really beautiful land. We got back to the base just before the thunder storms hit the area.

 Today we did the petrified forest on the way to Deadwood. It was really interesting seeing trees that had turned to stone over the years, and seeing the petrified forest here has moved the petrified forest in AZ up on my bucket list.

 Deadwood is a mini Vegas with casinos everywhere you look. We hit almost all the casinos and drove off only $20 down. Not bad for an afternoon of entertainment, plus we got all the diet pop we wanted to drink. On the way back to the AFB we had to pass through Sturgis, so we decided to get some of them famous steak tips we missed out on four years ago.

 Tomorrow may wind up being a rest up day.................

Saturday, July 23, 2011

48 states

 When we sold our house in Kentucky in 2007 we were chasing the 70's. We soon found out we liked the upper 70's and lower 80's. We also found out that goal was a lot harder to achieve than we thought. Temps change too much to stay in the 70's no matter where you are.

 We also bought a map to and put it on the side of the Santara. Each time we spent the night in the rig in a state we would add that state to the map. After 4 years and 1 month we are able to add the 48th state to our map.

 North Dakota was the last one we needed, and I'm happy we got it in July. Tonight the low is going to drop to around 55 degrees here in Grand Forks ND, and anyone that knows me knows that is too cold for me. 55 might be OK for a low in Dec or Jan, but this is late July.

 We will hang out here until Monday at least, (temps are rising). We will see how the next couple days go before deciding when and where we head next. One thing is for sure, I will post a blog about where we go next.................

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Finished in Elkhart

Today we finished up in Elkhart, or better stated, Phoenix Commercial Paints inc. Michele and her gang were very accommodating to squeeze us in on short notice to repair the boo-boo I did to the rig back in March.

This is what I did to it. I was backing into a site and the road slopped away from the site into a hill. I let the front tire drop off into a ditch allowing the front end to get into the dirt which hung up on the front end ripping the fiberglass off in a couple places.

It really wasn't as bad as it looked at first, and the gang at Phoenix Commercial Paints did a pretty good job at making it look good again.

I also had them remove all the diamond shield on the front because it was looking dull, it wasn't going to match the repaired section, and it had mold growing under it is a couple places. I remember watching Berry and Alice scrape the 3-M off the front of their coach for weeks, and I wanted no part of that.

After spending way too many hours beyond the estimated time allocated for removing the diamond shield the gang at Phoenix had the front end ready to repaint.

As you can see the boo-boo is all better now, and the front end looks so much better without the diamond shield. We also had them change the design on the hood, I was very disappointed at the way Newmar brushed us off, and removing their design on the front was just one way I could rebel against them.

The heat wave hitting the mid west this coming week has changed our plans, we had to pass up spending a few days at Camp Greg and Jean. I couldn't see sitting in a field with no electric with the heat index above 100-110 degrees. We decided to head on up to MN, (I guess it will be just as hot) where we will pull into a CG for a few days. We really need a rest, although we didn't do anything while the rig was being worked on, we couldn't enjoy being "home" because Phoenix was hard at work on it. Then there was the two days we spent at Bear Cave Resort in one of their cabins while the Kountry Star was being painted. I will NEVER spend another night in one of their "cabins". I'll do a blog on our stay at Bear Cave another day and tell you all about their "cabins". The park was great, the pool was great, the hot tub was great, and we enjoyed being there, but there is no place like home, and their "cabins" fall very short of being anything close to home...............

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Keeping up

For all those that do read this blog, I just want to give you an update as to what and where we are and have been.

 Sitting at Raccoon Valley I noticed the weather wasn't looking good for the plans on the etch-a-sketch so I shook it up a little. We pulled out Sunday just before noon because rain was in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday and I don't drive in the rain if I can avoid it.

 The etch-a-sketch showed us arriving at SMI on Tuesday and not Thursday as planned, so we went to Ft Knox KY to hang out over the fourth. Camp Carlson is a nice place, but the cell service was/is lacking. We did ride around and saw what you can see of the vault that supposedly holds all the gold.

 Tuesday AM we headed west to Newburgh IN, the home of SMI, the makers of Air Force One. That is the breaking system I bought last year and never had installed. A phone call confirmed they could squeeze us in Tuesday afternoon, and that would allow us to get to Phoenix Commercial Paints a day early, and give us a day at Camp Newmar.

 The one employee at Newmar that we talked to was very pleasant, almost too pleasant, and the customers we talked to were shocked that Newmar had refused to even talk to us about having the boo boo fixed there. We did pick up a few items we could only get at Newmar before parking the rig at Michele's for the boo-boo to be fixed.

 Michele and I hashed out what all I wanted her to do to repair the rig, and what she could do, and how much it all was going to cost me. By the end of the day the Boo-Boo had been put back together, and by the end of Friday the rear of the coach and one door had been sanded and painted. These were small places that the clear coat had chipped, but they kept getting bigger so I wanted to have them fixed.

 Today we drove the rig to Elkhart Camp Ground because I didn't want to stay inside the building at Phoenix Paints, and neither of us had 100' of 50 amp cord. We will hang out here until Monday morning and then Phoenix Paints will complete the painting of the front cap, removing the diamond shield, and making the Kountry Star look better than new.

 Everything should be finished by the end of next week, maybe sooner, and then we start our journey west...........

Friday, July 1, 2011

On the road again.

 Our two months with the CGNHP ended Monday, Ranger Scott was kind enough to offer us the site we were on until after the 4th of July, but I had hitch itch and was ready to move on. Three months in the same spot was long enough for me.

 We did sign on for another two months next year at the CGNHP, June and July we will be back there. Maybe next year Marcia won't have to do the 32 required hours by herself, I won't be running to the hospital everyday so I will be able to do more.

 We were lucky enough to get tours of the Cumberland Gap tunnel, Gap Cave, and Hensley,s Settlement. I did a blog on the Tunnel and Gap Cave, and I plan on doing one on Hensley,s Settlement some time in the future. Marcia met plenty visitors to the park and offered her knowledge and wisdom to everyone that asked for information. We even met a guy that claimed to have been to every National Park except two, and they had just been declared National Parks this year. I was impressed!

 Tuesday we spent cleaning and packing between the rain drops, so a lot off stuff had to be brought out and dried today. We also said good-bye to our two sons, and four grand kids Tuesday, Jon had to fly back to Korea Wednesday morning so he left Middlesboro Tuesday evening, and Corey left Wednesday morning headed to VA Beach with his loving wife Jennifer, and his precious daughter Jaelynn. So we had a pizza party in the park for lunch. All the good-byes were said and the sorrow of not seeing them all for a while was dealt with.

 Wednesday morning we took the rig to our mechanic for the annual service, oil and filters were changed, and he found the antifreeze was a gallon low. ( I,ll have to watch that close because he couldn't find any leaks, and couldn't tell me where it had gone.) We caught Stacey before she left for work and said goodbye to her, then we finished some last minuet things that needed to be done before saying bye to Scott and heading to Raccoon Valley RV Park.

 Scott really impressed me with the changes he has made in the past year, he has really gotten his act together. His significant other, or girl friend, Stacey might have something to do with his changes. We really liked Stacey and hope the very best for her and Scott, because they both will have their hands full.

 Now we are getting back into "vacation mode" as full timers, we have this weekend to see the sights around Knoxville, and spend a little time with our daughter Jenelle before we aim the nose of the Kountry Star north. Next week we will get the air force one brake system installed on the rig, (I've had it a year now) and then we will wind up in MI to get the front end repaired. Once the repairs are finished we will point the nose west and follow the old saying, "go west young man go west"............................