Saturday, May 29, 2010

Back to Frankenmuth Dog Park

Today we returned to the Frankenmuth Dog Park. As soon as Sunshine saw we were going somewhere, she started getting excited. As we were turning into the park, she saw where she was and really got excited. There was a large bicycle expo in Frankenmuth and there were several large bike races. They would roar down the hill right next to the dog park. Sunshine met some new four legged friends today at the park and exhausted herself in a very short time. She ended up posing more than actually playing but she had a ball. She told us that she wants to return daily but we settled for regularly.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mid-Michigan Dog Parks

When we took our last journey, we discovered Dog Parks. Sunshine loved them, smelling, running, and being with other dogs in a fenced in area and not being on a leash. Yesterday, we toured two in our home area, one in Flushing and one in Frankenmuth, MI. The park in Flushing was full of mature trees and adjacent to a boarding kennel. The park in Frankenmuth was large, clean and grassy. Sunshine loved the freedom in both parks but seemed to like the more open spaces in Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth is also only a half hour or so away and there is a Greyhound Meet and Greet in town Saturday so we will probably return to the dog park then, too. There is a small stream in the park. The day was very hot and Sunshine walked to and then into the stream and sat right down to cool herself. Between laughs, I was able to get her out of the creek before she completely soaked herself. When we returned to a dog park that we had been at before, while traveling, Sunshine got very excited as we approached because she knew that she was going to be free to roam and socialize for a while. As soon as she meets other dogs at either of these parks, I am sure that she will be just as excited.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our journey is now over!

Today we brought the last of the "stuff" from the Monty to the condo and put the rig into storage. Sunshine is really confused now. She could not figure out why we parked the 5th wheel and did not let her go in and plop on the couch. She has been wandering around the condo and exploring it and the nearby woods and wondering when she can go back "home" to the Montana. She lived here for the first three weeks of her life with us but that was last winter, there was snow all around and she does not really remember it here. Carol and I are bushed and it will take a few days for all three of us to get settled down after the last 4 1/2 months on the road. This was such a great trip! We took it to recon the Southwest to see if that was where we wished to return next year. Needless to say, we eagerly look forward to returning there, as opposed to Florida. Now we will get to see our children and grandchildren living their lives and hopefully letting us into their lives again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We made it!!!

We are finally set up in our home park in Davison, MI. Stopped by the condo on the way here and it still stands. When we left Monticello this morning, it was 74 degrees and predictions of thunderstorms, high winds and hail. Got to Fort Wayne and the temp promptly dropped to 54 degrees and it got really foggy. The winds picked up and we made it on home, missing the storms but driving through variable winds and fog. We will take the next couple of days to empty the Monty and take the "stuff" home and then clean it up. Our "condo on wheels" came through this journey like a champ. No problems that couldn't be taken care of! Now, think it is time for a shower, bed and reflecting on this "best of all so far" trip! Every time we return from a journey, we wonder how it can be topped. IT ALWAYS IS, THOUGH!

Think we'll try heading home today

We are going to try to move from Monticello to our home park today between storms. If the going gets too rocky, we will find a campground to lay over at. Warm front moving north and cold front heading south - could be interesting. We do not travel in wind, snow or hail so only time will tell just how far we get.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Utica, IL to Monticello, IN

Yesterday, we prepared to move from Utica to Monticello. Sunshine ran into the bedroom and onto her bed at the foot of our bed. Said, "What, moving again?" and covered her head with her blanket. The rains that we had experienced overnight had stoppped and we were able to get ready to leave and stay dry at the same time. When she saw that we were, in fact, ready to move, she got excited and jumped right into the truck and let us know that she was ready to move. In order to not have to drive through South Chicago/Gary, IN on I-80, we traveled south on I-39 to US-24 and then took 24 east to Monticello. The river we crossed was The Illinois River. We much prefer traveling state highways over Interstates because we see more that way. We traveled through small towns and vast farmlands. We welcomed the lush greens of the trees and ground cover that we had missed since last fall. The only thing that we really missed was seeing the mountains soaring and canyons falling around us in the west. We were welcomed to Watseka, IL by a Smiley Face water tower and to Monticello by the friendly people in the West Oak RV Resort, south of town. It is storming with thunderboomers right now and Sunshine is doing quite well with the noise. We believe that she is more sure of us now and that we will not let any harm come to her. We are seeing more of her personality every day and we sure do like what we are seeing. She defininately has her own personality. She gets very exctited when we get to a new campground, wishing to see, smell and meet the newness of the new campsite. Tomorrow we are to move to our home park in Davison, MI. Storms are forecast for this and that area for tomorrow so we will play it by ear.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Des Moines, IA to Utica, IL

Today was probably the best day, weather-wise, that we have had in a long time - sunny and next to NO wind! In Texas, Arizona and the Plains, they call these 30-50 mph winds Breezes, and we do not quite agree. We had seen so many rest areas closed in the western states that it was a real pleasure to see that along I-80 in Iowa, there was a rest area about every 30 miles. My 70 year old prostate is very grateful. This one is even being modernized. After so long in the desert and mountains, which we loved, we are finally seeing GREEN grass and trees and loving it even more, now. We crossed the Mighty Mississippi and were welcomed to Illinois. Sunshine has gotten to where she can sleep more while traveling instead of whining every time we slow down. Here she asked "Are we there yet or should I just go back to sleep?" Progress, I guess! calls this water tower coffee pot the Worlds Largest Coffee Pot in a truck stop near our present campground. We'll have to go there and see if large size equates to good taste. We will stay here for two nights and then probably to Monticello, IN for two and then probably to our home park in Davison, MI. Wont be as long as it has been!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pender, NE to Des Moines, IA

Yesterday, we moved from the campground on the Blue Ox property to Cutty's Campground in Des Moines. The winds started gusting AGAIN up to 30 MPH or so to start. As we were getting set up, we told our new "friend," a bird that had been laying on either some rocks or eggs next to our rig. As we would approach, she would scream and splay her tail feathers telling us to get away and she was getting bigger to force the issue, if needed. When this wouldn't work, she would take off into the grass so that we would chase her instead of going near her "nest." Gutsy little lady! On our trip, we were even smiled on by a Smiley Face from a water tower in Adair, IA. The gusts picked up along our journey to over 40 MPH but at least the last half of the trip had the wind at our rear instead of the right side like it was for the first half. We got set up at Cutty's just before it started raining. The other day in Omaha at lunch with MOC friends, Ron and Mary suggested stopping at a dairy farm in Northern Indiana where there is a "milking carousel" and many calfs being born every day, among other interesting things. We will be camping nearby at Monticello, IN but, since we have not given Sunshine serious "separation training," we are not going to be able to see it this trip. We will work on that while home and hopefully see the farm in the fall, when we leave the MOC Rally in Goshen. Tomorrow we go to Utica, IL and then on to Monticello. From there, we head home. Looking forward to seeing family that we have not seen since the holidays.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We had a great day today!

Yesterday, the engineer from Blue Ox took our hitch and old bedsaver from our truck. We spent the night in their on-site campground. This morning, we were advised that our bedsaver was good to go. I took the truck to the factory they reinstalled it. We advised them that we had plans for this afternoon and were advised that we could stay the extra night, if we wished. This was done all for no added cost to us. We then drove to Fremont, NE and had lunch with friends from the MOC, Ron and Mary Lichtenberg and Paul and Jan Kelpe. We made it back to Pender late this afternoon and will leave in the morning for Des Moines, IA. We are now slowly making our way home to Michigan. All in all, a pretty good day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mitchell, SD to Pender, NE

Today we traveled from Mitchell to Pender. The first half was with a 30-40 MPH tailwind and then the last half was south with the strong winds coming from the west. We arrived at the Blue Ok hitch and tow bar factory. Since our 5th wheel slider hitch on our new truck would not handle the "bed saver" from our old hitch, they will design one for us, install it and we will have a new bed saver and Blue Ox will have the design for this hitch for future orders. We have used Blue Ox products in the past and liked them but this action really impresses us. They have a campground on their property with full hookups and will let us camp here until they are done on Friday. What's good about being in this area is that we will be having dinner with friends from the MOC that live in Omaha tomorrow or Thursday. Can't beat that! When we leave here Friday or Saturday, we will be slowly winding our way home to Michigan.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sundance, WY to Mitchell, SD

We finally made it out of Sundance today. This morning we returned our truck to the mechanic who had "changed the fuel filters" because it was still difficult starting and discovered that he only replaced one of the two filters. Now, hopefully, it is good to go. The day was sunny and cool, finally rising to 66 degrees as we arrived in Mitchell. The winds that we have been having seemingly forever were relatively calm and it was a great day to travel. When we arrived at the Famil-E-Fun Campground said that he had just heard on the news that tomorrow the winds back between Rapid City and The Missouri River were to be 55 MPH SUSTAINED tomorrow. WOW!! Once again, our timing was quite good. Tomorrow we travel from here to Pender, NE, the home of Blue Ox hitches. They are taking our old "bed saver" that fit onto the hitch from the truck we traded in for this one in Texas but does not fit on the new slider hitch. They have not manufactured one that fits our hitch so they will design and manufacture one and give it to us for free, and then they will have a pattern for future savers for this hitch. This is great PR by Blue Ox. They also have a campground on their property that we will be camping at while there. The only cost to us will be time. We then will be winding our way home, probably arriving about May 14.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

One more day in Sundance

The weather geniuses have issued a Winter Weather Advisory calling for snow and 25-40 MPH winds with 50 MPH gusts for today. Tomorrow should be much better so we will wait until then to leave here. This is the same campground that we were in last spring and stayed inside the Montana for a few hours with the slides in while 65 MPH gusts lambasted us. Is Northeast Wyoming trying to tell us something? Sunshine had a difficult time sleeping last night with the rockin and rollin that the rig was going through. Think we will let her sleep today and tomorrow will be a better day. We are warm and dry in here.