Friday, August 28, 2009


Well, we're wending our way to the East Coast again! From Mount Rushmore in South Dakota we travelled across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania to New York. We spend a few days there to see my Mom and sister Mary Jane. Mom's doing okay, but had been feeling poorly. She's feisty and toting oxygen hasn't dampened her enthusiasm. Well, maybe some... Got to do some "home" things like visit Wegman's (a local grocery store chain that is the best in the world!!) and eat speidies (a local marinated kabob type thing that Broome County is famous for). Then we head out again across Pennsylvania where we stop to photograph some old, old cemeteries where various branches of my family are buried. You would not believe some of the roads we've gone down in our little Prius!! On this jaunt we would never have found the Dymond Hollow Cemetery had we not talked to a neighbor at Fitch. Fitch was really interesting for me as I have so many ancestors there. John and I are both working on our family trees and these stops help us validate our research. They are also very interesting. We photo other gravestones, too, to post for others who are researching their families.

Then, onto Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to see the beautiful 4 month old Eva Grace! Eva started off a month early, tiny and not an eager eater. Well, any worries are over. She is a lively, all smiles little butterball. She's learned how scootch backwards and is ready to get moving. Eva had her first sleepover at Oma and Opa's RV. John and I had forgotten how busy a little person can keep you... feeding, diaper changing, burbing!! But, we sure enjoyed it!

And, lest they think they are forgotten, we enjoyed our visit with her parents. I stayed a few extra days while John drove on to Red Bay, Alabama, to get our windshield replaced. It was a nice, relaxing visit with Eva, Hans & Andrea.

Life doesn't get much better than this... travelling around the USA with John and getting to see family and all the grandchildren. We leave here to head to Columbus, Georgia, and Lance and Branden for Labor Day weekend!! Got to see Rennie and Tess in Northern CA before heading East.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The Park newspaper calls Mount Rushmore the "Shrine of Democracy". I don't agree. I think that should be Congress - even if the inhabitants there sometimes forget it. Even still this is pretty impressive. Did you know that each face is 60 feet tall; each eye is 11 feet wide; noses are 20 feet long except Washington's which is 21 feet and his mouth is 18 feet wide. It took about 14 years to do and, get this, cost under $1million ($989,992.32). Any bets what that would be today?
From the NPS website and the newspaper we learn over 90% of Mount Rushmore was carved by using dynamite. Dynamite blasts removed approximately 450,000 tons of rock from the mountain. The 4 images represent Birth (Washington - Revolutionary War), Expansion (Jefferson - Louisiana Purchase), Development (T. Roosevelt - New Century) and Preservation (Lincoln - Saved the Nation during the Civil War).
Betcha didn't know all this!! And, it is a very pretty drive with at least one 10% grade!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Well, I am very behind with this blog. It is now Sept. 17th and I am just starting on Custer State Park which was early August. It was a beautiful spot. South Dakota in general is a pretty place, a lot of greenery and nice people! We really enjoyed our drives through the park. The biggest thrills were the prairie dog village, the closeness of the buffalo and the wild burros. I thought I was over my buffalo fascination, but, needing a restroom and not being able to get to it because of buffalo in the way, rekindled the interest. The burros were a hoot!! They have no fear of humans or cars. You just better have some carrots or apples for them!!!

The prairie dogs are really cute! They can dig SOOO fast and are fun to watch! This was a small "town" of maybe 15 holes. At one time, there were 1000's of these towns all across the prairies. They are rodents, related to ground squirrels.

As true for so much of our journey, the vistas are incredible!! I just cannot describe how expansive and pretty all the mountains are. And, pictures just don't measure up to the reality!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Remember "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind"? Well, this is THE rock. It really looms over the surrounding countryside. Then, there were one or two areas with these reddish rocks. Everything else was grayish. Really strange! Very pretty drive here. The Black Hills area is just gorgeous. We stayed at a really pleasant RV Park. It is on our return list.

Friday, August 7, 2009


After leaving Grand Teton and a beautiful drive we arrived at Yellowstone!! A truly wonderful place!! We were here 4 days and didn't see 1/2 of it!! Saw lots of antelope, elks and buffalo, but no moose or bears!! We'll have to go back just for those! And, of course, we had to go see Old Faithful!! All throughout the park, the mountain backdrops are spectacular!!

Buffalo are huge!! Amazingly, a buffalo skin is very soft and very warm. You know those massive heads they have. Well, by swinging their heads back and forth they clear away snow drifts to get to the plants and grass buried in the snow. Buffalo also stand motionless for hours at a time. And, they don't care where that the middle of a field or the middle of the road!! There were nightly traffic jams as buffalo posed for photographs and crossed the road!!
The elk are everywhere! They love the park and thrive there. Ample food and water plus lodgepole pine forest to shelter the newborn calves in May & June. A massive fire in 1988 destroyed huge expanses of the pine. It also caused the new growth of acres of new pines. The effect on the elk is still being watched. Oh, we also saw a nesting bald eagle. We couldn't get very close as it was a restricted area, but we did get 1 0r 2 photos from just outside the restricted area. The prettiest part was our drive and quasi-hike around the North Rim. We wanted to go down to see the waterfalls and river, but it was over 600 feet down a steep incline and we were at about 7000 ft. altitude. We got halfway down when the pups and I said, "That's it!" To be honest, I stopped before they did....

A wonderful visit...despite cool weather (high 30's at night) and awesome thunderstorms nightly!! No moose! No bear! Gee, we have to go back...

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Wow!! Today was so much FUN!!! We can't wait to do this again!! It was just a Category 2/3. Next time we're going for Category 3/4!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


As you can see from the pictures of the drive up and the vistas below, this is the most beautiful, most amazing place on the planet!!! Each view breathtaking! There are not words to describe it!! Lots of pictures, but they cannot convey the incredible majesty!!

Then, there are the animals and wildflowers. Lots of antelope - beautiful, graceful and lithe! Buffalo - big and brown and menacing! The buffalo caused a big traffic jam one night on our way back to the RV park. When a buffalo wants to cross the road, you don't argue. When a herd decides to cross, stand back!! Lots of pretty flowers - yellow, pink, blue. And, pine trees loaded with maturing pine cones.