Treasure Hunting and other Summer Stuff

We started off in the RV the beginning of June with plans to treasure hunt for Forrest Fenn’s treasure, visit our new great-grandson, attend a Tiffin rally and spend time on a dude ranch with the family. Alex, my step-son and Zoe, his finance, accompanied us on the first part of the trip. We managed to accomplish all that and more.

Our first stop was in Salt Lake City to visit our grandson, Kody, and his family, particularly the newest member of the family, our great-grandson. We are so fortunate to have them all in our lives! We stayed at the Salt Lake City KOA and it was very convenient.

The next stop was the dude ranch I had picked out, Gros Ventre River Ranch, near Jackson Hole, WY, with spectacular views of the Tetons. We met the rest of the family there and what a fabulous place it turned out to be. Besides looking at the stunning views, we went horseback riding, fishing and just had a spectacular time. This is a place for a once in a lifetime trip. We made such great memories and it could not have been a more beautiful place with the best staff we have ever encountered! Oh yes, Thanks to King and Kristen, we had a few Moscow Mules.

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Next, continuing our five year long search for “The Thrill of the Chase” treasure, we parked at Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone. As usual, I felt I knew just where the treasure was, so we spent two whole days looking for it. We mostly looked along the Madison river just below Hebgen Lake. If you know the poem with the clues … I decided that “begin where warm waters halt” was the entrance to Yellowstone, only going out, not in. We began there and then “put in” below the house of brown. (Hebgen Lake full of brown trout) Needless to say, we did not find “the blaze”, which will point you to the treasure. We might have missed it by not crossing the Madison and looking where a lot of big rocks are beneath a white “blaze” in the mountain above. (See photo!) Of course the girls, Gypsy and Bella led the pack and we had a fabulous time looking. We even went to Ghost Road and then Quake Lake, where an earthquake moved mountains and buildings  on August 17, 1959. It measured 7.5 on the Richter scale and killed 28 people. You can still see cabins that were moved to the river along Ghost Road. IMG_3963

The next day we looked just outside the West gate. Following “the canyon down – Canyon Street”, we put in just below the museum of bears and wolves “house of brown” and looked for a blaze. We saw a radio tower and headed for it. Again … no luck, but then that would have been too easy.IMG_3985

Off to the Tiffin Rally in Gillette Wyoming, where we met a lot of great people, particularly the group from the “Lucky Seven”. During the rally, we took a day trip to Devil’s Tower with new friends of ours, Stuart and Delores. You might remember Devils Tower from “Close Encounters of a Third Kind”. There is a 1.3 mile path around it which makes a great little hike. After that, we saw a sign for Sundance and decided to check it out. It is a very small town and one of the main attractions is a statue of the Sundance Kid, sitting on a bench in front of the jail. Couldn’t resist the obligatory photo! Robert Redford just missed us!

 

When the rally was finished, we decided to take a different way home and see Crazy Horse Monument. It is very near Mt. Rushmore and is actually larger, with a wonderful museum displaying beautiful Indian artifacts, clothing and art. There is lots of parking, so we just parked the RV and tow car in the lot. It was a good thing we got there early though, as it was crowed when we left around noon. Charge for the monument was $11.00 per person and parking was free.

The long road home took us through a bit of Nebraska and a lot of Colorado. Eastern Colorado has some of the worst roads we have encountered, but the road through western Colorado was stunning. All and all, it was a jam-packed fun month!!

Cocoa Beach Wedding

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One of the reasons we chose Orlando as one of our stops was because my daughter, Casey was getting married on the sand at beautiful Cocoa Beach. She is not really my daughter, but just like a daughter to me.  Her fiancé, Brian and she had most of the arrangements made, but we wanted to participate as much as possible.

We arrived at the KOA on Whippoorwill Lake and parked facing the lake.  It turned out to be a great RV park and in a convenient place for our needs.  My grandson, Kody, arrive a day before the wedding and we were thrilled to get to see him too.  It also gave us the opportunity to try out having company in the RV.  Fortunately, that worked out okay in spite of the fact Kody is a tall young man.  He slept sorta sideways on the dining room bed.  It probably gave him character!

We were afraid of rain on the day of the wedding, but Brian and Casey received the gift of an hour of perfect weather and a rainbow over the ocean behind them during the ceremony. In Florida it can be raining one minute and sunshine the next. After the ceremony, we all threw promise stones in the ocean.

The wedding diner was at the Sunset Seafood Restaurant and the manager, Susan, did a wonderful job making everything perfect for the wedding party. She even provided flowers she bought herself.  The restaurant is on the canal facing the sunset and provided a special place for the dinner.  It could not have turned out any better.  We were grateful it was such a lovely evening.

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After the wedding festivities were over, we did not visit any of the usual tourist places like Disneyland, Universal Studios, Lego Land, Epcot Center or even Gatorland, but we did see the Kennedy Space Center.  It was named after President Kennedy to celebrate his dedication to the space program and his vision of landing on the moon.

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The  center is a spectacular facility with rockets, space capsules, movies, space shuttles and everything to do with space for you to see and touch.  You can even touch a piece of the moon. We saw Launchpad 39 A and B, which has been used to launch every human space flight for NASA.  We also saw the Saturn V Rocket  and the Atlantis shuttle along with tons of items from the Apollo program.  What a thrill!

The area is also a nature preserve and is home to thousands of birds, rattlesnakes, panthers, manatees, alligators and all manner of wildlife.  If there is one thing you should see in the Orlando area, the Kennedy Space Center should be it.  We will just have to return to see the other Orlando attractions.

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THE MARATHON DRIVE CROSS COUNTRY TO BUFFALO, NEW YORK

As I said in an earlier blog, Lennard jokes that I am a slave driver, making him drive hundreds of miles across country. But in reality, he is participating in the decisions…it’s just that he forgets he said, “Oh sure, lets drive four hundred miles tomorrow.”

So we are now only driving, not sightseeing, so we can get to Buffalo, New York and meet up with my cousins, Darlene, Rick and Doreen, as well as our dear friends from Las Vegas, Jim and Joanne. We will be seeing Niagara Falls and staying at the Grand Island KOA. We would like to have a day or so “down time” before we start sightseeing again.

During all our travels, I have booked some Passport America RV Parks, some KOA RV Parks and some Good Sam RV Parks. All of them have turned out to be great and have adhered to their advertising as far as cost. I have been pleasantly surprised that even when I book the day before or the day of, I have been able to get space every time except for once. That time I just booked a different RV park.

For gas we have looked for Flying J or Pilot stations to get the Good Sam discount. They are also easy to navigate in and out of, which is important. Even a three cent per gallon helps when you are buying 100 gallons or more. Lennard likes to make sure he has about ½ tank at all times.

We run the generator when we stop at rest stops to make coffee and cool down the rig a bit. It helps a lot to take a little break even for 20 minutes or so. The microwave runs on the generator too. My stove and oven run on propane. We filled the propane tank up when we first left and I still have plenty left. No, it’s not that I haven’t cooked, it’s because they don’t use much propane. Hopefully it will be cooler when we arrive. It has been blistering hot and humid across South Dakota and Minnesota so far.

Since we aren’t seeing much but the freeway now, I’m posting some photos we took along our trip that I did not post and should have. Please enjoy!!

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Gypsy loved Tom

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Moon over Homer

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Our view in Homer

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Moving up the OregonCoast

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After a wonderful visit with my brother and sister-in-law, we headed over to the 101 via the 20. Oops, a little winding and narrow and harrowing.  We managed to get up the coast to the Willits KOA campground where two men helped us back into the narrow site. Lennard made beer drinking friends and played “Corn Hole”. (Something like horseshoes only with beer)

On Sunday we drove through the Avenue of the Giants in the redwoods.  Absolutely stunning. The redwoods are sentinels of time, withstanding fire and tree plagues. They can live for thousands of years, grow to over 300 feet and can be as wide as 20 feet.  The famous drive thru tree is 17 feet wide.

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On Monday the plan was to stay in the Jedidiah Smith State Park.  What was I thinking?  We almost got stuck in the entrance. The road was so narrow I had to get out to make sure we didn’t hit anything leaving.  We found a lovely campground just down the road…The Hiouchi RV resort.  We spent the rest of the day hiking through the spectacular Stout Grove of magnificent redwoods.
On the way to the redwoods, we drove along the coast and stopped at the Mystery Trees Visitor Center and took their one mile hike through the redwoods.
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The next day we drove back  Klamath to go to the drive through tree.  It is one of three in the world, all of which are in the redwoods.
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The rest of the day was spent back in Crescent City at the absolutely beautiful Battery Point Lighthouse, perched high on a hill.  It was first lit in 1856. You can only go over to it when the tide is at its lowest.  It was one of the first lighthouses on the Oregon coast. Dogs are not allowed, so don’t tell anyone we took them up anyway.
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On Wednesday we had Norwegian fish and chips along the highway.  They were fabulous.
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We arrived late at the Whaler’s Rest RV Park.  This is a Thousand Trails Encore Park and is set in the woods along the coast.  We love it here and got the Passport America discount too! They have a trail that leads to the beach which we took a walk along this morning.
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Just in case you were counting. We have now made it over two weeks, over 1,000 miles and seen three states.
On Thursday we went into historic Newport over the historic bridge and saw the harbor.
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Newport also has the oldest, wooden light house on this coast, set in the Yaquina Park.
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We also saw the Yaquina Head Lighthouse made of brick, which has been standing sine 1873. It was originally known as the Cape Foulweather Lighthouse as the fog was so bad on the coast.  We had a lot of foul fog today too! The lens was made in Paris and shipped to Oregon.  At least it made it! It is now operated by the Coast Guard and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
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Since we didn’t have lunch, we stopped for dinner at a fresh Crab place on the highway. Lennard had oysters and fresh  Halibut.  I had chicken tenders.  What a wimp I am.
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By the way, we saw an example of some type of natural or environmental oddity on the beaches all along the coast.  We were told it was the largest dying off of jellyfish that has been seen in years.  Maybe we should rethink our environmental policies.
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A late Happy Birthday to Frank and sorry we missed the party!! Keep track of us on Life 360, Right Rich?
Take care!