Well, Saira (Sigh-ra),our RV, didn't know that St. Louis has torn out most of the interstates. The ramps and layers of crossing highways reminded me of Atlanta's Spaghetti highways. We ended up going through downtown along with all the game traffic. City streets are not made for RV's pulling jeeps. White knuckled we listened to the GPS circle us around and around. Finally, we found a detour sign and some truckers to follow. After about 30 minutes of intense cursing and sweating bullets we arrived at Casino Queen. Of course, like every other day on our journey here, it was pouring rain! Mike is made to drive this 37 footer. I am still amazed at his skills as a new driver. With that, we opened up Stellina Di Notte Prosecco to celebrate that we are all in one piece! Queen Casino RV park is a nice RV park as far as that goes. They do have a shuttle that will take us to the Casino, the hotel (indoor pool) and the metro link train. I have missed easy access to a real city. Even though I loved Napa, I am excited to start exploring St. Louis. Mike is now playing his Takamine so you know everything is right in our world.
We left Green Acres RV park in Emery, SD early this morning to try and beat the storms that were raging through the Mid West/West. We managed to avoid most of it. Iowa, well, was everything I expected. A lot of farms. Taking Interstate 29 down to Kansas City we were following part of Lewis and Clark Trail. We headed into Kansas City for some good BBQ. After Googling we found Joe's was the best. With fantastic maneuvering, Mike was able to park the coach. We had to walk about half a block in the rain but the anticipation of smoked turkey drenched in BBQ sauce with spicy slaw dripping all over my hands and plate was all I thought about. You can never judge good BBQ by the condition of the building. This I learned from years living in North Carolina. Well, Joe's was attached to a gas station but, Man-O-Man, it was is like a spicy party in my mouth! Of course, we bought a bottle to go! We stopped for the night at a Good Sam's RV park in Higginsville, MO. We will be in St. Louis tomorrow!!
We were able to register the Jeep today because we had the title. My Home Address will finish the rest of the paperwork needed to register the RV since there is a lien on it and mail our plates to us in St. Louis. We found an outfitter store called Cabela. We hadn't been in one before. It is much like Dick's or REI but with a really really tall water fall and "stuffed" animal displays everywhere. We might have had too much fun in there. Mike found a foldable Coleman grill. He is back in business! We are hoping to grill some veggie burgers and sweet potatoes tonight if the wind dies down. It is surprisingly hot here. We had to put the air conditioning on! We are enjoying the quiet country with the cows and sheep in the distance. I am taking videos but to upload them takes a lot of data usage on my Mifi. I am going to wait until I get free WiFi again to edit and upload to this site. Highlight of the day was seeing a Bald Eagle sitting on a tree top branch. Tomorrow we leave SD and head to Missouri.
Yesterday the rain stopped and the sun tried to shine at Mount Rushmore. Seriously, a truly amazing sight. There was an original carver in the gift shop, so we talked to Nick who worked on Lincoln and Roosevelt. Then we ate breakfast in the tourist town of Keystone. Being Tuesday after Memorial Day, it was a bit slow plus it was 9:00 am. Crazy Horse was next. After $22 dollars at the gate we drove to a very commercialized tourist trap full of trinkets and what not's. Ugh! The bus to the bottom of Crazy Horse was yet another fee! To go to the top of Crazy Horse was yet another fee! It's not even done! We decided to take a few photos from the observation deck and leave. You can get the same shots from the road for free. By 10:00 am we were cruisin' down Interstate 90 to get to Emery,SD. We made pretty good time even with a brief stop in the Badlands National Park for some scenic photos and playful shots of the prairie dogs. In Emery Hyatt's B&B and RV park is perfect! AL and Nancy are retired Army. They travel a lot to beat the cold winters. You can stay here even if they are away. It's on an honor system. I would come back here just to hang out on their big front porch and drink a beer with them anytime.
Today we went to My Home Address to get our paperwork ready to become SD residents. They were very professional and knowledgable. We had no trouble getting our Driver's licenses and tomorrow we are registering the Jeep and RV. It is shockingly easy to become a SD resident. One of highlights of the day was driving past the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. LOL! We will be heading out on Friday toward St. Louis.
We made it to Whispering Winds Campground in Hill City, South Dakota near Mount Rushmore. Tomorrow we will actually go see the Presidents and Crazy Horse. We did 5 states in 3 days. It's a relief to have made it here. Despite the rain today, this segment of our journey was uneventful but long (500 miles). My goal was to see some bison and wild horses. Didn't see any bison but we did see wild horses and pronghorns which are antelope like animals. Wyoming has endless land and sky at times it made me feel so small.
Last night at a Little America truck stop we learned to park far as possible away from the trucks. They run all night and smell. We kept the bathroom fan on all night. We were going to stay at a BLM in Green River, Wyoming but there was flash flood warnings there so we didn't want to take a chance of getting stuck out in the wilderness.
Today began so smoothly maybe too smoothly. We were able to get good video of the slides retracting. The weather was looking better. So with a full day ahead of us we headed east on I-80 from Elko, Nevada. The drive was mostly uneventful actually boring. Nevada just doesn't have a lot a great views. As we crossed into Utah we saw sign for port of entry. We didn't know if we needed to weigh our coach or not. We said what the hell let's do it. We drove through the scales and then parked. After a brief discussion we went into the little building. Had always wondered what that would be like. Well, it was just an office. Nothing really mysterious or exciting. The lady behind the desk said if we go back through she would weigh us. Great! So that is what we did. Our coach came in at 30,780 pounds of beautiful! As we were pulling out of the weigh station there was a sign for the Bonneville Salt Flats. No Way! We headed down the road toward the famous international speedway. The road was narrow and the salt flats on both sides were covered in about of foot of water. What?? No jeeping?? So bummed. We drove to the end of the road and talked to a couple who was eating a picnic lunch. Turns out the flats flood every year. Did not know this. So we popped off our shoes and jumped in. The salt soil felt like smooth mud. You know, that expensive mud you get at the hot springs spa for mega dollars. So I spoiled my feet with a little all natural salt flat spa treatment. So far so good.
We headed toward Salt Lake City. Well, we didn't stop as planned to get a closer look at the Great Salt Lake. Let's just say, the traffic was a nightmare and driving a 50 ft long RV and jeep was not a time to stop a smell the salty sea air. Salt Lake City will just have to wait until next time. As we were driving out of the city we spotted a Whole Foods. I was so happy because we really had no food. As we approached the turn into the shopping center Mike's heart sank. The turn was sharp and narrow. With great skill he as able to pull in but another obstacle set before us, Where to park? The lots were all sectioned off with narrow entrances. As began to turn into the parking lot the jeep hit the curb and nearly flipped and missed a huge decorative stone. We almost ran into a parking island. Hearts pumping Mike managed to park without a scratch! I left him to go shop while he figured a way out of the shopping center parking lot maze. Rookie mistake that nearly cost us thousands of dollars. Phew! We are getting pretty good at unhooking the jeep and hooking it back up. That is how we got out of the parking lot by Whole foods and the truck stop where we are tonight. Today's lesson is our coach is longer than we think. Just like I think my butt is smaller than it really is. Tomorrow, Mount Rushmore!
We woke at 5 am this morning to close up the coach for the long trip to St. Louis. The weeks leading up to this moment have been full of finding new homes for all of our belongings. Our daughter received the majority of our household items. We totally love moving pods because she lives in NC and We live in CA. The rest was distributed among our parents, friends and Goodwill. It is a true sense of freedom to have exactly what we need.
So today the time came start down this new adventure together. It was so early. I am sure our neighbors at Skyline park were not thrilled to hear us closing up the slides and pulling out by 6:30 am on a Saturday. I tried to video tape but it turned out awful. The go pro was dead so I used my camera but the card was missing. The phone video was horrible. Frustrated. Then we had to stop in Davis, Ca at La Mesa RV so they could fix a few minor things which went faster than expected. We were on our way by 10:00 am. Around 2:00 Mike decided to get fuel. We have never filled up before. The dealership gave us a full tank, so in the pouring rain, we pulled into the diesel side of the truck stop in Lovelock, Nevada. When Mike puts the debit card in, the pump asks if we want reefer or tractor? Uhmmm. What?? Googled it. still confused. Asked cashier. Still confused? So we just choose one and began pumping. At $75/ 23 gallons it stops we have 100 gallon tank. Fed up cold, wet and tired, we get back into our rig and drive off. We still need fuel and a place to stay for the night. We will be stopping somewhere in nowhere land Nevada. As soon as I figure out the video taping, I will post some. We finally made it to Elko, NV. It is pouring rain. We are staying in an RV resort called the Iron Horse. We were lucky that they have pull through lots because we didn't want to get drenched unhitching the jeep. As I was sliding out the living room passenger slide my Kindle fell underneath and was severely crushed to it's death. I was in the middle of a book. All in All we had a pretty good first day. Can't wait until Salt Lake City, Utah tomorrow!
Mike & Kat
Kat left teaching after 18 years to travel throughout the USA with her husband, Mike, who is an engineer for a Power generation company.