Friday, July 11, 2014

Grand Coulee Dam is a Must See

Today we went to the Grand Coulee Dam. It was SO interesting. 

We had toured the Hoover Dam before September 11—when they were still allowing tours.

Grand Coulee Dam is one of the largest concrete structures in the world.  It is as high as the Washington Monument.  It is the country's largest hydroelectric project; it generates more power than a million locomotives.

We were able to take a guided tour of the Dam.  They took us by van to the top of the spillway and we were able to stop and take some great pictures.

It supplies enough power to continuously supply the needs of two cities the size of Seattle!
It is truly a sight to behold.  We were able to take a guided tour to the top of the dam.  We were also able to see the working generators and pumps.  It was a really interesting tour.   I thought it was interesting, George thought it was fabulous.  He understands and loves the mechanics and technology of this amazing structure.

As it started to get dusk, we set up lawn chairs to watch a laser light show on the dam.  It was a perfect temperature.  The area we were sitting in had grass for the kids to run around. We had a perfect view of the upcoming show.

After dark we set up our lawn chairs on the grass park area just below the visitor center and watched a laser light show on the spillway.

It has been SO hot here.  Today was a lovely day, we are all happy it is a little cooler today than it has been.  We really enjoyed this day with family.

Seeing the sunset over the spillway, I am reminded of our God's greatness.  It is not only OVER the man made structure;  the sunset is what brings beauty to this moment.  Our God is Great.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hanging Out with Marty and His Family in Moses Lake, WA

We pulled into Moses Lake, WA about 2pm. We plan to stay at Marty, Lisa's brothers’ house.

Originally we had planned to get here on 7/9, but in an effort to stay in front of several tornado storms we made it across northern US much faster than we expected.  Even after a couple of rest days along the way, we both feel really tired and are anxious to just sit and visit for a week or so.  We are going to be here until 7/15 when we have reservations in Lake Easton, WA.

Marty had put in a 50 amp outlet and he has a really wide and long driveway, so there is plenty of room for us to park.  In fact he has 2 other campers and a boat on the side of the driveway.

It has been more than 5 years since we have seen Marty and his family so we are all excited to spend some extended time together. 

We have never had the luxury of a long visit with him, because in the past we had limited vacation time.  Again, we feel so blessed to have a lifestyle that is allowing us to spend time with family.

They have 5 chickens that they are raising for eggs.  They are Barred Rock Bantam chickens.  They will lay brown eggs and the best part… they do not need a roaster—which is great for those us of parked near the chicken coop.

They are really pretty birds and greet us whenever we come out of the 5th wheel.
They also have a white rabbit named Strawberry.  She is perfectly white.  She is in her cage and honestly not as interactive as the chickens.

They have a dog named Koda.  The dog is 75% timber wolf and 25% I have no idea—after they said wolf I did not hear another word.

They have 3 cats that are both inside and outside.  Because George is horribly allergic to cats we realize we only be able to be in the house a limited amount.  As our visit went on George’s allergies were bad enough that we kept him out of the house as much as possible.  Every time he was in the house for any length of time he had an allergy attack.   Marty, Ree and the kids have been very gracious to hang out with us in our RV—so George does not get sick.

Marty has such a good memory that he remembers things I do not—so it has been fun to sit around and talk about growing up.  He and I have always had a different relationship than the other siblings because he is almost exactly 10 years younger than I am.  When mom and dad brought him home from the hospital, they put his little bassinet in my room.  I would carry him around—he was my "real life" baby doll.  I do not carry him around anymore.  It is really exciting to see the man that he has become. 

They have worked hard, made hard decisions and sacrifices and now they have purchased a house and land out in the country—perfect for them.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

From South Dakota to Montana

Today was a travel day. We drove about 6 hours from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Montana.  It was a beautiful drive.  We really enjoyed the short time that we were able to spend in South Dakota, but we need to move forward toward Washington.

The drive was an easy, uneventful trip.  Again, we love our new additional fuel tank which allows us to go almost a full day without stopping for fuel.

Because this is July 4th weekend, we were concerned about finding a place to stay on our way.  Holiday weeks have been our only real challenge to find Coast to Coast or Resorts of Distinction campgrounds.  We had an idea how far we want to travel each leg of this trip—and so I worked to find campgrounds to would fit our travel.  We were less interested in the campground than we were in the location.  We just wanted sites that would be easy to get to from the interstate.

After we left Indiana we stayed one (awful) night in a truck stop parking lot, we spent another at a campground near Rapid City, South Dakota.  Tonight we stayed just past Billings, Montana at a very small campground "Old West" in Reed Point, MT.  When I called to get a spot the owner did not think she had a spot available, but she worked her magic and assured us that she would make sure we had a place when we pulled in.  She saved her final (and largest) site for us—so we did not have to unhook the truck or the jeep AND she gave it to us for the Passport America rate.  What a blessing.

We made smoothies for dinner and settled in to catch up on some of the TV shows we had recorded.

About 8:30 we heard a knock at our door.  We opened the door and greeted a "new friend". She pointed to a picture of our rig she had seen on one of the RV forums.  She and her husband were reading one of the blog entries I had made and they were discussing they had seen us this week on the road.  Then they realized we were sitting about 4 sites down from them.  She came in and we had a nice visit--as if we had been friends for a long time.  What a great life.  We continue to meet people along our journey with similar goals and dreams.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Custer State Park… The Animals are So Close you Can See Them Breathe

Since we started traveling, we generally do not have long sight-seeing days. Partly because we do not need to cram everything into one long day—we can take our time and really enjoy each moment and each sight.  We also tend to have shorter days because I (Lisa) still have a lot of days that I struggle with pain.  It seems like the longer my day, the more pain I will have at the end of the day and often the next day.

Since we are only in the Black Hills and Badland area for two days, we felt like we wanted to see every possible sight we could.

Today started out cloudy and with strong winds.  But, we will not be deterred.  We started at Custer State Park.  We were really excited about the possibility of seeing wildlife throughout the park.  Custer Park has wildlife roaming throughout the park.

Within a couple of miles we saw a herd of Buffalo "hanging out" beside and IN the middle of the road.  Signs throughout the park say “Wildlife are dangerous, do not approach”—they do not tell you what to do when they approach you!


The buffalo were roaming around totally unfazed by the cars on the road and those parked beside the road.  Several of the buffalo were within a foot of our jeep.

We could easily hear their heavy breathing and snorting.

Those buffalo acted as if they were out for a day of “people watching”.

Who was watching who???

About 2 miles down the road we see another herd of Buffalo. These buffalo were within a couple of feet of the road, but none were on the road.

This group had huge bulls and we saw several momma and babies.  I was so excited; I could have set for hours watching them.  It is thrilling to have the opportunity to be so close to these massive animals.

As we drive through the park we see antelope and deer.   There was also a group of Burros.  Several of the burros were walking down the road, mostly because there were people along the road tempting them with bread and treats.   I found myself getting so angry about people feeding these animals.  There are signs throughout the park saying NOT to feed wildlife.  The deer in the Royal Gorge area were dying of malnutrition because people would feed them bread and so they didn't want to eat their normal diet.

Before today, I had never seen a burro in the wild.
We both love any opportunity to wildlife—so this was a great day.

 There were single lane tunnels along the roads.

After being in awe at all of the wildlife, we start through the Needles area of Custer State Park. It reminded us a little of Garden of the Gods--only with tan/brown rocks instead of the red rocks of Garden of the Gods.

The day was still windy and chilly, but we had packed a picnic and we were both determined to have our picnic.  George pulled a picnic table into the sun and we enjoyed a beautiful picnic beside this lake.

We drove through Deadwood on the way back to the RV.

We also drove through Sturgis.  We were anxious to get home, so we didn’t stop in Deadwood or in Sturgis—but we were glad to have seen both.  Sturgis seemed to be primarily made up of bars, t-shirt stores and motorcycle shops.

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