Wall Drug, Hill City, SD and Crazy Horse

Tuesday, on the way to Hill City, we stopped at Wall Drug. A Cheezy Americano Tourist Trap. Still fun to see and drink the infamous Free Glass of Ice Water, or 4. The place is Huge! So very glad we didn’t have young children with us. πŸ˜‰

Richard riding the jackalope.

Richard riding the jackalope.

This is a Rolling Hotel Bus. While ours is the same size I don't think it's near as much fun traveling with complete strangers in a tin can.

This is a Rolling Hotel Bus. While ours is the same size I don’t think it’s near as much fun traveling with complete strangers in a tin can.

We spent yesterday touring around Hill City. Our first stop was the Crazy Horse Monument. What an amazing undertaking and what a tribute to the Native American culture. In addition to the monument there is plenty of history on display and they have a nice restaurant where I was able to get gluten free pasta with fresh veggies (would have been better as a ragΓΊ but I didn’t have to prepare it πŸ˜‹). We also beat the bus tours but they all had the buffet and we tend not to do them because we don’t eat enough to justify the price. Richard had a taco on Indian fried flatbread and it was huge.

The price to enter the monument is $10/person and it all goes to the park. This is not federally funded and a good thing because with the cuts in the National Prks funding it is unlikely this would ever be finished. Not that there isn’t a chance it won’t be finished in my lifetime either but it at least has a chance.

Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse Monument

The 34th scale in the foreground . The hole in the actual monument is 10 stories high.

The 34th scale in the foreground . The hole in the actual monument is 10 stories high.

We then drove through Custer State Park, Black Hills National Forest and Mt Rushmore National Park. Narrow two lane road with a lot of twisting and turning. Speed limit was 35 and 15 on most of the turns. No real passing areas but there were pull-offs but three of the cars in front of us had obviously never driven before. They never reached 25 mph and you could walk the curves faster. Richard’s comment at one point was, “I can only go so slow!” The car is a standard transmission. So he found areas to pass the three and the 4th one we encountered used the pull-off. The parks are beautiful and everything was so green.

Park road

Park road

We made the obligatory stop at Mt Rushmore but have to say it wasn’t as awe inspiring as Crazy Horse. To give you some perspective Mt Rushmore would fit into the area that is Crazy Horse’s hair!!

Mt Rushmore

Mt Rushmore

We attempted to enjoy a local brew at Firehouse Brewing Co. In Rapid City after seeing all the billboards along I-90 (each one has an old fire truck parked alongside the billboard). Unfortunately, their service sucks and after 5 minutes waiting for the bartender to take our order, only 2 other people at the bar and he had just served them, we left. Walked down to the Dublin Square Pub and had a couple in there and the bartender was great! Will be reviewing both on Yelp.

Lots of rain last night and there are flash flood warnings out but haven’t ventured out yet this morning so don’t know the extent of it or if Hill City was affected. Doing a bit of laundry…man I hate this machine…hopefully it’s finished soon so we can get to Deadwood for lunch.

Pictures of Our Rig

I was asked to post some pictures of our RV because everyone is always curious what other ones look like inside. πŸ˜‰

Driving area and entertainment center. Richard customized the built-ins to accommodate the Blu-ray player and the Wii.

Driving area and entertainment center. Richard customized the built-ins to accommodate the Blu-ray player and the Wii.

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Staying Connected and Things that Go Bump!

Already behind due to lack of wi-fi and not wanting to waste my 3G access on my ramblings. We spent Sunday night in Salina at a nice KOA Campgrounds but with lousy wi-fi. So lousy I couldn’t get connected at all and there were too many trees for 3G. Symone once again showed her evil side by taking us on the back roads. Which, of course, doesn’t bode well for Richard actually using her in the future.

We traveled from Salina, KS to Valentine, NE on Monday. Lost all digital connections about Concordia, KS! Seriously, AT&T, I have found a HUGE gap in your 4G network! It’s not so much that I couldn’t access my Facebook page, send a text, or Google it was the fact that we were in the middle of Nowhere, NE! No rest ops, no service stations for most of it and no public phones…you remember pay phones, right? If we had broken down Richard would have had to disconnect the car and drive until he found a signal or civilization. When we got to the Park in Valentine the 4G was in and out but the park had wi-fi so I got to touch base with home.

Lots and lots of rain yesterday with wiper blades that love to jump ship. Mostly it was the strong gusts of wind that kept the blades from making contact with the windshield. A large front rolled through last night which had me wondering if the bus would remain upright…it did and we woke to 54* temps. WooHoo!

One of the major annoyances on this trip is the drawer with the can goods. Seems it is too heavy 😏 so it rolls in and out. Not so bad on the rolling in but on the roll out? Nerve wracking. I have requested some eye rings and bungee cords be installed. The engineer is still contemplating the design but he has 3 nights before we hit the road again so fingers crossed.

So tonight we are in Hill City, SD for 3 nights. New territory for both of us and lots to see and do. Mt Rushmore in the morning and it is open from there.

Below are a few pictures from the past couple of days:

Mother teaching her goslings to beg though Dad is very protective so you can't get too close. Salina, KS

Mother teaching her goslings to beg though Dad is very protective so you can’t get too close. Salina, KS

Somewhere in southern South Dakota

Somewhere in southern South Dakota

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Day 1 and GPS

We left this morning at 8:30 and with a short stop for lunch made it to Ardmore, OK by 3pm. Usually traffic mess coming up to and thru Ft Worth but not as bad as a weekday. Certainly way more traffic southbound.

Our stop for the night is at the Hidden Lake RV Park. Hidden is certainly what we thought when Symone, the RV GPS, took us the loooonnnngggg way in. There seems to be a conflict as to what I think is the most direct and what Symone thinks but she did get us here but I’m guessing Richard is going to have me check the Book here on after.

Most everything stayed in place with the exception of the canned food drawer. Guess the weight is too much for the latch but it was amusing to watch it open and shut depending on the corner/curve. I suggested eye hooks on either side of the drawer and then a bungee. We’ll see if the engineer agrees, will let you know.

The new reverse osmosis for the kitchen sink is wonderful and we even get to make ice now. I did lose that shelf of freezer space though but it is great not to have to worry about where to put an 8lb bag!

Forgot my pepper grinder so it will be replaced in a couple of days. I don’t think I have anything but whole peppercorns at this point. Hoping the spice box might have some ground white. I also forgot to get a haircut but that’s not near as frustrating as the pepper grinder.

So here’s to 330 miles and one day down:

Cheers!

Cheers!

Down to the Wire

I have spent the past week loading up the RV and I can truly say I am glad it already has a kitchen sink so I didn’t have to pack one! Thank goodness we leave in the morning so I can quit worrying about what else needs to go!!

I am quite proud of the pantry though and love the labels I was able to download from here: http://blog.worldlabel.com/2013/kitchen-spice-jar-pantry-organizing-labels.html

Pantry

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The only thing left to do is map where everything is so I don’t spend ages trying to find the brown sugar. That and the last minute items in the morning from the fridge.

Here’s hoping I get some sleep tonight and Richard, too, since he has been getting up very early.

The American Queen Riverboat

We recently took my mother-in-law on a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi in celebration of her 90th birthday. It was a lovely 4 night cruise with a night in New Orleans at the end. The boat is lovely but small…very small when you are used to cruise liners. πŸ˜‰

New Orleans is only an hour flight from Houston so an easy travel day. We were very early for boarding and spent time in the Riverwalk Mall. It is quite dead on a Wednesday and we discovered the lower level was a bit more interesting but is was the toilet we were in search of.

American Queen Riverboat

Dinner the first night was rather chaotic almost as if the waitstaff was brand new. Our table was way back in the corner by the kitchen. So while not ideal to people watch our food was hot. You are asked to give dietary preferences prior to boarding, it doesn’t seem to do much good. I had specified vegetarian but the menu doesn’t offer much choice. The chef ended up making me a special soup every night (delicious) and there was always a salad and plates of steamed veggies. Breakfast and lunch was buffet style with lunch being the most difficult to find enough to eat. First trip I ever lost weight on and it was free flowing wine at dinner.

The night of the Captain’s Welcome Aboard reception Mom wasn’t feeling up to the crowd. She had the beginnings of a cold so she and her friend, Flo Ann, stayed up on the deck. Richard and I went down but as soon as I looked into the lounge and saw women were dressed a bit nicer than usual I high-tailed it back to the room without saying a word to Richard. So he came looking for me and gave Mom and Flo Ann a glass of champagne.
Cheers!

Overall, we had a lovely time, I got to dance every night, and Mom enjoyed herself. Doubt we’ll ever do this again since we prefer a bit more elbow room.

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation