Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander



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Travel Blog 275: Old Friends and New Places

Wakarusa, IN to Fort McAllister Historic Park

Finger Lakes
From Northern Indiana we enjoyed the fall colors as we worked our way east all the way to upstate New York. There we spent time visiting good RV-ing friends in Elmira and doing a little exploration of this area.

Quick Trip to Phoenix
During that time I presented at a conference in Phoenix where I met old friends and new ones.

Winchester
From Elmira we headed south down to Winchester, Virginia, where we had a marvelous time visiting relatives. At Candy Hill Campground we had fires most nights and enjoyed the quiet of a campground past season.

Shenandoah Valley National Park
We made the short trip down to Luray, Virginia, to act as our base as we explored this national park. Although the colors were past their prime, it was nice to travel the famous Skyline Drive. Our campground, Outlanders River Camp, was perfect for us—large property with lots of trails along the river…great place to run the pups.

Big Blue in Swamp

Window Peeper

Monticello
Being so close, we decided to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. This was a good move, as it was a pleasure to visit this icon of this famous American.

Monticello 2

Monticello 3

Janny and Alex at Monticello

Wilmington
We camped 10 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina, at Carolina Beach State Park. Beautiful park adjoining the Atlantic River. During our short visit we had the chance to see old friends going back decades.

Murrell’s Inlet
Here we camped near Charleston at Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina, just a short walk to the Atlantic Ocean. Each morning at dawn I’d take Jack out to run in the sand and the waves.

Jack on the Beach

Jack on the Beach 2

Richmond Hill
From Murrells Inlet we travelled south into Georgia camping at McAllister State Park near Savannah. The park had just opened after some major hurricane clean-up—they lost 70% of their trees. Still, a beautiful setting, again adjacent to the water.

Dog Park
Here are a couple shots of Jack and his new friend at an off-leash dog park, and Mitzy watching the action.

Run, Jack, Run

Run, Jack, Run 2

Mitzy Keeping Watch

Old Trucks
Here are three more old trucks from Jim’s Salvage.

Jim's Old Truck 10


Jim's Old Truck 11

Jim's Old Truck 12

See you next time.

Travel Blog 274: Fall Colors

From South Dakota we worked our way across Iowa, Illinois, and then on to Indiana where we dropped off our coach to have some work done. Then we spent time visiting friends in our old stomping grounds of SW Michigan.

Fall Colors
During strolls in the woods we enjoyed the colors becoming more vibrant each day.

AZO Color 1

AZO Color 2

Mitzy in the Woods

Dog Park
There was a great off-leash dog park a few miles away, and we visited it several mornings.

Ferocious

Ferocious 2

Poodle

Run, Jack, Run 2

Run,Jack, Run 3

Running Golden

Great trip with great friends.

Ziad House

Old Trucks
Here are three more old trucks from Jim’s Salvage.

Jim's Old Truck 7

Jim's Old Truck 8

Jim's Old Truck 9

See you next time.

Travel Blog 273: Badlands and Bark Park

Badlands National Park
From the Black Hills we headed east, stopping at Wall, South Dakota. We took the scenic drive through Badlands National Park.

Badlands 3

Corn Palace
We spent a night at Mitchell, South Dakota, home of the one and only Corn Palace.

Corn Palace

Mitzy on Indian Lap

From there we continued east and south, cutting across Iowa and Illinois into Indiana, where we dropped the coach off at Wakarusa for some service and repairs at the Thor plant. From there we took the hour drive north and a little east to stay with a good friend in Kalamazoo (we had lived in that area for many years, a couple decades ago).

Jamer's Flowers 5

Dog Park
We found a great dog park to run the pups. Here are some shots.

Posing Pup

Resting Jack

Run, Jack, Run

St. Bernard

Brown Dog with Footbal

Old Trucks
Here are three more old trucks from Jim’s Salvage.

Jim's Old Truck 4

Jim's Old Truck 5

Jim's Old Truck 6

Alex and Mitzy

See you next time.

Travel Blog 272: Black Hills and Bold Bunnies

Mountain View RV Park to Beaver Lake Campground

On to South Dakota
From Sundance we took I-90 east across the border into South Dakota. We exited on to US 85 South, and then took US 385 six miles south of Deadwood to Creekside Campground.

Just a couple miles from our campground in the Black Hills National Forest, we found a great picnic area to walk the dogs.

Jack in the Woods

Female Hairy Woodpecker

Bluebird on a Branch

Spearfish Canyon Road Trip
This is a scenic byway worth taking.

Bear Butte State Park
Just a few miles north of the notorious Sturgis, we visited Bear Butte State Park, a sacred Indian site. The main attraction is a hike up the butte, however, no dogs allowed. Since there is no drive around, we stayed just a few minutes.

Town Tours
During our time in the northern part of the Black Hills region, we had the chance to tour Deadwood, Lead, and Sturgis. Sturgis is just a waiting place for the annual motorcycle events, but Deadwood and Lead where interesting to tour around.

On to Custer
From our campground south of Deadwood we headed south on 385 to Custer, and then east 3.5 miles to Beaverlake Campground, a short 55-mile trip. This is a wonderful all-around campground, but what makes it unique is that it is home to over 150 (and counting) cute, tame, bunny rabbits. Jack and Mitzy were in total awe when six hare youngsters not only did not run when they approached, but they came up to greet the unnerved canines—how dare they?

Campground Bunny

Custer National Forest is everywhere, so every morning we took the pups out on an old road or trail seeing deer, elk, and lots of chippers.

Chip in Tree

Bull Elk

Custer State Park
Think mini-Yellowstone as you drive through this 71,000-acre park viewing the wildlife. We saw massive bison, pronghorn, lots of prairie dogs, and burros who solicited from cars on the loop.

Pushy Burro

PD Family Alert

We took a road up to Mt. Coolidge Lookout and were rewarded with a great view. We saw the Crazy Horse Carving eleven miles away, and Mount Rushmore 13 miles distant.

Mt. Coolidge Lookout

Crazy Horse

Rushmore from Afar

Later during our stay, I photographed Rushmore through a tunnel, and then up close.

Rushmore Up Close

Rushmore from Tunnel

Scenic Byways
Along with the 18-mile Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, we drove the 18-mile Iron Mountain Road and the 14-mile Needles Highway. Here is a shot of from the narrowest part of the Needles Highway, the Needles Eye.

The Needles Eye

Mitzy in the Mirror

Wind Cave National Park
Adjoining Custer State Park is the 34,000-acre Wind Cave National Park. Like Custer, it is home to lots of wildlife. The cave is known for boxwork, with over 95% of all the boxwork in the world located in the 145 miles of underground maze. I took the Natural Entrance tour, and here is a photo of Ranger Justin standing at the natural entrance to the cave and a photo showing boxwork.

Ranger Justin and the Natural Entrance

Boxwork

Jewel Cave National Monument
Just twelve miles from our campground is the Jewel Cave National Monument. This cave was more picturesque.

Jewel Cave 1

Jewel Cave 3

Jewel Cave 4

Jewel Cave 6

Jewel Cave 7

Old Trucks
Just east of Sturgis is the town/village/tiny spot call Chip. And adjacent to Chip is Jim’s Salvage—heaven for old truck shooters.

Chip

Here are five old trucks from Jim’s.

Jim's Old Truck 1

Jim's Old Truck 2

Jim's Old Truck 3

Another Old Truck

Old Boar's Nest Truck

We really enjoyed the Black Hills and will come back again.

See you next time.

Travel Blog 271: Prairie Dogs and Black Hills

Deer Haven RV Park to Mountain View RV Park

On to East Central Wyoming
From Saratoga we took 130 north to 30 east to 487 north to 220 east to 258 north to I-25 south to Wyoming 95 north, where we settled in at the Platte River RV Park just outside of Glenrock. The 172-mile trip was pretty in its sparse sort of way, but most of the time I puzzled if we were in the center of nowhere or near the edge. Great day for driving, with fair skies, very little traffic, and lots of pronghorns for the pups to view.

Road Trip
We took a road trip out in the boonies south and east of Glenrock and saw lots of birds and some interesting terrain.

Western King Bird

Three Old Mailboxes

On to Sundance
From Glenrock we made an easy 200-mile journey east on I-25 south, north on Wyoming 59, then east on I-90 to Mountain View RV Park in Sundance. Once again very light traffic, and the only significant population was that of the herds of pronghorn.

Much of the soil around Sundance is the bright red associated with Sedona. An interesting eye-catcher just east of the town is a yellow, twin-engine plane placed between and above the going and coming lanes of I-90. I call it the Wyoming Hood Ornament.

Sundance Scenic II

Wyoming Hood Ornament

Devil’s Tower
We had been to the Devil’s Tower in the past, but thoroughly enjoyed seeing it again. Jan took a few shots of the tower, but my photo efforts were geared toward the Prairie Dog Town.

Munching Prairie Dog

Mr. Squirrel

Black Hills National Forest
Our RV park was just two miles from the Sundance trailhead in Black Hills National Forest. Several mornings I took Jack up the trail. Luckily, as the photo shows, I had a detailed map so as not to run astray. Another interesting stop in the forest was the Warren Peak Lookout Tower, still manned everyday by rangers spotting and reporting fires. Here is a shot from the lookout.

Trailhead Info

Hiking Jack

View From Lookout

Another time we took another family hike on the Reuter Trail in Black Hills National Forest. Once again, we saw no one else. However, hollies and the turning leaves acted as colorful boundaries along the trail.

Holly and Friends

Day Trip
From Sundance to 116 south to Upton, then 16 northwest to Moorcroft, up 24 then east on 113 to Pine Haven, adjacent to both Keyhole Reservoir and Mule Creek Bay. From Pine Haven we took McKean Road north into the countryside. We turned south on Lower Kara Creek Road, connecting to Inyan Kara Creek Road that led to I-90 and our return to Sundance.

Cindy B’s in Alladin
With Alladin’s population of 15, Cindy B’s restaurant doesn't have a huge population base from which to draw its diners. However, regulars help to fill the seats, and the word-of-mouth of great home cookin’ brings in some tourists like us. Here is a pic of Cindy’s place, plus a shot of some local ranchers talking about tracking down missing cattle, the high price of hay ($150/ton), and the rain that drops everywhere but on their ranches.

Cindy B's

Cindy B's Boys

Old Trucks
Here are five old trucks all from eastern Wyoming.

Old Truck 1

Laramie Old Truck

Old Moorcroft Fire Truck

Old Platte River Truck

Old Sundance Truck

Trip to Eastern Wyoming
Most all our time spent in Wyoming in the past was in the western part of the state, primarily in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. We love both these parks and will frequent them again.

This year, though, we thought we’d explore the eastern portion of the state. As blog followers know, we started west of Laramie, camping in Saratoga. We explored the Medicine Bow National Forest, and took in the Wyoming Annual Beerfest. From there we headed to Glenrock, east of Casper at the north end of the forest. Next we spent several days in Sundance, east of Gillette in the Black Hills of Wyoming. The scenery was wonderful, the pronghorns and deer were plentiful, and the traffic was sparse. Very enjoyable stay in this wonderful state.

See you next time from another state of mind.