Into the Mist, and On to the Mystic

Headed west from Wisconsin with my sights set on Utah, I am determined not to have to cross the Rockies again. Having traversed I-70 through the Eisenhower Tunnel and across Vail Pass twice now, I will do what I have to do to avoid it again. That means either a more northerly route through Wyoming, or dropping down all the way to Hwy 160 to cross Colorado through Pagosa Springs and Durango…not exactly the flat plains. I decide to stay north and risk the weather.

But winter is coming on fast this year. Even as I left North Dakota, locals were talking about having to turn on the furnace earlier this year than they can recall in many years. I seem to have gone from summer straight into winter, skipping autumn altogether. Continue reading

Fifty States in Sixty-Four Years!

I reached both milestones in the month of October. I tagged my fiftieth state, and I reached the final year of the waiting period toward universal healthcare…. One more year to go for Medicare! As my insurance agent Colleen told me during last year’s enrollment period, “You don’t have a 65th birthday party…you have a Medicare party!” Eleven months and counting…

I recently read an article in BBC.com, “Baby visits all 50 states in first six months!” Continue reading

On to the Real Reason I Visited Iowa

Now on to the real reason I was in Iowa — to visit the Winnie’s birthplace.

If Iowa is the heartland, the Winnebago River has got to be a vein leading there….at least to Winnebago owners. Along this river is Winnebago Headquarters, more affectionately known as “the mother ship.” Visiting WGO HQ is a rite of passage for any owner, and they are certainly made to feel welcome as only Mid-westerners can. A beautiful grassy field with 1,500 electric poles, water spigots at the end of every row, dump stations throughout, and steaming hot shower blocks. Continue reading

Reasons to Visit Iowa

When one lives in a house on wheels, the country is one’s oyster. It’s up to us to make the pearl. It’s possible to live, albeit temporarily, in a cabin on a mountain top, enjoy sunsets in a field of saguaro cactus or a red rock canyon, or have a temporary beach side cottage on either coast. So why in the world would I choose to spend time in Iowa? Well, I have my reasons… Continue reading

TRNP North Unit — Don’t Skip It!

So when pondering the words of advice regarding the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park from the Rasta-man working construction in the South Unit to “Skip it!” on the premise that I had “seen the best of it,” I ask myself, what self-respecting National Park junkie would drive all this way just to see a national park, and only see half of it? Continue reading

North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park

I often say that having a goal, or the over-used term “bucket list” is a means to an end to aid in fulfillment of the old adage, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” If I did not have the goal to see all the national parks in the US, why on earth would I make the journey to North Dakota? Without Theodore Roosevelt National Park in my sights as my Continue reading

Close Encounter with an Igneous Intrusion

I’ll be the first to admit, I am easy prey when it comes to the “power of suggestion.” So I still can’t look at a pile of mashed potatoes without thinking back to Richard Dreyfuss’ mashed potato sculpture in the 1977 Steven Spielberg hit, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  When someone says “This means something. This is important,” as Dreyfuss’ character Roy did in the movie, I’m open to exploring the “why.”

I first learned about Wyoming’s Devils Tower from Spielberg’s movie. For those either too young or may have forgotten, both scientists and Dreyfuss’ character are led to the tower by images and GPS coordinates broadcast by the aliens as their chosen landing Continue reading

Confessions of a Sturgis Lurker

I confess to having a bit of a fascination about riding a motorcycle, a sport which seems to ride right along that fine line between the idea of an exhilarating thrill ride with the wind in my hair and sun on my cheeks, to the reality of fear of potential defacing and dismemberment of my body parts. But those tenuous skinny green branches of the tree Continue reading

South Dakota’s Badlands: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I encountered a whole lot of good, a little taste of bad, and a few days of ugly on my trip through South Dakota’s badlands. I’ll start with the good, which was the Badlands National Park itself.

This park of 244,000 + acres exceeded my expectations. Photos I have seen in the past gave me the impression that I would be driving through some monotone beige rolling hills that undulated out to the horizon. With a name like “Badlands” one expects a Continue reading

The Tracker is a Regular Bison Wrangler!

There is more to see in the Black Hills of Dakota than just Mount Rushmore. (And I still can’t say that without winding out the old Beatles lyric, “Somewhere in the Black Mountain Hills of Dakota there lived a young boy named Rocky Racoon.”)

Mount Rushmore acts as the cornerstone to a well traveled loop that most commonly begins in Keystone, SD, drops down along the Iron Mountain Road, loops through Custer State Park, and back up along the Needles Parkway. This recommended loop is Continue reading