Monthly Archives: September 2017

Three Memorable Drives in the Black Hills of South Dakota

On our second full day in the Black Hills we took to the road to travel the more popular and scenic routes through Custer State Park.  I had been to this park many years ago during a road trip with my sister Barbara, daughter Shannon and niece Kyla.  I thought Custer Park was so beautiful at that time, so I really looked forward to seeing it again.  Custer State Park is known for wildlife and on that first trip we were looking forward to seeing as much wildlife as possible, especially the bison.  After driving for awhile and not seeing any bison, we were starting to lose hope when we drove up a hill and encountered a large herd of perhaps a hundred crossing the road right in front of us.  It was an amazing and magical sight that I have not forgotten since it was my best encounter with such a large number of these magnificent beasts.  This time we did have close up views of a couple of loners but the herd was up on a hill away from the road.  We were lucky to encounter this guy right next to the road.

Custer State Park is South Dakota’s first and largest state park and is named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer.  The park features a variety of terrain including rolling hills of prairie grass, forests, lakes, streams and granite spires.  One of the more popular drives is the wildlife tour route where it is possible to see bison, antelope, bighorn sheep, prairie dog towns, deer, elk, wild burros and mountain goats.  On this recent trip our favorite animal encounter was with the wild burros.

They are friendly and come right up to cars, sticking their heads in windows.  People get out of their cars to pet the burros and visit with them.  I was very taken with this little baby burro, the only baby in the crowd when we drove up.

After completing the wildlife tour route we headed for Iron Mountain Road, completed in 1933 and considered a feat of engineering due to the terrain that it crosses including many mountain curves, switchbacks and tunnels that had to be blasted from rock.  The designer of this road created the tunnels so that you could view Mount Rushmore with the four presidents in the distance as you drive through.  I hope you can spot Rushmore in the picture below as we follow another car through a tunnel.

There were several different overlooks we could stop at with more wonderful views of Mount Rushmore and the hills and forests of the park.   It was so windy the day we visited the overlooks that we felt we would be blown off the cliff!

After this road we tackled the Needles Scenic Highway, known for the tall, thin, granite spires that the road passes through.  This road is even more narrow, steep and winding than Iron Mountain Road.  We drove through several tunnels with the last tunnel, Needles Eye, the narrowest and most interesting.  There are fantastic high rock formations around the tunnel area including a rock spire that looks like a sewing needle with an eye.   We stopped before entering the tunnel and I walked through it so that I could take pictures of Mark driving through.  Since the tunnel is so narrow, I had to walk quickly to avoid any cars coming from the opposite direction!  As Mark entered the tunnel, I could hear scraping sounds.  It turns out that our truck mirrors were hitting the sides of the tunnel!  They were a little dinged up but at least not broken.

This road was completed in 1922 at a time when vehicles were much smaller and could better accommodate two vehicles.  The size of our truck made it difficult but it was an exciting and very scenic drive, one of my all time favorite roads.  Well, I thought it was exciting.  Mark at the end was trying to recover his nerves and reported he probably would not look forward to driving that road again!

As always, thanks for reading and I will post more about our South Dakota travels soon!

One Month!

A month on the road!  Another hard to believe but we passed one month on the road.  It has flown by.  During the month we stayed in 5 states and pulled the trailer about 2250 miles.  For our map we decided to only count states we spent at least one night and did some type of site seeing.  That means Utah didn’t make it as we stayed just west of it then drove through without staying the night.  For our mileage I only counted the miles pulling the trailer, not site seeing we did while camped in one spot.  We stayed in 12 different spots during the month.  Shortest stay was one night and the longest was six.  I didn’t keep the best records but we spent about $1250 on campgrounds and about $700 on gas.  Campgrounds was right at what I predicted and should go down a little as California campgrounds are pretty pricy.  Gas should also go down as gas is cheaper outside California and we will be driving less.  I love numbers and will probably throw some out when I can.  People are curious too about what living like this costs.

Our new home! As I mentioned one of the reasons we came to South Dakota was to set up a new residency and this is it.  Not too fancy but should serve our purpose.  Our physical address is here and all our mail comes here.  It is then scanned and we can look it up on our phone and decide what to do with it.  You may not believe it but hundreds of people call that building home.

We also re-registered  the truck and trailer in South Dakota.  We took care of it in Rapid City and it went pretty smoothly.  We had everything done by noon.  We had a good time in Rapid City.  You can read about it in Beth’s post (if you have a couple hours).

So, from here on out it will be wherever Beth wants to explore.  I still have things to do for our mobile life getting all our affairs to move with us, but it is going well.  Transitioning to small living has not been bad.  Some interesting things we may talk about as time goes by but I am really glad we have taken this path.  Exploring with Beth is a lot of fun.

As we travel it becomes apparent quickly that all the USA is not California.  An example.  During our stay in Valentine, Nebraska I didn’t see a single other long hair.  From the looks I often got it seemed they had not seen one for a while either!  That and my Hawaiian shirts made me stick out pretty bad.  I think when people saw me and then the truck and SD plates they were probably sure I stole it!

Thanks a lot for reading and I hope this was a little helpful.

A Day in Rapid City, South Dakota

The day after we settled in our new campsite near the small town of Custer in the Black Hills, we drove to Rapid City to take care of business.  Part of our reason for coming to South Dakota was to change our state residency so we had several stops to make with the first to pick up our mail at our forwarding headquarters.  This was the first time we had picked up mail since moving out of our house several weeks before.  Mark has talked about the reason for changing state residency in a previous post so I will not elaborate further on the subject.  Our next visit was to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).   I am not sure what the DMV is like in most cities, but in Modesto it was a dreaded task to think about visiting the office there.  Without an appointment, you most likely faced a few hours waiting with people milling about both inside and out.  Even with an appointment it was still not pleasant going through the process.  So with that being said, I was not looking forward to the Rapid City DMV since we did not have an appointment.

Our Rapid City DMV experience was much different than we thought it would be.  We found a very small DMV office away from the downtown that was not crowded and had a relaxed atmosphere with helpful, friendly staff.  After the necessary paperwork, eye chart reading and photo, we were given our new South Dakota driver’s licenses and our California driver’s licenses were collected.

After finishing at the DMV we headed downtown to the Treasurer’s Office to get our South Dakota license plates.  Once again the line was short with plenty of staff.  We had a very pleasant person helping us and the experience was relatively quick and painless.   We now had South Dakota driver’s licenses and license plates.  We were official South Dakota residents!  Our next goal was to get our auto insurance squared away.  We were insured through AAA which does not insure full time RVers, so we had to make a switch.  Mark contacted the AAA office and spoke with a helpful representative who agreed to see us right a way even though we did not have an appointment.  He was able to set us up with a Progressive full time RV policy.  He spent perhaps an hour and a half with us patiently explaining and going over everything in spite of us just popping in.

The business part of our day done, we headed to the Mount Rushmore Black Hills Gold Factory, a place I visited on a different road trip many years ago with my sister, daughter and niece.  On that trip we took the factory tour to see how the jewelry was made and I bought a necklace, a unique souvenir.  A year or two ago someone broke into our house and although the intruder took very little, he did make off with most of my jewelry (which was not worth a great deal).  I wanted to see about getting another Black Hills necklace on this trip.  After finding a beautiful necklace which is quite different from my last one, we ate lunch and decided to check out  downtown Rapid City.

We soon discovered that Rapid City is the “City of Presidents.”  Life-size bronze statues of all the American Presidents are placed along the city’s streets and sidewalks.  It appeared as we walked along that they were often on the corners.  It was fun checking them out and trying to guess which president it was before getting close and reading the name listed on each one.  I have to admit that I am not good at recognizing many of them, especially some of our earlier presidents!  This project began in 2000 to honor the legacy of the American presidency with each of the statues privately funded.  Here are a few pictures of some of of the statues we came across.  I wish we could have seen more.  Below are George Washington, Zachary Taylor and Calvin Coolidge.

Since I am mentioning the president statue project, I wanted to make a comment about the patriotism I have seen since coming to South Dakota.  There are numerous billboards and signs showing support and honor to the armed forces and the local police departments.   When I called to make a reservation for our RV site in Custer, I was asked if we were military or veterans.  I explained that Mark and I had been in the army but it had been many, many years ago.  The owner said that was fine, they would give us a 10 percent discount on our stay.  I have been out of the military for approximately 36 years and don’t recall ever being offered a discount.   Later on in our stay we attended a nighttime lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore.  It was a very patriotic ceremony and at the end they invited all veterans and military that were attending that night to come to the stage and participate in a flag lowering ceremony.   Although patriotism and appreciation for our military can be seen all over the U.S., it just seems more obvious here.

President statues were not the only works of art that we saw in downtown Rapid City.   We came upon the neatest alley called “Art Alley.”  It was covered with graffiti murals on the walls of the tall brick buildings and even the dumpsters.  A woman who worked in one of the buildings came out to a dumpster and told me that the artwork changes periodically.  I read that artists just have to get approval from the city before they start painting.  I thought it was a very cool place to view some creative and colorful modern art.  Here is a picture of just one section of the alley:

When visiting a town or city there are three kinds of businesses I hope to find:  A really good bakery, an ice cream shop and book store.  I was in luck on two counts in Rapid City.  There was an excellent ice cream shop that created their own delicious, homemade ice cream.  They have made such a large variety of flavors that a poster on one wall of the shop lists dozens of creations.  I chose the honey lavender (I am a big fan of lavender flavored anything).  Perhaps I should have tried something really different and had the dill pickle ice cream?

Close to the ice cream shop I came upon a cute book store that was perfect for a quick browsing.  I really liked this chair on the upper level, especially the saying near the bottom of the chair, “Sit and Read a Book.”  I would love owning that chair but it definitely would not fit in our trailer!

One of Mark’s favorite stores to browse are game stores and he found one right near the book store so he was happy too.  Thanks for reading and in the next blog I will continue with more South Dakota adventures!

More History in Casper

After leaving Evanston we drove through the middle of Wyoming following the historic corridor traveled by emigrants on the California, Mormon and Oregon Trails.   We drove on roads that were in the middle of nowhere and the land stretched out into emptiness for miles and miles during our stormy, rainy trip.   I couldn’t help but think about the emigrants and their struggles traveling this forbidding land with days and weeks of endless prairies and hills  to cross.  The only signs we saw were billboards cautioning drivers to watch out for deer, cattle or antelope crossing the roads.   In the picture below, is a billboard reminder of a pronghorn antelope.  There are many of them in Wyoming and they are one of the fastest animals on earth!  We did see pronghorn from time to time but none that were moving fast or crossing the roads.

After our rainy drive, we arrived to our next destination, the city of Casper located in eastern Wyoming.  We checked in to our RV park and found our site to be a muddy mess.  It was the thick, clay type of mud that stuck to everything.  Our truck was mud splattered and soon the trailer inside was a mess as we tracked in chunks of mud.  The park has some gravel but it seems to have been swallowed up by the mud.

The next day we visited the National Historic Trails Museum which is a beautiful building located on a bluff with a terrific view of the city.  This museum was well worth a visit.  It outlines through sign boards, exhibits and maps the emigrant journey on the California, Oregon and Mormon Trails as well as the Pony Express.

The museum has an interesting movie which it shows in the same area as life size figures arranged in scenes.  There are other fun things to experience in the museum.  We sat in a replica covered wagon which simulated crossing the Platte River.  The wagon jostled and a screen in front showed us going into the river and a trail boss yelling and leading the way.  It did feel rather authentic.  Another simulation was the stagecoach ride through the countryside and into small towns.

 

I must say at this time, that Mark and I have very different styles when visiting museums.  They are opposite styles.  Beth carefully reads each signboard and exhibit, soaking it all in and Mark strolls casually by each exhibit, occasionally resting his eyes on some descriptions, but more often than not just moving on.  As a result, Mark is done way before Beth and is telling Beth that she will never get finished.  Actually this has been a pattern with our travels for a number of years.  Mark usually finds a bench and reads his books on his iPhone or just relaxes.  I have several pictures over the years of Mark sitting patiently on benches waiting.

Mark’s note.

Beth is surely right about us being opposites in many things.  I plan to write about that some later.  Museum speed is one of those things.  Beth is so slow.  While sitting waiting for her here I had a vision of a string of emigrants passing by with their plodding oxen.  When they spied Beth their faces suddenly glowed with the knowledge they were no longer the slowest thing on the trail!

Our next full day in Casper found us taking it easy in the morning and running errands.  In the afternoon we did some sightseeing.  We first went to a neighborhood park next to the Platte River to see the historical site called Reshaw’s Bridge.  In the picture below, do you notice that both 1’s are placed backward on the sign?  Mark and I thought that was a little funny, although I have to admit that until Mark pointed it out to me, he was the only one that noticed the error.

The original bridge was built here by a John Richard in the years 1852 – 1853.  Richard was French but the townspeople misunderstood his name due to his accent and called him Reshaw.  The bridge was a great bonus to the emigrant who could cross for a price instead of fording the Platte River or arranging to be ferried across, a dangerous or expensive situation.  We learned at the Trails Museum that many emigrants lost their lives while fording the Platte and other rivers during their overland journeys.    As I watched the Platte River at this spot and noted the strong current I tried to imagine what it would be like to go into that river with a full wagon of supplies as well as children, family members and any animals that they brought along.  What a difficult situation to hope that everyone and everything arrives safely.

We next headed over to Fort Casper and the adjoining museum.  We toured the museum first and this time I thought I would give Mark a break and instead of reading all the information in the display cases I took pictures of some of them to read later.  I got done rather quickly and am thankful to live in an age with cell phone pictures that I can review!  The museum features information on many aspects of frontier life as well as Casper’s history.  The most interesting thing I learned at this museum was that the Platte River used to be three times the width it is now, the size of three football fields.  I had assumed that the river I saw was the same river the emigrants experienced.  Due to damming and other changes, the river now flows much less than before.  I realized that crossing the Platte was even more difficult than I previously imagined.   Below is a picture of my favorite artifact from the museum:  an iron tea kettle found on the Oregon Trail.   From several books I have read regarding travel on these trails there was a stream of discarded household items stretching along the trail.  When people became unable for various reasons to carry their belongings, they just left them and soon the trails became like secondhand or thrift store shopping.   Travelers could find almost anything they might need including furniture, clothing, household goods and even foodstuff.

Fort Casper was built in 1865 as a frontier post and abandoned in 1867.  The present fort is a reconstruction built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1936.  The buildings which are furnished in period style include a store, blacksmith shop, living quarters, stables, commissary, barracks and a kitchen.  I thought the rooms were furnished well to give a good idea of life in this fort.

In conclusion, our two night stay in Casper turned out to be a pleasant time.  The mud did dry some and the best part was relaxing in the evening down by the Platte River which runs next to the RV park.

Thanks for reading and look for us next time as we journey on to South Dakota.

In the void!

A quick note.

We find ourselves in an electronic void. We are outside a tiny town called Interior, South Dakota with spotty or no telephone or internet.  We will be here a couple more days then hopefully to a place with connection.  Until then we wont be able to put much on.  Hang in there with us.

Thanks

Nature, History and a Roundhouse found in a small town ….. but alas, no moose!

Today we left Wyoming and headed for South Dakota after spending a week in that interesting state.  I wanted to do a couple blogs on our short time in Wyoming.  One of the big difficulties I will have while nomading is not being able to explore more in each state we come to.  One of my objectives when I started this journey was to explore less of the Western United States and more of the Midwestern, Southern and Eastern states that I have either spent little time in or never seen before.  I have done several trips to Wyoming in the past, so although I would have loved to explore more of the state on this trip, it would have prevented us from visiting places in the Midwest before the winter weather sets in.

Our first stop in Wyoming was the town of Evanston.  We chose Evanston because it was the perfect day’s drive from our overnight stop at Wells, Nevada.  In addition, when I looked it up it had this nice park called Bear River State Park not too far from an RV park in Evanston.  After setting up our RV at our site in Evanston, we headed over to Bear River State Park to check it out and do some walking.  The weather was perfect that day – sunny with an amazing display of clouds.  Bear River is beautiful and the walking paths were great.

Sign boards along the way explained the wildlife in the area and I read that moose were frequently spotted at this park!  I have only seen a moose once in my life and that was in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was not a great sighting, the moose was in the bushes and not in clear view.  I was excited about the prospect of seeing a moose here at Bear River.  In my imagination, I would round a corner of the river (like the picture below) and see a moose standing in the river in plain view – water running off his antlers and coat while he foraged the river bottom for food.

It became our goal for the next two evenings to try and spot a moose.  The state park visitor center had a very nice employee who showed us on the park map the best places to look and suggested early evening as the optimum time.  We walked along the river and even away from the river past the willow thickets and into the trees and meadows, no luck.  In fact, we saw no wildlife at all except for birds and I was very happy to see some black billed magpies.  But not so much as a squirrel rustling in the bushes as we walked around.  Rocky and Bullwinkle, where are you?  The park does have a herd of bison that are in a fenced area as well as several elk.

I learned something new from the park visitor center.  There are no “buffalo” in North America, only in Africa and Asia.  The animals we often think of as buffalo here are actually “bison.”  Buffalo and bison have different physical characteristics and life spans.  This park was a real find for us in our travels.  It was beautiful, near our RV park and a great way to get some exercise!  I like the picture below of two young boys fishing together on the river.  It seemed rather old fashioned and small town.  What a great way to grow up!

We had other discoveries in Evanston which made me realize how fun it is on travels to find the unexpected.  Evanston is a very historical town.  Pioneers traveling on the Oregon, Mormon and California Trails all passed through here.  The first coast to coast auto route in 1913, known as the Lincoln Highway passed through here.  There was an original 1928 highway marker in town set up by the Boy Scouts.  We visited the local town museum and I also took a tour with a kind docent at the Chinese Joss House or temple down the street which is only opened by request.  She was willing to walk me down there even in a good rain storm.  There was a Chinese town in Evanston with peak years in the 1870’s and 1880’s when more than 100 Chinese lived here.  The Chinese came to work on the railroad and also in the coal mines.  This temple is a reconstruction of the original and I was expecting a temple interior with altars like the ones I have been privileged to see in California.  This temple is really a museum with some artifacts but mostly information on the life of the Chinese.

I love history, can never get enough of it.  Railroads are one of my favorite historical topics and something we often encounter in our travels.  This visit was no exception.  Evanston has a strong railroad history and has the only remaining round house between Omaha and Sacramento.  It could service 28 engines and the massive turntable still works.  We were able to poke around the rail yards and see old railroad cars and the renovation of the round house in progress.  In the picture below I am standing in a box car that was repurposed as a picnic venue!

I was really impressed with what this town is doing with the round house.  They are turning it into a convention and event center.  Weddings and parties can even be booked here.  The restoration is only partial at this time and it was fun being able to see both the old and the new.  In the picture below I am standing next to one of the pre renovation engine stall doors.

We read in a brochure that the city was fundraising for the rail yard by selling miniature or HO size rail cars highlighting Evanton’s railroad history.  We stopped into City Hall and purchased a car highlighting a time when Evanston had ice ponds to chill fruit and vegetables carried on the rails.  We saw and learned about other interesting things here in this town but this post is long enough so I will end for now.  My next post I plan to talk about our visit to Casper, a larger city than Evanston but also full of history.  Thanks for reading!

Why Rapid City?

We finished up in Evanston and headed on to Casper for a few days.  The pic above is Beth coloring by the river in Casper after a hard day Exploring.  Even the hardiest Explorers need a little down time.  I’ll let her talk about the stay.

From Casper we drove on out of Wyoming and finally made it in to South Dakota and are staying in the small, but touristy town of Custer in the Black Hills just outside of Rapid City.

Why Rapid City?  I’ll explain a little.  I often see articles on the internet about the best places to retire.  California is not on that list.  California doesn’t show much love to retirees or retirees on the road.  There are other states that do things like not taxing retirement income to help retirees.  Some states also show some love for people on the move, like Explorer Beth and her driver.  There are three in particular, Texas, Florida, and South Dakota that full time retired travelers most choose.  Beth and I picked South Dakota.

South Dakota has very simple rules to become a resident.  We can go take care of it tomorrow after staying only one night in the state.  We will get South Dakota driver’s licenses and register the truck and trailer in the state.  We have also set up with a mail forwarding service that will handle all our mail.  South Dakota even releases you from jury duty if you are a traveling resident.  And of course not paying California tax will save us a lot of money.

There’s a little more to it, but in a nutshell that is why we headed here and will start our wandering from here in a few days.  From here it will really be where ever Explorer Beth wants to go.  Right now it looks like from the Black Hills we will move a little southeast to the Badlands.  From there probably south in to Nebraska.  Who knows?

I hope this helped a little with our saga.  Beth is busily typing away across the table so look for more from her soon!  I’ll sneak a pic.

Thanks for reading!

Love the Open Road!

On Tuesday we left the Sparks/Reno area for our trek across Nevada, Utah and into Wyoming.  For some people, the drive across northern Nevada with all the isolation, the unending wide open spaces and little change in topography might be boring.   This explorer was entranced through the whole drive.  The sky was amazing with a bright blue color and big puffy clouds every where I looked!   I am reminded on trips such as this that California just doesn’t have the beautiful sky and cloud formations like other parts of the west.  The sky in California was especially dismal this past few months since we haven’t had any rain and the air has been brown and filled with smoke from a number of Northern California fires.  There are few things that boost the spirits while traveling like a beautiful sky!

I love a road trip with wide open spaces and nothing to block the view.  It is refreshing to have an uncluttered landscape with the road stretching out for miles ahead.  The land and sky seem so much bigger here.  Although I have driven this highway (Interstate 80) multiple times the route still seems fresh and alluring, the open road beckoning to new destinations.

While we have been living in our trailer for several weeks it seems only now that we are truly nomads.  The first few weeks we were still in California staying in places that were familiar to us.  Putting a number of miles between us and Modesto has added to the feeling that we are on the road heading to destinations unknown.  There will be challenges ahead like finding the best places to spend the night, deciding how long to stay and how to spend our time while there.   We also have to keep our trailer stocked with food and provisions so we can have some sort of normalcy.   I have to remember, as Mark often points out to me that we are not on vacation.  This is now our life and every day we can’t go from morning to evening sightseeing.  Of course, I am always tempted to do that as there is so much every where to see!

After a brief night stay for one night in Wells, Nevada on Tuesday night, we continued with our beautiful skies and wide open spaces into Utah.  Our first stop was the Bonneville Salt Flats.   Of course I had to walk on the salt and stare at the expanse of white underneath the bright blue sky.  I have been on the salt flats before, but it is always great to see them.

We drove past Salt Lake City and over a mountain pass through more beautiful country.  Not as many wide open spaces now with the mountains and trees, but still that beautiful sky!   We missed taking a picture of the welcome to Utah sign but managed to get the Wyoming sign outside the car window.  Shortly after entering Wyoming we arrived at the small town of Evanston, for a two night stay.   A new town to explore with history and a scenic state park.  Even driving days can provide opportunities to enjoy and explore.

Driving – Explorers will explore

I had a post all ready last night and the computer ate it.  I’ll try again.

The last couple of days (Tue and Wed) have been driving days.  We drove about 600 miles.  A little over 300 miles one day then a little under the next.  We average about 50 miles an hour on a day with stops and so we are on the road about 6 hours.  With the time needed to pack up in the morning and set up when we arrive that makes a long enough day for me.  Two days in a row is also enough. This is retirement.

We left Sparks and soon crossed out of Nevada in to Utah.  We have passed through the salt flats several times but they are always interesting.  We faithfully stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats rest stop for a look.  Our poor trailer looks so small among its peers.  While at the stop…well Explorers will explore.

Beth was out there exploring, taking pics for a while so I’ll let her expand.  We drove through Utah with only a short stop for lunch and crossed into Wyoming.  We had just got unhooked and the Explorer wanted to head over to a state park right near our RV spot.  The park had some interesting wild life.  Beth wanted a close up of a bison.  I’m thinking she got her pic but again I’ll let her write about it.

The park had some nice walking trails around and across the Bear River.  It is a very pretty area and the clouds were spectacular.

Thursday we are going to look around Evanston and see the sights.  We will also head to Walmart to resupply.  Friday we plan to take a scenic route drive to Casper where we will spend about three days.

Thanks to everyone for reading and the nice comments!   I’m going to try and get this posted without it being eaten.

Headed East, Sparks Nevada

I know I keep saying this but hard to believe!  We are now out of California and headed east.  We stayed today in Sparks, Nevada, just east of Reno to rest a little and get ready to start toward Rapid City, South Dakota.  It will probably take 5 or 6 days to get there with a couple of short stops on the way.  More on why Rapid City later.

We had a lot of fun last week visiting with our daughter, son in law and grand kids.  We drove over from our spot in Plymouth a couple of times during the week, then all went camping for two days.  We stayed at a nice campground in Olema, CA near Point Reyes.

Pictured above is a hotly contested game of Boggle by lantern light.  Beth says she was the clear winner and I don’t doubt it with her vast knowledge of obscure, useless 3 letter words.  We also had a fun time of making artisan s’mores.  A favorite seemed to be the Reese’s Cup version, but salted chocolate was also popular.

Hiking was popular and this picture was taken on the Earth Quake Trail at the visitor center.  We also went to the Point Reyes Light House and Drake’s Beach.  The boys actually did the 308 steps down and back to the lighthouse!  I really wanted to do that also, but felt it was important that someone stay up top to take pictures of the event.  Sometimes we just have to make sacrifices.  Beth has lots of pictures of these so I’ll leave those for her.

It feels really strange to be doing this.  The reality will probably take a while to sink in.  I will have to get used to the different culture also.  At the Trader Joe’s the cashier thought I was a little off letting him know we would need bags.  In Nevada you don’t have to buy bags so everyone uses them.

Ok.  Enough.  We will be driving the next couple of days.  More culture shock there also.  Beth has a spot we may use tomorrow…$15.  We have been paying in the $60-75 range in CA.

Take care and as always thanks for reading!  Thanks also to everyone who has subscribed.  Beth likes to look at the count.  Double digits!!!