Sunday, February 14, 2010


My daughter, Sally, asked me to continue with the blog as the Road Runner is in motion again. It really started out in November when I took the Road Runner to Houston. I parked her at a friend's house while I flew to Seattle to surprise this daughter for her 50th birthday (courtesy of my son-in-law). And was she ever surprised!!! I haven't downloaded the pictures off the camera yet, but promise myself I will do it soon! Great party, great friends, but a short I was back in the air heading for North Carolina for Thanksgiving with my son and his family.

Thanksgiving was spent on the Outer Banks. Weather wasn't the greatest, but the company and food made up for it. My son got in some desperately needed fishing..rain or shine! And he didn't do to bad some days.

Back to Seattle on Dec. 3 and a visit with my other daughter, Karen for a couple of weeks. I can say one thing for sure...the fireplace got a workout! I then went back to Sally's to house, cat and bird sit while they head out in their truck camper for Christmas on the South Carolina-Georgia border in N. Augusta. But before they left, old man winter paid a visit bringing enough sleet/snow combo. It made driving a bit tricky as they could not make the short grade up their street in their Toyota. They had to back down the road and get the truck (already loaded with the camper) in order to get to work. Sally posted on Facebook so I could keep up with their travel. Christmas Day and night was spent at Karen's. It was a quiet two weeks alone in a good size house, but I found plenty to keep me busy. I had two elves come by and help me move furniture and assemble Sally's birthday present - a big, heavy NordicTrak treadmill. Hope you are using it daily, Sally!

I flew back to Houston mid-January and found I had a slight problem with the Road Runner. Guess she got lonely and paying me back for leaving her. First it was the coach batteries...dead er than dead! Replaced them. The next time I started the Road Runner up, I heard a ticking noise similar to the hazards lights, but much faster pace. The guy across the street from my friend's is a chief mechanic for a major airlines and also owns two Vokswagens....Whoa...what could be better! He thought it was the relay switch, but we couldn't find it. He went home to research it and I did the same thing. We both found out at the same time from different sources, that the switch is built into the hazard button. An all-in-one deal. So we took part of the dash apart to get to the dang thing! When the fuse was remove, of course the ticking would stop. When we removed the flasher, it stopped. So we thought we found the problem, I ordered a new switch and Voila! Not such luck! The wrong switch was shipped so I was delayed two more days. I was to meet Amye at the Hollywood Casino in Gulfport, MS and I had to cancel. We were going to meet Joan in Panama City Beach, Florida on the 10th of Feb. Well, the new switch came in, we installed it and tick, tick, tick. NO CHANGE. Problem is still there. So I said the "H" with it. I'm leaving this afternoon, noise or no noise. After an hour of driving with the stupid noise, I turned my CD player on, inserted a book on CD and drowned out the tick, tick, tick. I was beginning to feel like someone had a timed bomb already to go off on a certain tick. Rained all the way into Jenning, Louisiana where I stopped for the night. It was still raining when I got up in the morning.

Never, ever buy Crocs with holes in the front! Because if you think they will keep your feet dry, think again...especially if you step into a mud hole. Oh, yes I did!!! Trying to unplug the electrical cord from the post. Not only were the Crocs wet and muddy...add my soaked socks. So a change in footwear was well as a foot bath.

When I got back on to I-10 heading Eastbound and Down (under the speed limit due to rain) I thought I was seeing some big, thick snowflakes. Can't be! This is southern LA! Wrong. Sticking to the Road Runner, clogging the wipers, coming down the windshield...big, big flakes! Sure slowed me down more. If one has ever been on I-10 through LA, one knows there is an 18 mile drive OVER the bayous. Road sure can be treacherous...especially when the snow become sleet. By the time I got to Baton Rouge the snow/sleet was back to rain. Whew!!! The weather continued to be cold, wet and windy through Mississippi. But watch out Alabama! 25 miles west of Mobile, road warning signs were flashing and telling one to turn your radio on. I didn't need to. Within a one mile stretch five cars had slide into the medium strip..3 westbound and 2 eastbound. Traffic westbound was backed up with State Troopers directing traffic. Why? The white stuff was coming down agin. Wait a minute!!! This is suppose to be the SUNNY SOUTH where the snowbirds head to! And all this time I had a tick, tick, tick! Not a good day! I arrived in Panama City Beach at 4PM..10 hours since I left Jennings.

Good thing...I was in time for Pot Luck! I bought the fixing for pineapple cole slaw thinking it would go good with the pulled pork BBQ the campground provided. Yummy. One tends to eat too much at these. Diet starts Monday as we have another Pot Luck Saturday night (campground providing the pork chops and more pulled pork BBQ. They also serve a full breakfast on the weekends, and I do mean full! from O.J. and coffee, to homemade biscuits,sausage gravy, hashbrowns, 2 sausage patties, 2 strips of bacon, 2 pancakes and eggs scrambled or fixed the way you want them..all for $5. See why I said diet begins Monday.

Oh, I missed telling you, the temperature Saturday morning at 7AM...32 degrees F. Brrr...and this is the SUNSHINE STATE!!

There are 46 units here at our gathering. Some of the guys are working on small problems with rigs (sure hope somebody comes by and stops this tick, tick tick!). The ladies had a Red Hat Tea Party yesterday as well as two craft projects, The guys had a tech-talk session. Guess tomorrow is will be raining AGAIN! Some plan on doing laundry, some may go to the mall and then some of us may hibernated with a good book. Time will tell. Guess I'll let you know tomorrow. As I sit here with a small box of Valentine candy given to me by a male friend in Houston, I hope you all had a Happy Lover's Day.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oklahoma Bound

The big journey has come to an end and we must go our separate ways. We have traveled in excess of 6500 miles. Joan has put on more mileage as she left Florida the end of April and has been to Pennsylvania by way of Mississippi. She left Pennsylvania to meet up with Amye in Oklahoma, making stops in Ohio and Tennessee on the way. I left Brownsville, TX the middle of June to meet the other gals at Brownwood, TX, making a stop in Austin. Our official departure date was June 21, 2009. And have we ever seen a good portion of America! Starting with our first destination as Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico.

Carlsbad Caverns, N.M.

Our next stop was Silver City, N.M., then on to Benson, AZ and Old Tombstone, and then to Tucson,AZ and the Saguaro National Park which seems to be the starting place of most of our RV troubles. Joan's microwave/convention oven and then the dash air conditioning on her way to Phoenix to get the microwave replaced. Then Amye's flat tire on our way to meet up with Joan.

We thought all our troubles were over as we headed into the Joshua Tree National Park. But it was my turn. After spending a week in the hot desert town of Twentynine Palms, CA in 107 degree temperature, it was a relief to catch up with Joan and Amye who had gone ahead to keep appointments for getting the air conditioning repaired and new tires for Amye. But at least we started to enjoy ourselves. A trip to the Jelly Belly Factory and a tour of Napa Valley so graciously given by some special friends in Napa, CA. as well as the Giant Redwood Forest. Just wish one of our Rialtas would fit through the tree.

Overlooking Napa Valley

Our journey then took us into Oregon with the rocky coastline, seals, lighthouses and even a photo of two whales. It was spectacular scenery. And I must admit, more mountainous than I remembered. But Washington State is not to be outdone with mountains! And thanks to a daughter and her significant other, we didn't have to drive up the mountains! They did it for us! First Mount St. Helen's and then Mt. Rainier. We spent a day in Seattle at Pike's Market and the Locks with the fish ladder. We took the ferry to Friday Harbor for the day. And another daughter took us to Whidby Island and Deception Pass. The Hansons, the Barnhills and last, but certainly not least Sally and Karl took good care of us while visiting in their area. The trip across the North Cascade Highway took us over more mountains to Chief Joseph Dam and the Grand Coulee Dam. Heading for Idaho we met up with another lady who owned a Rialta and had lunch with her.

Mt. Rainer, Washington State

August found us in Montana in Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park with Old Faithful geyser and a chance to visit with the Caldwells (fellow Rialta owners) who were in Yellowstone at the same time. They gave us a grand tour! Next on to Cody, Wyoming where we visited one of the best museums, second only to the Smithsonian. A visit to Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming was also on the agenda.

Glacier National Park, Montana

The last state on our list was South Dakota. It had so much to offer! From Chief Crazy Horse Monument, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore, The Black Hills, Wall Drug, The Badlands National Park, and Mitchel, S.D....home of the world's only Corn Palace. And not to be forgotten was the jaunt in to Sturgis and the motorcyclists friends we met from Houston, TX!

Mt. Rushmore National Monument

Time has come to bid adieu. We are all together at Amye's until Monday morning, when I head for North Carolina for a visit with my son. Joan will stay at Amye a while before heading East for a wedding, then to Florida for the winter. Amye is at home. It has been a great two months with many memories and great photos to help us remember in our "old age".

Farewell. TTT's

PS: We will be meeting again in February in Panama City, Florida. Watch out, Florida. Here comes the The Terrific Threesome!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Casino Night

Sorry I don't have a picture to post of the Prairie Band Casino & Resort where we stayed last night. The Prairie Band has a great campground and is very reasonable. It even included wi-fi. And chauffuer service to and from the Casino.

We had eaten a big lunch at a Cracker Barrel about 2 PM, so we didn't partake of the dinner specials. We do plan on taking advantage of the breakfast buffet special in the morning.

As for the casino, I won enough to pay for camping and breakfast. I am not sure how Amye did. Seem like Joan is in a slump. She'll be out of it soon

Tomorrow the TTT's are homeward bound........ and I think we are ready for it!

The Corn Palace

We Did It Again!

Sometimes, especially without reservations, we have difficulty getting three camp sites together. Such was the case last night. We called ahead to the R&R Campground in Mitchell, South Dakota. They said to come on in and they would see what they could do for us. Yes, they could give us three sites, but they were not near each other. Since we share food, it would kind of pose a hardship. The staff was so accommodating, they said they would try to work something out. Sure enough they did! They had an 80 ft. site and the TTT's said " No Problem!" We are only 22 ft. each and we could piggy-back on electricity. Two of us were given a ride to the site prior to registering to make sure it was long enough. We would fit! We each even ended up with our own electricity as there was a 50 amp., a 30 amp. and 20 amp. Don't we look sharp?! The staff even had to come and take pictures. They said it was a "first" for them. What delightful people. They even told us about a pizza special, ordered it for us and hand-delivered it to our site. Of course we did pay for it! All you campers out there that are following our blog and ever in Mitchell, S.D, area, stop there! Nice clean place with a great staff!

Since the Corn Place, which by the way is the only one in the world, opened at 8 AM, we were almost the first visitors of the day.

The Corn Palace, Mitchell, S.D.

It is quite an amazing place. There have been three palaces. The first one was built in 1892, the second in 1905 and the current one in 1921. Photos of every Corn Palace since 1892 line the walls of the interior of the building. There are also permanent interior corn murals.

Display showing how a design comes to reality

To me the most amazing thing was how and what they used to decorate the outside of the Corn Palace yearly. Each year local artists submit their ideas and one is chosen. The outside of the Corn Palace is stripped and redecorated with new corn and grains.

The design is drawn on tar paper and the artist will note what color corn or grain goes where. In early summer the process of removing the "old" and "on with the new". After stripping away the old, the grains are first tied in bundles and attached. These grains, all 3,000 bushels, consist of milo, rye, oat heads and sour dock. The murals containing corn have to wait until late summer when the corn crop is ready. Over half million ears are sawed in half length-wise and nailed to the building following those tar paper patterns. What is the cost do to this annually? Around $130,000. This is quite a feat every year. So again, if you are near Mitchell, stop by and see the people working!

Outside Mural

And so our journey through South Dakota comes to an end. We are headed for a casino in Kansas for the night. Cheap entertainment, if we keep our money in the rigs!

Clock in a Park across from the Corn Palace.
Time to Leave.

The TTT's.....heading home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More of South Dakota

Tuesday, August 11

We started out early this morning, not knowing what traffic we would encounter in the Badlands.
Our first stop was at the infamous Wall Drug, home of the nickel coffee and free cold water! Really a #1 tourist trap. They have changed it since I was last here. We spent little time here.
Wall Drug, Wall, S.D.

So off we headed to the Badlands National Park. As Joan said: "How could anyone have survived living here?" But people did! Both the Lakota Indians and the homesteaders shaped this land. The Park consists of three units. The North Unit is the best known and it includes 64,000 wilderness acres of the 240,000 total acres. There really is no way to describe it. So look at some of the pictures I have taken and enjoy!

Entrance Sign to the Badlands N.P.

The Badlands

Cedar Pass, Badlands N.P.

Yellow Mounds, Badlands N.P.

So tomorrow brings us to the last scheduled stop on our journey. One may continue on East ward to visit friends and family. One has a wedding to attend in the near future. And the third is just going home.

The TTT's .......hoping the rats don't eat the Corn Palace until we have seen it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Custer State Park & Mount Rushmore

Mule Deer

We left our campsite around 10 in the morning headed for Custer State Park. A beautiful sunny day for a wonderful drive. Joan was the chauffeur this morning. Almost immediately after paying the entrance fee, a mule deer was standing right on the side of the road. Great photo opportunity.


Talk about being near the road, this big fellow thought it was the perfect place to sit and watch the humans go by. We were almost to the Wild Animal Loop when we spotted a big herd of buffalo off to our right. So we took that road and got to watch the bison in their daily activities.

Mom and Baby Burro

Back on the Wild Animal Loop we did see several species of animals. From prairie dogs, pronghorns (aka antelope), more bison, and the really traffic stoppers......the Burros! They are not native to the Black Hills. They were first used to transport people to the lodges in the area. After the invention of the automobile, the burros were turned loose in the park. These are descendents living here today.

Great Place to have Lunch!

People would feed them, although it is illegal according to the Park Regulations. They were so tame, one could pet them. In fact they would come up to your car windows. Amye said if one left the car door open, the burro would probably get into the car. I saw one follow a man to his van, and while the man was trying to get something from the van, the burro was pulling at his T-shirt. The best photo was when a baby decided to have lunch in the middle of the road! Cars were literally at a stand-still.

We had our lunch along the roadside before heading to Mount Rushmore. Do you want to drive a mountainous road with switchbacks (10 mph warning signs), three narrow one lane tunnels, and a section called the "Pig Tail"? Then drive Rt. 16A between Custer State Park and Rt. 244 going to Mount Rushmore! Almost better than a roller coaster!

If you look closely at the picture of Mount Rushmore, you will see two tiny figures standing on President Roosevelt's head. Don't know what was going on, but there was a rope from the top of his head to the ground below. We saw one guy climb up the President's face. This is a great Memorial to four great Presidents.

Mount Rushmore

And so, another great day comes to an end. On to the Badlands tomorrow.

The TTT's ......heading East!

Sturgis, South Dakota

It was raining when we left Devil's Tower KOA this morning. We kept our speed between 60-65mph on the I-90. For the past two weeks we have seen thousands of motorcycles. No wonder! It was Rally Week in Sturgis. We heard reports that there were 400,000 in attendance. We just had to go into Sturgis and see what it was all about. Amye's brother was there, but he had already left. MacDonald's lot was so full of motorcycles, we had to park across the street at a business.

Proof We Were There!

Sitting under cover from the rain were four motorcyclists. They told us they were from Houston, TX. We had a wonderful time exchanging stories. They wanted to see the inside of our rigs, so we invited them into the Happy Turtle and The Road Runner to have a peek at motor home living. One of the guys called his wife in Houston and was telling her all about us. She told him she wanted to join us! There were also two younger couples from Colorado sitting under cover also. The TTT's having fun with our Motorcycle Friends!

Vickie, and I am sorry to say I didn't get all your names, took the above picture. Wish she were in it, too. She was so cute! We wished them a safe and happy travels on their bikes as they head to Yellowstone National Park. We are headed for the KOA at Mt. Rushmore.

I did a dumb thing today. I charged the camera battery to make sure I could get some pictures at the Crazy Horse Monument. We signed up to take the shuttle bus from the campground to the monument to see the night laser show. Guess who forgot to put the battery in the camera? So I don't have any pictures to post. It was very cool sitting out on the viewing veranda! I can tell you there have been changes at the monument, but not so much on the carving since I last saw it 6 years ago. The changes are all in the buildings, entrance and parking lot. Since it is not support be neither the federal or state governments, all funds come from public donations, admission, sales in the gift shop and food concessions. The Memorial contains an orientation center with twin theaters, the Indian Museum of North America, Education & Conference Center, Tipi-Museum, Native American Culture Center, Sculptor's Log-Studio Home and Workshop, Crazy Horse 1/34th Model and a veranda for viewing the laser lighting show. Quite a place. The future plans include an Indian University of North America and Medical Training Center and Avenues of the Chiefs. It's a remarkable place.

They are currently working on the 22-story-high horse's head. The painted outline shows the 45-foot ear and the 16-foot-wide eye, some 260 feet below the head of Crazy Horse. When finished, it will be the world's largest sculpture. Mt. Rushmore would fit in Crazy Horse's head!

Tomorrow our plans include Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore.

To our motorcycle friends...Thanks for a fun morning!

The TTT's ...we keep on going.