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The Jester

On the road - again!

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After spending Jan & Feb on the road (down to Florida for a Caribbean Cruise, a week near New Orleans for Mardi Gras, a couple of days in Death Valley and points in between) we decided that wasn't enough.  So we left early for a "little" drive back to GeoWoodstock.  Of course, being The Jester, I can't do things straight forward, so we're heading back down to Florida for a nephew's Doctorate Graduation the first weekend in May.  We'll spend the time between then and GW to explore the Eastern Seaboard, the Great Smokey Mountains and other things that may grab our attention along the way.  Afterwards we have a week long Aliner Trailer Owner Rally just a couple of hundred miles away.  Between GW and the Rally we join a group to get Power Island (the oldest cache in Michigan).  Then we'll see about working our way east and north, getting the oldest caches in NJ and Vermont, doing the RI Delorme Challenge (in one day?) and then visiting Cathy's brother in Nova Scotia.  Our route home from there is still up in the air - possibly driving across Canada (getting the oldest in each province) and into Alaska.

We left Thursday and drove to Coeur d'Alene for the night.  There's a Golden Corral a short walk from the RV park and we planned to have breakfast there Friday morning since the website listed an early opening time.  Well, after walking over there in the morning we found that they serve breakfast only on Saturday and Sunday.  That put a bit of a crimp in our plans.  But we decided to have a light bite in the trailer and get lunch at a restaurant in Superior MT we've been to before.  I wanted get their Cuban Sandwich again (funny story:  Last time we were there with a group of Cathy's relatives, someone thought I'd ordered a "Human" Sandwich!  So we joked with the waitress about adding a Donner Party Special to the menu.).  A bus was in so they were on a limited menu which didn't list the Cuban.  We told the waitress that sandwich was why we stopped here, and she checked with the kitchen, and since the bus was about to leave, allowed us to order them anyhow.  Tasty!  Just past Missoula we left I90 and headed to Great Falls - a route we'd not traveled before.  Along the way we grabbed a few caches, including Bouncy Bridge (a suspension bridge) and a FTF on a cache hidden last October (several of the caches along here are lonely caches, with the last find in 2017 or 2016).  We crossed the Continental Divide at one of the lowest points (just over 5600 feet) and saw lots of snow (not on the road).  That night in Great Falls we tried a night cache but could only find the first three glints (of 5).  Bummer! 

Today, we did find a Golden Corral in town for breakfast (generally we don't eat out multiple days in a row) and then toured a little of the falls that gave the town it's name.  We'll have to come back as we didn't have the time to get to both sides of the Missouri River to see all the falls.  Then we drove thru the back country of Montana seeing the sights (such as Belt Butte, which gave it's name to a town, a river and two mountain ranges) into Billings.  We rejoined I90 for a while, but left it again at the Battle of Little Big Horn site (AKA Custer's Last Stand) to head off into (for us) unknown territory.  Very interesting terrain: some rolling range land, farm lands, mountain ranges and various gullies, canyons and the like - but no (or very little) snow.  We're camped at the only RV camp along here, near the town of Broadus, about 2.5-3 hours from Billings.  It's only been open a week this season and we're the second customer for the year.  It has fairly good wifi and so I got caught up with logging caches and started this thread. 

Tomorrow we head for Badlands National Park in South Dakota after church. 

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Enjoy your trip. I went through MT a few years ago, but that was further north along US 2. Check out Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park in Nebraska. It is an interesting group of fossils and all indoors.

 

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Safe travels and thanks for getting your Dam cache up-and-running before heading out. I found it a few days ago to finally clear out that mountain.

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We'd asked the host at the RV park in Broadus MT about churches in the area, and she suggested one that sounded fine.  I looked up what caches were in the area and one was at the church!  No problem finding that place.  We didn't get our of town until one o'clock - we needed to change after church, find the cache and then a few miles out of town we realized that we needed to go back and top the gas tank (stations are far apart out here).  We picked up a few caches thru Montana & the northeastern corner of Wyoming and then drove across South Dakota to Badlands National Park.  We had to pass thru a small section of it get to Interior SD where we set up camp.  WOW!  There are some magnificent rock formations thru there.  It's early in the travel season and we were the only unit in the RV camp, so no problems getting a site.  This is a good time to travel as it stays light later so we don't have to get off the road too early (during our Jan/Feb trip we'd set camp by 5pm).

Today we started at the Visitor Center (to get a map, find out a bit about the park, see a movie about it and pick up pin from here - we pin them to the curtains in the trailer to show where we go on each trip) and then hit several viewpoints that had some hiking trails.  We passed up some of the longer (4-5 mile) trails so we'd have time for the long loop drive thru the Park.  I had to drive slowly as every foot changed the view and was worth a look.  At one viewpoint we saw a small herd of Bighorn Sheep walking a ledge along the rocks.  Later we saw some larger herds out in the prairie.  The Badlands form what's called 'the Wall' (I believe that's where Wall SD - home of Wall Drugs - gets it's name as it's near the western end of the Badlands) between the northern, upper prairie lands from the lower, southern prairie.  The difference is a couple of hundred feet, but a large section also extends almost that high above the upper prairie.  This area has very sharp peaks and towers.  All of it is amazing.  Out along the western end we saw a number bison (the real ones, not the tubes :P), at first just one or two by themselves, but later a couple of small herds.  We drove back to camp ahead of storm that's ending our nice weather streak (hopefully it'll blow itself out overnight).  Right now it's blowing and raining pretty good.  But we're cozy in our little trailer. 

Tomorrow we continue east across the state and then head south.

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That trip sounds wonderful!  I am heading to Arizona from California as we speak and after my business meeting, I will have a few days to sightsee and do some caching.  I am new to caching though so I only get a few here and there until I get the hang of it.

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Well...  This has been an interesting few days.

Tuesday the 24th:  This morning as we left Badlands NP it was cloudy and rainy (nothing we couldn't handle as native NW'ers) and we head straight across on I-90 as there wasn't much to see, or much visibility to see anything.  We decided to take an early dinner in Sioux Falls at Ruby Tuesday as the weather (and driving in it) was getting us down a little.  Then we turned south on I-29 heading for a small town in Iowa (cute name for a RV park:  On-Ur-Wa in Onawa).  Well, we didn't make it out of South Dakota as I got a little sleepy and started to drift out of my lane.  Cathy 'squeaked' and I twitched, overcorrected and lost control.  We took a couple of big fishtails, then spun out and ended in a water & reed filled ditch facing the wrong way.  There was a big fireball and both of us were killed instantly...  Oops, excuse me, that was my flash of a nightmare as we were coming to rest.  We were unhurt but couldn't move the vehicle, so we called 911.  In a few minutes an officer arrived, took our info and report (we stayed in the car as the water was over the bottom of my door) then called for a tow.  The tow truck arrived and the driver had some fun trying to connect us up with having to lay in the water.  The officer had to leave for another accident (yes, I got a citation - which I deserved) and the tow truck driver was finally able to get us pulled onto the shoulder of the road.  There was a little damage to the front bumper on my side (which was just replaced as we'd hit a coyote on the passenger side on our last trip) and one tire on the trailer was knock off it's rim.  We were able to wedge the bumper back in place, mounted the spare tire and tried driving to the next exit with the tow truck following.  Praise the Lord, the car handled well, the trailer trailed behind properly and we made it off the freeway.  We pulled into a parking lot to settle with the tow truck driver and noticed a motel two doors down so decided to spend the night there and see about cleaning up.  The inside of the trailer was a mess, things that were supposed to locked down were tossed about but no major damage (that couldn't be repaired easily) but lots of water and crud.  We spend a couple hours clearing the mess and assessing the damage.  We mopped water and spread out items to dry.  Then to bed, praising the Lord that He's kept us safe - shaken but healthy.

Wednesday the 25th:  We spend some more time in the morning mopping up water in the car (which we really hadn't noticed last night as we were concentrating on the trailer).  We dug lots of grass/reeds off various place on car and trailer.  There were a couple of minor repairs needed so doors would close and keep items in place.  Then we had to head to the county courthouse as my citation was a "court appearance required" type (they'd scheduled it for May 24 - just before GeoWoodstock - so there was no way we'd be able to appear).  We started with the County Clerk of Courts to see if we could post a bond to cover the fine, but they just knew we had to appear on that date so they sent us to the State Attorney General's office.  They weren't sure what to do, they talked to the Clerk of Courts, but were bounced to the judge.  Who happens to be out of town at a conference.  The problem was a law about victim rights - but there wasn't any victim (just us) so we left them to work it out (nothing more could be accomplished if we stayed in the area).  We'll have to stay in touch while the work things out with the judge - worst case we hire a lawyer to appear for us and plead guilty and pay the fine.  All of this took a couple of hours, but we finally were on the road again.  We, of course, didn't make it as far as our planning called for (who was it said 'no battle plan survives the contact with the enemy'?).  We found a nice RV park in St. Joseph for the night and spent some of the evening doing some other repairs (I'm so glad I carry tools to this sort of thing). 

Today, Thursday the 26th:  We found a Weight Watcher's meeting in St. Joseph we could attend, then drove to Kansas City MO to see about clearing a DNF on a Wherigo from a couple of years ago.  It was missing when we tried before, but was easily found this time (we had to run the cartridge again as we hadn't saved the final co-ords - but what do you expect from a fool and idiot).  Then down to Ozark to have dinner at Lambert's Café (Home of the Throwed Rolls) - yum!  (We plan on hitting all three of the Lambert Cafes - two in MO, one in Alabama - this trip.)  Then a short ways down to Branson MO for the night - which catches us up on schedule.

Tomorrow we're going to a theme park here - Silver Dollar City - before heading east to the Might Mississippi, which we'll follow south for a couple of days.

 

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Wow!  So glad you weren't hurt and that your damage wasn't disabling to either your vehicle or your trailer!  Your attitude on the whole episode is impressive!  May the rest of your trip go much more smoothly!!

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Nothing real exciting - such as the spin out - but some interesting travel. 

The day spent at Silver Dollar City was a fun day off from the road.  We started with a cave tour, which is how the how place started.  Shortly after the family had bought the cave and were running tours, they started adding things for tourist, activities for kids, food for family and such.  This has expanded to the theme park of today with some great roller coasters (one of the wildest wood coasters I've seen!), lots of food place (naturally), craft places (blacksmith, glass blower, weavers, etc.) and 'stage' shows (from full stage acts to small groups like singers or pogo stick teams).  One day wasn't enough to see it all, but we saw what we really wanted.  The is one virtual cache on site, the 'fun' is figuring out how to access GZ, once there the info needed is easy to get.

The next day we headed south and then east to Memphis on the mighty Mississippi - the RV camp was on the banks, the river edge was just yards from out trailer.  It was fun to see the river tugs pushing the large loads up or down the river.  We spent an extra night here so we could time out a stop at restaurant that we suddenly realized we were going to arrive at the one day it's close a week.  We did some laundry and some maintenance on the trailer (not related to the spin out), then went out to a movie - two states away!  We're in West Memphis, AR so we needed to cross over to Tennessee and then south a couple of miles to Mississippi to the theater.  We grabbed a cache on the way back to the trailer that night.

We spent the next day traveling south along the Mississippi River, not that we could see much of it.  The valley is very flat, there is a dike along the river and no hills to see over it.  But we crossed over it a few times to see how it was growing.  I should have seen about grabbing a cache in each state as were in Arkansas (twice). Tennessee, Mississippi (twice) and Louisiana.  We stopped in a little town just north of McComb MS.

The next day (Tuesday for those keeping track) we drove down to McComb to eat at The Dinner Bell.  This restaurant features family style southern cooking.  You and 17 of your (new) family sit at a large table and the food is brought out to a large lazy susan .  As it turns you grab what you want off and dish it up.  There was a couple types of chicken, chopped steaks in gravy, rice and gravy, chicken & dumplings, fried eggplant, black eyed peas, ham & beans, turnip greens, corn bread muffins, mac & cheese, sweet potato casserole and desserts (I can see you wiping the drool off your chin over there).  It's a fun place.  Then we headed east and south through Mobile AL down towards the Gold Coast.

We spent the night at a RV camp we've used a couple of times before and in the morning headed up the road to another Lambert's Café (we're eating our way across the country) and then down to the coast (Gold Coast) and over to Pensacola to visit the Naval Aviation Museum for the afternoon.  We missed seeing the Blue Angels doing a short show that morning, but it's a fascinating place.  We took a tour and heard many personal stories about the aircraft, but we just didn't have enough time (our guide said it's a "three day museum") so we'll have to come back.  We headed towards Tallahassee staying along the Yellow River at a small RV camp.

The next day we spent working our way towards our nephew's, stopping to see a couple State Parks.  Falling Waters SP has Florida's highest waterfalls - 73 feet, but starting at ground level and falling into a karst.  Florida Caverns SP has a cave tours thru the largest 'dry' caves in Florida.  We hadn't thought that there would be lots of others coming into town for the graduation (my nephew is getting his Doctorate in Music Composition) so we had a little 'fun' finding a RV camp with room.  But we did find a place for the weekend.  The weather has gotten warmer and we found out the AC unit wasn't working!  But we can handle it - at least so far.

This morning we worked on getting the AC fixed - which won't happen, we need to replace it - got to a Weight Watchers meeting, got a few other things done before getting together as the family starts gathering.  It should be a fun weekend as family from across country gets together.

 

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Never a boring read, keep up the adventures post a photo or two, as I've said before you could put together a fun little short story book of all your adventures. You've hit a moose & coyote but no alligators.

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My how time flies when you're melting...

 

I've been on my own for the last few days, my wife flew home to mother - no problems (with us or M-I-L), but we needed to halt for a bit while the AC unit is shipped and installed.  It was too expensive for both of us to fly back, so I'm hanging around Atlanta (Norcross, actually) sweating and caching. 

 

Let's see, to get caught up ...  the graduation weekend in Tallahassee was fun.  The RV site we were in was shaded so the trailer didn't get too hot during the day.  We were hardly there, most of the time spent at the nephew's with family (they have AC), though we were able to get a few things done - the tire we blew off in the spin-out was remounted & will work as a spare (there some tread edge damage where we slid it sideways), we were able to top off the propane (we hadn't switched to the second yet, but why not get while we sitting still for a few days), and got some shopping done - all within a couple of blocks.  The graduation service was fine, a little long but in an air conditioned building, over the two days they graduated something like 9000 students.  The Doctorates were done individually (adding the cowl and all) , but the Master's and below were done at high speed, as fast as they could walk across the platform (the one guy that did a victory break dance did kind of back them up briefly, but everyone enjoyed the show).

 

We left Tallahassee and head deep into the Okefenokee Swamp to Stephen C. Foster State Park (named after the writer of 'Way down upon the Suwannee River' - who as far they can tell never visited the Suwannee River).  Plenty warm and humid (what do you expect in the middle of monster swamp) but quite interesting.  Of course, there was a cache there we had to do - a nice walk on a boardwalk around/thru the swamp to get numbers for the combination to the lock.  The next morning we took a boat tour thru part of the swamp - saw lots of gators, both babies and some really big ones and other wildlife (deer, owls, hawks, turtles and such).

 

Then we worked our way up towards Savannah to Fort McAllister State Park, where we spent two nights.  This is the Civil War fort where Sherman's March to the Sea ended.  Quite different and very interesting.  Yes, we did a couple of caches while there - one multi and a virt were on a closed trail so we couldn't get to them, but a couple of others (one in/around the fort for the combination & another out by the campground) we did find.  Looking at the map, there must be another dozen or so that we didn't try for as our cache DB only has caches with 10 or more fav points - the closed trail has a fair number disabled caches waiting for hurricane damage to be cleared/cleaned.

 

Then up to Atlanta so Cathy could catch her flight and I made camp just a short distance for the RV dealer.  I've spent the last three days caching or hanging out in cool libraries or movie theaters.  I've not been eating out, but did try for one restaurant today - but being Mother's Day the waiting line was over 3 hours, so I found a less fancy place which had a much shorter wait.  I have one more day of avoiding the heat, then I can take the trailer in to be worked on (I still need to avoid the heat Tuesday, but at least I have something to do) and get Cathy from the airport that night.  There's an event that evening prior to the airport fun, so I'll get a chance to meet a few local cachers.  Well, the sun is going down so the heat should be easing off soon, maybe I can survive the trailer now (I've been sitting in the shade writing this). 

 

Oh, just a note, if we thought traffic in the Seattle area was bad, it don't hold a candle to Atlanta.  Sunday afternoon/evening I-85 was crawling like it was rush hour.  Trying to get anywhere is a study in patience - lots of traffic and unsync'd traffic lights.  This is why I normally avoid big cities while traveling...

 

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The good news is that we're still alive and traveling.  But with busy days and poor WiFi I haven't had time update this thread.  I don't have much time right now but can add a couple notes.  We survived GeoWoodstock, got to Power Island in Michigan, made the trailer owner rally in Indiana, and now are working our out to Nova Scotia.  Along the way we hope to get New Jersey's oldest, Vermont's oldest, take the cog train up My Washington in New Hampshire and then get into Canada without meeting a moose.  

 

Well, dinner is about to arrive so I'll leave it at that.  I hope add more soon.

 

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