Posts Tagged With: trailer living

Backroads Across America: Big Sky Country

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Today we wound our way out of the Black Hills of South Dakota, snuck through a corner of Wyoming and arrived in Montana – Big Sky Country.  The gently rolling hills of Montana’s eastern plains seem to stretch on forever…and so does the sky above them.

It seems like spring has been late arriving in the northern part on the United States.  Although landscapes have been green and lush, trees have continually been bare of leaves. That just made it all the more exciting to stumble upon these wildflowers blooming on the hillside behind our campground.

Montana is a new state for both of us, and we are eager to discover what adventures lie beneath this “Big Sky.”  Plenty of time for that tomorrow!

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Backroads Across America: Good Times in the Badlands

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Badlands National Park appears rather suddenly among the grasslands of South Dakota.  These seemingly harsh lands are the result of millions of years of earth’s ever-changing climate.  This is a landscape of extremes.

We arrived yesterday to clear blue skies and warm temperatures, the first we’ve had in two and a half weeks.  Pulling into the first parking lot we came to, we set off on two short walks, eager to get a taste of such a foreign landscape.  Surprisingly, trail markers led us off the path to freely walk among the peaks and gullies.  We later learned that Badlands is a sort of “open range” park.  Visitors are allowed to walk anywhere as long as the environment is respected.

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Day two found us on the Castle Trail, a 10 or 12 mile (depending on which map or trail marker you believe) round trip that led us through some of the spectacular park formations and out onto the open grasslands.  We had hoped to see some of the wildlife that call the park home and were a little disappointed to only see a few deer  in the distance.  But, it was a gorgeous day and we were outside in an eerily beautiful national park…not a bad place to be!

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Backroads Across America: More Than Bad Weather Brewing For Us


We opted for a second night at our Dubuque, Iowa hotel as we waited for wind and snow flurries to blow through the western part of the state.  To fill our rainy day, we decided to follow the scenic Mississippi River drive outlined in our guidebook.  It seemed simple enough, but wouldn’t you know it…another wrong turn led us 30 miles off course.  At least there were no toll roads!

As I studied the atlas in an effort to get us back on course, I realized we were close to the National Brewery Museum in Potosi, Wisconsin.  Reg thought I was kidding.  

Curious, we decided to see if it was for real.  

We learned beer was first brewed in Potosi in 1852.  The Potosi Brewing Company was founded in 1906, ceasing operation in 1972.  The Potosi Brewery was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

In 2004, the American Breweriana Association chose the site as the home for its National Museum of Beer Advertising Memorabilia.  In 2008, after a $7.5 million renovation, the museum and brew pub opened. The 2015 addition of their $5 million brewery allowed Petosi to finally bring all its beer back home again.





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Backroads Across America: Going With the Flow

All of a sudden the ill winds are flowing all around us.  The threat of extreme weather has blocked much of our westward path…and northward and southward paths too!  We intended to take the better part of a week driving around the coast of Michigan and continuing into Wisconsin, taking in the sights along the banks of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.  


Predictions of snow to the north, flooding to the south and rainy, windy thunderstorms to the west had us rethinking our route.  Shifting our minds (and our truck) westward towards Chicago, we discovered a great little local lunch hangout in Ligonier, Indiana.  All was not lost!  Four and a half out of five stars on my Google map app.  The fish really was as good as advertised!

 But then, Google maps let me down, directing us to a “closed for the season” RV park over an hour from where we were supposed to be!  How could that happen?  Surely it couldn’t have been operator error?


But this trip is all about “going with the flow,” so after a few tense miles, we ended up at the Last Resort RV Park.  Really, that is the name (I wouldn’t make it up) and it was sort of our last resort today.


A staff member checked us in and told us we could take whichever site looked good…but warned us away from #72 where the male and female geese were nesting with their little ones. Apparently, he can be a tad bit aggressive.  No problem…we’ll go with the flow!

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Backroads Across America: The Place Where FDR died

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We came to Warm Springs, Georgia for its amazing scenery and to stay at Franklin Delano Roosevelt State Park, the state’s largest, seen at top on our drive today. History was another attraction. FDR came here for more than 20 years to bathe in the warm waters that helped him cope with the paralysis caused by polio.

He would drive his convertible, using hand controls he helped develop, from his rustic cabin into the town of Warm Springs and swim with locals. He especially enjoyed sharing the pool with children, even playing water volleyball. These photos show his wheelchair, the desk at which he was sitting when he fell mortally ill, and the bed in which he died on April 12, 1945.

We drove from the Little White House into Warm Springs and enjoyed an authentic southern luncheon buffet at the charming Bulloch House Restaurant in the tiny town. We were too stuffed to sample the boiled peanuts and deep-fried gator offered at the outdoor market, where we strolled after lunch.

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Backroads Across America: Thinking Small in Texas

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Small-town Texas was on display today as we drove southeast to the Hill Country, where we are staying for a few days at the By the River RV park in Kerrville.  Our site is on the Guadalupe River and spring green is the color of the month. What a view for happy hour! It is quite a change from the stark desert scenery of western Texas and much of our journey through Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

Brady, the geographical center of the Lone Star state, and Mason were welcome chances to walk and soak up the atmosphere.

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Backroads Across America: Where to Park the RV?

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So, where do you want to park your RV? Nearly two weeks into our cross-country adventure, our feelings about this question have evolved.

Last year, when we first got our wee trailer, Oregon State Parks were perfect. Lots of space, privacy and beautiful scenery. We thought we would stay in these kind of parks on this trip, and we still may do that. But, much of the time, they require planning and booking. That is not what this adventure is about.

So, what do we look for on this trip? Convenience, amenities, dependable facilities, and location come to mind. So, we chose a concrete pad in Las Vegas (shown above), a short walk to the Strip. And the KOA in Tucson, which allowed us to visit with Reg’s college friend. It also had a pool, a great way to unwind after a day in the truck! See the photos above for the Tucson pool, plus a shot of the covered area, with a solar panel roof. Also, in the photo at bottom right, our site offered a patio with table and chairs.

Tonight, we are at another KOA in San Angelo, Texas (top photo) on our way to the Hill Country. We have also stayed at several Good Sam parks. We don’t spend much time at any campground. We have stayed more than one night several times, but are out exploring during the day.

Like our son Andrew pointed out about good coffee, sometimes you just want something dependable when convenience matters. So, you grab a Starbucks when there might have been better coffee a few blocks away. We  are happy with the chain RV parks so far. We know what to expect.

As for the rest of the trip? Who knows?

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Backroads Across America: Contrasts Galore

Several weeks and a “few” miles apart, we present views of the great outdoors on the slopes of Mt. Ashland, Oregon and overlooking Sedona, Arizona.

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