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Oct. 3rd, 2010

Were Back

This Summer has been GREAT. We spent the summer visiting friends and then doing a Great Lakes Tour. Spending some time in Northern Ohio and Lake Erie visiting several covered Bridges and some of the small towns along the way. Then it was heading up into MI to visit some friends. We did some boat rides on a small lake, joined in on a special Birthday party and spent some time enjoying Lake Huron. This was a special time/place, looking out on the lake with a very nice beach and to your right you have a great river that flowes into the lake. And fishing was not bad ether.

Then it was on to the UP. Once in the UP the weather was cool with some rain.

More Later

Apr. 20th, 2010

Spring 2010

WOW, after looking at how long it has been since we last posted, all I can say is, time goes by fast when your having a fun..

The summer of 09 was great, we spent time in MN, CO, ID, OR, NV and AZ. Of course we spent a lot of time getting from one place to the next. Other than a hail storm in Denver, CO our travels were great. We went to a Rally in MN. and from there we met our friends for a few days. That turned into 2+ weeks before heading west to CO. We spent about 3 weeks traveling around CO before being chased out by the hail storm. Then it was on to ID to spend sometime along the Snake River and watch the last crossing at Three Island crossing SP. From here it was on to WA to start our travels along RT 101 South and into OR. We followed the coast line down to Florence then over the Coast Range and on to Bend, OR. From Bend we headed South to Crater Lake (what a place) and met some other friends and spent the day in the Park. Then we headed down to Reno then on to Vegas for a few weeks with Friends. After two weeks of eating, playing the slots, eating, sight seeing and more eating we all headed our separate ways. It was then on to AZ to spend some time with friends to their lot outside of Phoenix for a few days. While there we went to the Heart Attack Grill, what a place and the food was great. We then spent a month working our way back to FL for the winter.

We are leaving Florida to hit the road for the summer. I was asked where are we going for the summer, all I can say right now is North from here.

Oct. 21st, 2008

Summer 2008

We are BACK on THE ROAD...............

Well we left Yellowstone on the 9th of Oct. just as the snow started. We crossed Sylvan Pass with 3 - 4 inches of snow on the ground and headed towards Cody, WY. Sandy and I were looking for some warmer weather. We were not going to find that for another week. It was 6 days later when we finally got out of WY. and into NE.. Now, we did have to have some recall work done in Casper, WY, so it was not that I am a slow driver. We just like to take our time and see the country. We are now in Beaver City, NE, we went to the Oxford Locker yesterday to pick up our meat supply from NE.. This place has the best meat and the prices are not to be beat. So, we will wait a few days for the storm that we are having to blow over and off we go again.

Sandy will be picking some pictures of this year in Yellowstone to add to our journal it the next few days. So stay tuned.......

Apr. 16th, 2008

(no subject)

Justin & Brad Justin & Brad
Justin & Brad on a fishing weekend
Ken & Sandy Ken & Sandy
With our Shrimp nets
Lopez crew Lopez crew
Some of the guys at the campground
Shrimp Winners Shrimp Winners
Ken with his hair and shrimp glasses - Jim Frieda also had the crazy hair.
Bob Geno Bob Geno
88 yrs. old and going strong - front of shirt says: You're only as good as the size of your Shrimp and on the Back: Size Matters

We spent the winter months in Florida again this year at Lopez RV park in Oakhill, Fla. The time went by really quick as we seemed to keep busy. The weather this year was windy most of the time since we are sitting on the intracoastal. The fishing wasn't as good due to the wind, however, we did get out a few times on the boat. The wind also affected the shrimping this year. Ken went out about 6 times and I (Sandy) only went once. We were able to bag about 10 bags of shrimp, which equals around 500 - 600 for the entire season. Since Ken is allergic to shrimp - this is fine. We sent most of the shrimp home with our son, Justin, to NC. Justin was able to visit with his fishing buddy Brad. We really enjoyed having him there - if only for a weekend. At this point - unless he meets up with us sometime this next year - we probably will not see him until Dec. 08 around Xmas.
Ken & I were the shrimp host and hostess for our shrimp contest. Ken even wore a black wig and was a hoot. We also presented our good friend Geno- who turned 88 this year - with some honorary awards since he had been the host for 10 yrs. He had some prostrate problems this year and bowed out of the duties. Once Ken & I took over we realized how much work Geno had put into this duty in the past. We had a T-shirt made up for Geno, along with a shrimp wind chime. Geno just loved it.
We spent a few days a week at the local Casino's playing the slot machines. You basically play for gift cards at Walmart, Lowes or the local grocery stores. They match you with $5.00 & most of the time you either win or break even. We definitely came out ahead of the game when we left Florida.
Here in Florida we do eat out alot - however - we ate alot of fish - so didn't put on any extra weight while there. We had a standing date with one couple (Grizz & Tixie) that each of us would decide once a week of a new place to go, usually out to eat and some form of entertainment. We tried alot of new places, plus went on the Sterling Casino Cruise ship, the Dog races in Daytona, a concert of the official Coast Guard Band, the Marti-Gra parade and the St. Patricks' Day activities. We also ate Gator Tail - which isn't half bad.
We were also able to meet up with Bill & Helen who we met at our Full-Timing Rally in Arizona twice while in Florida. Bill & Helen bought a lot in Ocala and stay there approximately 6 months. We took them to a European & German Restuarant in Ormond Beach which was really good.
Our campground is only 20 miles north of Cape Kenedy and we were able to watch (2) shuttle launches right off the docks of our campground. What a thrill -- one was at night and was really magnificent.
All in all we really had a great time in Florida, there's always something to do between the Flea Markets, Fishing, Shrimping, eating out and just hanging out with friends.

Nov. 4th, 2007


Rooster Pheasant (2) Rooster Pheasant (2)
Hiding in the roadside
City Park City Park
Beaver City, Neb
Ken & Jim with Cheyanne in the lead Ken & Jim with Cheyanne in the lead
Ken's one shot Ken's one shot
Free lots about 1/2 acre Free lots about 1/2 acre
Downtown Beaver City,Nebraska Downtown Beaver City,Nebraska
The street is wide for the tractors to park in the center
Jim & Sharon Northup and Cheyanne Jim & Sharon Northup and Cheyanne

A few days after leaving Yellowstone we received a call from Jim & Sharon Northrup who spend about 2 months each year in Nebraska Pheasant Hunting. They stay in a very small town called Beaver City. Beaver City has a small City Campground at the Ballfield. It was very nice with full hook-ups and $30/week. Can't beat the price. This area has lots of farms and open land (mostly corn fields). We scouted the first few days looking for the Pheasant hide-outs. We were quite successful. Opening day the guys put up quite a few pheasants - I think they shot around 10 rounds and ended up with 1 bird. To Ken's credit - the bird he took down he did shoot in one shot. Day 2 was just as fun - but Cheyanne (an English Pointer) was putting up the birds too far ahead of the guys and they couldn't get a shot. Oh well! The grass is extremely high and poor Chey got pretty cut up by day 2 - so she took the next 2 days off to rest. That was the end of the huning trip for Ken. We really enjoyed our time in this samll Nebraska town. The town is really quiet and has (1) small grocery store, a local bar/restaurant and a Post Office and a really nice Craft store. It also had a gas station that actually had free Wifi (and a small restaurant). Ken & I would stop there to check messages on E mail and such. This area is beef country and we also took a ride to the next town over to visit the local meat market. Would you believe fresh hamburger for $1.49/lb, T-bones for $5.49/lb? Anyway - we stocked up on some farm fresh meat. I (Sandy) did not hunt since I haven't shot a gun in 30 yrs., however, next year I plan to come back prepared. Those birds haven't seen nothing yet!! By the way, there are several nice 1/2 acre lots in town that are "free" if you build at least a 900+ sq. ft. home. That's a first! No wonder everyone was so nice to us -- they need tax dollars!!

Nov. 2nd, 2007

(no subject)

Greyjay Greyjay
Buffalo Butt Buffalo Butt
7 x 7 Elk 7 x 7 Elk
The Locksmith The Locksmith
Fishing Bridge RV Park Fishing Bridge RV Park
Hiking Hiking
Red Fox Red Fox
Buffalo Buffalo
Ken, Sandy & Poncho Ken, Sandy & Poncho
Snow Snow
Great Gray Owl Great Gray Owl
The Grand Tetons The Grand Tetons
Bull Moose Bull Moose

Well, our time in Yellowstone has come to an end. We really had a wonderful time. We will especially miss the Wildlife that surrounded us each and everyday. It's amazing to walk out your door each day and have to look each way to ensure safety. However, it's really exhilarating to see the Wildlife in their own habitat. No matter how much Wildlife you see each day - you look forward to seeing something else the next day. You never get tired of it. We also had fun meeting new people from around the world, along with getting to know all our co-workers. We were camped next to Garry & Jenny Summers who we met in Quartzite, Arizona in Jan. of 2006 and they were just a delight. Each and every Monday night we took turns coming up with a recipe for a Dutch Oven treat. You would have thought that we should have put on weight, however, apparently the high altitude increases your metabolism and we lost weight. Ken & I lost an average of 10lbs(that we put on in Florida) so let's hope we can keep it off.
The last 6 weeks in Yellowstone, Ken & I started hiking and that was a true joy. You really can appreciate the true beauty of the Park if you get out and hike. The longest hike was about 11 miles round trip - so next year we hope to do better. And yes, we plan to come back next year - who would have thought it?
The week before we left - it snowed everyday for a solid week. It finally warmed up to around 50 a few days before our departure and melted it off. Thank goodness! Yellowstone did plow our Campground and the main roads, however, they only plow up and to November 1st. We left on Oct. 15th - just in time.

Jun. 22nd, 2007

Living in Yellowstone

Herd of Elk Herd of Elk
Small Waterfall Small Waterfall
Grizzly getting ready to cross the Road Grizzly getting ready to cross the Road
Coyote Puppy Coyote Puppy
Sandy Flyfishing Sandy Flyfishing
Elk in our backyard Elk in our backyard
This bull elk is just starting his antlers

As of today we've lived here in Yellowstone for 2 months today. Time flies when your having fun! As you can see we've seen lots of Wildlife - the Bear sightings have slowed down a bit-and will be seen now about twice a week. When we first arrived we saw bears just about everyday. Ken is enjoying his job as the Locksmith for the Lake area. In this position he is in charge of approx. 4000 keys which includes the Lake Hotel, the cabins, the Lake Lodge, and 2 campgrounds (Fishing Bridge & Bridgebay). He can pick any lock and has even made a key for a lock where someone lost the key. Pretty amazing. Ken's hours are 7:30AM-5:30PM 4 days a week and 7:30AM-11:30AM on the 5th day.
I am at Fishing Bridge Campground where I check in and make reservervations for all the Campgrounds in Yellowstone managed by Xanterra. The Fishing Bridge Campground is the only full hook-up campground inside Yellowstone. We are very, very busy right now with 100 sites checking in and out everyday. The Fishing Bridge Campground has 350 sites. You wouldn't believe how many people arrive without reservations in a 40'RV - amazing. Most of the time we are able to book them a site down the road at Bridgebay Campground with no hook-ups. Bridgebay is right on the Lake and looks like a typical forestry type campsite. Most families with kids like it there since they can have a fire and also provide picnic tables.
Many times they cancel the FBridge site and head down to Bridgebay 4 miles away. My hours are a bit varied with one night working from 2:30PM to 1030PM, two days @ 7:00AM to 2:30PM, one day @ 11AM to 7PM then then 8AM to 3:30PM. It's not that bad since I have free time and a few mornings to myself. I average around 35hrs per week. It's really fun meeting people from all over the Country (literally)and our co-workers are really great too. Ken & I have been really fortunate to work with great people and have a great Management Staff. Believe me - we've heard war stories from other employees that work in other areas. The Park has 3 management companies that Manage the stores and restaurants: Xanterra, Delaware North and Yellowstone Association. At this point Xanterra seems to be the best and treats their employees very well. We've seen the Delaware North employees working extremely long hours (up to 12 per day) and many employees have quit and moved over to Xanterra. That's really a shame. Most of the employees have prior long glowing careers and deserve respect from their employers. At fishing Bridge a major part of the employees worked in Education and have a Masters Degree. However, they never gloat and only mention it if you ask. I have so much respect for these people who just want a simple life and little stress.
Ken & I have Tues & Wed off each week and try to make the most of our days off to tour the park. Employees have the opportunity to join any of the tours for free if seats are available. Yesterday we took the Lake Cruise on Lake Yellowstone which was great. The weather was gorgeous with the highs around 75. Most weeks we've gone fly-fishing - which is great fun - but the fish don't seem to like our flies! Ken has caught (2)fish and (0) for me. We've thus far have fished the streams - but next week we plan to try Yellowstone Lake & use real lures -look out fishy. Fly-fishing is suppose to be elegant - but last week I stepped into what I thought was hard sand & sunk up to my knees and then fell over - boy was I muddy. Ken had to help me out - it was actually like quicksand. Thank goodness no one was around to see this sight. The best part was on our way back we spotted a liter of 7 coyotee puppies. That was really neat.
Well - off for now - keep those e-mails coming - we miss everyone.

May. 23rd, 2007

Yellowstone National Park

Buffalo Jam Buffalo Jam
On the way to Mammoth for our orientation
Prong Horn Sheep Prong Horn Sheep
On the way to Cody, Wy.
Grizzly Grizzly
Outside our campground
Big Horn Sheep Big Horn Sheep
On the way to Cody, Wy.
Yellowstone Lake Yellowstone Lake
No visitors - only employees No visitors - only employees
Opening gate to Yellowstone National Park Opening gate to Yellowstone National Park
Our first day at the Employee Campsite Our first day at the Employee Campsite

We've arrived! Entering the Park the first day was the highlight of our trip. Yellowstone does not open for about a week or so and we were given the combination to the North entrance in order to enter the park. How exciting to drive through Yellowstone Nat'l Park and be the only vehicle on the road. I (Sandy)even drove the coach for the first time on a main road through the park since there were no other vehicles. What a thrill. If you've ever been to Yellowstone, you know there are typically thousands of visitors and the going can be slow due to traffic. The lakes were all iced over and there was still snow on the ground. Not as much snow as expected (thank goodness). We spent the first few days getting acclimated to our campground and going through orientation in Mammonth, Wy. We both got uniforms, name tags, meal tickets, vehicle tags, etc. The park is so serene with no one here - unbelievable. The first week we took many pictures already of wildlife- including Elk, Bison, Grizzlies, Big Horn Sheep & many coyotes. As a matter of fact, there is a coyotee here in our campground that seems to be stalking out Poncho. I {Sandy) took a walk late one afternoon and there stood a coyote about 30' from me and Poncho. I swear it was a wolf since it was much, much bigger than a typical coyote (over 100lbs.)- but everyone thinks it was a coyote - whatever! Me & Poncho got out of there fast - it scared me to death. Then not but 4-5 days later - I was out again around 9AM walking Poncho & there again was another Coyote staring at me & Poncho. A Ranger happened to drive by at the same time and offered to drive us back to the RV - but it was within eyesight - so we hurried back to the RV. Since that time - I've purchased some Bear spray. Hopefully I never have to use it. The day we arrived we actually had all 4 seasons in one day (snow, rain, sunshine, wind) you name it. When we pulled into our campground many of the other employees came over to greet us - it was really neat. Since Ken is assigned to Maintenance, we are camped with other maintenance Staff in our loop. They all share trucks to drive back and forth to the Lake Hotel (but more about that later). We had our choice of 5 different sites and picked (2) sites that backed up to the woods. Our frinds Garry & Jenny will be coming in about 4-5 days & we picked (2) sites next to each other. By the second day Ken was asked to consider being the Locksmith for the Lake area - which he did accept. More about our jobs later. At this point we are very excited to be here and ready to get started.

Apr. 23rd, 2007

Westbound April 07

Grand Ole Opry Grand Ole Opry
Nashville, Tenn.
Grand Ole Opry Grand Ole Opry
Fishing in Missouri Fishing in Missouri
Just baby Bass
Black Squirrel Black Squirrel
A Marysville Black Squirrel taken from the window of RV
Marysville, KS City Park Marysville, KS City Park
We stayed here one night free of charge with full hookups.
Marysville, Kansas Marysville, Kansas
Sign in the Park outside the RV

April is the last month we will travel with the RV before settling down for 5 months in Yellowstone, Wyoming. As most of you know, Ken & I have accepted jobs in the park starting May 1st through September 30th. More on that once we reach Yellowstone on April 29th.
Thus far this month has been fun and exciting. We decided to travel through NC in order to see our son Justin one more time since it will probably be Xmas before we see him again. We stayed in NC in Mocksville, NC at our Thousand Trails Park which is approx. 1 hr. from Charlotte. This worked out great since we didn't have to pay for camping & we knew people in the Park. From there we headed West on Rt. 40 into Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn. is only approx. 6 hrs. from NC - however - we had never experienced this area. We found a nice Park called Two Rivers Campground which is aprox. 1 miles from the Grand Ole Opry. Since Ken & I spent the last 27 yrs. in NC - we have come to a real appreciation for Country music. Especially since our son grew up in the South, that's all he listened to everyday. During check in I asked about the Grand Ole Opry and we were lucky enough to get tickets to the show that night. I didn't realize they only have shows on Tuesday, Friday and Sat. night. We were very lucky that we got the last 2 good seats. For you Country Fans, we got to see Vince Gill, the Oakridge Boys and The Wreckers. For you old Country fans, also on stage was Little Jimmy Dickens, Stever Wariner, Porter Wagoner,Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Bill Anderson, Jimmy C. Newman and Raul Malo. I have to admit the only group we were familiar with was Vince Gill & the Oak Ridge Boys, but have since learned to appreciate the other entertainers just as much. They were all just great. Our seats were only 7 rows from the stage, so we really, really enjoyed it. The problem was that we forgot the camera that night and could have gotten some great pictures. Oh well!
The next day we visited the Grand Ole Opry Museum and the Grand Ole Opry Hotel. Both were quite impressive. The Hotel has a river passing through it with huge fish and a guide boat that you could pay $9.00 and tour the entire Hotel. We were too cheap to pay - so we just walked it. It's all undercover with lots of greenery, flowers, trees, etc. There were many shops & restaurants also inside the Hotel.
There is also a huge mall next door to the Grand Ole Opry and we headed over there for lunch. We found a restaurant called "The Rainforest Cafe" in the mall that was really fun. In this restaurant they have Zoo animals on the walls (such as monkeys, gorillas, elephants) and every 15 minutes they come to life. Also every 15 min. they have sound effects of a lightning storm (without the rain - thank-goodness). The ceiling was also covered with the night sky with stars. It was really neat & the food was good - however- it could get a bit noisy with the storms and animals screeching.
From Nashville we headed into Missouri where we found a beautiful RPI park "Lake Paradise Camping Club". This park has 5 fishing lakes and 600 campsites. Since this is one of our membership parks we only paid $8.00/night. We camped right on one of the Bass Lakes and had a gorgeous view. It was a bit tricky getting in there since they have lots of low hanging trees and the roads need some work due to the snowfall this year. It was all worth it though once we got settled. The weather was just great while we were there with the highs in the low 70's. We ended up staying here 3 nights since it was so peaceful and the price was right.
The next 3 days the weather was extremely windy going through Kansas and was a bit frightening keeping the RV on the road. We stayed the first night in Kansas in a small town called Marysville that had free camping in the City Park. This was a beautiful park & extremely clean and well kept. There was no attendant and they had full 30 or 50 amp hookups, with water & a dump station if needed. You could actually camp there for 5 days for free - Wow! This is an area with Black Squirrels as pictured on our Website. Also shown is our RV at the site - we were the only ones camped there - so it was very private & we felt very safe. We walked two blocks into the cobbled stone streets of town - but was disappointed to find the Pony Express Museum closed for the season until April 21st. This was the next day, however, we had not planned to stay that late. On we went the next AM thinking the wind had died down. This was not to be true as the wind started up again as bad or worse that the previous day. We stopped early that day in Nebraska which had even more wind than Kansas. Once we stopped the rain started coming down with tornado warnings in that same County. The next day was again really bad with a side wind that just about blew us off the road and torrential rains where you couldn't see the car in front of you. We ended up pulling over for a few hrs. at a restuarant until the rains stopped. At this point Kansas and Nebraska is not one of those states we would be interested in staying on a long term basis.
Today we are camped at a small campground in Nebraska about 100 miles from Wyoming. The wind has settled down and this campgound is really nice with free Wifi - all for just $10/night on Passport America. The only problem is it's right next to train tracks and the train blows it's whistle as it goes by every hr. all night long. After awhile - you don't even hear it. At this point we are scheduled to be in our site in Yellowstone by next Sunday - will update again once we are settled.

Apr. 14th, 2007

(no subject)

Ken & Justin Ken & Justin
Justin's 2nd visit to Florida
Fort Castillo de San Marcos Fort
St. Augustine, Fla.
Lopez RV Park Lopez RV Park
Early AM sunrise
Bob Geno & Ken Bob Geno & Ken
3rd largest shrimp
Poncho Poncho
Poncho's jacket for Yellowstone
March in Florida was much warmer with the highs in the 80's most days, however, we did have high winds. Our very good friends Jack & Patsy came in for the month. We've known Jack & Patsy for 25 yrs. and they are family to us. As a matter of fact our son calls them Mamaw and Papaw. We really enjoyed spending time with them. We also had the opportunity to visit St. Augustine this month which is a very histoical town in Florida. It happened to be St. Patricks day and the town was full of tourists, however, it was a very good time. It reminded me a bit of Savannah which is another one of my favorite places to visit. Ken & I went by the Lighthouse, however, they were having a festival there and the parking was very scarce - so on we went to Fort Castillo de San Marcus. The fort was really, really impressive and we happened to be there on a day they were firing the cannon. They made it very authenic & really loud. We also had a personal tour by one of the Rangers at the Park of the entire Fort (aren't we special). Justin & his new girlfriend, Shannon, visited in March and it was really good to see him. Shannon was very nice and seemed to fit right in with all of us & Mamaw & Papaw. Shannon actually grew up in Florida and her family lives only 45 min. from where we are camped. She is the maid of honor for a wedding in May - so she spent a good part of the weekend having a bridal shower. Our friends, Pat & Larry hosted a cookout this month and deep fried 3 turkeys. The turkeys were awesome and we all feasted heavily on turkey and all the trimmings. March 21st was the finale of the annual shrimp contest of which Ken came in 3rd place. First place was won by Bob Geno, who by the way is 87yrs old & is in great shape. The winning shrimp was 7.5" , 2nd place was 7.0" and 3rd place was 6.13/16th". We had a cookout on the last day & Geno presented all the prizes. Geno put on a wig, mustache and eyebrows and was a hoot. It was great fun by all. Sandy did measure a shrimp @ 6.3/4" - but it was too small to place, as did others in the contest.

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