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Smokey Mountain National Park, Newfound Gap

Number of Visitors

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Escapees Rally (Gillette WY)


Well we finally made it, a few days early though.

I am writing this blog from the Service department of a Ford dealer in Gillette.  After leaving the campground Sunday in the Black Hills of SD.  We had to take a very, very curvy mountain road.  Pulling our house behind us, the transmission on the truck started to slip.  After reaching relatively flat road and stopping for a few minutes the transmission finally cooled down and it hasn’t slipped since. We still wanted it to be checked out.  We continued on to Rapid City. Since this was Sunday, nothing could be done until Monday.  We found a campsite for the night about 10 miles from Rapid City. 

First thing in the morning we took the truck to the local Ford dealer.  Well, they could not get us in for a week.  What to do?  We called the Ford dealer in Gillette and they could take us on Thursday, the 25th.  We decided to push on, since it was a straight run on I-90. 

Now where to stay from Monday to Thursday.  Ann called the people in charge of the rally and they let us come early, but not until Wednesday.  Ann saved the day again!  We decided to break up the 162 mile trip and stop along the way.  At the campsites we stayed in, we met many other people on their way to the rally.

We stopped at Sundance, Wyoming for the night and while we were there went to see Devils Tower.  It is just like in the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

Devels Tower National Monument (0)Devels Tower National Monument (2)Devels Tower National Monument (4)Devels Tower National Monument (10)Devels Tower National Monument (13)

If you look really close, you can see two climbers on the tower.  I think one of them might be Dustin!

Devels Tower National Monument (16) crop

If you click on the picture to blow it up, you can see two climbers.  One on the ledge in the center and one climbing above him.  That is as close as I could get, guess I will have to get a bigger lens. 

You cannot believe how open and vast the country is out west.  No picture can do it justice, you just have to see it.

Well we are sitting here waiting to see what they say.  We will let you guys know when we find out.

See you down the Roan Road…

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Missile Silo (Badlands SD)


This actually should have been in yesterdays post, so this is not really a new Blog post.

In 1992 after a treaty with Russia, we agreed to destroy 500 missile silos and the Nuclear war heads.  These were the Titian II missiles called Minuteman Missile.

The Russians agreed that we could keep 2 of them as museums. The National Park Service operates two of them and gives tours of this once top secret facility.

The tour starts with a film and the history of the Minuteman Missile complex.

Minuteman Missle Base SD (1)

After the movie you take your car and drive to the Control Center. 

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This was the crews quarters above ground that house the Duty Officer and the Security personnel.

The control center controls 10 missile silos.  There is a bunker 30 feet below ground where two officers live 24 hours on and 24 hours off completely isolated from the rest of the world.

Minuteman Missle Base SD (11)Minuteman Missle Base SD (12)

When the Air Force was integrated (men and women) there was a a lot of protests from the spouses of the officers that manned the bunker.

After the the tour of the Control center we drove to an actual missile silo.

Minuteman Missle Base SD (13)Minuteman Missle Base SD (14)Minuteman Missle Base SD (15)Minuteman Missle Base SD (16)

So, if you are worried that the Russians are ready to destroy the world, not to worry.  We still have 500 upgraded Titan III Minuteman Missiles, with multiple war heads, that can destroy all of humanity several times over ready to go.

So you can sleep easy tonight.

See you down the Roan Road….

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hot times in the Black Hills (Keystone SD)


Here we are sitting in our Home after a hard day of driving through Custer State Park.  It’s hard work but someone has to do it.

Let me back track, since I have not Blogged for a while and I do not want any more complaints from you know who, H & K!

Thursday August 11

Mitchell SD:  After the excitement of the previous night’s thunderstorm. we took a day off torest.  On Saturday, we decided to tour Mitchell.  If you look up Mitchell, SD you will see that their claim to fame is the Corn Palace.  The walls are covered by specially grown corn to make Murals inside and out.

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Now that is really “Corny”.  Get the pun, folks?

After that we went to the Ancient Indian Archeological dig.  It is an Indian village approximately 5000 years old.  Now that was interesting.

Indian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (1) - CopyIndian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (3) - CopyIndian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (11) - CopyIndian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (12)Indian Arch Dig- Mitchel SD (13)

We then tried to go to the McGovern Library, but it was closed.  So no pictures.

We left Mitchell, SD on Sunday and went to the Badlands.

Sunday August 14

We arrived at a small campsite on Indian land after driving back and forth trying to find the entrance.  Turning around on these back roads pulling your home in back of you is not fun.  Backing a 36ft 18,000 lbs. camper to turn around, is a challenge.  But we did it.

After we arrived we went to the visitor’s center.  Note to all.  When going to any National Park, always go to the Visitor's Center first.  They are very well done, full of information about the park and the park Rangers are very knowledgeable and friendly.

The first night we went on a nature walk where the Ranger explained all of the plants in the park.  Being from NYC, and having no idea about plants, most of it was over my head.  But we enjoyed it anyway.

The next day we toured the Badlands Park.

That evening we went for a night time star watch.  Let me tell you, there are stars in the sky.  Being from NYC, it is hard to tell.  Although the night we were looking up it was a full moon so not all of the stars were visible.  We got to see the Space Shuttle pass by overhead twice, along with many other bright stars.  They had 3 telescopes setup that we could look through, along with an interesting and knowledgeable presentation.  No pictures, too dark.

The next day we headed for the Black Hills, where we are today.  Today we toured the Custer State park.


This one I call Penis Rock.  I don’t think that is the real name, just my twisted view of a rock.

Black Hills Custer State Pk (30)

See you down the Roan Road…

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rest Time (Mitchell SD)


Yesterday we stayed in a campsite in Albert Lea, Minnesota.  We woke up around 7 AM, took a nice deep breath.  There is nothing like the smell of fresh spread Manure in the morning.  It gives the term “Bull Shit” new meaning.  This is very strange for a nice Jewish couple from Queens.

Anyway, we finally pulled out around 9AM, taking the back roads north until we hit I-90.  We then made a left and headed for points west.

This is farm country.  They grow lots and lots of Corn,  Cell Phone towers, Power line towers and Wind Farms.

MN fields Wind Farms

You know all this traveling is hard work.  So we decided to rest our weary bones here in Mitchell for a few days.  We will stay here until Sunday and see the local sights.  One main attraction is the Corn Palace.  I will report on that in the next blog.

Last night we had some excitement.  We had an emergency alert radio that went off last night.  It said “Severe thunder storms with dangerous winds exceeding 60 mph.  Get to a shelter or to an interior room on a lower floor.”  So since we do not have any lower floor or interior room, and since the camper was rocking and rolling in the wind and rain, we took off for the shelter of the campground office.  There were a few other families there.  Not sure where the rest of the people were though.  We had a nice discussion with a couple from Sacramento.  In a few minutes it pretty much blew over and we went back to the camper for the night.

Here are a few pictures that Ann took:


That’s Me driving                                     That’s Ann’s Work Station.

Sunday we head west on I-90 for the Black Hills.

See you on the Roan road…..

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Relaxing in MN (Twin Lakes MN)


This blog is dedicated to H & K.  You guys know who you are, now leave me alone.

Well, yesterday we were in a campground right off I-80 in Iowa City, Iowa.   Looking at a map I realized that we should have made a right past Chicago and continue on I-90 which goes north and then west.  We stayed on I-80, which is further south. 

So this morning we hitched up and headed north.  We followed I-380 to SR 218  north to intersect with I-35.  We are now in a campground just over the Minnesota border in the middle of, a corn field, of course,.

If you like corn, this the the place for you.  We pasted miles and miles of corn fields. 

Corn to the left, corn the the right.  Miles and miles of corn fields.

Here is a picture out the back of our window.


We arrived in the campground around 3pm, didn’t un-hitch, just hooked up the electric, water and sewer and off the the pool for a nice cool swim.

Tomorrow it back on I-90 west.

See you down the Roan road…

Note to all, retirement is great!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sitting in a Corn field (North Utica, IL)


Right now we are sitting in the camper in Hickory Hollow Campground in North Utica, Illinois. We are just finishing supper and the third thunder storm just passed through.  The first was the worst so far.  Just as we pulled in.  it felt like the world was coming to an end.  Lightening thunder and all kinds of winds.  First the sky turns dark then the wind followed by the end of the world.


Then it clears up and the whole thing starts all over again.


After leaving the Poconos we stayed in a campsite on the Pennsylvania/Ohio boarder for one night.  We left early going west on I-80 again to Elkhart, Indiana.  We stayed in a really nice campground in Elkhart, Thursday through Sunday.

Here is Ann, as usual, working hard.  I, of course, was slaving over a hot grill making dinner.


Elkhart is has some nice walks down by the river,  but it is still a depressed area with many stores and building for rent.

The downtown river walk.


The next day we went to the RV Hall of Fame where they have on display a sample of the different types of RV’s from 100 years ago until now.


After the RV Hall of Fame we went to the Midwest Museum of American Art where we saw an excellent collection of Quilts and Norman Rockwell paintings.


Since there is a large Amish population in Elkhart, we went for a 90 mile Audio tour around the countryside.  We went to Bonneyville Mills Park which is park build around an old Gris mill. There was a group of Amish having a picnic.  They all arrived either on bicycles or buggies.


And is Shipshewana, which is mostly one big flea market or shopping malls, Ann got her Carousel fix.


We then headed back to the campground.  This morning we went to Trail Air to have the modification to the hitch.  It is supposed to reduce the forward and backward motion of the trailer called Chucking.  It seems to work.

Well that’s it for now.

See you down the Roan road….