A Map and a Yellow Highlighter

DSC03719I decided to create a new blog because I wanted a new address and didn’t know how to change it on the other blog, so I thought, “I’ll just start a new one.”    Since I am always highlighting my map when I learn about places, I thought that is what I would call this blog.

We started out this season with a camping trip into the Sierras with our friends to Sage Flats outside of Big Pine off of Hwy. 395.

New York to Maine on Hwy 2, mostly

I’m way behind on keeping up with our trip this summer back East.  So for what it is, here it is.

After we left New York, we headed east through Vermont, New Hampshire and on to Maine.  While we were in Vermont, we called some friends of ours that are full-timers and they happened to be in the same area with the Escapees Club for a rally and we got the chance to meet up with them and some of their friends.  We stayed in Burlington, Vermont exploring for a few days. We went and toured Shelburne Farms. What a beautiful compound.  It has a working farm and a beautiful house.  I can’t remember exactly the details, but I think it was owned by the Vanderbilts.  It was quite a place in its day, but they fell into financial problems and it is being restored. Kind of like the castle we visited in New York.  We then went to Ben and Jerry’s and Cider Mill just down the road.  Good thing it only was $6 to tour the ice cream factory.  There wasn’t much to see.  The hard cider was called Barn Dance and was amazing.  Of course the only place you can buy it is there.  Bummer.

We kind of zipped through New Hampshire, stayed at an Elks Lodge overnight just over the border in Maine and finally made it to the east coast. We stay at the Elk’s Lodge in Ellsworth and took day trips from there.  Maine was packed with people and not very RV friendly.  Narrow roads and nowhere to dump.  We had lobster rolls and visited Acadia National Park.  They have a bus that drives the circumference of the park for free.  We took the bus and got off the first stop, wandered around, got back on the bus and just stayed on the bus the entire time.  You would not believe the amount of people there.  The ranger said it is always crowded, but 20% more this year because of the anniversary of the parks.  I was really disappointed.  Being 5’2″ isn’t what you want to be when there is only standing room on a hot, humid bus.  We went to a lobster hatchery which was interesting.  One of the docent looked like an old sea-captain!  We might go back, but not in July or August!

When we left Maine, we zipped down to Virginia to visit our daughter and her boyfriend.  Not a lot of backroad traveling, just interstate roads and tolls that we are not used to!  We went to Gettysburg, but again it was too flippin’ hot and humid. These two desert rats were dying!  Hot is okay, humidity, not so much.

I’ll stop for now and try to remember how to post some pictures.

Take care.



Fort Tompkins War 1812 headquarters Sackets Harbor
Reinactment at Sacketts Harbor
Camping at Burlington, Vermont Elks Lodge
Shelburne Farms Vermont


The best hard cider ever! Vermont
Cider Mill Vermont
Lobster Hatchery, Maine
Baby Lobsters


The docent at the lobster hatchery. What a hoot!

If we go again, we will make reservations and stay at Schoodic National Campground.


Military site in Maine just north of Bar Harbor


Hiking in the wilds of Maine


So many different kinds of mushrooms everywhere. They don’t grow in the desert. lol


Shenandoah Valley
Hiking the Appalachian Trail


The white slashes let you know you are on the Appalachian Trail



Our campground in the Shenandoah National Park.The heat index that day when we got off the trail 109!
Rebuilding the bridge near our daughter’s boyfriend’s family cabin



Happy Birthday to our baby girl.

Niagara Falls and Four Mile Camp


We arrived at our campsite yesterday after a long day of driving.  We took the long route through Canada and made the mistake of declaring our oranges and bananas when we were returning to the US.  That ended up with us with a full camper and jeep search.  No biggie, they gave us a list of veggies to now bring through the ports of the US even if we bought them here.  The campground here is really big.  Not a lot of privacy, but the sites are really large.  It has a nice shower and each site has electricity.  We are so glad because it has been super humid, at least to us and the air conditioner has been working overtime.  The sites are $26 a night which doesn’t seem too bad considering how nice it is, right here on Lake Ontario.  We spent the day touring the area.  We started just down the road at Fort Niagara, which also has a pool and waterslide.  There is a free shuttle that starts there and stops and different places on its way down to the falls.  We had lunch at the culinary school and I had my first of many, lobster rolls.  It was okay.  Craft beers are a big thing here and there are also a lot of wineries.  Who would have thought?  We went on the Maid of the Mist boat ride with a gazillion other people.  The falls look pretty impressive from the bottom.  Of course we were soaked when we were through, but not from the falls.  They gave us plastic rain covers which made us sweat like crazy.  I couldn’t wait to get back to camp to take a shower.  The shuttle took us through a cute town called Lewiston and through some neighborhoods.  Jay enjoyed himself because he didn’t have to drive and he could look around.  All in all, we had a really nice day and we will see where we land tomorrow.

We did move on and stayed near Sackets Harbor in upstate New York.  I was given a book when I retired called Off the Beaten Path.  I found a place called Boldt Castle nestled in 1,000 Islands, NY and yes that’s where the dressing came from.  What a gem.  It reminded my of Hearst Castle with a German taste. I’m so glad we went.

Four mile campground


From the Canadian side

Boldt Castle was beautiful!


When we left Minnesota, we headed out to Michigan.  Our nephew gave us a lot of ideas of things to do.  We spent the first night in a county park called Dalrymple Park.  It’s a really tiny park, but like a lot of the campgrounds up north, it has electricity.  It is right on Lake Superior.  I just can’t believe how big the lakes are.  We moved on the next day and stayed at Pioneer Trail Park near Wells, Michigan and then onto Straits State Park next to the Mackinac Bridge.  From there we went south to Midland Michigan to visit with Jay’s old business partner that has moved back home to the family farm.  He is now the 4th generation to live on the farm.  After that we went to Portage near Kalamazoo to visit with a friend I used to teach with.  We couldn’t believe it has been 22 years since we’ve seen each other!  It was as if now time has passed at all.

Nothing like fresh tomatoes from a farm stand
Farkel when you’re up north
Our old buddy, Dave
Drove all the way to Michigan for this stuff
22 years just slipped by and it doesn’t feel like it. Good friends and good beer


Shakopee and St. Paul, Minnesota

Our niece and family live in Shakopee and our nephew and his wife live in St. Paul, so of course we had to go visit.  Jay’s sister had also flown out from California to babysit her granddaughter while her daughter and husband went to a conference.  We mooch-docked in their driveway for a couple of days while visiting.  It was nice to use her washer and dryer and especially the shower!  We went to an adult “amusement park” in St. Paul called Surley Brewery.  It is huge and had a long waiting line.  So of course you need to sample a few brews while you wait and a Pokemon landed on my foot!  We also went to another winery and took a nice bike ride along the bike trails in Shakopee.  Both of the families have cute little homes and I really like the area.

Our plan when we started this trip was to take Hwy. from the west coast to the east coast and that certainly hasn’t happened.  The plan is to get back on hwy. 2 in Duluth.

Serious Corn Hole competition at Surley Brewery
I caught my first Pokemon
Cousins Brandi and James
Love the name of this place.

Headwaters of the Mississippi and Lake Carlos, Minnesota

If you want to camp in Minnesota, you need to make reservations. Our neighbor back home is from Minnesota and we made arrangements to meet up with her when she went back to visit her family.  We made reservations for four nights at Lake Carlos near Alexandria.  She was in serious need of a lake fix.  Unfortunately for her, it rained the entire time we were there.  We, on the other hand, were able to get close and personal with her home town.  We had plans to go golfing with her and her high school friends, but it rained.  We instead went to the local VFW and played bingo with all of them and had a blast.  We went to a local winery and went wine tasting and drove up to the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  We texted our kids to look on the webcam at the headwaters and they saw us in California.  All in all, we had a great time.

Our tour guide, Pam


Walking across the Mississippi


Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

The next morning we headed to North Dakota. The weather was incredibly hot and I don’t do well in hot weather. We got to the park and headed up a two lane, five mile road to our campsite at Theodore Roosevelt Park. We stayed at Cottonwood campground for $7 a night. Gotta love that Geezer pass. We drove around the 36 mile loop twice, once in the afternoon and once at sunset. Go at sunset. We saw feral horses, bison, an elk and tons of black-tailed prairie dogs. We went on a hike to see the petrified trees, but it was so hot that we got to the top of the hill and looked down at it and turned around.
The last night we were there, a big storm passed over us. Being desert rats, we were excited for the rain, but became a bit concerned when the lightning and wind started to get strong. We were ready to abandon ship and run to the restrooms if the tornado sirens blared. There was a huge crack of thunder and then the storm seemed to move on. About an hour later, around midnight someone was calling out asking if we were okay. Come to find out that a tree next to us had fallen and missed out jeep by inches. It wasn’t lightning we heard, but the tree falling. What do we know, it doesn’t rain where we live. Jay is a tree guy and wasn’t comfortable about the cottonwoods when we first came in because they are “self-pruning”. Apparently they are “self-clearing” too. Needless to say, we left in the morning.


Grand Tetons NP, Wyoming

Cody, Wyoming
Not in CA anymore
On our way to Yellowstone


Trail in the campground to the lake


I wonder what that squirrel is doing?
The Birthday boys and River
Grand Tetons
Colter Bay campground
Our campsite
Jay, Dani and River
View from Colter BAy

After we left my brother and nephew’s house in Kalispell, MT, we drove south towards the Grand Tetons with our son and his family.  The first night we stayed over in Deerlodge.  We have the Allstays map and Jay had found a free campground about 10 miles out of town.  The road out there grew progressively worse, so we decided to turn around and go back into town. Behind the 4Bs restaurant there is a place to boondock overnight and right behind that is an RV park.  We decided to use the RV park so we could use their shower and dump before moving on.

We haven’t been to the Tetons for almost 30 years. It is still as beautiful as I remember.  The campgrounds there are first come, first served and we were really lucky to get two of the last 5 sited in the 350 site campground.  It looks like all of the sites are pull through which makes it very easy when you are pulling something.

Unfortunately, we only stayed one night because the kids had to get home and get ready to go back to work.  Our little grandson, 3 months old, did really well.  We’re gonna miss him, but there is Facetime and we will get to see him.