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Author Topic: Western Loop Adventure  (Read 10198 times)

dverstra

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Western Loop Adventure
« on: August 22, 2014, 03:54:47 PM »
We are traveling from Grand Rapids, MI through the Upper Peninsula to Minneapolis (Granddaughter's baptism) then on to the Black Hills of South Dakota (Mary Anne's pick); Colorado Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah (My pick), Taos, New Mexico (Wool Festival)(Obviously M.A.'s pick), Kansas City, Missouri (newborn Grand niece) then home. 6 weeks in total. Departure date is after the Labor Day Holiday. I can't wait. 8)
« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 04:02:20 PM by dverstra »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2014, 03:58:14 PM »
We are traveling from G.R. through the U.P. to Minneapolis (Granddaughter's baptism) then on to the Black Hills (Mary Anne's pick), Colorado Springs, Moab (My pick), Taos (Wool Festival)(Obviously M.A.'s pick), KC (newborn Grand niece) then home. 6 weeks in total. Departure date is after the Labor Day Holiday. I can't wait. 8)
You might want to edit your post and remove the two letter abbreviations. This is an international audience and not every one will understand them all. I know I don't understand any of them.
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Betty Brewer

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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2014, 07:30:44 PM »
Sounds very fun ! Enjoy
Betty Brewer

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Molaker

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2014, 08:08:27 PM »
We just made a similar trip from SW Missouri to Pike's Peak on to Utah, the Arches, Bryce, Zion on to Boulder Dam, across to Death Valley and up to Yosemite.  Then to the Cal. coast and up to Crater Lake then back to the coast and up to the WA. Olympic Peninsula and the Puget Sound then across to the Grand Coulee Dam.  Then down to West Yellowstone area to see a new great granddaughter.  From there back up to Glacier and back down to Yellowstone.  From Yellowstone to Cody and up the Chief Joseph and Beartooth highways to Red Lodge, Billings and the Little Bighorn Battleground.  From there over to the Devil's Tower then angling on home.  Whew!  After a little more than 8,000 miles and 47 days, we were road weary, but had a ball.  I hope your big adventure is as much fun as ours was.  We're ready to go again.
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
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bucks2

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2014, 11:28:34 AM »
I'm still trying to convince the other half to be adventurous and explore the east. I've always wanted to see the east, places like Michigan, and Nebraska. Maybe even Kansas City. You folks that live back east seem to have such different lives than those of us out west.

Ken

vetmom

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2014, 11:39:47 AM »
I'm still trying to convince the other half to be adventurous and explore the east. I've always wanted to see the east, places like Michigan, and Nebraska. Maybe even Kansas City. You folks that live back east seem to have such different lives than those of us out west.

Ken


Just had to comment, it's funny the different perspectives, I thought they were the west ;) ;D
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Ned

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2014, 12:27:05 PM »
Anything west of the Mississippi river is NOT the east :)  And Michigan and its adjacent states aren't either.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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bucks2

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2014, 09:15:14 PM »
It's approximately 3000 miles from coast to coast. It's 1000 miles, as the crow flies, from Colorado Springs ("the west") to Portland OR. That's a third of the country! It's 940 miles, as the crow flies, from Kansas City to Washington DC. Think about it, I'm further "east" in Kansas City that they are "west" in Colorado Springs.  :o

East coast folks call Chicago the "mid-west". Fold a map in half and tell me how far west it really is. We're an east coast centric nation. I just like to point that out every now and again.

Ken

Wendy

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2014, 09:45:18 PM »
It's more like 1300 miles from ColoSpgs to Portland, OR. Me, I draw a line down the middle of the Rockies, weat of that is "West."  From there to the Mississippi is "Middle." East of the Mississippi is, well, "east." Works for me.
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Tom and Margi

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2014, 10:50:07 PM »
What Wendy said!  Long time members of the RV Forum will recall that I've been beating that same drum for a big bunch of years.

Molaker

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2014, 10:54:41 PM »
West, smest!  What about north/south? :P
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2014, 06:31:02 AM »

East coast folks call Chicago the "mid-west".

That's because they didn't want us included in THEIR "East Coast". To them, anyone on the other side of the Adirondacks is a westerner. I'm OK with that. I'd rather associate with them "Westerners" anyway. ;D ;D
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SeilerBird

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2014, 07:06:39 AM »
Sounds like a great trip. It is very smart of you to be doing this trip after Labor Day and before winter. You should have a lot of great weather, especially in Utah.
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2014, 10:01:52 AM »
This trip was conceived when MaryAnne said "I'd like to go to the Taos Wool Festival in October". My devious mind thought "and what can we see along the way". It was too close to Utah to pass it up. 8) So we scheduled a week in Moab. Later my son told us that Veronica was being baptized in Minneapolis on the Sunday following Labor Day...so we added Minneapolis. Then MaryAnne said "How about we visit her friend Sherri in the Upper Peninsula on the way. I needed no convincing so we added a week to the trip. It's funny how our trips develop. It usually starts with one thought or comment and balloons.
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Henry Wishard

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2014, 10:17:56 AM »
  We are in Moab today and it is a must. It rained yesterday and last night the rock is bright red on the canyon walls. Compared to when we were here in Moab in early May it is a ghost town. We are coming off a 5 month trip up the west coast heading for Texas to see the Grandkids.
  Have a safe trip and I know you will enjoy it.
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bucks2

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2014, 11:30:39 AM »
It's more like 1300 miles from ColoSpgs to Portland, OR. Me, I draw a line down the middle of the Rockies, weat of that is "West."  From there to the Mississippi is "Middle." East of the Mississippi is, well, "east." Works for me.

I like your divisions Wendy. They make much more sense than some others. It is 1300 road miles, but fewer when riding with the crows.

Ken

taoshum

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2014, 02:54:05 PM »
This trip was conceived when MaryAnne said "I'd like to go to the Taos Wool Festival in October". My devious mind thought "and what can we see along the way". It was too close to Utah to pass it up. 8) So we scheduled a week in Moab. Later my son told us that Veronica was being baptized in Minneapolis on the Sunday following Labor Day...so we added Minneapolis. Then MaryAnne said "How about we visit her friend Sherri in the Upper Peninsula on the way. I needed no convincing so we added a week to the trip. It's funny how our trips develop. It usually starts with one thought or comment and balloons.


Probably wise to get your reservations at a RV Park in/near Taos for the Wool Festival... There are numerous "festivals" during that time and the facilities get full, quickly.  It's a very popular time to visit.  Low temperatures at night could reach 30 or less; highs during the day could reach mid 70's, BTW.
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Wendy

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2014, 04:57:55 PM »
Sounds like a great trip. And isn't it nice to be able to be flexible in your plans ?
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2014, 05:25:37 PM »

Probably wise to get your reservations at a RV Park in/near Taos for the Wool Festival... There are numerous "festivals" during that time and the facilities get full, quickly.  It's a very popular time to visit.  Low temperatures at night could reach 30 or less; highs during the day could reach mid 70's, BTW.
taoshum
We do have a reservation in Taos because of the festival. Its at the Monte Bello RV Park. Thanks for the heads up though. Sounds like a fall night in Michigan ::) We always bring coats and hoodies.
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2014, 07:32:41 PM »
We're Off.  On Wednesday, we left Grand Rapids and headed for the Bridge. In Michigan, "THE Bridge" always means the Mackinac Bridge. On this trip, we had the flashing warning "High Winds...RVs and trailers 20 MPH". Do you know how long 5 miles is at 20 MPH? Yeah, 15 minutes but it sure seems longer than that. The line of cars behind us sure were counting time in the 1 lane only portion of the bridge. If you haven't been across The Bridge, there is always a portion that is being painted and therefore 1 lane. They sure were glad when the other lane opened up. After grabbing some fudge and pasties, we proceeded to Manistique and stayed the night at Indian Lake State Park.  We had a waterfront site. Great spot for our first night on the road. During the evening, a thunderstorm rolled through or so MaryAnne told me. It seems my snoring continued right through the storm. Imagine that.

The following morning, we awoke to wet puddles throughout the campground. Fin and Fi (our 2 Corgis) thought they tasted great during our morning walk. They also walked right through the middle of them. I guess it is a "dog thing".

We had a late start to the day and headed to Michigamme to see our friends that own a resort on the lake, Randy and Sheri. We used to stay there every year. I would fish and MaryAnne would quilt. Sheri also quilted and had Quilt Retreats for her buddies. Life is good when you are both doing what you like. Randy and Sheri are in the process of trying to sell the resort and moving back to the Lower peninsula. After a couple of hours, we said goodbye and proceeded to Woodruff, WI. We stopped at the Patricia Lake Campground and they had a FHU site with our name on it. I just popped the tops on a few Leinie Oktoberfest and  LIFE IS GOOD!
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 06:56:52 AM by dverstra »
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Steve & Linda

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2014, 07:51:15 PM »
Dverstra...thanks for sharing about trip along UP. I spent many summers in my youth with my grandparents who had a camp up that way at Canadian Lakes. We would drive up to shores of UP and ferry across to Makinaw Island and watched progression of bridge build. We are planning an RV trip that way for next summer and appreciate your review of a couple of campgrounds. Send more on your trip.
Steve & Linda
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2014, 07:10:07 AM »
Steve & Linda
Some of my earliest memories are of the size of that bridge. Our family rode the car ferry to the UP and the ferry route was close to the bridge as they were building it. Looking up to that structure still sticks in my mind. While you are UP there, stop on the south side under the bridge and visit the Mackinac Bridge Authority building. It has some great photos of the bridge under construction.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 07:14:59 AM by dverstra »
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2014, 08:05:21 AM »
On Friday, we took Hwy 70 from Woodruff and headed straight west. It was a quiet trip through the North Woods. Trees, trees and more trees interspersed with a lot of small lakes. Not a lot of human habitation here. National forest was the norm. Eventually we reached civilization and found a place to shop and get fuel. All across the state we wanted to stop at a cheese store. After all, we were in Wisconsin, right? Finally...a CHEESE STORE. I didn't realize how big a cheese store could be. You could get lost in there. It was Burnett Dairy on HWY 70 near Alpha, Wi (I think). MaryAnne went inside to look and I saw this big, beautiful, wide open fuel lane. Everyone who fuels a 40 footer towing a car dreams of this sight. A large open parking lot that is easy to turn into. In the middle of it is a couple of fuel lanes with nobody in them. The only minus was I had to use the credit card 3 times since it only allowed $124 each time. The receipt machine at the pump wasn't working and I went in the store to get them. While they were printing out the receipts, I noticed a room at the back of the store. A "Beer Barn". Awesome. Time for a couple of 12 packs of Leinenkugel Oktoberfest.

Once Hwy 70 crosses in Minnesota, the road turned rough. We decided to take the Interstate to Minneapolis. We are currently staying at the Maple Grove KOA awaiting our grandaughter Veronica's Christening on Sunday. Our DIL is from Minneapolis and wanted her Christened there. Today we will visit a Weaver's Guild Store and maybe I will hit a couple of buckets of balls at a local driving range.
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2014, 07:16:47 AM »
   We made it to the Weavers Guild of Minnesota store and gallery, eventually. But first, I had to negotiate the football traffic at the University of Minnesota. Luckily, we were there 3 hours before game time. Anyway, if you are into the fiber arts, this is the place for you. I scored some serious "Brownie Points" for finding this gem for MaryAnne.

   Next stop was the Blue Bamboo Quilt store. When we arrived, I walked MaryAnne into the front door and thought "This will take a while". I have one question, though. Why don't they provide a " Significant Other Area" complete with sports magazines and a TV? Just a couple of chairs in a corner with coffee would work. After all, we did bring "our wallet".  Anyway, I headed back to the car and grabbed the Ipad. A good book had been previously loaded on it for just such an occasion. 8) After about 20 minutes, I received a text from MaryAnne. It read "I'm in heaven..I need a few more minutes". Obviously, I had time for another chapter.

  We went back to the motorhome to meet our kids.  Son (Dave) and DIL (Lisa) dropped off Will and the "Soon to be Christened" Veronica. We had offered to babysit for a while so they could go to a movie. While we were babysitting, Jake (2nd son and soon to be Godparent) and Ashley (First grandaughter and soon to be Godparent) arrived from their 12 hour drive from Michigan. Dave and Lisa returned from the movie and we had "Family Dinner" in Minnesota on the picnic table. Life is Great in Minnesota.

   








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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2014, 06:54:15 PM »
We left our site at the KOA and proceeded down the byways of Minnesota. No complaints on the roads. As we were approaching our destination, Lake Thompson Rec Area, I went against my better judgement and folllowed what the GPS said. As I was making the turn, I realized that I had not seen any sign for Lake Thompson Rec Area. First mistake. I proceeded down the road anyway and when it said to make a right turn there was nothing but a cowpath. Shucks!!!! I'd say something else but it might violate the "Terms of Service" of this website but it begins with an SH. Anyway, since there was nowhere to turn around (at least we were on a paved road) I followed pavement till I got back to where we were in the first place only 30 miles later. >:( >:( >:( Eventually, we arrived at the campground. It was worth the extra miles and then some. There are about 4 other campers here in a total of 100 sites or so. We are lakeside with nobody in our viewpoint. Time for a Leinenkugel. Life is Good in South Dakota!!
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John Beard

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2014, 06:59:06 PM »
I hate it when I don't go with my gut and instead follow the GPS.
John & Susan
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2014, 08:15:01 PM »
It seems that "lakeside" comes complete with skeeters and mayflies. I couldn't believe all of the mayflies. Isn't that supposed to be earlier in the summer? After vacuuming the little critters in the morning and emptying the little handheld vacuum of it's swarm, we left the campsite. I drove for 150 miles in the fog. It seems the weather has cooled. ;D I took Hwy 14 across the state. When I got to Pierre, I decided to take the through route instead of the bypass. A sign that said 11'3" stopped me cold. I turned around in a neighborhood and proceeded back to the Bypass Route. Shouldn't they have said something before the bypass route? It was smooth sailing after that. I had called ahead to Badlands National Park but was unable to reserve within the next 72 hours. They said "First come first served". Since we arrived later in the day, there were no electric sites available. Use of generators was prohibited. I know...I'm a sissy but we proceeded to the KOA for a FHU site. The dogs will enjoy this place since it has a fenced "No Leash" Area that they can romp in. I played with them for a while by letting them herd me around. The herding instinct is strong in the Corgi breed. I still have some Leinenkugel left, so Times are great in the Badlands. 8)
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Molaker

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2014, 11:40:17 PM »
If you can, take the time to drive your CRV around the back roads of the Badlands and down to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Wounded Knee).  There's a lot to see there that is commonly overlooked.  Right across the road from the site of the Wounded Knee massacre is a museum with a very different view of the history of the Sioux and the white man's impact on them.  When we were there 3 years ago, we even attended a "pow wow" at the local school.  It was amazing watching the dancers and seeing their native costumes.  I didn't see another white man in the entire gymnasium.  It was food for thought.
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
U.S. Navy (Ret)
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2014, 08:17:54 AM »
Tom
Thanks for the "heads up" on Wounded Knee. We'll try to squeeze that in. Thinking of staying here an extra day since it is supposed to snow in Hill City tomorrow >:(.  Not sure if it will be any better here, though.
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2014, 04:30:33 PM »
We did stay that extra day in the Badlands. We're glad that we did. 6 - 8 inches of snow fell in Hill City last night. As we were coming into the Black Hills, several RVs were coming down with plenty of snow on their tops. It pays to watch the forecast and adjust your schedule to it.

While in the Badlands, we took our toad (Honda CRV, on the southern loop to Scenic, SD. On the way there, MaryAnne plotted a course to the top of Sheep Mountain (unimproved gravel seasonal road). I was skeptical. In MY CRV? Oh well, here we go. 3 miles of somewhat washboard road later, we turn a corner and see the road up. Not too bad as long as we don't meet anyone coming down. Luckily, MaryAnne is on the side of the road that doesn't have a guardrail.  ;D. About a mile after we reached the top there was a turnaround with an Awesome vista. We just sat there on a couple of rocks like a couple of kids and looked out from our viewpoint. Not another tourist in sight. I guess that I should listen to her more often. Don't tell her that I said that.

While in the Black Hills, we really want to spend some time in Custer SP driving the Wildlife Loop, Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road. We've never seen Crazy Horse so that is on our list. Other spots are Jewel Cave, Mammoth Site for a 2nd visit, Mt. Rushmore (of course) for a 2nd visit. We have been to Deadwood and Devil's Tower before but might fit that in.

Any and all suggestions welcome.
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Grandville, MI
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