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Author Topic: Western Loop Adventure  (Read 9519 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.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Betty Brewer

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Betty Brewer
« 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.
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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.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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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
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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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Terry A. Brewer

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2014, 01:02:38 PM »
>>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.<<


That's why many of us tow Jeeps...And what we try to tell people who don't tow what they are missing, especially when they say they don't need a toad because their RV will go anywhere.<G>

dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2014, 07:58:55 AM »
Yesterday, we took the toad and toured in Custer State Park. All I can say is "WOW". This park is huge and there is something to take a picture of around most corners. We started out from Hill City and took the Needles Highway. At first there are some twists and turns and you think "This is cool". Then you begin seeing some of the rock formations and go through a tunnel that you think is pretty small. Wait for it...the tunnels get smaller and longer. Suddenly, you reach the "Needle's Eye" , stop the car and get out, and be amazed. What a view! During busy times, I could see a real traffic jam here.


After Needles Highway, we headed for the Wildlife Loop. Before we got there, there was a turnoff labelled Mt. Coolidge Firetower. What better place to see vistas from than a firetower. Up we went and up and up. MaryAnne was on the outside edge (no railings here) and had to look away everytime an approaching car came and I had to drive the right edge. She feels that it is unfair that the driver is always in the middle of the road. It was only a mile long but that gravel road felt like five miles of twists and turns. Sure enough a beautiful vista awaited us complete with an observation deck. In the distance, you could see Mt. Rushmore, Harney Peak, Needles Highway, and Crazy Horse. It was worth the drive up.

We went around the Wildlife Loop next. First we saw whitetail deer next to the road munching on the grasses. Speaking of Grasses, did you know that there are National Grasslands? I didn't until stopping at the National Grassland Office in Wall, SD. Back on topic...we reached the southern end of the loop and saw the Buffalo corrals in the distance. Next, we came upon a lone buffalo walking down the middle of the road causing a Buffalo Jam. He walked right past MaryAnne's side of the car. Maybe 6 inches from her window. He didn't pay much attention to all of these cars. He's seen them before. Besides, he owned this stretch of highway. Down the road a little we met a group of Begging Burros. I didn't see anyone feeding them but I'm sure there is a reason they hang out in the middle of the road. We finished the Wildlife Loop and had a great lunch at the Legion Lake Diner. We drove into the town of Custer and headed north past Crazy Horse to the campground. We'll save Iron Mountain Road for the next day. The pups were happy to see us and we took them for a walk around the park. Life is Good in the Black Hills!
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 07:49:15 AM by dverstra »
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2014, 08:13:51 AM »
I forgot to mention one of our personal favorite "finds" on this trip. Mary Anne was reading about the Badlands and saw that there had been an area that the government had "procured" for the War Effort. It had been used as a training area for gunnery during WWII. Wait a minute..my dad had been a tail gunner on a B17 and I remembered him talking about gunnery school in South Dakota. At the White River Visitor Center, we found a plaque for this. I took a picture of it and sent it to my brother. I was a littled choked up over that one.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 07:49:47 AM by dverstra »
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therealsimpsons

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2014, 10:05:03 AM »
We just got back from Custer about a week or so ago. We stayed at French Creek RV Park on Washington St, right in Custer. When you take US 385 North out of Custer, in about a mile after you climb the big grade, look right and you will see Crazy Horse.

The wildlife Loop is always great. We were in Custer 4 days, and drove it every late afternoon. We know that Loop by heart now. I think we've driven it 20 times in the last 6 years.

Safe travels,

Stan

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2014, 10:12:02 AM »
The wildlife Loop is always great. We were in Custer 4 days, and drove it every late afternoon. We know that Loop by heart now. I think we've driven it 20 times in the last 6 years.
Watch those wild donkeys.  They'll make asses of themselves every time. :D
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2014, 08:48:48 PM »
Watch those wild donkeys.  They'll make asses of themselves every time. :D

To celebrate seeing those asses, we stopped by the Prairie Berry Winery and bought some Red Ass Rhubarb wine. Oh and we tasted and bought a dozen others. We are ready for a steak dinner now! The trouble with a wine tasting is that you want a few of each. ;D
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2014, 08:54:37 PM »
>>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.<<


That's why many of us tow Jeeps...And what we try to tell people who don't tow what they are missing, especially when they say they don't need a toad because their RV will go anywhere.<G>

Really thinking about renting one of those once we reach Moab. What are your thoughts?
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2014, 09:32:33 PM »
I have been following your trip with great interest, just one thought would be great if you could post some pictures of your trip that way we could see some of the places you visited as well as read about them.
Billy Bob 

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2014, 07:56:59 AM »
Billy Bob
I've added a few pics to the more recent posts. It won't allow me to edit further back in time. I'll post a few pics of earlier in the trip now
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2014, 07:31:43 PM »
>>Really thinking about renting one of those once we reach Moab. What are your thoughts? <<


I think it would be a great idea.... Wouldn't be surprised if after renting you traded your CRV for a Jeep.

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #40 on: September 16, 2014, 08:12:00 PM »
>>Really thinking about renting one of those once we reach Moab. What are your thoughts? <<


I think it would be a great idea.... Wouldn't be surprised if after renting you traded your CRV for a Jeep.

Shhhh.....MaryAnne might hear you 8)
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2014, 07:38:02 PM »
Back on task...The following day we went to Mammoth Site first in Hot Springs, SD. If you have never been there, this needs to be on your bucket list. On our first RV trip, we saw this archelogical dig site inside of a building. I never forgot it. When MaryAnne said she wanted to go to the Black Hills, I said Mammoth Site was a necessary stop. Even if you are not into dig sites, this will blow you away. I'll refer you to their website to get the info on how this site was formed. http://mammothsite.com/ Don't miss it!

We headed north to Custer SP to travel the Iron Mtn Road to Mount Rushmore. While this road is not as spectacular as Needles Hwy, it is still a road with character. It has tunnels and these pigtail bridges that are hard to explain. You curve around and go under your previous track. It has numerous lookouts to see Mt. Rushmore from a distance.

Next stop was obviously Mount Rushmore. Last time we were there for the lighting ceremony at night. This time it was during the daytime hours. If you are looking for a Patriotic Moment, do the Lighting Ceremony
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2014, 08:59:17 PM »
We traveled south today to Sydney, NE. We stopped at Cabela's CG and walked the dogs. It was first come first served parking at the CG. After parking it, we went into the store. I paid for the campsite while MaryAnne did some shopping. I can see why they have a CG. We easily paid for the site a couple of times over after the "Shopping Trip". It's warm in Sydney compared to the elevated Black Hills. A 50 amp site with the A/C running cures that. Life is Good in Nebraska!
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #43 on: September 20, 2014, 10:03:17 AM »
Yesterday was also a travel day. We traveled south out of Sydney, NE through Limon, CO then through Colorado Springs to Canon City, CO. We have successfully avoided interstates except for the stretch from the Badlands to Rapid City, SD. I hope to avoid most interstates throughout the trip. I wanted to travel the Byways this time at our own pace.

Today, we hope to see the Royal Gorge (I'm sure it is GORGEous) and the Holy Cross Winery in an old abbey. We might also take a drive to Cripple Creek if time permits. I'll add some photos to this post once we are back.
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #44 on: September 20, 2014, 10:49:55 AM »
Yesterday was also a travel day. We traveled south out of Sydney, NE through Limon, CO then through Colorado Springs to Canon City, CO. We have successfully avoided interstates except for the stretch from the Badlands to Rapid City, SD. I hope to avoid most interstates throughout the trip. I wanted to travel the Byways this time at our own pace.

Today, we hope to see the Royal Gorge (I'm sure it is GORGEous) and the Holy Cross Winery in an old abbey. We might also take a drive to Cripple Creek if time permits. I'll add some photos to this post once we are back.
The Royal Gorge may be a disappointment.  Not that it is not a spectacular site, but because of the fire they had a couple of years ago.  The fire burned much of the forest area approaching the gorge and knocked visitation down so much many tourist businesses closed their doors.  When we were there in June, even the bus tour was spotty and we could not cross the bridge.
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #45 on: September 20, 2014, 02:59:24 PM »
What a shame!  Even I, who hates heights, walked across the bridge.  It really was neat.

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #46 on: September 20, 2014, 03:26:24 PM »
I'm happy to say that the Royal Gorge Bridge and Visitor Center is OPEN for business and it is GORGEous. They say the visitor center just opened last week. I'll post pics later. Right now we are headed to take the Royal Gorge Railroad at 3:30.m We have a Dome Car seat and also an Open car that we can stand on. Pics later!!!
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #47 on: September 20, 2014, 03:29:12 PM »
Oh, lucky you!  We wanted to do the train but it wasn't running at the time.  Take lots of pics for us!  We did take the ride down to the loading platform so got something of a feel for what it's like down in the canyon.

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2014, 10:33:30 AM »
Here are the pics of the Royal Gorge Bridge and one from the bottom
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2014, 12:31:22 PM »
Wow, your photos took my breath away.  I have been there before  but the mind wants to forget scary views!  Great job of sharing your adventures!
Betty Brewer

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2014, 06:35:12 PM »
Today, we traveled to Montrose, CO on Hwy 50. What a beautiful road to take. It winds and turns through canyons. Colorful rock all around. No pics of that since the windshield was all dirty. Doh...should have thought of that. No problem, the rain as we were headed up to Monarch Pass cleared them. MaryAnne took some front window shoots as we scaled the Pass. Beautiful fall color was beginning to appear.
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #51 on: September 23, 2014, 06:31:24 AM »
We went to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park the following day. We had passed by here on an earlier RV Trip with the kids in tow. Didn't have time then. Boy, did we miss something. Our Senior Pass came in handy again. No fee for entry. :) Not like the $11 parking fee at Mt. Rushmore. >:(

We traveled along the South Rim Road and walked to all of the overlooks. So many great views. The pictures just can't capture the depth of it all. Surprisingly, not too many places made us fearful of the heights. Although, there are plenty of places without guardrails. The South Rim Road is not a loop so we headed back past the same breathtaking views.

We took the East Portal Road to the bottom of the canyon. There were all sorts of warnings about "little" things like the 16% GRADE ;D, Use Low Gear, etc. The CRV handled it fine. I had it in 1st gear most of the way down. I pulled off to the side when possible to let those braver (foolhardy?) souls pass me. Only drive as fast as you are comfortable with on these grades. Besides, the slower you go the more you see. 8) When we reached the bottom, we stopped at the picnic spot by the diversion dam. Great spot! Take your picnic lunch here. In 1909, a 5.8 mile diversion tunnel was completed to provide the valley with water for irrigation. The dam was used to back up the water for the tunnel.
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #52 on: September 23, 2014, 11:42:04 AM »
"Our Senior Pass came in handy again. No fee for entry.  Not like the $11 parking fee at Mt. Rushmore."


Thanks for little bits of information like this. I absolutely hate driving into a place and getting the $10 to park and $25 to see the sight surprise. I'm still a year and a half away from the benefits of the Golden Age pass (actually the DW will get it several years before I do) but I can't wait for that benefit too.

Ken

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #53 on: September 24, 2014, 10:01:44 AM »
Yesterday, we traveled to Moab, UT from Montrose, CO via Hwy 128 (Scenic Byway). Awesome route to take into Moab for our first ever visit. After looking at the map again, I should have taken the second available exit from I70. It would have been a better road. Hwy 128 was a little twisty and narrow in spots but I like it that way sometimes. I took it real slow and let cars past me as soon as I was able. I road the center line through the narrow spots for MaryAnne's sake. She was on the "cliff side" as Ardra puts it. ;D Other times, she had to look the other way. After reaching Moab, we checked into Portal RV Resort. Nice Spot! Since the RV is more than 10 years old, we are in the campground side of the park. We walked the dogs and then took off for a quick trip alongside the Colorado River toward Potash. We saw Indian writings on the sides of the cliffs and some Great views of the Canyons. I keep wanting to say "Awesome" because that is what it is. Forgive me but the views are not just Great they are AWESOME.

It is easy to see why this forum meets in Moab every year. Awesome views with plenty of things to do. We are having to plan our time here because there is so much to be seen . We'll never see it all. Today, we head out for Arches Park. More Awesomeness, I am sure.
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #54 on: September 25, 2014, 04:30:42 PM »
Yesterday we did go to Arches National Park. Hooray for the Senior (Geezer) Pass. I'm Dutch and I love a good (FREE/ Previously paid for) time. I think that the first part of the park is the best IMHO. Just after you scale the first hill, I mean. Yes, the arches are cool too. It's all in what you enjoy, I guess. We mostly toured in the car. We did a little walking. It is hot here in Moab. 90 degrees hot. I know that it is hotter in summer but I came in the fall expecting cooler conditions. Whaaaa! Enough whining or I'll add a little cheese and have a party.

Today we toured through Dead Horse Point State Park and then through Canyonlands Island in the Sky. Beautiful, AWESOME vistas. There's that word again. How else do you describe it? Pics to follow, although most of you have been here!
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 08:29:19 AM by dverstra »
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #55 on: September 28, 2014, 06:33:43 PM »
It's been a couple of days since my last post. During that period we traveled to the Needles area of Canyonlands National Park. A smaller area that takes more walking to see the sights. Smaller campgrounds too. Not many spots for a larger RV not that I needed one. The campgrounds were all full though. Yesterday was rainy and we decided to sit back with a good book and watch the drops fall.

Today we drove the LaSal Mountain Loop. I wasn't expecting what we found. AWESOME vistas. You can see that from my photos. Almost a perfect picture taking day. A Great day in Moab. Sitting with a Leinie and forumming! 8)
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #56 on: September 28, 2014, 07:22:19 PM »
Beautiful photos, but you did not rent a 4wd?  Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo >:(
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #57 on: September 28, 2014, 10:08:40 PM »
Beautiful photos, but you did not rent a 4wd?  Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo >:(

After looking over the edge at Shafer Trail, I realized that I wasn't ready for that. I guess that makes me a wimp ;D
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 10:16:08 PM by dverstra »
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #58 on: September 30, 2014, 06:04:27 PM »
Today we are in Santa Fe, NM. We decided to travel here since we had a couple of extra days before going to Taos for the Wool Festival. Last night was in a KOA on the north side of Albuquerque. That is a nice KOA by the way. It didn't look like much from the road but it was well maintained and Clean. A side benefit was that it was walking distance to a MicroBrewery (Kaktus Brewing Company). BEER mmmmm. A small out of the way little place with good beer and a cool patio to relax on after a hard day of drivin'. On the patio there were stools with the backs painted for different characters. One table had the Dollys.  Dalai Lama, Salvadore Dali, and Dolly Parton. Another table had the Breaking Bad Characters. Excuse me but I don't know their names. Pure eclectic!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 06:06:21 PM by dverstra »
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #59 on: October 02, 2014, 09:11:46 AM »
We toured the Georgia O Keefe museum. Mary Anne and I were disappointed. It was small and without a lot of her paintings. $10 each to enter and half of the gallery was other artists. Most of the people were in the gift shop wondering where the other wing with more paintings might be. If you are going to downtown Santa Fe, make sure that you know where to find parking. Most streets are narrow without parking. When you do find a street to park on, a sign will say "Residential Parking by permit only". Not very tourist friendly IMO. Eventually we happened upon a public parking garage. More signs for Public Parking would have been appreciated.

We walked around the Plaza with the rest of the tourists wondering "What Next?". We sat for a while in the Plaza with the sun and a cool breeze. Best part of downtown Santa Fe, in my opinion.

We proceeded to Museum Hill area. What a find! It had a Free parking area! With empty spots! We climbed the stairs (an outside elevator is available) from the parking area to the outdoor plaza which had Native sculptures arranged around it. We first visited the Museum of Native Arts and Culture ($9 per person). Make sure that you visit this one. It has some great exhibits about local cultures and history of the area. A tour is available for more info.

After touring the Museum of Native Arts and Culture, we enjoyed a lunch at the cafe on the outdoor plaza. It is more than a cafe, it is truly a quality restaurant. If I lived here, this is where I would come for lunch.

We then toured the Folk Art Museum. Not my or Mary Anne's "Cup of Tea" but it had a large collection of Folk Art. This museum was another $9 per person. If your thing is Folk Art, it would be worth it.
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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #60 on: October 08, 2014, 07:59:43 PM »
The following day, we went to Taos. We stayed at Taos Monte Bello RV Park. Great spot. A little out of the way which is why I chose it. Nice cool breezes this time of year. I could get used to that.

We had an extra day before the Wool Festival so we visited the Gorge over the Rio Grande. Then we went to the Earthship site to see what that was about. A sustainable home style. Interesting but not for us! 8). Then we headed for the Taos Pueblo. It was closed. No reason given. We had to turn around and go out.We wandered around Taos and ended up having a beer (or 2) and cheese plate at the Taos Inn. Neat little hotel with a patio bar.

Next morning we headed to the Wool Festival. Oh well, Mary Anne was disappointed in its size and prices. It was half the size of the Fiber Festival at Allegan , MI. 20 miles from our house. We headed to the Taos Pueblo hoping that it was open today. It WAS. Great spot to visit. It was the best spot in Taos. Afterwards we went to the Margarita grill to breath fire from the Southwestern food and, of course, have a couple of beers. 8). We planned to leave Taos the following morning. It didn't happen. I had an abscessed tooth to deal with. But that is another story for tomorrow night.
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