Friday, July 27, 2012

Jackson Lake State Park, Colorado

We have finally escaped the heat.  We arrived here Tuesday and the temps topped out in the mid-90’s (much better than 100+).   Also, we have had late afternoon thunderstorms come through and cool things off each day.  We have actually been using sheets and a light cover on the bed at night.

Jackson Lake is a medium size agricultural reservoir about 35 miles east of Greeley, Colorado.  It is a State Park that takes reservations and first come/first served campers.  I had made (and paid for) reservations back in March or April for a large pull through site with 20/30/50 amp electric.  There is a dump station and many fresh water hydrants to fill your tank, but no water or sewer hookups at the site.  The fee is $20 per night, which I thought was reasonable.  However, when we arrived we learned there is a State Park fee of $7 per night or $70 for an annual pass.  That brings the cost up to $27 a night; more than we like to spend.  On the good side, the sites are large and well spaced with a solid steel picnic table and benches along with a steel fire ring.  You can see the lake from any site in the park.  Here is a sunrise shot taken from our site:


We have pretty much had the park to ourselves until today (Friday).  Campers have been arriving steadily for the past few hours and setting up for the weekend.  Lots of families with Class C’s and Travel Trailers.  Wildlife here is primarily sea birds like pelicans and terns.  We have also seen some sand hill cranes and a pair of hawks.  On the ground there is a plethora of bunnies, which gets our little Annie very excited.  The other evening we went for a long walk on the large dry edge of the lake bed.  Rosie loves sea birds and took some great pictures, here are two of them:

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Yesterday morning we took another long walk and we got these pictures:

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Our main purpose for stopping here is to spend some time with my brother and his family.  They live nearby in Eaton, CO.  They are coming to visit with us tomorrow and we will go spend the day with them on Sunday for their weekly family gathering of kids and grandkids.

Monday morning we head for Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood, CO, a suburb of Denver.  We will be there for 12 days visiting old friends and neighbors in Bailey and Shawnee.  We will spend another week in the area at the home of friends and a forest service campground in the mountains.  I will leave you a couple of sunset shots from our site:

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Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Still HOT!

It shows 104F on our outdoor thermometer reading and the official Weather Channel app says it is 102F in Sidney, Nebraska.  Either one is tooooo hot for this guy.  Rosie ain’t loving it either.  We are both swearing never to spend any more time than necessary in SD, NE, CO or WY in July and August.  This is the time to be on the Pacific Coast.  Yeah!  Next year there will be a different itinerary.  We will still make the reunion in early July, but it will be a quick drive from there to the coast of Oregon or Washington State.  The pooches aren’t too happy with the heat either. They are stretched out on the floor in the breeze created by the AC units blasting away.  

OK; enough whining already.

We are at the headquarters store of the world famous Cabela’s in Sidney, NE.  They have an RV Park here also.  There are electric only sites for $21 and full hookups for $30.  The full hookups also get a little patch of grass.  Us in the electric only sites get level gravel.


In addition to level gravel, we get a strong 50 amp connection to run both AC units at full blast to compensate for the heat outside.  Also get a great satellite line of site.  Not a tree in sight that is over 15 feet tall and none of those are to the south of our site.

For those of you not familiar with Cabela’s, it is a giant sporting goods store.  This is the headquarters and the “fanciest” of the retail stores.  I went in and took some pictures for you:  (as always, if you click on a picture, you get a bigger picture)

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There is also a Wal-Mart Supercenter very close by, so it was stock up time.  The freezer is going to need defrosting soon, so we will have to reduce the freezer stocks in preparation for that. 

I have an inspection at a local warehouse tomorrow at 9:00 am, then have the rest of the day to write the report.  Tuesday am we head for Jackson Lake State Park east of Greeley, CO.  The weather forecast for that area is for highs in the lower 90’s.  Fantastic.  I can hardly wait.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Oh The Heat!

OK.  I am officially tired of 100 F temperatures.  It has been several weeks with temps in the high 90’s and low 100’s.  Enough already.  Unfortunately, the Weather Channel app on my Droid says it ain’t gonna get any better in the next 10 days in the areas we are planning to travel.  The only saving grace is that the humidity seems to lessen the farther west we travel.  Grump!  Grump!

We are at Johnson Lake State Recreation Area south of Lexington, Nebraska.  A nice State Park with good level sites with decent spacing.  The only challenge for us with bigger rigs is that the sites are set on a 90 degree angle from the road; and the road is fairly narrow.  Fortunately the Park Services staff are really nice and very helpful.  I was looking for a 50 amp site with a reasonably clear southern horizon to set up the satellite dish (no satellite access for the last 4 days was difficult for my needed cable news fix).  The staff showed me how to get into the only site that fit that description by going in the “wrong way” on the one way loop and pulling forward into the site instead of trying back into the site.  Since Wednesday is a slow day here, the “wrong way” drive was perfectly fine.  The cost here is $18 per night for electric only; plus a $5 per day State Parks Fee (annual pass is $25).  Here is our site:


Made a run into Lexington yesterday to stock up at Wal-Mart and drop off mail at the post office.  Found diesel fuel for $3.69, which is almost the lowest we have paid this year.  I did find diesel for $3.65 in Omaha. 

When we went into Wal-Mart we left the truck running with the AC on for the dogs.  When we came back to the truck, there was a car parked next to us with a beautiful Husky puppy inside.  The windows were rolled down only about 2 inches and the puppy was clearly in distress.  I notified Wal-Mart security and they came out and gave the store the make and license number of the car to announce on the PA system.  I was trying to put a slim stick down through the window opening to hit the door unlock button when the owners came back.  They were a very young couple and didn’t seem to understand what the fuss was all about.  Rosie and I both explained to them the dog could have a heat stroke in that kind of environment.  Neither one of the said a word (probably because the Wal-Mart security guy was standing beside us).  They got into the car and drove off.  How can people be so unaware???

Here are some pictures we took on our morning walk with the dogs.  It is reasonably cool in the shade until 9:00 am or so.

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We leave Sunday for Sidney, Nebraska and will be setting up for two nights at Cabela’s RV Park.  I have a work assignment nearby on Monday.  Tuesday we head for Jackson Lake State Park in Colorado.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lake Cunningham Park, Omaha, NE

This is a nice City Park located on a reservoir in northwest Omaha.  The sites have 30 amp electric and there is a dump station with fresh water to fill your tank at the entrance.  The sites are level; lots of trees and the grass is still green despite a long period without rain.  Cost is $15 with electric, $10 without.  It was a little crowded over the weekend, mostly with tent campers.



We stopped over here this year to visit my sister, Marla, and my cousin Carol.  They came over Sunday for a BBQ and long afternoon visit.  Carol’s husband, George, and daughter, Pam, also came along.  It has been about 6 years since we have seen Carol and almost 16 years since we last saw Pam.


From the left, Pam, Carol, Rosie, me and Marla.  What a great looking group of ladies.

It has been hotter than the dickens here, with humidity to match.  Taking the pooches for walks along the lake has introduced them to the local tick population.  We are constantly pulling ticks off of Sammy and Annie and I have picked off a few crawling on yours truly.  Yuk! 

Other than family visiting and a trip to Wal-Mart, nothing exciting going on here.  Tomorrow we find a Laundromat and fill up the truck tank.  Wednesday morning we head out for Johnson Lake SRA, about halfway across Nebraska.

Welcome to 4 new followers of our little blog and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yankton, SD and David City, NE

Yankton is my home town.  I grew up on a farm 12 miles east of town near the really small town of Mission Hill, SD.  Yankton today has a population of about 13,000. When I lived there in the ‘50’s it was about 10,000.  I joined the Army at 17, returned to Yankton at age 20 and celebrated my 21st birthday in town.  At that time I realized that Yankton was a dead end for me and I got in my car and headed for Los Angeles.  I remember to this day arriving near LA on the San Bernardino Freeway on Labor Day in stop and go traffic and I was thinking to myself  “all these people around me and not one of them is going to call my mom and tell her what I am doing”.  What a feeling of freedom that was.

I have two brothers, Larry and Danny, who stayed in town their whole lives.  These are brothers from my mothers side of the family, so when we go to the reunion for my father’s side of the family in Colome, SD, we always drive down to Yankton and stay at Chief White Crane State Park campground on the Missouri River so I visit with Larry and Danny.  Larry and I usually end up fishing for 3 days straight; not catching much but a suntan and lots of small fish.  Although, I did catch a nice catfish last summer and ended up with two keeper size striped bass this trip.  Rosie breaded and fried the filets and they were yummy good.  Here are some pictures from the Yankton trip:

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Park Entrance                                                           Missouri River near the campground

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Our Site.                                                                   Lake Yankton from our site at sunset.

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A fishing dock near downtown Yankton                 Brother Larry with a small striped bass.

The prices at Chief White Crane are reasonable: $14 for basic site; $18 for site with 30/50 amp electric and $20 for a Premium Site (Electric site on the water front).  I take the Premium Site so I can get a clear southern view for my satellite dish.  The park is so wooded you cannot get a decent satellite shot except on the water’s edge.

After 4 nights it was time to head south to Omaha, NE to see my sister Marla who has lived in Omaha most of her adult life.  On the way to Omaha, I had a work assignment in David City, NE.  A little internet research showed that the City Park in David City had a small RV section with water and electric hookups for $10 a night.  We were really impressed with the Park on our arrival and doubly pleased to learn that electric hook ups included a 50 amp circuit.  Here are some pictures of the park:

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Tomorrow we can take our sweet time driving the 50 or so miles to Omaha.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Family Reunion - 2012

Every summer for the last 24 years, my father’s side of the family has met at a farm near Colome, South Dakota for a long weekend of visiting, food, horseback riding, food, games, food, a silent auction and a great Saturday night feed for about 150 relatives, friends and local neighbors.  Did I mention food?  Some of us early birds arrive on Thursday to help get everything set up.  On Friday nights, yours truly is the official Head Grillmeister for burgers, brats and dogs.  Did you ever grill for 50+ hungry people?   This year I had the able assistance of Lloyd from Wisconsin on the grill line:
That is me on the right and Lloyd on the left.  What you don’t see are the other two grills that we are about to load up with burgers and brats.

The weather on Thursday and Friday was hot and humid, upper-90’s F.  We actually ran the generator for about 3 hours on Friday afternoon to use the AC to cool us down.  Saturday morning at 6 am the weather had definitely cooled down.  It was 65 F with humidity at 92%, i.e.; cool, but very damp.  It is now 87 F, 45% humidity at 3:30 pm, which is probably the high for the day and there is a cool breeze blowing.  So we are getting by with the windows open and the Fantastik Fans going to circulate air.  There are some of the smaller rigs plugged into 20 amp circuits from one of the out buildings, but not enough power for my rig; or my brothers motorhome.  Of course, we both have built in generators and I have the solar panels.

Here are some photo highlights from the weekend so far:
The latest in hay bale technology about 5 miles from the farm.  Each bale weighs about 1,500 lbs.  I just liked the scene.
The hay ride wagon is pulled behind a tractor.  Our host, Roger Pochop is at the wheel.
The follow up horseback contingent waiting to begin.
Heading out for the fields.
The Calvary brings up the rear.
That is Rosie in the center of the picture with the white hat.
Waiting for their turn on the horses.  The horses are provided by Stan Bicek, the guy in the plaid shirt and cowboy hat.
These kids have a blast on the horses.
Such posture!
This is the most interesting camper at the reunion.  It is actually designed as an ice fishing hut on wheels.  The inside has a kitchen, bathroom, several bunks, a dining table and six covered  openings in the floor to drill through the ice.  The whole unit is hand cranked upwards to get a towing height.

Tonight is the big pork feast.  In years past, the practice was to burn cord of hardwood in a 6’ deep, steel lined pit in the ground.  It would take all night to burn that much wood and several of the more hardy types stayed up all night telling tales and feeding the fire.  By about 5 am, there was a layer of about 4 feet of red hot coals.  A round steel grate holding large foil wrapped portions of a whole hog, along with a few wild turkeys (if available) was lowered on top of the coals.  A steel cover was placed on the top of the pit and the whole thing was covered with dirt.  About 5 pm, the dirt was shoveled off, the steel plate removed and the slowly cooked meat was lifted from the coals.  It was incredibly good.  Here is a picture of the raising process from a prior year:
Alas; over the years, two things happened to make this a “past” activity.  There are now fire bans in the County; and we seem to be running out of people willing and able to stay up all night.  So now, large pork loins are slow roasted in electric roasting pots all day.  The pork is still great, but most of us “remember” it was “better” back then.  This is our 18th consecutive year at this reunion.

Thanks for stopping by.