Normally HH stays are one night only, but we were going to be coming through Pine Bluffs Wyoming on Monday and that is the one day of the week they are closed. We asked if we could stay both Monday and Tuesday and they replied “Absolutely, c’mon ahead”.
We pulled in late Monday afternoon, enjoyed an early evening dinner “on the veranda” with David and Susan, and let the hum of the fast moving every-thrity-minutes trains lull us to sleep.
On Tuesday – after our trip into Cheyenne to visit Messenger’s Old West Museum, we came back to the distillery to enjoy some product samples and take a tour of the operation.
KeeLee our Mixologist/Bartender was fantastic. She is so talented and loves to share her knowledge with the customers. Their whiskeys are all made from grain that’s grown ONLY on local farms by local farmers – they are truly a Farm to Table operation. They have seven different whiskeys and one vodka and they use; wheat, rye, barley, oat, (and I can’t remember the fifth grain!). Click this link to see all seven beautiful bottles.
KeeLee gave us all samples of their different whiskeys as she explained the differences and what we would notice about them and then took our orders. Kathy and I both had cocktails and we have to say they were “the best we’ve ever had” although if you know us at all you know we are not big drinkers. But indeed they were good!
Then Aaron took us on a tour of the operation and explained how everything worked.
They’ve been in business about 3 years. The owner (Chad) was a conservation officer in Nevada, newly married and ready to start a family. He knew that he didn’t want to stay in that career line. He moved to Wyoming to work with his cousin farming the land.
Although he had no experience as a distiller or brewmaster, he knew what he wanted to do. He did his research, developed agreements with local farmers for the grain as well as suppliers of other needed materials and equipment, developed a business and marketing plan, procured a few investors, bought the land, had the building built and started production. It was about a $3 million dollar investment.
We said goodnight to our hosts and retired to our rigs for the evening. Even though there is a Union Pacific train going through town every 30 minutes, (seriously!) we still managed to have a great night.
Thanks again for riding along. Stay safe and be good to yourselves and each other.
After spending two wonderful cool fall days and nights at Historic Fort Robinson State Park we made our way down U.S. 385 to our next stop at Sidney Nebraska.
This location is the World Headquarters for Cabela’s and has two very large multi-story office buildings behind the store, loads of customer parking out front and lots of free truck and RV parking along with free dump station and fresh water fill for the RV’ers. Thank you Cabela’s!
This Cabela’s also has a full hook-up campground (for a fee of course) but if you can get by with out needing hook-ups and you can sleep to the constant hum of diesel truck engines and their refrigerator trailers running all night … well then – free is good!
We arrived mid-afternoon, the four of us grocery shopped across the street at Walmart, ate dinner at a nice little Mexican joint just down the street, and then settled in for the night. We really were not bothered by the trucks and we have ample fresh water/waste water capacity along with plenty of solar and batteries to run the TV in the evening and the furnace in the morning to take off the chill.
We did just fine, but it is fall and the temp got down to 49 degrees last night so all our windows were closed and the hum of the motors was dampened somewhat. If it was summer, the noise might be too loud.
As always, you can click on any of the thumbnails below to see a larger image
In the morning we went on into Cabela’s and did a little shopping (mostly looking). They have SO MUCH STUFF! It’s fun to look at all their offerings from knives, to tents, clothing, shoes/boots, camping supplies, guns, and more. It’s always great to look at their wild game displays too.
After Cabela’s we decided it was time for a late breakfast and Kathy found this great little place that serves breakfast until 10am, then closes until they open for dinner at 5pm. It’s family owned and operated by the same family since the beginning. We enjoyed great atmosphere, super service and outstandingly tasty food!
We left friends and family in My Gilead about 9:00 this morning and slowly meandered our way down U.S. Route 42. We deliberately took the U.S. Route instead of the interstate. After all, we’re retired and not in any hurry, right?
We stopped at the T/A Truck stop near London to fill our diesel since we have a discount card that saves us a good chunk in the Big Truck lanes at T/A, Loves, Pilot, Petro, and a few others. Besides, in the truck lanes the nozzle is at least twice the diameter of those in the car lanes and we can fill this 94 gallon tank in a jiffy.
With our TSD Logistics card we save sometimes as much as 60 vents a gallon. Today the pump price was $3.17 and we paid $2.70 … That’s a good price for diesel — we saw other stations on the way down that were as high as $3.35/gallon for diesel.
If you drive a diesel motorhome or pull a trailer with a diesel truck, you can find out more about TSD Logistics and their RV diesel savings program by reading my earlier post covering the subject. We’ve saved hundreds over the last couple of years.
After fueling up we stopped and grabbed a late breakfast at Bob Evans, then rolled on down the road to Valley Vineyards at Morrow, Ohio just north of Cincinnati.
I had left a phone message for them before we left this morning and owner Rodney called me back when he opened shop and welcomed us to come on down.
We’ve got a nice spot parked alongside a green grassy field and a small stream.
Rodney retired from General Electric a few years ago, then got a call to manage worldwide operations for PayPal. He did that until a little over a year ago when he bought the winery.
Rodney tells me he knows a lot about wine from the bottle to the lips, but admits he knows very little about what it takes to get it in the bottle, so he’s fortunate to have hired talented staff to help him with that end of the business!
They have indoor seating along with a large patio, a large buffet on weekends as well as LIVE music. The kitchen has a pretty varied menu, and of course LOTS of wine.
Harvest Hosts offer their farm, museum, distillery, brewery, or golf course to HH members to park for the night, learn about their operation and their way of life, and of course take advantage of whatever the host might have for sale. Although there is no charge to stay at a Harvest Hosts operation, it’s certainly appreciated by the host if we eat, drink, or otherwise help in the commerce of the operation.
If you’re an RV’er, we recommend Harvest Hosts property owners as providing a wonderful alternative to the typical campground or RV park. You might give it a try!
Thanks for riding along, and once again if you’d like to follow along with all our travel posts, just sign up with your email address to receive regular updates.
By the way, we’re on our way to Burkesville, Kentucky for 3 months to volunteer as Camp Hosts at Dale Hollow Lake State Park – then after July 4th we’ll be changing directions!
Take Care, stay safe, and be good to those you care about
We’ve really enjoyed using our Boondockers Welcome membership to stay in new and unique places and meet all kinds of interesting folks.
This week, on our way from Arizona to Montana where we will be camp hosting for a couple months at an Army Corp of Engineer campground, we utilized our “BW” membership to once again camp in a driveway of “Friends We Haven’t Met Yet”.
This time was a little different than all the others we’ve stayed at. This time we stayed in a schoolyard!
Our host was Kevin Caldwell. Kevin and his wife have owned the school property for 8 years now and have been continually restoring it in hopes of one day opening it as a Bed & Breakfast / Event Center and meeting place for the benefit of the community.
The school was completed in 1910 and was originally used as the Millard Latter Day Saints Academy until 1923 when it then became the Hinkley (Utah) High School until 1953.
Over the years the school has been purchased and sold several times and various business ventures have come and gone. In the mid-1970s the Hinckley Elementary School made use of the academy building. It even served as a disco around 1978. The disco, called The Total Eclipse, operated for only about 18 months. In the 1980s, a swimming pool and water slide were built and soon closed again.
Kevin and his wife (whom we didn’t have the opportunity to meet – she was out of town working) along with his teenage children and occasional local labor have done a TON (or five) of work including; removing all the old wood shake roof and installing all new plywood sheeting, felt paper and shingles, stripping all the interior walls of plaster and lathe and building out the inside of the exterior walls with 2X6 studs so that they can be packed with insulation, and installing, taping, and mudding all new drywall.
But before the new drywall could be installed first they gutted all the old “knob & tube” electrical wiring and rewired the entire building to present code, installed all new plumbing throughout including all fresh and waste water lines, installed new gas lines to supply the (3) new gas forced air furnaces (with 4 more to come), and installed extensive solar panels on the gymnasium building adjacent to the main school building.
During the first five years of the project Kevin and his family lived in their Montana 5th Wheel trailer on the property. They were able to move in to the building 3 years ago.
Both Kevin and his wife have full time jobs and they still have 4 children at home to raise and nurture. Part of that nurturing is teaching them a good solid work ethic and helping on the schoolhouse gives them plenty of opportunity to help out, learn new skills, and learn to appreciate their personal accomplishments.
It was a real treat having the opportunity to meet Kevin and part of their family and see all the work they’re doing to restore this grand old property.
We want to thank them for hosting us and giving us a tour of their project and we wish them all the luck in the future as their dream comes to fruition.
Thanks for riding along with us. If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to our blog by entering your email address in the block on the right above – that way you’ll be sent an email each time we publish a new post.
Not sure if there’s an official definition of Driveway Surfing, but my definition is; When an RV’er spends the night on someone’s (often a fellow RV’er) property rather than in a commercial campground or RV park.
This is not only a less expensive alternative to commercial facilities, but much safer than the often-used boon-docking (dry camping) at Wal-Marts, Cracker Barrels, Truck Stops, highway Rest Areas and the like.
The term “Boon-docking” by the way, also known as “dry camping” in the RV’er’s world is stopping/staying at a location that does not offer any utilities or other amenities. Most RV’er’s are traveling in self-contained units meaning they carry their own water (and waste) tanks and have a means to provide limited electricity to the unit for lighting, water pumping, and sometimes more.
We’ve found that the big added benefit of these overnight stays are the wonderful welcomes we get from our gracious hosts. We often spend the afternoon and into the evenings together sitting around the bonfire trading stories of our RV’ing and life experiences. Sometimes we even have dinner together.
Although Kathy and I first became aware of this wonderful benefit of full-time RV life through our membership in Boondockers Welcome, we soon found out that there are other opportunities out there as well. We’ve found that the Airstreamers (Wally Byam Caravan Club International) along with FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association), and Escapees RV Club members have programs similar to the Boondockers Welcome program. Another program mentioned to us by many other RV’ers is Harvest Hosts. Although some of these programs require a nominal annual membership fee in order to access the database and reservation software, others are free to club members.
Here are some pictures we’ve taken as we’ve traveled and met other RV’ers using our “Driveway Surfing” privileges utilizing BoondockersWelcome.com.
Roger and Jan – Randall, Kansas
We were warmly welcomed by our first BoondockersWelcome hosts Roger and Jan to their farm near Randall, Kansas in spring of 2016. Roger and Jan have a beautiful “earth” home that they custom built on the family farm that Roger was born on. While Jan prepared dinner for us (a very welcome surprise!), Roger took us on a tour of the 1000+ acre farm that their son now manages and farms (along with Dad’s occasional help). Roger and Jan have traveled all fifty states, 6 of the 10 Canadian provinces, and down into Mexico.
Click on any of the pictures to see an enlarged view
Herb, Jan, Roger, & Kathy
Our parking spot in front of their home
The original farm house that Roger was born and grew up in
Coyote & Angel – Ocala, Florida
Our next fantastic visit was to Coyote and Angel’s log cabin retreat near Ocala, Florida. And what a treat it was! They’re both retired now, but both have a colorful past and have enjoyed rebuilding over 30 classic and antique cars and trucks in their retirement. They’re also very creative and have built a wonder-filled outdoor experience that the pictures below can only begin to explain. Utilizing BoondockersWelcome, they invite RV’er’s to come and spend the night and they offer their retreat to host car shows, weddings, and other private events. Since our visit Coyote and Angel have sold their motorhome and bought a vintage Airstream travel trailer and are planning on taking a trip up to Michigan this summer and we’re looking forward to seeing them again up there while we are at our Workamping job at Baldwin, MI.
Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view
The Relaxation Pool
Outside the Barber Shop
The “strip” downtown
Tiki Bar on the (fake) lake
Kathy enjoying her stay
All the necessary amenities
Our spot nestled in the pines
Another view of the downtown business district
Cadillac & ???
Our hostess Myrtle
Our gracious hosts Coyote & Angel
Perry, Ginny, and Georgia – New Boston, TX
Now Perry and Ginny (along with Memaw Georgia) eagerly welcomed us to their home near New Boston, Texas and they showed off their southern hospitality by treating us to a great BBQ rib dinner.
We also enjoyed meeting another Boondocker couple there (Brad & Elaine) who had just returned from a month long trip to New Zealand to visit their daughter. We all had a great evening together talking and laughing.
Be sure to check out the video below of Ginny and Perry’s “Alpine Village” that they’ve put together over the years. Ginny told us that after we leave they were going to take it all apart to dust and clean and then put it ALL BACK TOGETHER AGAIN! Glad it’s not MY job!
Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view
Germantown, OH – Lynn & Jackie
On our way back to “the old home place” in Ohio this spring, we took advantage of the invite by Lynn and Jackie at Germantown, Ohio (near Dayton). They had us in for a wonderful home-cooked spaghetti dinner and the next day (we stayed two nights) Kathy and I toured the U.S. Air Force Museum adjacent to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We also toured the Wright Brothers Museum and the original Bicycle Shop, then spent the late afternoon at Carillon Historical Park where they have nearly 35 buildings there originally built anywhere from the 1870’s to the 1930’s. The second evening we went out to a local Mexican restaurant and then Jackie and Lynn treated us to a wonderful farewell waffle breakfast just before our departure!
Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view
Jason – Fairhope, Alabama
This stop was different in that we were not in the driveway of someone’s home, but rather their business. Jason, a former school teacher turned restaurant owner is a RV’er wanna-be. Having some restaurant experience in his past life, Jason opened this restaurant about 11 years ago and now is ready to sell and hit the road.
He’s joined all the RV clubs out there, is constantly reading RV’ers blogs and watching YouTube videos about the RV lifestyle and invites RV’ers to his restaurant so that he can have the opportunity to meet and learn from others.
RV’er friends of ours (that we had met in Arizona in 2016) were staying at an Escapees RV park just a few miles away, and so they came on over and we had a great night together enjoying shrimp PoBoys and fried clams.
In the morning, I went on over to the kitchen early while Jason was prepping for the lunch crowd. I followed him around enjoying the fresh hot coffee and talking about our life histories and RV’ing.
Click on any of the individual pictures to see an enlarged view
Our Boondocking site at the parking lot
The boat ramp down to the marina on the river
Yes, this is a lifeboat!
Herb & Kathy on the patio
Herb, Jason, and Kathy
Outside the restaurant
Another outside view
As we’ve said before, “although seeing the sites as we travel around the country is great … the really wonderful experiences are the new friends we make along the way”, and we thank Boondockers Welcome for helping us to that end.
Driveway surfing is just one more way to experience the good life … maybe you’ll try it someday yourself!
The big RV Show in Quartzsite starts this Sunday (Jan 22) and we’ve been doing some things to the coach to make sure we’re ready to go.
We’ve been watching some of the YouTube videos about the Quartzsite RV Show and “The Big Tent” and we’re looking forward to the event and seeing all that it has to offer.
We’re planning on dry camping just a few miles south of town on BLM land with hundreds of other Ham Radio Operators that have an area that will be used for Quartzfest 2017. This is an official ARRL Amateur Radio Convention.
In our cars, we get so used to everything working just fine that we take it for granted that all will be “ok” when we turn that key. It’s too easy to do that in the motor home as well. But if something should go wrong, it could cost thousands of dollars and make for a really lousy day – especially since the coach is not only our mode of transportation, but it’s our home as well. If it has to go in the shop for mechanical issues, we’d have to pay for a motel bill – and that’s not good.
Before we head out we always want to check the following.
Check the water level in the deep cycle batteries since we’ll be using those to power our; lights, fresh water pump, refrigerator, water heater, and tv. I try to water the batteries monthly anyway even while we’re hooked up to shore power because they can boil off even while they are in “float” charge sitting here at the park
Check the engine oil level and radiator water level
Check and adjust all tire pressures (coach at 90 psi cold and the car at 30 psi cold)
Check the food inventory to make sure we’ve got enough in the fridge and pantry to last us a few days
Empty the black and gray tanks and fill the fresh water tank
Do a visual check of all the exterior lights (turn/brake/hazards/headlights)
Lower TV and radio antennas
The day is just about finished and all the above has been completed and we will be ready to head out Sunday morning. We work here at the RV park on Fridays and Saturdays, so our plan is to leave Sunday morning, (it’s only a little over 3 hours to Quartzsite) and come back Thursday afternoon.
I’ll have plenty of pictures and video to share with you after we get back.
In the meantime, we’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help.
For over 35 years now, there has been a group of people traveling to a once barren area known as Quartzsite, Arizona. These seekers come by the thousands and are often referred to as “gypsies of the modern world”. Entering the grounds of Quartzsite is like entering another world… Back to the good old days in many ways.
But now, this town of 3800, in January of each year, grows to nearly 100,000. People in their RV’s come from far and wide to hang out for the winter and enjoy each other’s company while visiting some of the attractions including; rock and gem shows, the worlds largest RV show, ham radio convention, and countless other venues.
Although there are some RV parks at Quartzsite, most folks stay in “campgrounds” of sorts at BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands. There are nearly 12,000 acres of open desert where one can “Boondock” for up to seven months (for a low fee of $170) or other desert sites where you can set up camp for free.
Although there are pit toilets, black water dump stations, and fresh water stations at the entrances to the BLM campgrounds, it’s easiest if the RV is self-contained to make your stay self-sufficient for a few days or more.so
We have a 70 gallon fresh water tank, 52 gallon gray and black water tanks, a pretty hefty battery bank (to power the 12 volt lights and water pump) along with both solar panels on the roof and a 8000 watt diesel generator to recharge the batteries. We also have a 2000 watt power inverter that will take the 12 volt dc battery and convert it to 110 volt ac power so that we can watch our TV at night and make coffee in the morning.
Our refrigerator and water heater both run on propane when we’re boondocking and 110 v shore power when we are connected in an RV park.
So Kathy and I are excited as we plan on heading to Quartzsite on Jan 22nd. We’ll be there for three or four days and hopefully we’ll have enough food in the fridge and propane in the tank to keep us self-sufficient for that time.
We’re looking forward to being at Quartzite, we’re counting on seeing a lot of cool stuff, meeting a lot of great people, and hopefully NOT spending a lot of money at “The Big Tent” RV show. We’ll update you with pictures as we get them. Stay tuned.
We really enjoyed Lazy Days RV Park near Danville, MO and I took a few extra pix to show off the wonderful artistic talents of our host Kim. Although we talked a bit when we registered and when we went back to buy ice cream bars and pick out a couple of movies to watch back in our coach, I never did ask her if she had any formal art training. At the very least Kim is one very talented person! Check out the slide show below. By the way, if you are reading this blog post directly in your email client, you may not be seeing the pictures, I suggest you click on the link at the top to open a browser window to see the photos.
So we headed out of Danville, MO on Friday morning and I had, on Thursday night loggged on to “Boondockers Welcome“. This is a subscription site where a few thousand folks around the country (typically fellow RV’ers) offer their driveway or back yard to other RV’ers passing through. They typically offer not only a free site (for a night or two max) but also often offer electricity, water, wifi.
I looked on the map, found Roger and Jan at Randall, Kansas then sent them an email to see if their driveway was available Friday night. I received an email back in a matter of minutes!
What a pleasant stay we had. Their directions were perfect, they had us park in the circle drive right in front of the house and they offered us electric and water, but we’re self-contained and so we didn’t require either. Unexpectedly, they invited us to join them for dinner.
While Jan was finishing up dinner prep, Roger showed us around the farm. Roger was raised here and has worked the farm since a boy only with some time out serving in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam. Roger and Jan, now retired, had operated their nearly 1800 acre grain and hog farm for years. The farm is now rented out to their son (Brent) but Roger serves as Brent’s “hand” as needed.
After our tour of the farm, we enjoyed a wonderfully prepared dinner and lively discussion with our gracious hosts. We are about the same age, but Kathy and I are just starting our RV’ing life while Roger and Jan have been to all 50 states, most of the Canadian provinces, and much of Mexico.
Our hosts live in their “earth home” that they built in the 80’s to take advantage of passive solar and the earth’s thermal mass. We said our goodnights about 8:30 and bunked down in our coach for a very nice cool and ABSOLUTELY QUIET evening of sleep.
We were up at dawn and had our coffee. Roger and Jan came out to the coach to say their goodbyes and Kathy and I headed down the road (along US-36) westward through Kansas on into Denver.
It was a very comfortable and easy drive passing through small towns about every 45 miles or so. This is the same US-36 that runs through Delaware, OH and on through Indianapolis and ends at Denver.
Oh, and the BEST part? Now we have FRIENDS in Kansas!