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!
It’s been just 3 weeks since my total hip replacement surgery and the rehab is coming along great! I was able to set the walker aside after about 3 or 4 days and every day is better than the day before. If you’re really interested (maybe you’re considering having the surgery) you can read more about my recovery here.
So now we are set to head out from our daughter’s driveway here in Mt. Gilead, OH next Friday August 20th.
We’ve replaced the recliner in the coach with a new one. It takes less floor space, swivels, rocks, and reclines fully and is so much more comfortable than the leather one that came with the coach originally.
We also just had the entire coach washed and waxed. Normally this is a job that I do. I wash it about 5 or 6 times a year and wax it at least yearly. But this time since I am still recovering from my hip surgery, we were fortunate to find a mobile RV detailing service that came to the house and took care of the whole job in about 5 or 6 hours.
We had originally planned on leaving Ohio in early August and taking our time heading to Oregon visiting friends and family along the way and eventually ending up in Garibaldi Oregon to meet up with others from our Escapees RV Club at the Oregon Coast Hangout.
But a few things have changed. We are now going to our niece’s wedding in Michigan and that will not be until August 21st. This means that the rest of our trip will be delayed and if we were to still plan on getting to Oregon by Sept 6th we’d have to skip some of our other planned stops along the way.
Although we were looking forward to meeting up with about 30 other rigs at the Oregon Coast Hangout and seeing a part of the country we’ve never been to before and making new friends, we feel it’s more important to take the trip easy and instead stop along the way to renew old friendships.
We will start out on Friday August 20th and head up to Addison Oaks Campground in Michigan where we’ll stay for 2 nights while we attend our niece’s wedding and visit with family a bit.
We’ll next head a little west to spend a couple days with my sister and her husband. They live in Owosso, Michigan and while there we’ll be staying at the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds. Betsy and Bob have a beautiful home with plenty of room for us but if you’re a full-time RV’er you can appreciate how we might be more comfortable staying in our own “home on wheels” and then we can just take the car over to their place for the day.
Our third stop for the next two days will be in the Ludington Michigan area. We will be staying at another Harvest Hosts location. We will be in the driveway of a local woodworking artist shop nestled deep in the woods. During the day we will be visiting our friends at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park near Baldwin Michigan. We worked at PMO during the summers of 2017 and 2018. While there we’ll also hook up with a fellow high school graduate from 1972. I found out recently (on Facebook) that he and his wife just purchased a cottage on a lake just down the street from PMO. We’re also planning on spending some time with Kathy’s cousin Sue and husband Loren who live in the Traverse City are and who we haven’t seen in probably 20 years or more.
The next day will find us boarding the S.S. Badger car ferry and taking the 4 hour ride across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc Wisconsin where we’ll then meet up with our good friends Forrest and Mary who we know as our neighbors when we stay in Arizona at Rovers Roost. They are currently in Wisconsin visiting friends and family as well. We will spend the night at the Elks Lodge in Manitowoc.
Our next stop will be Forest City, Iowa. Forest City is the home of Winnebago Industries. Winnebago is one of the oldest camping trailer and motorhome manufacturers in the U.S. Paul and Chris, who we met while workamping in Livingston Texas in 2016 and have met up elsewhere in the country several times since then. Paul and Chris are in the process of selling the family farm and transitioning to full-time RV living and they’ll be at Winnebago Customer Service getting a few things done to their 40′ motorhome, so what better time for us to stop for a visit. Maybe we’ll get a factory tour while we’re there!
After spending a couple nights at Forest City, we’ll take a little detour off our “head west” trip and move on down to Holden Missouri, just southeast of Kansas City. Holden is the home of our friend Carl who is also a full-time RV’er and who we met on our Mexico caravan trip last winter. The three of us spent a lot of time together during that trip and really enjoyed each other’s company. Carl told us about the Miller Mausoleum that his grandfather had built and he had now inherited. An interesting story so we’re going to visit Carl, tour the historic mausoleum, and while we’re in the area we will also drive to Kansas City and spend a little time with friends Ron and Judy who we worked with at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in 2018.
After our time at Holden and KC, we’ll start heading back up through Omaha and Sioux Falls to get to Spearfish SD by about Sept 5th or so. Our good friends Matt and Sherry are working once again at DC Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery (where we worked with them in 2019) and we want to spend a couple days with them before they have to leave and head out to Louisiana and Florida for the winter where they’ll be volunteering at Barberville Pioneer Settlement.
That’ll get us through Labor Day at which point we will still have nearly two months before we want to get back to our RV lot at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande Arizona by November 1st.
We have been in touch with our friends David and Sue (also neighbors at the Roost) who are currently volunteering at Custer State Park. Their gig will come to an end October 1st so it may be that we will caravan (only 2 rigs) around Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada before getting back to Arizona.
Who knows … we’ll just play it as we feel like it as time goes on. We don’t have to be anywhere before November 1st and if we get somewhere and decide we really like the area, then we’ll stay a while longer. If we don’t care for where we’re at, we can turn the key and head down the road a little further.
Until next time … take care of yourselves (and each other) – Be safe and we look forward to updating you a little later down the pike.
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 were through this area a couple years ago and stayed at the Escapees “North Ranch” RV Park at Lakewood, NM and took the opportunity to visit Carlsbad Caverns, but our schedule at that time didn’t allow for a trip to Roswell.
So this time (after ABQ Balloon Fiesta and RV rallies at Wellington and Brownwood, TX) we decided to take in Roswell and it’s surroundings for a couple of days.
We “dry camped” just about 12 miles due east of Roswell at Bottomless Lakes State Park. Dry camping means there are no hook-ups for electricity or water (fresh or waste). We bring along our own electricity and water so dry camping for a week or so is not a problem for us.
When we pulled in and reviewed the sites available, we decided to camp at “The Devil’s Inkwell”. We backed the coach into a nice wide spot where we could take a walk up the hill and look down into the “inkwell” and over our site to the western setting sun. A beautiful and quiet spot.
The “Bottomless Lakes” are really giant sinkholes. There are a number of them in the park ranging from 17′ to about 90′ deep. The water is crystal clear and while some of the water is great for aquatic life, some of the other lakes are too high in saline (salt water) for anything to live there.
After our first night there, we moved our rig from Devil’s Inkwell over to Lea Lake Day Use area. This gave us a great view of the lake and although there were other campers in the area, no one was closer than a couple hundred feet.
And of course, who could visit the Roswell area without trying to connect with an alien or two?
We ended our 2nd evening with a “night out” to the Cattle Baron Restaurant. We split a Teriyaki Kabob and each enjoyed their salad bar. What a great meal!
We could’ve just driven on westward toward our final destination, but being this close we figured we just had to stop and see the sights at Roswell. It was worth the time to see not just the alien novelties, but the park was beautiful and restful.
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!