It was a long drive (335 miles) down US-35 from Miles City Iowa to Kansas City Missouri. Normally we don’t push it this hard (we are retired after all) so we usually take our time.
We were on a schedule to get to Spearfish (South Dakota) before the Labor Day holiday weekend to make sure we could get a spot in the city campground and spend a few days with our friends Matt and Sherry before they were to leave Spearfish for points south.
But we wanted to stop and visit our friends Ron and Judy who live at Lee’s Summit (a Kansas City suburb) They had put us on to a great little city park just a few miles from their home. Once we were in the park and settled, Ron came and picked us up at the campground and took us back to their home where Judy had prepared a wonderful dinner for us.
We had first met Ron and Judy when we all worked as volunteers at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in fall of 2019. We met up with them again when we were all at “The Big Tent” RV Show in Quartzsite Arizona in January of 2020. It was great to hook up with them again.
Kathy and I had also planned to meet up and visit with Carl who we had met in February of 2020 when we traveled with about 50 other members of our Escapees RV Club down into Mexico. While in Mexico, Carl had told us about his family’s mausoleum in Holden Missouri (near Kansas City). I was intrigued and wanted to see it if we were ever in that part of the country. Now was my chance!
We had told Ron and Judy about this over dinner and invited them to come with us the next day. They jumped at the chance as well. After all, how often do you get an invite to tour a mausoleum?
The next day the four of us jumped in their car and headed to Holden Missouri, about 30 minutes from the campground.
Carl was expecting us and gave us the “Grand Tour”. His Great-Grandfather built the mauseleum in the early 1800’s for his family, both those who had pre-deceased the construction and those that were to come in the future.
Carl aquuired the mauseleum from the family trust. He didn’t set out to own it, he was doing some family genealogy work and as a result of his research, he came across the mauseleum as part of the family history.
The more he looked at it and saw what a state of disrepair it was in, the more he was drawn to do something about it.
The roof has been replaced to stop any further water damage. Electric has been installed as well as a security system. Carl has opened the building and the surrounding grounds to the community for public events like craft fairs, scout campouts, church picnics and such.
There were 23 occupied crypts when Carl took possession and he has taken all the legal and ethical steps necessary to move the occupants to other locations. All the remaining caskets are now empty.
In looking at the pictures below (click on any thumbnail to open a larger view) you’ll notice that the entire structure is made of concrete. The walls, floors, stairways, and ceilings are all concrete. The crypts are also concrete with ornamental marble fronts that have the deceased name and dates engraved.
Now it was time to continue our trek west. We said our goodbyes to Carl and Ron and Judy and headed back to the campground for the night before starting our travels to Spearfish South Dakota the next day.
More to come in Installment #4 in the next few days.
Tuesday morning we left the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds and heading to the Ludington Michigan area. We pulled in to our Harvest Hosts location just north of U.S. 10 and about 15 miles east of the Lake Michigan shore at Ludington. We’d been in this area of Michigan many times over the past 50 years or so … starting with trips with the family as we were kids growing up, then spending our honeymoon in northern Michigan and most recently volunteering at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park during the summers of 2017 and 2018. So this in some ways is “Old Home Week”.
As a member of Harvest Hosts, we are able to stay in driveways and parking areas of wineries, distilleries, museums, galleries, and other small businesses who invite RV’ers to park on their property overnight. It is suggested (although not mandatory) that the traveler returns the favor by purchasing something from the host.
We pulled in to Craig’s place, tucked into the tall pines of northern Michigan. His gallery, just across the driveway from the house, is filled with all sorts of hand made woodcraft. Loads of small handcrafted smoking pipes, kitchen spoons and spatulas, and cutting boards along with much larger artwork. We bought a really nice mitten-shaped (Michigan) maple cutting board. We admired other pieces but living in a motorhome, we just don’t have the luxury of square footage for larger items.
Once we parked the rig at Craig’s place, we unhooked and drove the car about 15 miles south to PM Oaks at Baldwin. There we were to meet Kathy’s cousin and her husband who we hadn’t seen in about twenty years or so. They used to live in southeast Michigan (where we were from) but have lived in Traverse City for nearly a quarter century now.
We met at PMO as they have a nice shelter/pavilion along with an air conditioned clubhouse we could sit and visit at without feeling as though we were being rushed to leave like might happen if we met somewhere in a restaurant.
By now it was getting to be late afternoon, so we decided we would leave PMO and meet down the road for an early dinner. After that they would move on home to Traverse City and we would head on back to Craig’s place for the night Well ……..
That all SEEMED like a good plan but, … as I turned the key on the car … crank crank crank … but no start. We sent Sue and Loren on home as we had friends there at PMO who could lend us jumper cables, a ride back to our rig, and more.
We had the car towed to a shop down the street for repair, had dinner at Chuck & JoAnne’s (our friends at PMO) and then finally settled in for the night. The shop said they’d get the car in about 11a.m. on Wednesday and I reminded them that I needed to know ASAP on Wednesday if we’d get it back that day because we had an already paid reservation on the SS Badger to cross Lake Michigan on Thursday. If it was not to be that we’d be fixed in time for the trip, I needed to cancel in hopes that we’d get at least some of our money back.
Wednesday morning I connected with a fellow high school graduate of ours (Class of ’72) who, as it turned out had in the past couple of years purchased a former lakeside resort (3 cabins) on Lake Cecilia just down the road from PMO. We had connected on Facebook months earlier and made plans to get reacquainted (we hadn’t seen each other or even talked since 1972) on this trip. Because our car was in the shop, Rich drove on over to PMO and picked us up. We spent all morning and into the afternoon having a wonderful visit with Rich and his wife Diane at their beautiful cabin(s) by the lake. They’ve done a wonderful job remodeling/restoring while keeping the 1940’s vintage lakeside cabin theme. We envy their drive and their creativity – they’ve got a charming place.
I’m just angry with myself that I didn’t get any pictures of Rich and Diane or their lakeside getaway.
Afternoon found us back at PMO enjoying an early dinner with our friends Chuck and Joanne along with Mike and Deb. It was great to have the opportunity to reconnect with all four of them again. During our meal the shop called to say the car was fixed and we could pick it up anytime.
Turned out that the A/C compressor had seized up and trying to crank the starter over and over to get the car started then burned out the starter. So a new starter and a/c compressor was needed.
We also found out that an RV site right behind Chuck and JoAnne’s would be available for us tonight so Chuck chauffeured me up to get the coach and bring it back down to PMO where we could plug in for the night. Then Chuck drove me up to the shop to get the car. After supper Kathy and I took advantage of the opportunity to get in the pool and just unwind and relax for a couple hours. All the stress of the last day or two just melted away knowing the car was fixed, we were parked in a spot where we could have a/c and we would easily make it to the ferry the next morning.
Again, I’m so sorry I never took any pictures of our friends at PMO or our time together.
Once unloaded at Manitowoc, we moved up just a few miles, parked our rig at the Elks Lodge for the night, and drove the car up to Green Bay where we met our good friends Forrest and Mary for lunch at Mackinaws Grill.
We had a nice, although brief visit. We caught each other up on where our travels had taken us over the last few months. Forrest and Mary have an RV lot just 4 spaces away from us at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande AZ and they had come to visit us this past June while we were camp hosting at Dale Hollow Lake State Park in Kentucky. It was great to reconnect with them. Once again, I neglected to get a picture of Forrest and Mary too!
We went back to the Elks Lodge late afternoon, ran down the street to pick up some necessities at the local Walmart and then came back and enjoyed making new friends in the lodge. They welcomed us with open arms. We had a nice visit along with a couple drinks but it had been a busy day so we excused ourselves early, said our goodbyes and thank you’s and retired early to our home on wheels.
The next day found us driving 350 miles from Manitowoc Wisconsin to Mason City Iowa where we met up with Paul and Chris who we had first met when we were Workamping at Rainbow’s End RV Park in Livingston Texas. They had just (last week) finished up the sale of the family farm in Maynard Iowa, then they visited the Winnebago factory in Forest City Iowa to get a few small things taken care of on their (new to them) 2012 Winnebago Meridian 40′ motorhome.
Paul promised us that we would enjoy the best steam of our lives that night and they were right! My filet was “Melt In Your Mouth” good
Since Paul grew up in Mason City, he knew what to see and do for the short time we had available to us. We visited the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and others had performed at on February 2, 1959 before taking a flight to their tragic deaths in a nearby cornfield.
Here are some pix of the walls (and ceiling) of the “green room” where the performers prepared to go on stage. See how many signatures of the hundreds that are on these walls that you might recognize!
That’s all for this installment. The next leg of our trip will find us driving 335 miles from Mason City Iowa to Lee’s Summit Missouri. We meet up with friends Ron and Judy for time together along with the four of us visiting our friend Carl and touring his mausoleum.
I’ll fill you all in on that in the next few days.
In the meantime, take care of each other and stay healthy … we wish you well.
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.
By the time we got the tow bar to lock up, and then stopped at a Wal-Mart in Jasper, Indiana to buy some groceries, it was already time for lunch so we just grabbed a quick sandwich, a banana, and some cottage cheese while we were still in the parking lot.
But then the trip onward to St. Louis, although mostly uneventful, given the already late hour (1pm) just wasn’t going to allow us the luxury of stopping in St. Louis to ride the arch. There was freeway construction through downtown St. Louis and an accident as well, so by the time we drive past the arch (that guy is HUGE!) we managed to pull in to our camp site at Onondaga Cave State Park just about 7pm. A nice level concrete pull-through site with fresh water and 50 amp electric located only about 30 feet from the stream.
We were greeted by our friendly camp hosts Mike and Luann who came and sat with us for a bit at our picnic table while I got the charcoal going for our dinner. Mike is a retired school superintendent while Luann is still working as a public health nurse.
They enjoy camping so much, that Luann is willing to drive 1-1/2 hours each way to work each day. They get a free site at the park in exchange for their work as camp hosts.
Mike told us the cave doesn’t open until April 9th, because they need to give “ample time for the bats to sleep” and the nearby Meramec Caverns are also closed for some work going on that has been ordered by the EPA?
So, we’ll do a little housekeeping in the morning, check out the Visitor Center on our way out, and head on down the road moving toward Tulsa, Oklahoma City and then on to San Antonio.