Sioux Falls SD

Sioux Falls SD
Sioux Falls SD

Monday, May 14, 2018

Catching up....Valley of Fire, Vegas, family visit, help from friends and moving on without the tow car....what?

Glenda and I did get our day trip to Valley of Fire and had a wonderful day. We saw many sights and got some exercise. The rock formations are incredible and so much red. We started at the visitor's center, got a map and headed out. Stopped at the Petrified Wood site.

 We climbed up the scaffold at the Atlatl Campground to see the Petroglyphs

We walked on a sandy trail to see Mouse's Tank 

It is named ‘The Mouse’s Tank’ because an alleged Southern Paiute Indian renegade named ‘Little Mouse’ hid out there in the 1890’s. He was accused of gunning down two prospectors and many other crimes in the area. He apparently went wild on a few occasions when he got drunk.

We didn't go very prepared, as usual, so we didn't see as many sights as we could have. The trails there are very sandy and it was getting very hot so we took the easy way out and drove to most sights just to enjoy the scenery.

Beehive Rock

We saw White Domes, Arch Rock and Seven Sisters

It was a fun day but I wish we could have done more. There are campgrounds with RV sites and tent sites. Maybe one day we'll go back and score a site.

Before we started our trek to the NW we wanted to see family back in the Midwest so we drove to Las Vegas and stayed overnight in a Marriott hotel where we could then leave the car parked. 

Of course we had to do some sightseeing. We'd been to Vegas a couple years ago when we flew back for our granddaughter's high school graduation and have her travel with us in UT for  couple weeks. 

A lamp we thought might fit in the motorhome

We had a great walk down the strip and found a nice restaurant to have dinner. Lots of crazy folks out on the street. Nice to visit but not to live there. 

We got up early the next morning and took the hotel shuttle to the airport and flew into South Bend IN. We rented a car and made our first stop in Bartlett, IL to see our daughter, Heather, SIL, Paul and grandson, Aiden. 

You would think the weather might be ok in April but it was cold and we even had a little snow. We had a fun visit and Aiden kept us very busy. He even gave me some tips for my pool game. 

Paul and Heather had a event to go to so we took Aiden to Chuck E. Cheese. The pizza was pretty good and we got tons of tokens to play games. Aiden and I won quite a few tickets at the Jackpot game. And no visit is complete without a funny photo. 

Aiden loves games....and winning. 

I think I'm ready for the pro league now. 

Such a great time and Heather and Paul were wonderful hosts while we' were there. Unfortunately Glenda and I both had a sinus infection while there so we really appreciate them putting up with our coughing and sneezing. 

Then it was time to head to The grandkids there are getting older and much more into their own activities so we have a little slower pace there. Caden is in high school and Ryleigh is in middle school. Can't believe how much they've grown. Even Jasmyne came home for a couple days. She's going to school and working in Michigan now. We missed Brooklyne since she lives in Georgia with her dad. One day we'll get the whole family together. We talked the kids into playing a round of miniature golf under the black lights. Everyone had a fun time. 

A goodbye dinner at Cheddar's

We always enjoy seeing family and miss them when we're gone. I think we're doing a good job of making sure when we are together we make it quality time. 

After a few days with each family it was time to head back to Vegas and get the summer travels going. We used Uber for the first time when we got back to the airport in Vegas to take us to the hotel to get our car. It worked well and will certainly use the service again in the future. 

Our first stop after we returned was in Porterville, CA and the Tule COE. We had a pull through site that was a little unlevel side to side wo we used some pads to prop up the one side. 

We took many walks around the park and lake

Since we now have a car, we were able to drove to Sequoia NP and see the majestic trees. We were amazed by the size and girth of these giants. We even took a walk on a trail called Trail of 100 Giants. 

Along the way we found a beautiful grove of trees and a fast running stream. 

We stopped at a lodge to get something to eat and drink

The roots of a fallen giant

The walk through the giants was breath taking and so enjoyable. Would love to return one day and take in even more of the area. Of course we thought we might be able to see more while staying at Tule COE near Porterville. 

Unfortunately some idiot, side swiped our car as we sat at a stop light near Exeter, CA on our way to do more sightseeing. 

Our brand new car only 4 months old. 

The driver of the other car was running from the police after pulling a gun on someone. We also believe he stole the car. We called our insurance and because the car was still drive able we were able to get back to the park. We decided to wait to have the repairs done until our next stop in Placerville, CA where we planned to meet our friends Steve and Debbie from Down the Road. Placerville is their old homestead and they were back there visiting family. 

As bad as this was, it could have been so much worse. We had no injuries and we were able to get the car to a very good auto body shop in Placerville. Stymeist Auto Body was listened to our concerns about our travels and needing the car ASAP. They got right to work and have been giving us regular updates on the progress. We hope to get the car back in a couple weeks.
We're extremely happy that this happened to us on our way to meet Steve and Debbie. We're also extremely appreciative of their taking such good care of us. Picking us up at the fairgrounds and shuttling us everywhere. We get by with a little help from our friends. Thank you, Thank you. 

Until then we continue our travels. Steve and Debbie had so much planned for us. Steve and Debbie stay on her brothers property so we got to meet him and his wife Diane. Debbie had a hike planned too. One that she's done a couple other times. They took us to Dutchman Falls. A nice uphill hike to 2 waterfalls. 

Steve looking for gold

What do you do when you get somewhere? Enjoy it. 

The hike was invigorating and so scenic. We're not in the desert any more that's for sure. 

We've never been to Lake Tahoe so they again had a wonder auto tour planned around the lake. The landscape of amazing and photos do not do it justice. Along the way we stopped at the Beacon Restaurant along the lake. The views are incredible. 

After lunch we continued our drive around the lake and found the exact spot where the gold rush in California started. Sutter Mill.

At this wood mill they were digging footings for the mill and Sutter happened to find a huge gold vein in the bedrock. The rest is history. 

We continued our drive around the lake with even more wonderful views and a trip through a tunnel in the mountain. 
Resident raccoon near the restaurant

The next few photos will speak for themselves. No comment needed. 
Enlarge the photos for best viewing

Cool sunset to finish the day

Steve and Debbie continued to amaze us with the history of Placerville and it's quaint original downtown. Famous for the Hangman Tree. You can read more about it HERE

The oldest hardware store in the country

Thought this was interesting

Bowtie Barber shop

Enjoying the haircut and atmosphere

We even found a great barber shop for me to get a much needed haircut. They even served us a beer while there. We did and saw so many things, I know I'm forgetting something. 

Just remembered we did have breakfast one morning at a cool restaurant called Sweetie Pies. They have incredible food and a unique pancake that has Olallieberries in them. We were so full after that meal. 

Our last day we had the opportunity to meet Debbie's Mom and Dad. They were so hospitable and have such a wonderful home. It was a pleasure meeting them. 

We can't say enough about our time in Placerville. So thankful for great friends. 

Our fun with Steve and Debbie didn't happen to end there. We decided to continue our travels to Buckhorn COE on Black Butte Lake near Corning, CA. Of course, this meant that we have no car for a while. 

This would be our first time dry camping in the motorhome with a residential refrigerator. I've been wanting to do more dry camping and with this motorhome we have a generator and an inverter that runs off the batteries. I have been concerned that our batteries wouldn't hold a charge long enough through the night. In preparation for this stay with no services, I had purchased a portable solar panel with the advice of my friend, Steve. I got the Go Power 120w suitcase panel. It folds in half and stores in our basement.

We got it connected to the batteries and right away the panels started to produce power. As hoped the solar power coming in kept the batteries charged all day long and we found out the refrigerator didn't pull as many amps as we thought it would at night. Keeping the door closed through the night and having the solar panel aimed to the east for the morning light the batteries maintained their charge. Good experience and more confidence for future outings without hook ups. 

Our sites were quite a ways away from each other but again good friends, Steve and Debbie would pick us up at our site and transport us to their site for some meals and evening fires. We got to meet another member of Debbie's family, her sister. Kristy loves fishing and has a kayak that she brought. She spent a lot of time on the lake. Also Steve and Debbie had friends for around the Placerville area that camp too. They got sites near them and we all had a good time getting acquainted. 

One afternoon the girls got into TRYING to skip stones. Steve and I had to come down and show them how it's done.

As we took a walk around the park one afternoon we came across a doe crossing the road. 

We were pretty close to Chico, CA and Steve had been wanting to visit the Sierra Nevada Brewery. Well what can I say, let's check it out. Again we relied on Steve and Debbie to do the driving. It was about a 50 minute drive and a 2 hour tour with some sampling at the end. 

Great history of the brewery and the brewing process. They're very ecologically minded and many things there are recycled. Our tour guide, Leroy, was very knowledgeable and entertaining. 

We had a great time with Steve and Debbie and plan to get together again in Oregon soon. 

We moved on to Klamath River RV park after leaving Buckhorn and our friends. I'll update more soon. Thanks for following along.