DeWayne and Joy

DeWayne and Joy

Monday, September 19, 2011

Summer is Ending

I’m finally catching up on my blog from Salina, Kansas.  We are on our way home after six weeks in South Dakota.

Now, let me go back to what we’ve been up to since I last posted.  A few days after we went to Sturgis, one of the couples that served as camp hosts at the Ellsworth FamCamp we were in, were “let go”, so we agreed to fill in for a month, since Snookie and Bob were the other half of the team.  Sturgis week was over and all the tents and motorcycles had cleared out, so we knew it would be smooth sailing until September 15th.

We met some interesting people during our stay at Ellsworth and made some great new friends.  We were immediately introduced to Val and Jerry Roux, who had been at the camp since early June and were already good friends of Snookie and Bob.  So, the six of us became “the gang” and had some great times together. 

Us girls played “Hand and Foot” or “Mexican Train” at least once a day, most times more than that.  The guys played golf, worked on RV’s, trucks, talked politics and whatever guys talk about.  They often cooked for us all; DeWayne and Bob doing the grill thing and Jerry cooking up one of his great meals inside.  Wow, did we ever eat like royalty!  Between us girls, we always had great salads, marinated carrots, Snookie’s squash mixture, garlic bread, and cake or pie for desert. 

But the best part of it all was time spent with great people that we enjoy.

Here are a few samples of our evening meals, including Bob’s birthday party:

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Bob’s ear and arm, Snookie, “Ghost”, Val, Jerry and DeWayne.  Notice DeWayne is eyeing the pie, fork ready.  lol

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Full and sleepy….Jerry, Val, Snookie and Bob

Snookie and Bob’s friend Dianne flew in to spend a week with them and take in the sights of South Dakota and we all liked her instantly.  What a great lady.  We hope to see her again down the road.

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Dianne and Snookie

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Bob and DeWayne grilling chicken and solving all the world’s problems.

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Val wants to know when the party will be starting…

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And Ghost just wants to know when the food will be ready. 

If you haven’t noticed, Ghost is one huge dog.  He is a Great Pyrenees and is over eleven years old.  I’ve never seen a more laid-back and sweet dog.  Jerry and Val spoil him rotten, as well as their cat Cinderella.

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Jerry and Bob, sampling the feast.

Two stooges

And us.

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Bob’s birthday cake.  The six is actually a nine, turned upside down.  And the candles were so heavy that we had to get the show on the road before they sank completely….

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Happy Birthday, Bob!

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Jerry and Val’s “Home”.  Notice they have great taste in cars? 

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A shot of the FamCamp office.  Our RV is on the other side of the building, but all you can see is the truck.

Oh, and I have to include our resident bunny that we saw often.

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We wanted to make another trip out to Mt Rushmore for the lighting of the monument at night before we came home, so we decided to go see it before Dianne flew back home.  She and Snookie piled in the truck with DeWayne and I, and off we went.  The first thing we noticed was the gorgeous sunset as we drove…

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We made it to Mt. Rushmore just in time to get ice cream before they closed the doors for the evening, then hustled on down to the amphitheater for the lighting ceremonies.  After a video about all the presidents on the monument, they slowly turned on the lights and it was really impressive!  I was soooo glad we went back to see this at night.

Rushmore at night

After the lighting of the monument, they asked for all present or past active duty veterans to come to the stage, so DeWayne and Snookie made their way down to join the many others that gathered on the stage to thunderous applause from the rest of us.

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The Star Spangled Banner was played and some of the veterans participated in lowering the flag.  I have to admit that I shed more than a few tears during this moving ceremony.

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Notice the man in the middle of the last picture?  He is a WWII veteran.  He received many handshakes and “thank you’s” on the way back up to his seat.  What a great night!

Now, I have to tell you a story about that night.  When we first arrived, we went through the ticket gate to show the nice lady our previously purchased parking permit and she waved us on through.  However……we missed the turn that takes us to the top parking lot which is closest to the monument.  So, DeWayne circled around and went BACK through the same ticket booth with the same nice lady.  We got parked just fine and went in for the show.

After the ceremony, we were making our way out of the monument park when it started pouring rain, so we all darted into the gift shop that was about to close.  We waited a few minutes before DeWayne decided to go get the truck and drive up to the entrance to pick up the rest of us (our hero).  Soon after he left to do that, the rain stopped, so us girls filed out to wait for him to come rolling around the corner in “our chariot” to pick us up.  Our truck has a very distinct sound, so we were able to determine that he had made it to the truck and it was indeed moving.  But it seemed to just keep going from one side to the other for a while.  Finally, we heard it coming around the bend and up to the entrance, so Snookie, Dianne and I struck the “sexy hitchhiker” pose with our legs out and our thumbs up about the time he was about 75 feet away from us and could see us in the headlights.  The truck stopped!  Then it started backing up!  So much for being sexy, lol.  So we discontinued our poses and he, once again, came our way.  But just before he got even with us, we struck the pose again.  When he stopped and we piled in, DeWayne was draped over the steering wheel laughing.  Oh, what shenanigans we can get ourselves into….but did we ever have fun!  Oh, and then DeWayne told us about going back through the same ticket booth with the same nice lady TWICE as he was trying to navigate to the entrance.  We could only imagine what the “nice lady” must be thinking and we laughed til we hurt.  Fun times.

Dianne flew home a couple of days later, then we were back to our routine of checking folks in and out of the camp, our dinners, and playing cards or dominoes.  However, Snookie found time to get a manicure at Walmart.  This is the first time I’ve ever had my nails done professionally, but I think I’m hooked.  This polish stays on forever.  Not like the “do it yourself” stuff that starts wearing off as soon as you paint it on.

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Our time at Ellsworth became short really fast, so much too soon, we all started our preparations to hit the road again.  Two day before we left, the weather got really cool, windy, and rainy.  Our last dinner for the six of us was spent inside our RV, eating steaks and all the fixin’s in our long pants and sweatshirts.  Brrrrrr!

Too soon, it was time to leave.  Val and Jerry pulled out on the 15th and we hated to tell them goodbye, but we’re confident we will meet up with them again down the road.

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The rest of us were leaving the next day, so DeWayne and I were up early and wanted to be on the road by eleven.  Snookie and Bob came over around nine for “goodbyes” and “see ya laters” and hugs all around before they pulled out.  I had to run out and get a picture as they pulled away, to discover that Snook was taking pictures of me at the same time.  Anything for blog material, huh Snookie?  lol

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Happy trails to our friends and we can’t wait to see everybody again.

We managed to get on the road by around ten and drove to Valentine, Nebraska for the night.  We were driving right by Wall Drug on our way, so we decided to stop and see what it was all about.  It was big and it was impressive with all kinds of nifty things to buy and lots of atmosphere, but we didn’t see it all and were anxious to get back on the road.  I did manage to find a new pair of flip flops for our winter in south Texas.

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To think that this little empire started as a small drug store back in the 30’s that decided to give away ice water to the travellers on the highway.  It did the trick to increase their business and now Wall Drug covers a city block or more and is divided into lots of small shops.

Back on the road, we saw this creature a little further down the interstate.

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We saw lots of pretty scenery, as usual.

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After a night in Valentine, Nebraska, we once again hit the road yesterday….destination Russell Kansas and the Fossil Creek RV park.

It was so cloudy that I didn’t attempt to take any pictures yesterday, but had to grab the camera when we saw this RV in one of the towns that we went through.  The picture is kinda blurry, but you get the idea.  You see everything out here on the road, for sure.

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 It was a 366 mile drive to Russell, so we were definitely ready to settle in for the night.  But when the GPS led us to the RV park, we drove into the worst park we’d ever seen.  Most of it was a trailer park with really old, really shabby trailer houses and the RV part was not maintained and didn’t even look safe.  So, needless to say, we made the circle and right back out again.  We drove the extra 50+ miles to Salina where we found a KOA for two nights.  DeWayne paid the rent, then the nice folks led us to our slot, but on the way, we saw a 5th wheel parked down the lane from us that had three slides on the driver’s side and it looked pretty big, so I watched as we drove by and couldn’t believe what we were seeing!  On the passenger side of the RV was FOUR slides, making a total of seven for the rig.  WOW!  I had no idea they made them that big.  I wanted to get pictures of it today, but it was gone by the time I got up and out. 

Now we’re here in Salina for another night.  After driving over 400 miles yesterday, we decided to take a day to rest.  So we will be getting back on the road tomorrow for the last 256 miles of our journey.  We have listed the Hitchhiker on Craig’s List for the OKC area and have already gotten some responses, so we will have to immediately start clearing it out and shampooing the carpet when we get back to OKC. 

We will be busy getting the Open Road ready for our trip to south Texas for the winter and making the rounds to visit all the folks during our approximate 3 weeks back home.  We can’t wait to see everybody! 

That’s all the news for now, so I’ll shut up, get this edited and posted to the blog while the WIFI is temporarily working in the RV park.  Like everywhere else, it isn’t very reliable.  Thanks for tuning in again and we hope to see as many of you as possible in the next few weeks.  But in the meantime…..