Friday, September 30, 2011

We are in a dead zone

We traveled on Thursday the 29th to Rifle Gap State Park and we are in the worst dead zone we have encountered in our more than 2 years of full-timing. We have Verizon and usually have some service no matter where we go but here we mostly have no bars on phone service but sometimes better, our internet is also very spotty. Every once in awhile Bob gets an email on his phone but by the time he picks up the phone there is no connectivity. We raised the TV antenna last night just to check and see if there was any local televisions and there were none. So there will be no more blog entries for a week or so or email or phone or local television. Luckily we have our GPS for whats that worth and a road atlas so we could at least navigate to town : - )

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Touring Colorado Springs

At first when something goes wrong with the RV we tend to overreact. When we realize that in our old sticks and bricks the refrigerator broke or we needed new tires we get over it pretty quickly, maybe it is because the size of the RV compared to the house and the closeness of everything.

Most of the time when you are in Colorado Springs it is mostly clear and the mountains dominate the view. Pikes Peak is a good navigation tool as you always know which direction is west.

While Jo's brother and sister-in-law were visiting we toured the Olympic Training Center, which is at the former home of ENT Air Force Base and the headquarters of the North American Defense Command, Jo's brother was in the Air Force in the 60's and he reported to ENT for his time at Cheyenne Mountain. In July 1978 this site officially became USOC administrative headquarters and provides housing, dining, recreational facilities and other services for up to 557 coaches and athletes at one time on the complex.

Entering the complex there is an  interesting sculpture. We first toured the Visitors Center and the Hall of Fame while waiting for our free tour to begin. The tour began with an inspiring 12 minute film about the Olympics.and then a 45 minute walking tour where you tour the grounds and see some of the training facilities. After the tour we of course walked through the gift shop but being full-timers with no space to spare we were able to avoid buying anything.

Next we visited the Air Force Academy concentrating on the Visitors Center and Chapel. We have not toured the other military academies but we cannot imagine a more scenic location than this one. The drive from the gate to the Visitors Center is picturesque and enjoyable. The Barry Goldwater Visitors Center had displays on the history of the academy which was opened in 1958. Construction began in 1955 and a temporary location at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver was utilized until 1958.

From the Visitors Center you can take a 1/3 mile trail to the Chapel which houses 4 Chapels; Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish and Protestant. The Chapel is near the dorms and although we never saw formations we saw a lot of cadets heading for athletics and other activities while we were there. The Academy houses 4,000 cadets and upon graduation they become First Lieutenants in the United States Air Force.

We have good news on the refrigerator, the cooling unit has been delivered and it will be installed today but we did not let not having a refrigerator stop us from enjoying the beautiful Colorado Springs area.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Update on our refrigerator

After a weekend of troubleshooting it was determined that our cooling unit was the culprit for the problems on our Norcold 1210 refrigerator. Over the weekend Bob researched the length of the warranty and it was confusing; Good Sam's Extended Service Plan believes it is 3 years, while our paperwork showed 1 year. When Monday morning rolled around Bob called Norcold and asked about the warranty. Norcold said that any units built after 2009 had the 1 year warranty while prior to 2009 had 3 years but since it was a Carriage Cameo the warranty was 2 years to match the Carriage warranty.

So the good news is that it is a 2 year warranty but the bad news is that our 2 year warranty expired 2 weeks before. The great news is that since we were so close to being under warranty Norcold will provide the cooling unit at no charge we just have to pay for labor. The part has been ordered and has shipped. In the meantime we are enjoying the Colorado Springs area while our refrigerated stuff is in Styrofoam coolers and our frozen stuff in the freezer with dry ice. A side effect of this is that we are eating at home more often as we eat the stuff we had on hand.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Why does it always happen on weekends?

We have had a string of adventures from the tires to the ladder and now our refrigerator has quit working. Here it is Saturday and we cannot call Norcold the refrigerator manufacturer or Good Sams for our extended warranty. We won't say it always happens on a weekend or when you can't call anybody but it seems that it happens more often than not.

We are now in Colorado Springs and hopefully we will be here long enough to get the refrigrator fixed but we won't find that out until Monday. We plan to visit Jo's aunt and cousins while we are here. An unexpected treat is that Jo's brother and sister-in-law drove from Overland Park KS to see her and her aunt. We also need to deliver a printer and other supplies to Jo's great niece and her family that we picked up in Joliet from Jo's nephew.

A little bit of dry ice and some food lost and even the trauma of a possible expensive refrigerator repair cannot dampen our enthusiasm for the scenery, family, and great food that we expect in Colorado. We are thankful that we just signed up for an extended warranty.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

South Dakota in our rear view mirror

We did not do much blogging in South Dakota as we were on the go so much so this is intended to catch up on our South Dakota fun.

Our first stop was Chamberlain which was really a brief stopover. There is a can't miss sight to see nonetheless, the Rest Stop near Chamberlain which houses a free museum to Lewis and Clark who camped here on the way west and the way home. This is a very good museum and would be worth an admission fee. We had a very good burger and pie at Al's Oasis while in the area.

We next journeyed to Custer which gave us a good locale to visit both Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. We camped at a really nice park, Broken Arrow Campground and Horse Camp, which is outside of Custer. With the remoteness and the views of the Black Hills and the horses this is one of our favorite campgrounds.

We were so excited to see Mount Rushmore which has been a wish for us for years but we were a little nervous thinking that no way could it live up to our expectations. Not to worry Mount Rushmore was amazing. From Custer we took the Iron Mountain Road through Custer State Park. The Iron Mountain road is known for single lane tunnels cut into the rock that provide dramatic views of Mount Rushmore.

Entering Mount Rushmore is breathtaking.

The visitors center had a film and the exhibits were neat. We walked on the Presidents Trail which took you to the base where you  look right up George's nose.

We next visited the Crazy Horse Memorial. The scale of which is amazing, the four Presidents could fit on what will be Crazy Horse's hair just to the left of the finished face.

When finished Crazy Horse will be taller than the Washington Monument. It is interesting to see the sculpture of what it will look like when finished.

Another interesting fact is that this is all private funding, no government funding has been accepted or ever will be accepted. Korczak Ziolkowski who started sculpting in 1948 had previously worked on Mount Rushmore. A lot of people may not know that Mount Rushmore is an unfinished work since government funding ended and Korczak did not want that fate for the Crazy Horse Memorial. Since his death his wife and children have continued the work and have maintained that philosophy. There is more than just a mountain carving as the site has a great visitors center and museums and sculptors studio, etc.

We took a bus tour which allowed us to get even closer. Plan on spending a whole day here as this site is amazing.

Custer also has some great places to eat; Our Place and the Baker's Bakery and Cafe were excellent for breakfast. The highlight eating wise though had to be the Purple Pie Place which has the best Strawberry Rhubarb pie we have ever had, this may be the best pie place ever.

After much to short a time in South Dakota we are now in Wyoming, adding yet another state to our states visited map.

Photos have been uploaded to the Chamberlain and Custer photo sets on

We will definitely have to return to South Dakota and the Black Hills. With such a short time we barely scratched the surface of things to see. Someone told us that you could spend a month in the Black Hills and still not see everything and we now believe that.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Excited to be in South Dakota

We drove yesterday from Minnesota to South Dakota and have added another state to our map. We are heading towards Mount Rushmore tomorrow and with that will add another time zone moving into Mountain Time. On this trip we will have one more time change and that will be when we get back to Arizona since they do not observe Daylight Savings Time.

Mount Rushmore has been at the top of both of our lists since before we got married so we are excited to finally get to see the Presidents. We plan to see Crazy Horse while there but this is a short stay as we are hotfooting it to Denver for Bob's tests later this month. We will not be able to see all that we want to see n the area so we will just have to come back. We were talking with another couple recently who have been fulltiming about the same time we have and we agreed that there really has not been a place that we would not want to go back to if we get the chance. This country is so amazing from the little towns to the big cities, to the scenery and the historical places you can visit, and the food which has been incredible.

We plan to bum around Chamberlain SD today which is a Missour River community that looks neat and we will explore that today and then it is off to Mount Rushmore tomorrow. Traveling this much we always keep an eye on the weather and try to travel on good weather days but a sunny forecast turns rainy and a rainy forecast turns sunny so you just can't trust the forecasts. We swear the only folks that can be wrong as often as they are and keep their jobs are the weather forecasters and politicians :-)

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hotfooting it (another State, another Time Zone)

A little bit of housekeeping, we lost 2 days from our planned schedule due to the new tires and then 3 days due the ladder damage so we decided to hotfoot for a few trips to make up some time. Well hotfooting at least for us which is about 250 miles and staying one night. Doing this we added another State for a stopover in Joliet Illinois which put us in the Central Time Zone after being in the Eastern Time Zone since early July.

After one night stops in IL, IA and then the next day to our current location of Welcome MN we know why we don't particularly like that type of travel. We like to take it easy traveling and if Bob did not have medical tests in Denver scheduled later in September we would be taking this a lot easier.

With that type of traveling we have not had time for sightseeing, we will save that for when we have a few days near Mount Rushmore. We did add a few photos from our trip to the RV Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart IN to Studebaker fans should take note of the 1 ton Studebaker truck on display. We forgot our camera in the mad dash to be ready at 7a for Carriage to pick up our Cameo so Bob took photos with his new Droid3, and yes we said 7a :-(

Till next time,

Bob and Jo