Saturday, August 28, 2010
We both had busy weeks in our jobs which usually means the time goes fast but not this past week for some reason.
I had to sit through a 4 hour training session on Wednesday morning. My company requires we take certain classes before our big week of training in September. This class was one we had taken back in January but for some reason we had to take it all over again. Same instructor, same 4 people in the class, same everything. Pretty much a waste of time.
They did say our training has been pushed back one week to the 3rd week of September. I am looking forward to learning and actually working with the new system, hopefully it will improve my outlook on my job some.
209 weeks 5 days until I turn 55. This is the day I have set for my "retirement". Not sure if it will actually be on my birthday but I will be eligible to draw what little there is in my pension after I turn 55. Rudee is the same way only it goes more by her years of service combined with her age to hit a magic number. She will be eligible to draw hers the following March and then we will be free to do some traveling and work camping.
We will not be able to completely sustain ourselves while traveling year round with only our pensions (I also get a small pension from my days at the Sheriff's Dept.) and will need to supplement our account some. That's where the work camping comes in. We will work camp at various jobs and sites for a few months (or the entire season) to pad the account and then resume our travels. If there is any Social Security left when we reach that age we should be able to "officially" retire and not have to work camp unless we want to.
So unless something catastrophic happens that is our timeline. At this point we are keeping ourselves busy paying off our debts and counting down the days until we can hit the road.
The mornings have been a little cooler here and there is a noticeable change happening. I think the dog days of summer have ended and Fall is approaching fast.
This morning I turned the fireplace on to take the chill off and Rudee has been turning the electric heat on upstairs so it's not as cold getting out of the shower.
We have a picnic to attend today with our motorcycle group. It's being held at the park here in Crawfordsville so we wont have far to go :-).
The weather is supposed to be really nice this whole week end so maybe we can do some more riding. I'll keep you posted.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The weather was very overcast and it looked like it may start raining again at anytime. I suggested we take a road trip and we decided to visit the Indianapolis Zoo.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Rudee's sister and brother n law were going as well and had called us asking we meet them in Plainfield so we could ride together.
We had to be up and on the road early Saturday morning and we left the 5th wheel at 6 a.m. :-O. It wasn't even daylight yet!!
We had only ridden about 1/2 mile when the dry roads changed to wet roads. The rain must have just quit and we lucked out and didn't get wet.
The sky started getting brighter the closer we got to Plainfield and it looked like the rain clouds had moved out.
We met David and BJ at the Denny's for breakfast. David's twin brother Dennis and girlfriend Marcia also joined us.
We had a nice breakfast and then fell in formation for the ride. David led us south through the rolling hills. The traffic was light and we made good time. We stopped for gas before we got to Louisville where we hopped on the interstate to bypass the busy city streets.
Once we were south of the metro area we exited off the interstate onto US 31W. The traffic had increased quite a bit since this morning and the temps were starting to heat up as well.
We stopped into a Hooters for lunch (I only go there for the chicken wings ... honest) and were able to cool down (in the air conditioning) and heat up (with the hot wings) at the same time :-).
After lunch we rode the final 40 miles to Elizabethtown and found our motel.
Rudee and I were staying at the Baymont while both sets of Greenlee's were next door in the Ramada.
Rudee and I made a bee line for the indoor pool where we had the entire pool to ourselves.
We spent the next hour just chilling out in the pool before heading back to our room.
The rest of the chapter had ridden down by a different route and were staying at the Howard Johnson's. We met up with them shortly after they arrived around 4:00 pm.
Several went to the pool for a quick dip and we hung out with Rob and Jany Runyon in their room.
We made plans to go to Texas Roadhouse for supper so Rudee and I rode over to put our name in for a table.
The restaurant was pretty busy even though it was still early. We had to wait about 30 minutes for our table but the meal was worth the wait.
The reason for the trip was to attend the Saturday night show at the Lincoln Jamboree in nearby Hodgensville Kentucky. This show has been going on every Saturday night for over 50 years. The owner/emcee, Joel Ray Sprowl, is back on stage after suffering a stroke last year.
The house band is a mix of young and old (some of the players having been there 30+ years) and play a mix of country and gospel music while Joel Ray introduces the songs and entertains with his corny jokes and banter.
They even have guest impersonators including Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, Don Williams and even Elvis Presley.
The show lasted for a solid 3 hours and we all had a good time. Plans were made to meet at the Denny's in Elizabethtown for a late night desert so we all loaded up and headed that way. There were about 20 motorcycles all riding in staggered formation for the trip. Rudee and I were near the back and it was quite a sight to see all those bikes ahead of us.
Sunday morning we hooked up with some of the group and followed them on a winding trip towards home.
We stopped in Smithfield Kentucky at the Our Best Restaurant for lunch. They specialize in "home cooking" and our group of 20 enjoyed our meals and the southern hospitality. They even had fried green tomatoes which is one of Rudee and my favorites :-).
The rest of the ride home was hot, hot, hot with the temperature rising into the mid 90's.
We made it home around 4:30 and were both about ready to pass out from heat stroke. I parked the bike and we quickly got our swim suits on and walked over to the pool and jumped in .......... ahhhh, that's the ticket.
We had a nice week end and it helped recharge our inner batteries for the work week ahead. No real plans for this week and it looks like this heat wave may finally be over. I'll keep you posted.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The drive was pretty monotonous and boring. Once I get the big circus train up to speed it's just a matter of setting the cruise control and hanging onto the steering wheel.
Friday, August 6, 2010
After dinner we rode back to the 5th wheels and relaxed around the campfire.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
When we came out of the restaurant the clouds were starting to break up and it looked like we may get to do some sightseeing on the bike.
Once back at the camper I decided to wash the muck off the back cap of the 5th wheel. I use a product called Protect All. You pour a cap full into a bucket and then, using a car wash type brush, wash an area and then just squeegee it off. I follow that up with a quick buff with a dry towel and it looks pretty good. Doing it this way you can wash using only a bucket of water and are not spraying the trailer with a hose since a lot of campgrounds don't like you doing the "car wash" type of hose downs.
Rudee helped me do the washing and I even got the ladder out and cleaned all the windows. We did stop with the back cap though and will need to do the roof and sides too. I'll save those for another day since to do the roof we will need to get the hose out and spray it down.
Once we got our chores done we decided to take a little ride. Niles and Ron joined us but their girls stayed home this time.
The skies were clearest to the west so I headed towards Wyoming. We rode to Newcastle Wy which is around 40 miles and stopped for gas. We had a couple of choices on the return trip and decided to head north east and loop back into South Dakota through Lead where we would turn towards home. We had plans for dinner and needed to be back by 4:30pm. Mike and Les Kennedy had invited us all to their rig for a Mexican meal and Rudee wanted to bake a cornbread cake to take over.
As we rode back towards South Dakota we were all keeping an eye on the clouds building to the east of us. They were large white billowing clouds and all I could think of was "oh no, here we go again".
We made it back to Lead S.D. and turned to make the 50 mile trip back into Custer when the clouds seemed to turn from white to black :-(.
They were still pretty far off in the distance and I thought we had a chance to make it back home and still be dry............. I was wrong .............. again !!
The rain started about 10 miles north of Hill City but it was not real heavy. We didn't even need our rain suits on and it was nice that the rain had cooled the temperature down.
Once we got through Hill City the rained increased and the temperature decreased, I was getting downright cold! Custer is only about 12 miles further so on we rode.
As we were approaching Crazy Horse Mountain (about 1/2 way) the rain started stinging a little more then usual. That's when I realized it was Hailing ...... OUCH!
The hail got bigger and more plentiful so I pulled off to the side of the road. Niles and Ron rode on.
Rudee grabbed her jacket from the saddle bag and we too got back on the road since besides the hail there was a lot of lightning and I really didn't want to just sit on the side of the road and get hit by either hail or lightning.
We rode about 4 more miles with the hail bouncing off us but when we finally made it into Custer both the hail and rain had stopped. Rudee and I both had some welts on us from the hail stones and were sure we would have some bruises.
I can cross "riding a motorcycle through a hail storm" off my bucket list now, not that it was on there in the first place :-).
We did have a nice evening at the Kennedys. Les made a Enchilada Casserole that was out of this world. We all gathered at their place and had a great meal and talked into the night before we finally called it a night and headed home. Thanks for a memorable evening guys.
Monday we were up early and, since the skies were clear, wanted to get an early start. The rest of the gang was just starting to stir so Rudee and I headed out on our own.
When we were here 5 years ago we started towards Devils Tower Wyoming but never made it. We were going to change that today. I retraced the route we had taken yesterday and we were soon back in Newcastle where we continued west on US 16. In downtown Newcastle we stumbled across a historical marker that denotes the spot where a cowboy named "Slim L" was hanged. Seems as though Slim murdered his neighbors because they owed him some money. The local Sheriff got suspicious when the neighbors were missing and questioned Slim who eventually confessed and led them to the bodies of his former friends and neighbors. While Slim was awaiting trial a lynch mob formed and took him from the jail at gunpoint. They proceeded to hang Slim from the railroad bridge in the center of town near the spot where the marker was. This all happened in 1903, I guess the old west was still alive then.
The Indians thought it was a very spiritual place and still have ceremonies here. The National Parks Service does allow rock climbers to climb the walls (against the Indians objections) but we did not see any today.
We did see a guy who had parked his motorcycle on the side of the road and he was playing his bag pipes. Was a little strange to see a huge guy all dressed in leathers standing on the side of the road playing bag pipes, but I guess the differences in us all keeps things interesting :-).
We spent a little time at the visitor center and then loaded back up and retraced our steps out of the park.
We turned towards Huelet Wy and stopped at the Ponderosa Bar and Grille there for lunch. We shared probably the best cheeseburger we have had for a long time ......... ummmm good.
Once lunch was over we pointed the bike towards South Dakota again.
The rally does not "officially" start until this Friday. There were several vendors there setting up and a few of the bars were already open. We did a quick drive through and then decided to head towards home and find a place for supper on the way.
We ended up coming all the way back to Hill City before stopping at a bar and grille. We shared a steak and still brought 1/2 of it back home with us.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Niles and Deb introduced us to Mike and Leslie Kennedy. They are a fulltiming couple from New Mexico and travel in the same floor plan Montana that we have.
Mike and Les are a great couple and fit right into our little group here in the "Hills". We got the chance to spend some time with them on Friday when we accepted their invitation to go to Deadwood.
We all rode over in their Chevy dually pick up truck. Mike wanted to do a drive through of Sturgis so that was our first stop. Well we really didn't stop because the only thing going on seemed to be a bunch of tents getting set up for the big rally. We were both hoping to see some "debauchery", from the safety of the truck of course :-).
We got to Deadwood and it was getting close to supper time so we scouted out a place to eat. The Silverado Casino was advertising "all you can eat" Crab Legs and Prime Rib and we quickly decided that was it. The food was really good and we all had our fill.
After dinner we did some gambling and people watching as we walked the "strip". None of us were big winners but Les did find a "hot" machine that kept her playing for a long time and she even cashed in a little bit and treated us all to an ice cream with her "winnings". Thanks Les!
We made it back to the campground around 11:00pm. The rest of our group had already turned in so that's what we did too.
Saturday we did some more riding and sightseeing. Here is a photo of Ron being "King of the World"
We rode to Wind Cave National Park to get a stamp in our passports. We bought these passport books a few years ago. They list all the National Parks across the country. Each park has their own stamp with the date on it and you can stamp your passport book when you visit. We have done several of these in the past few years and always keep the book in the bike. The stamps are usually in the visitors center at each park and are a cool way of commemorating your visit.
After looking around the displays some we continued on to Hot Springs S.D. which is a neat little Town in the Southern Hills. We had a nice lunch and then did a ride through town. The temperatures had really heated up into the upper 90's (Niles' bike said it was 99*!) and none of us really wanted to get off the bikes to walk around in that heat.
We continued our ride and ended up at Jewel Cave National Park for another stamp. This cave is huge with miles and miles of tunnels. They are still discovering new passages and "rooms" in this cave. They do have tours of various lengths but were booked solid when we were there. The cost of the tours are a pretty good bargain varying from $4 - $8.
We headed back towards Custer where Rudee and I stopped in town to grab a few groceries. Niles offered to do the cooking tonight on his grille and we picked up some thick pork chops for him to toss on for us.
As we were grilling the daily thunderstorm rolled through. We huddled under Nile's and Deb's awning trying to stay dry and it brought back memories of the four of us on that patio a couple of days ago :-).
The rain quit before the meat was done and we were able to enjoy a "dry" meal.
This morning it has been raining off and on and looks like it may be this way for awhile. We may need to get the Freightliner out and do some "touring" in it. That will be a first for us, it usually just gets to pull the 5th wheel around and then sits, neglected, at the campgound until it's time to head home. I'll keep you posted.