Saturday, 16 August 2008
Vancouver Island Loop 2008
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The Vancouver Island loop ran north from Nashville to Brockville ON, west on the Transcanada Highway to Calgary AB, north to Edmonton, then west to Vancouver via Whistler.  We took the ferry to Nanaimo, BC and spent several days on the Island including a vist to Tofino on the Pacific coast. The route home was via Yellowstone and St Paul, MN. Click here to start  this trip at the beginning.

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Posted on 08/16/2008 4:29 PM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 15 August 2008
Day 58 Clinton, IL to New Harmony, IN
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We got to New Harmony around 3:00PM after a long drive through “corn canyons” (see photo). This year is predicted to be the 2nd best corn harvest ever.

I was able to get a hair cut in a barber shop little changed from the 50s. The chairs were from the 50s with fins on each side. The price was right at $8.00.

Dinner was with boating friends Ed and Cindy at the Red Germanium Restaurant. This is a very friendly, very classy, very good restaurant that has operated for many years. It and the New Harmony Inn are owned privately by descendants of the Robert Owen family. Owen bought the entire town from the Harmonists in the early 1800’s. Owen was a great believer in education for all and brought many highly educated people to live there. The strategy has continued to this day.

We camped at the Harmonie State Park, one of the finest state parks we have seen.

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Posted on 08/15/2008 1:08 AM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 15 August 2008
Day 59 New Harmony, IN to Kenlake State Park, KY
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The day began with breakfast outside at the Red Germanium with Connie, the Director of Historic New Harmony, a department of the Southern Indiana University. Her group is responsible for managing nearly all the historic properties in New Harmony. Connie is an expert on the history of New Harmony and gave us an excellent tour.

New Harmony is one of the best kept secrets in the USA and just a fascinating town to visit. The photo shows the Labyrinth designed for meditation. I had to climb to the roof of the View to get this shot.  A labryinth is not a maze.

A class from the Owen School of Business at Vanderbilt was spending a week in the town. I spotted the Dean of that school and spent a few minutes with him. It seems they have been coming here for several years.

At noon we left for Poseyville. Boating friends operate the General Store in this small town. It was like a Wal-mart squeezed into a smaller space. Unlike Wal-mart we could get real milkshakes made the old way in a 100 year old soda fountain.

We crossed our “wake” at Cadiz Kentucky and got to the marina at 5:00PM. We will spend our last night at the campground and the weekend on the Katy Leigh.

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Posted on 08/15/2008 1:11 AM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 15 August 2008
Vancouver Island Loop - Trip Statistics
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Total Miles: 8,192

Good weather days: 58

Bad weather days: 1

Rainy nights: 3

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Posted on 08/15/2008 1:12 AM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Day 57 Amana, IA to Clinton, IL
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We are now starting our ninth week on the View.

To celebrate I had the family style breakfast at the Brick Haus Restaurant in Amana. (see photo)  nothing like OJ, fruit, sausage, bacon, eggs, toast, potatoes and a big pancake to start the day right.

We filled up the propane tank in Peoria for the first time since November 2007. We took on 8.1 gallons which should last for 15 weeks of cruising.  When we are not connected to shore power propane runs the fridge, hot water heater, stove, and generator (for A/C).

We are camped near Clinton at Weldon Springs State Park in Central Illinois. The land was purchased by Judge Lawrence Weldon in 1865. Weldon was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln.

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Posted on 08/13/2008 1:08 AM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Day 56 Woodbury to Amana Colonies, IA
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The Amana Colonies were settled by German Lutherans in the 1800s. Originally a commune it changed to capitalism in the 1930’s. There are many restored buildings in the area (see photo) and some very good restaurants.  Last year we bought some fabric at the Woolen Mill and used it to cover a sofa. We tried to get some more but had no luck. It seems they buy ends from other mills and can’t reorder. Their own weaving machines only make blankets. 

Amana is near Cedar Rapids where a 1500 year flood occurred in June. The RV Park we are in was 1 foot under water for more than a week. In going through Waterloo Iowa we noticed a number of businesses were closed due to the flood. A Burger King was closed for “renovations”.

Tomorrow we go to Clinton Illinois on our way to New Harmony, Indiana. New Harmony will be our last stop.

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Posted on 08/12/2008 2:14 AM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 11 August 2008
Day 54-55 Woodbury, MN
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On Saturday we were able to get into the Modern Campground and got a site with power. None of the sites have water, but there is place to get water, so it's not a real problem.

Lake Elmo County Park doesn't use the natural lake for swimming but has an artificial lake (see photo) that re-circulates the water through a series of filters. The bottom is sand and the water is a maximum of 6 feet deep. In the winter the lake is drained. We spent the weekend with family and watching the Olympics on TV.

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Posted on 08/11/2008 10:10 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 9 August 2008
Day 53 Brainerd to Woodbury, MN
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Brainerd was expecting 100,000 drag race fans for the weekend so we left before the races started. I was told the noise is so loud that the earth shakes 1 mile away. It was an easy drive down crossing the Mississippi River 3 times.

Life with our son’'s family is hectic as always. Mark (11) has to spend 2 days at tryouts for next year’'s soccer team. (Photo of Mark #16 by Graham). Maureen (13) is lobbying for her own cell phone.

We are camped at Lake Elmo Park Reserve which has some really nice campsites but they are booked up months in advance. We are in the equestrian park which has no power or water at the campsites.

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Posted on 08/09/2008 3:29 AM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 9 August 2008
Day 52 Brainerd, MN
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This was a very quiet day relaxing in the north woods. We had dinner at the Legacy Golf Club (part of Cragan's Resort) and then toured the 3 big resorts around Gull Lake.
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Posted on 08/09/2008 3:28 AM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 7 August 2008
Day 51 Mitchell, SD to Brainerd, MN
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We awoke to pouring rain, but before leaving Mitchell had to go and see the 1892 Corn Palace (see photo). Apparently it is visited by 500,000 people per year.

The images, such as the lineman, are replaced annually with much ceremony. The colors in the panels are from different types of corn. The corn is cut to length and sliced along the axis. The half round pieces are then glued to the panels using a paint-by-numbers system. The palace is a sports arena.

At 9:00 we were on I-90 headed east. In spite of the rain motorcycles were still heading for Sturgis at a rate of 1 every 19 seconds.

The GPS took us the shortest route to Brainerd over many short segments of different roads and through rural Western Minnesota. We are now with (former Nortel) friends, Gary and Susan, who live in a beautiful log home on the Gull River. The area is a major resort district in the state with 100’s of lakes and rivers as well as the headwaters of the Mississippi River. We will spend tomorrow here and then head for St. Paul on Friday to visit our grandchildren.

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Posted on 08/07/2008 3:18 AM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Day 50 Badlands National Park to Mitchell, SD
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Last evening there was a stargazing show at the park amphitheater. The presenter was very good and used a series of slides to show the relative size of the planets and stars. Our sun is puny compared to many other suns. He then turned out all the lights and used a 2 mile green laser pointer to point out various stars. This worked really well and made it easy to follow him as long as you were close to him.

This morning we relived the cold war at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. We had a guided tour along with 10 others. The tours are booked months in advance but we got there at 8:15 am and were wait listed.  At 9:00 when there was a no-show we got on the tour. The tour took us through the living space and control center for a cluster of 10 missiles. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and covered the many strategies to ensure annihilation of the USSR in the event they fired a missile at the USA.  There are still 500 nuclear missiles on alert in the Plain States. 

The rest of the day was driving east on I-90. I thought we would have seen the last of the motorcycles but the rate of motorcycles heading east away from Sturgis was 1 every 12 seconds.

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Posted on 08/05/2008 10:49 PM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 4 August 2008
Day 49 Wall SD to Cedar Pass Campsite, Badlands National Park
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I had breakfast at the Wall Drug Store and enjoyed their 5 cent coffee. This morning at 4:00AM we had a violent thunderstorm with lots of winds. I watched the tenters next to us get drowned trying to pack up their tent into their car. If they had just rode out the storm they would have been a lot better off. Other tent campers looked dry as a bone when they came out.

We took the Badlands Loop Road and enjoyed it so much we decided to stay at the campground. It is dry camping at each site, but since it's not too hot we have survived. The sky is beautiful and the sun set spectacular from our campsite.

Today’'s photo is of the Cliff Shelf. Thousands of years ago a massive block of stone broke loose from a cliff behind and compacted the soil below reducing erosion and allowing trees to grow.

Tomorrow we head for Mitchell SD and a time change.

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Posted on 08/04/2008 10:46 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 3 August 2008
Day 48 Sundance, WY to Wall SD
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We entered South Dakota a few minutes after leaving the campsite this morning. We'll be in this state for 2 more days.

We toured the Spearfish Canyon, and visited the Crazy Horse Monument, Mount Rushmore and Wall Drugstore; along with thousands of motorcycle riders.  Motorcycles were everywhere going in every direction. There were all sizes and all types; two wheel, 3 wheel (2 wheels in front), 3 wheel (2 wheels in rear), and sidecars. The noise from the Harleys was deafening. On the way from Rapid City to Wall  we measured and average of 1 motorcycle was coming at us every 5.1 seconds. That's over 700 per hour.

The photo is a frame from a movie taken going through Keystone a small tourist town near Mt Rushmore. Tomorrow we tour the Badlands and then on to Kadoka, SD.

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Posted on 08/03/2008 10:22 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 2 August 2008
Day 47 Greybull, WY to Sundance, WY
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Before choosing today's route I checked the Trailer Life Navigator program which shows elevations. This software program showed the route through the Bighorn Mountains would be almost flat. 

Last night at dinner another RV’er said the road would take us up to 9,000 ft. Well that feature of the Trailer Life Navigator is all but useless; we climbed via spectacular switchbacks beside the Shell River canyon to just over 9,000 ft. The GPS trackfile shows the climb was 4,813 ft over 21.7 miles; an average grade of 4%.

The photo shows Pyramid Peak with the river 1000s of feet below our vantage point. In a high plateau beside a meadow a huge bull moose ran across the road and into the woods. Mavis couldn't get the camera out in time so we have no proof. The owner of the RV Park here said it is extremely rare to see a moose in these parts.  

The roads are full of motorcycles coming to the 68th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which officially starts in two days on Monday August 4th. Sturgis is just 50 miles east of Sundance. Everything is booked up solid from here to Sturgis where an estimated 500,000 riders are expected. We will bypass Sturgis tomorrow by 50 miles in all directions and take the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway to Mt Rushmore and on to Wall, SD.

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Posted on 08/02/2008 10:17 PM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 1 August 2008
Day 46 West Yellowstone, MT to Greybull, WY
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Tonight we are in Greybull Wyoming at a KOA in the heart of the Big Horn Basin. The temperature went from 41 to 105. We are in the desert so hopefully it will cool off tonight. The altitude at 3,788 ft is down 3,000 ft from West Yellowstone. 

Last night we had dinner at the Oregon Shortline Restaurant. Of interest was the restored 1903 private railway coach housed inside at the front door. It was used by the VP Marketing of the railway. The coach was open for tours and beautifully restored.

This morning when we got to the park entrance we found the route I was going to take through Yellowstone was blocked due to a forest fire. The alternate was a little longer and the same route the bus tour took. However, we were able to stop at different places than on the bus tour.  There was no wind so the fumaroles were easy to see. (see photo).

Heading east from the park there were more forest fires which blocked the views with smoke. Our next stop was at the Buffalo Bill Dam on the Shoshone River. At 350 ft high when built in 1910 it was the world’s tallest. At Cody we toured the Buffalo Bill Historic Center. A good friend of ours is a descendant of Buffalo Bill so we were interested to learn more about him. There are 5 museums in one building devoted to life in the west. It’s well worth a visit.

Tonight we had dinner at Dutchie’s Restaurant which is in the KOA RV Park. It was one of the best meals yet on the trip. It is small with maybe 10 tables and all were filled. We sat with a couple from Abbotsford BC. Definitely not what one would expect at a KOA park.

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Posted on 08/01/2008 10:10 PM by Bob Duthie
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