We spent the past week visiting with family and friends and attending our family picnic. The family picnic has been going on the same weekend every year for about 70 years. Since the mid 50s it’s been at the same location. My uncle Bruce and aunt Theresa generously let us use their home equipped with a pool and a large front yard for games. They sold their house to my cousin Wayne and his wife Lisa and they continued the generous tradition. The day starts with coffee and donuts in the morning and is spent socializing, eating, swimming pool, eating, games, and ends around 7pm after corn on the cob and hot dogs and hamburgers.
We left The Winnebago GNR Monday afternoon July 21st and headed east to Patterson, NY. We didn’t travel far that first night because we got such a late start. We got as far as Des Moines, IA and stayed at The Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona.
It was the only time Eileen and I ever went into a casino and just had dinner and left. We had no cash. The ATM charged 10% for the transaction plus a $3 service charge. If that wasn’t bad enough the ATM said if you don’t take your money fast enough the ATM will pull it back and you would have to contact the provider to get a refund! We said no thanks and left.
It took us a little over four days to drive the 1226 miles from Forest City, IA to Patterson NY. There we had dinner at Eileen’s brother Bill’s house.
The following day we had them all over for a barbecue at our house. There were ten of us including two children. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages with grilled onions and peppers and pasta salad with lots of desserts.
Max made lots of friends that weekend and played fetch for hours!
Monday July 28th
We drove to Auburn MA and spent the night at an Elk’s Club parking lot with their permission of course.
Tuesday we drove to Northwood, NH to see Robin and Scott and our three grand dogs. We stayed at Saddleback campground.
Wednesday we got in the car and went up to the White Mountains Forest. To see the Flume Gorge. The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. It’s like walking through a crack in the earth.
Who needs a stairmaster! The climb took us about an hour and 15 min. to do. Breathtaking views plus bear and wolf dens.
We just finished 10 days at the Winnebago GNR. We got here early, the actual rally started on the 16th and lasted only 5 days, but they had something scheduled everyday from the 7th of July on. The theme of the Rally was Out Of This World. It was the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. It also coincided with the annual Puckerbrush Festival. Puckerbrush was the name of the city before it was changed to Forest City. Our house is the first one on the left. The blue on the corners of the bedroom slide out is cut from a swimming noodle. It’s there to protect me from bumping my head…again! We’re also happy we had our bikes this time, we rode them everywhere. Approximately 1100 motor homes were here. This is an aerial photo of the Winnebago grounds before the Rally started. The buildings at the top are the Winnebago factory. We took a two hour tour (not a three hour tour) of the factory. It was great. We learned so much about the Winnebago manufacturing process. One process that stands out for me was The Water Jet Cutter, using water to cut many kinds of materials. It uses only three gallons of water a day. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were filled with seminars. There was something scheduled from 6:15 AM until 6 PM. Starting with exercising at dawn! (needless to say I didn’t make the 6:15 class…E) They also had team and individual competitions. This competition is who can back up through a course-blind folded the fastest. The driver is blind folded and their wife gives them instructions on how to back up through the course. No knocking down cones or people. The husband and wife team that won took only 39 seconds. (needless to say we’re not quite there yet either…E) Saturday was the Puckerbrush Parade. They served a bar-b-que chicken dinner after the parade. It was strange that I could walk down the streets of Forest City, IA and wave to people that I knew. The paraders would throw candy for the kids. Later there was a 3M float that was throwing 3M sponges. The adults were scrambling for those. No parade would be complete without the Shriners.
There were three girls the two on the right and one more. They were grabbing as much candy as they could and passing it back to a fourth girl who was bagging it for everybody!
In keeping with the Out Of This World theme. Breast Cancer travel trailer. Motor homes were parked many different ways. We were parked in the 50 amp area. Cost a little more, but we had 50 amps and could run anything in the motor home without blowing a circuit breaker. Others were parked in state rows. Containing rigs from just their state. One afternoon was dedicated to row parties. Each state was giving out food and drink (spirits)! A lot of drinks. Who knew, these old-timers know how to party! That was supposed to be lemonade and turned out to be almost straight Jack Daniels. Oh well, I finished it anyway. We also had entertainment every day and night. These are two school teachers comedy act from Minnasooota! The last night was Jefferson Starship, minus Grace Slick. She thought she was too old to tour anymore! She might be right, but it was a fun night. We also made some new friends. Now we’re on the road for the second day heading east to Eileen’s brother and family in NY. After that we’ll be on our way to the Federico Family Picnic!
Thursday July 3rd We said our good byes to Mark and headed south on I-25 to Camping world for some work on our house. We took the FIT and drove back out to Estes Park to Snowy Peaks Winery . Spent a couple of hours enjoying Estes Park again while our house was being fixed. When we returned to Camping World it was too late to start our trip to Forest City, IA, so Camping World let us spend the night at their facility. They had water and electric, but only 30 amps. We prefer 50 amps because it allows us to run everything at one time. With 30 amps we have to watch what we run. Like we can only run one A/C instead of running both. We’ve gone with 30 amps enough times that it’s not a problem. Actually we have a Power Control System (PCS) that monitors our ampere usage and will shut down appliances before tripping circuit breakers. When on 30 amps or less it will show us how many amps we’re using so we can decide what to run or not run.
Friday July 4th
We drove to Fort Laramie, WY and spent the night at a tiny mom & pop campground. After setting up we drove over to Ft. Laramie National Historic site. Didn’t realize they had an all day celebration of which we missed most of. Ft. Laramie is part of The National Parks system.
The town of Ft. Laramie has a population of 200 something, but they put on one of the best fireworks display we’ve ever seen. It seemed to go on forever. Three times we thought it was the finale, but they just kept shooting up more fireworks. Saturday July 5th Today was a travel day. We drove to Heartland RV Park in Hermosa, South Dakota. This was the view out our front window. There were about six horses that would greet you in the morning or anytime of the day if they were out. Unfortunately I missed getting a picture of them playing.
Sunday July 6th We went to the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorials. This is the view as you walk into the Mount Rushmore Memorial.
There is a trail that will get you to the base of Mt. Rushmore.
Views from the base.
Next was the Crazy Horse Memorial. In 1939 Korczak Ziolkowski was working on the Mount Rushmore project. He also won first prize for a sculpture at the 1939 World’s Fair. Due to his notoriety Chief Standing Bear asked him to create a similar monument for the North American Indians. Korczak worked on the project until his death in 1972 at age 74. He and his wife had 10 children. Six of whom still work on the project. It is funded entirely by private funds. Several times they have turned down offers of government funding. View from the parking lot.
There was lots to see and do at the memorial.
Monday July 7th. In the morning we went to Sturgis South Dakota. If you’re a biker you’ve probably heard about Sturgis. There is a rally there every year in August and the town is over flowing with motorcycles of every kind. We were there a month ahead of time so very few bikes.
In the afternoon we went to Deadwood South Dakota. Deadwood is famous for gold being discovered in 1874 by General George Custer, and Wild Bill Hickok was killed by Jack McCall. Hickok never liked to sit with his back to the door, but this day the only seat available was with it’s back facing the door. He sat to play and Jack McCall walked in and shot him in the back of the head. He was holding “Aces and Eights” now known in poker as a “Dead Man’s Hand.” The town was also made into an HBO series Deadwood.
Thursday July 10th We finally made it to the 2014 Winnebago Grand National Rally in Forest City, Iowa. We will be camped here for 11 days and then start the trip east to the Family Picnic.
Benson Sculpture Park has been described as “one of the most unique sculpture gardens in the nation”, and that’s an understatement. This is one attraction you won’t want to miss. It’s located just outside of Ft. Collins, CO. in the town of Loveland (great name). With over 130 pieces of sculpture in the park (and more added each year), and the same breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains, this is a great place to go whether it’s with your family, a romantic stroll with your partner, or just a place of solitude. We had a picnic lunch with Mark in a shaded area and walked around the surrounding two ponds.
You might think you recognize somebody, but I can assure you these are all sculptures.
This is a little boy trying to get his fishing line untangled from the tree.
They are comprised of both traditional and modern sculptures as well as both small and large. As you can see, some were interactive. Thank’s Mark, for a beautiful day!