More Badlands! 8/26/10

We liked the name! The town was huge and the varmints were everywhere - barking, yipping and leaping for joy!?
A baby big-horned sheep trying to cross the road. Grasshoppers and more?
South Dakota - where the buffalo roam...

Badlands!! 8/26/10

South Dakota Badlands! As long as we were in the area, thought we'd take a look-see. It's a stark and out of the ordinary national park, but worthy of a visit. Established as a National Monument in 1939 and redesignated Badlands National Park in 1978. We picked the Cedar Lodge Campground inside the park and, consequently, had no hookups. Unfortunately, our stay coincided with a "hot spell." The temperature reached 104F. HOT. We toured the Badlands Loop Road in Smartie and got out of the air-conditioned car at most of the info overlooks. Lots of paleontology history and fascinating geology, but it was too hot to hike or bike or in-depth explore. We returned to our RV, cranked up the generator, and blew air-conditioned air inside for several hours. Outside in the shade of a tree, I was entertained by numerous mountain bluebirds, meadowlarks, and magpies who were feasting on millions of grasshoppers. Faced with more heat the next day, we elected to leave the next morning to find cooler temps!


Ashland, Wisconsin and South Dakota 8/22 - 8/25

Ashland Oredock. On my bike under part of it. Enlarge the last photo for neat information about The Big Lake.

Jimmy cradled in Paul's hand! S. Dakota's colorful sunflower fields. Early morning deer @ West Whitlock SRA (off the Missouri River).

Ashland WI was a great stop for us, with a very nice city C/G on Lake Superior, a 10-mile loop bike trail, lots of amenities inc. an artesian well, and the Oredock. Originally constructed in 1916, the Oredock was the largest concrete structure of its kind in the world... and our C/G lay in its shadow. We didn't know what in the world it was - the thing is huge! Ore-filled train cars would drive onto the dock and drop their load into ore ships below. It's now partially dismantled and inaccessible. We rode the bike loop along the lake and thru the city. Really enjoyed our stay.

Into South Dakota with it's golden waves of grain and acre upon acre of bright sunflowers, always facing east. How could anyone feel lousy surrounded by such a display? Watched Mom deer and two fawns browsing early one morning - made a pretty picture.


At random -- 8/22/10


Along the Lake Superior Shore.


We saw it coming; we were vigilant and caught the odometer on camera at the crucial moment, amazing ourselves. Jimmy's comment ran something like this - Local Newspaper headline: "RV'ing couple ran off the road and crashed in a cornfield. When questioned in the hospital, they responded, We were only trying to take a photo of our odometer."  Ahahahhaaaaa, Jimmy. Not so. I pulled onto a wide shoulder, stopped, and THEN took the photo. We shook hands. And continued on our way. 

When we started this trip, the odometer read 36,732, which means we've put 7,711 miles on the RV since May 13th! 

Somewhere on the Superior shore, we stopped at a farm stand and bought fresh veggies, inc this monument to Cruciferous vegetables: An everlasting cabbage. A tiny leaf off a nearby tree fell on Jimmy's head the moment the camera blinked...!


Old Fort Niagara, 8/18 - 8/19

Jimmy and I followed the St. Lawrence Seaway from the Eisenhower Lock at the New York-Quebec border, downriver to our Grass Point C/G (1000 Islands area) at Alexandria Bay - and we saw lots of barge boat traffic, like trains on water. If you had a house facing the ship channel, and we saw plenty, you could wave to the captain while you were washing dishes in the kitchen! (uh-huh....)


A Seaway barge heading downriver @ Alexandria Bay.


The North Redoubt at Fort Niagara, and ...

... the Castle @ Fort Niagara.


Three flags @ the Castle and its defenses.


Cool bike rider @ the entrance!

Cousins in Lewiston!

Then, heading west along Lake Erie, we drove to the Niagara area and set up camp at Four Mile Creek State C/G. Jimmy and I rode our bikes the next day from our campsite to Old Fort Niagara, a fine 11-mile R/T ride. To learn more about the fort's fascinating 300+ year history, go to http://www.oldfortniagara.org/. Our stay in Niagara was brief, but we made time for dinner with my cousin, Pat, and we three passed a good time together! Thanx, Pat!


8/14/10 kayak the Androscoggin River

Ready to put in the Androscoggin. "Dog" paddling? Swift water in parts!

Lunch break on a sandbar. Playful river otters. Isn't this a pretty sight?

As we toodled along the road and were looking for a place to camp for the night, Bethel Outdoor Adventure and Campground popped into view. And they’re on the lively Androscoggin River. For a few bucks they’d take us ten miles upriver the next morning, drop us and our tandem inflatable kayak off, and leave us to our day! Bingo! We spent four hours paddling, floating and goofing off down the river, thru rips and rapids, around islands, and into shallow channels back to our campsite. Perfect weather for a day on the river. Met a red squirrel paddling like mad to get to the other side, a gaggle of common mergansers, and a family of river otters (who popped their heads up like periscopes to inquire about our business on their river!). Fun day!


Ohmygosh -- The Bridge!!!! 8/12/10

The 8-mile long (oh, soooo long!) Confederation Bridge that connects Prince Edward Island with New Brunswick, Canada cost us money. The ride (bridge or ferry) to PEI is free, but you have to pay to leave! Our crossing today was smooth, thank goodness (unlike three years ago!). We drove straight thru New Brunswick and entered Maine at Houlton. What a delightful time we had for six-and-a-half weeks in the Atlantic Maritime Provinces of Canada.

Welcome back to the Land of the Free,  Home of the Brave: Hello America!  Go Red Sox!

One of my favorite moose signs!

8/11/10 - Tignish PEI

St. Simon and St. Jude RC Church, built in 1859, was the largest brick structure of its time: It still is the predominate feature of Tignish. Measuring 185' with the steeple, it's used today as a beacon by fishermen. First painted in 1885, the ceiling had gold stars painted on a blue background. It's been repainted and is breathtaking. For us, the best part was the organ - a beautiful tracker-action pipe organ, built in 1882 by Louis Mitchell of Montreal and one of only four remaining in the world. It contains 1118 pipes ranging in height from three inches to 16'... and a lady named Diane was there to give us a sample of how it works and sounds! She played several selections, including a Bach fugue and Beethoven's Ode to Joy. Wowzers!
We gobbled our PB & J sandwiches in the lovely garden next to the church. As we got in Smartie to leave, we spotted the sign on the pole. PS: The parking lot was zig-zagged with black tire marks! Sigh....


PEI West Coast 8/10 and 8/11

Beginning the bike ride from Alberton to Tignish. Jimmy at the world's largest mailbox! Eh?

Walking the waterline where the West Point Lighthouse and wind farm are.

On Tuesday the 10th we biked to the Confederation Trail's end at Tignish, a 30-miler R/T (48 km), which was fun, except there was no "end." No sign, no station, no nothing. We biked to an historic brick building thinking it might be the station, but it was a Canada Post (office). The old station had been torn down and the trail signs ripped out. So, phooey, we biked to a bakery and bought energy drinks and homemade cookies, sat outside in the shade of a tree and savored our snack.

On Wednesday the 11th, we drove to the West Point Lighthouse and wind farm. Toured the wind interpretive centre, and then went outside to gape at all the different wind turbines. Again, gray seals were abundant around the lighthouse waters, along with Bonaparte's Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Black Guillemots and Eider ducks. We wanted to walk out onto the mile-long reef where all these critters were basking, which can be done at low tide, but the tide was up and swimming here was OUT of the question!

When we checked at a local fisherman's port to see what they were catching, a fisherman gave us gave us three mackerel fresh off the boat for our supper. I pan fried them and they were actually pretty good.

After an enjoyable week on PEI, we're leaving in the morning....

Bike from St. Peters to Morell 8/7/10

Oh, yes! Raspberries on the morning cereal. Amber waves of grain. Woolly bear predicts a mild winter?

Across the long bridge. Checking on the apples - not quite ripe. Trail's turn-around point this day.

On a warm, windy day we biked this 15 mile (R/T) section of the Confederation Trail because of its reputation: It's one of the prettiest. We agree. We followed water most of the way, and were curious about the long lines of small round floats that looked like bowling balls. We were told they were mussel farms. OK. One wit told us the floats marked lanes for the Olympic swim team (obviously a joke in the brackish cold water!). We picked a load of sweet raspberries, a couple of apples, rode our bikes and just enjoyed the heck outa the whole day - life IS good.