2013 Travels travel blog

Carpe at Americas Mailbox campground in Box Elder, SD

Construction along I 90 west of Mitchell, SD

Memorial Day Weekend traffic in I 90 in South Dakota

Sign for our favorite Rapid City restaurant
This one was hundreds of miles...

"Highway Art" along I 90

Crossing the Missouri River

Political Correctness is not a midwest weakness

Signs for Wall Drug dot the highways for hundreds of miles

Approaching Box Elder

Americas Mailbox headquarters and campground
Carpe is to the left

Carpe Diem flies the flag at half staff
Protocol calls for flying at...

Mid morning thunderstorm left mothball-sized hail

Hail accumulates on Carpe's windshield wiper

Bob poses outside Teddy Bear Town

We donated a bear to Teddy Bear Town
Bob poses with Jackie Miley...

Some of the 8,100+ Teddy Bear Town denizens

Our certificate for donating bear #8,114
He definitely won't be lonesome

Sat, 25 May: Another travel day! This was, without a doubt, pretty much as perfect a travel day as we've ever enjoyed. Carpe ran flawlessly, averaging 9.8 mpg for the day. The weather was ideal, little wind, sunny, and not too hot. Both the highway and the traffic were great. We encountered a few construction zones, but nothing that slowed us down at all.

We departed Cabelas a few minutes before eight and decided to take Interstate 90. We got on and immediately entered a twelve mile long construction project that reduced traffic to one lane in each direction. But, we all moved at the posted (55 mph) limit so there was no delay. We stopped for fuel at Chamberlain, SD and switched drivers.

Lunch was at a rest stop and another driver change. Bob took us the balance of the way into Box Elder, where we arrived at 1240 local time (we switched into Mountain Time during today's run).

Along the way we saw hundreds of Wall Drug signs. If you've never traveled along I 90 you have no idea just how famous Wall Drug is. Located in the town of Wall, SD this drug store has become an institution mostly due to its extensive advertising campaign consisting of thousands of billboards for hundreds of miles in every direction. Click on the link above to access their web site and their history.

We also saw billboards advertising the Firehouse Brewing Company of Rapid City. The Firehouse Brewing Company is one of our favorite Rapid City dining spots and their highway adverts consist of an old fire engine in front of a billboard.

We also got to see highway art (some folks have wayyy too much time on their hands...), herds of cattle and bison, and gorgeous vistas of the badlands. We really enjoy the midwest and South Dakota is pretty much up there.

We arrived at the Americas Mailbox Campground and got assigned to a nice end spot. Andy, the camphost, made us feel welcome and really gave us the VIP treatment. Once we got settled we drove to Sam's Club for a few items and then back home for some "feet up" time. A nice Happy Hour and dinner completed our day.

As this is written (2040 MDT) we are under a Sever Thunderstorm and Tornado Watch (again?!?) We're about to put our computers away and enjoy long and hot showers. For the first time in two weeks we have full hookups so there is no need to conserve water...

We'll be here for a bit longer than a week. Our plans are to do a bit of sightseeing and try to catch up on long overdue paperwork.

Today's mileage: 272.

Mon, 27 May: Memorial Day 2013! May those who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and preserving our nation not have died in vain.

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is a very special day. It is not a celebratory holiday as are Independence and Labor Days. It is, rather, a day to remember and honor those brave and selfless Americans who fought, and paid with their lives, for our Nation.

Flag etiquette calls for flags to be flown at half staff until noon, at which time they are raised to full staff for the balance of the day. It is a day to remember and honor those who died in their service of country.

This year we are spending Memorial Day in Box Elder, SD at the Americas Mailbox Campground. Americas Mailbox is our mail forwarding service and is owned and run by true patriots. The street is Americas Way, and the company owns and flies the largest American flag in South Dakota.

We expect today to be quiet with less than perfect weather. If conditions permit we'll fly our flag as proscribed. It has been too windy to fly flags and even the Americas Mailbox giant is safely tucked in its box.

This is our fifth year full-timing, so we thought we'd look back on where we were on Memorial Days past. A review of our log shows:

Memorial Day 2009, 25 May: On the road traveling with Ray & Cathie Bailey. We drove from Saint George, SC to Forest City, NC.

Memorial Day 2010, 31 May: Ogden, UT. We visited with Bob's niece Stacy and her kiddies Travis & Chandler. We had just spent a week in Moab and were still "digesting" all the beauty of Arches and Natural Bridges National Parks.

Memorial Day 2011, 30 May: Bar Harbor, ME. We had variable weather and spent a full week enjoying this lovely corner of New England. This was the weekend that most businesses opened for the season so it was a fun visit.

Memorial Day 2012, 28 May: Tok, AK. We were at the start of our summer in Alaska and had just crossed into Alaska from Canada. We spent this year's Memorial Day happy to be back in the USA!

So, that's our Memorial Day memories. We trust you enjoyed this journey down memory lane. Let us know...

Midmorning update (10:30 MDT)! We're under a thunderstorm warning for another fifteen minutes. A small, yet intense, cell blasted thru Box Elder leaving us with an accumulation of mothball-sized hail. We haven't yet ventured out to see if there is any damage. Still too much lightening for that.

Our biggest worry is damage to our solar panels. Thunderstorms are not our favorite weather phenomena (actually, our favorite is blue skies with puffy white clouds, balmy temps, and wafting zephyrs. Haven't seen too much of that this spring...)

Wed, 29 May: We're still here in Box Elder and will remain so for the near future. We have a few excursions to nearby rallies and such, but no drives longer than 150 miles planned till after July Fourth.

The severe spring weather mostly missed us by sliding north or south. The Black Hills to the west help keep the really nasty stuff at bay. We had some high winds and spatters of rain, but nothing serious.

This morning we drove to Hill City, SD to visit Teddy Bear Town. Teddy Bear Town houses the world's largest collection of Teddy Bears and is listed as such by the Guinnes World Records and Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

Jackie Miley, Curator and Chief Arctophile is as pleasant and fun as always. We took a large Pot Bellied Bear and donated him to the museum. He is officially Bear #8,114 and Jackie promises him a good home. He certainly won't get lonesome.

Back home for another relaxing day...

Sat, 01 Jun: Can you believe that it is already June? This has been quite the spring and our weather up here in the Black Hills certainly belies all this "Global Warming" bunk.

It has been rainy and very windy the past few days. The Rapid City news reports indicate that the rainfall exceeds "normal" by a considerable margin. Yesterday it only reached 55° F and the wind was unrelenting. Gusts were strong enough to rock the coach and we had to retract our slides to preclude damage to the canvas toppers. The forecast is for sunny days, gradual warming into the seventies, and slackening of the winds. We're all for that!

Meanwhile we continue to "hibernate" in our cozy coach and allow the world to pass us by. This is what retirement is all about...

More anon...

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