Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Not a Straight Line

After just under 24 hours in Forest City, it was time to hit the road. While the RV is destined for an Alaska life, the immediate object was to get it to Arizona in the most timely manner practical.

His money, his rig. It was only right that he drove the first leg.

We intentionally stuck to the two lane roads while breaking in the engine. 'Sides that it gave us a chance to see country we hadn't seen before.

It seemed like every town had at least one court house or fancy old church building. In every case except one, we just waved as we drove by.

We cut across the NW corner of Missouri, headed for Saint Joseph. Along the way we pulled into a little community park to switch drivers and find a simple geocache. (Hint: It's just about 6" below the bug - now all you have to do is find the bug.)

I hoped to find some special caches in Saint Joseph, but parking for the RV was too dicey for our preference, so this cache became my only Missouri cache.

The other thing we discovered at that stop was that there's one disadvantage to purchasing an RV only a mile from where it was built - the swarf was just now starting to sift out of the corners of the slides - a process that would have been transparent to us if the RV had 1000+ miles of commercial delivery

We made a quick stop in Atchison, Kansas to see Amelia Earhart's birthplace. A quick picture to prove I was there before continuing to Topeka.

Initially, our plan had been to boondock at Cracker Barrel but their parking lot was full and didn't have any designated RV spots, so we picked a different spot to eat and then picked up some essentials at Home Depot before pushing a bit further down the road.

We knew we'd need the gloves eventually, but the more important purchase was the fly swatter. Somewhere along the line we'd picked up a couple friendly hitchhikers that needed to meet their demise.

Usually, I'd document a bit about places we stayed, but it was dark when we pulled into Eisenhower State Park (and it was dark when we left the next morning) so this is all you get. There are other reviews of the park on Campendium.
It's a pretty cushy rig, but I'm not ready to trade in our Scamp!

Thursday, September 14, 2017


I really enjoy airports, flying, and many people watching opportunities provided. In spite of multiple announcements of how to best use the larger overhead bins ("put your bag in on edge like a book on a shelf,") it's pretty clear that some people have never visited a library!

I felt fortunate to get a window seat although the view anywhere in the northwest quadrant of the country was limited to smoke.

After dropping our bags at the hotel in Minneapolis, we went over to the still famous mall. I was amazed by the limited number of customers wandering the mall but did appreciate the positioning of the Apple and Microsoft stores right across from one another.

Someone was pretty serious about their Legos. This very, very large helicopter built from Legos was suspended at the third floor level. I suspect it might not survive a hard landing.

The next morning a shuttle picked us up and we headed south. I've seen a lot of airports with 'planes on a stick,' but this is the first time I've seen three Thunderbirds stuck on sticks.

I did manage to pick up one geocache near the hotel before leaving Minnesota, but only one.

Our priority this day was to do the factory tour at Winnebago. They didn't allow any photos during the factory tour,

but they did have a couple classics in the Visitors Center. This 1959 Winnebago trailer originally sold for $900.

They also had a very nice example of the classic Winnebago motor home. These continue to attract such interest that the factory is again building them.

New Winnebagos are only sold through dealers so after the tour we returned to the world's largest Winnebago dealer, located just a mile from the factory.

With paperwork completed, we moved in for the evening.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to adequately serve as navigator, given the screen saver on my computer! I loved the desk with two USB ports and a 12 volt outlet to keep the computer charged.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Windshield Time

Our son visited us a couple weeks ago, doing some research for a purchase he and his wife were considering. A few days later, I got an email with flight info for me.

Jeff knows that I learned to enjoy windshield time as a young man and I still won't pass up a chance, especially when it means seeing places I haven't seen before. While the tickets say Minneapolis, we're really headed to Forest City, Iowa.

By the time this publishes, I should have lots of pictures on my phone and material for two or three more blog posts. We'll pick up his new purchase and start working our way back towards Arizona, dropping him at a handy airport along the way so that he can go back to work. I'll continue home with his new toy and a list (hopefully not too long) of mods to do on it this winter, in preparation for its future Alaska life.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Virtual Memories

While I was in Seattle for my sister's memorial, I received an amazing letter from the folks at the Geocaching Headquarters.

I was amazed to see that Geocaching HQ considered me to be in the top %1 of geocachers, and I had as many questions as others did about how they selected the fortunate few. HQ followed up with an additional statement about the algorithm they used. It looks like my efforts to build caches that people enjoy paid unexpected dividends.

Virtual caches often highlight historic locations or memorials that aren't appropriate locations for a physical cache. I considered highlighting Falcon Field to draw attention to the role Mesa played in training British pilots in WWII. After considering some other locations, BJ and I headed to the rest area at Sunset Point to do some homework.

Even though the tree looks like it's had a rough life, the blossoms on the Desert Willow were beautiful.

This tree is right by the sidewalk but most folks at the rest stop don't notice it.

A few steps further away, and slightly below the level of most of the rest area is a large sundial made of granite mounted in concrete. Most folks don't even realize its there, and even fewer know why its there.

This sundial was created by Arizona Department of Transportation in the late 1990's to honor the memory of their employees who were killed on duty. The memorial now has the names of 33 people who have given their lives in service to the citizens and visitors in Arizona.

The text on the gnomon reads, "As the sun sets over our fallen companions, may they always be remembered."

Since this sundial is easily accessed but rarely visited, I used my opportunity to create a rare virtual cache (GC7BA2C) at this location. I hope that it will draw more people to visit and get them to slow down when passing highway workers.