Tag Archives: Seahawks

Super friends and a return to the Super Bowl!

The crew in Key Largo

The crew in Key Largo

When we last wrote, it was right before the NFC championship game Seahawks vs. the Packers. That night was clearly crazy for us Hawks fans, and one we will all not soon forget. Traci and I celebrated with horns honking from the MoHo and hugs from our neighbors, we might have been having too much fun, but who would have thought we could pull out that game. Way to go Hawks!!

Mike kayaking, John Pennekamp State Park (before the Cameron's arrived)

Kayaking in John Pennekamp State Park, Key Largo (before the Cameron’s arrived)

We spent that next week in anticipation of visitors, our great friends Sunny and Mitch! We drove up to Fort Lauderdale to pick them up on a Friday night, and sat through the 3 hour return (normally 1.5 hour drive) but it was all good as we had plenty to talk about on the road trip home. That night Mitch and I enjoyed a feast of Stone Crab; I had picked up 3 lbs. from some guy in a parking lot restaurant we were eating at a day before, all for $25. (Normally the local stores sell it for $26 per lb.) Afterwards, we set up the MoHo for our weary travelers to get some rest, and got some sleep.

Saturday we woke and ate breakfast in, and then it was off to another local event, this time the Stone Crab and Seafood Festival of Key Largo. The venue was the same as the Beer Fest a few weeks prior, so we knew right where to go, but this time we got to take our guests. The event was much more crowded, lots more vendors and food booths, and the weather was a bit cooler, with plenty of wind. The weather did not dampen our spirits, the beverages started to flow, and we had a blast. We found a couple of trinkets that we could not live without; including what Mitch called “the greatest life changing purchase ever!” The Bevfridge, a mini beer/wine/pick your poison cooler that holds ice around your beverage, and guarantees that your last sip will be colder than your first, and it was so true according to MD. The Bevfridge traveled with us all week, and was put to a lot of good use; I might have to get one myself. We left the festival and headed to the Big Chill, one of my favorite places here for dinner. The wings in this place are second to only the Carolina Ale House in the SE, and we had a great view from our table in the cold wind that night. We returned to the MoHo, and played Dominoes, what a fun first full day!

Stone Crab and Seafood Fest, Key Largo

Stone Crab and Seafood Fest, Key Largo

Sunday brought McMiller’s for breakfast, and then we made our way to the pool that afternoon. The weather had turned a bit cooler, highs down to the upper 60’s, but also a lot less humidity. After getting our dose of vitamin D for a few hours, we returned to the MoHo and loaded the cooler for an evening cruise on the water. We neglected to mention in our last post that we had rented a pontoon boat for 5 weeks of our stay, wanting to surprise our guests. The evening was calm, and I took them out to where I had been fishing, even catching a Sea Trout for the group to witness. We then made our way out to the middle of the bay for what we all would agree was one of the best sunsets ever, a truly remarkable sight!

Fishing off the sweet  Parti Kraft"

Fishing off the sweet “Parti Kraft”

Sunset 5:58pm

Sunset 5:58pm

Sunset 6:07pm

Sunset 6:07pm

Sunset 6:13pm

Sunset 6:13pm

Sunny and the Sunset

Sunny and the sunset, vacation mode

Monday Mitch and I were scheduled to go backcountry sight fishing with a local guide, but we decided the night before with the high wind forecast to postpone the trip till later in the week when it would hopefully improve. So, instead, we made the best of a cold windy day and showed our guests many of our local watering holes. We started at the Island Grill on the ocean side and enjoyed the views and spotty sunshine, and introduced them to Key West Ale, one of our new local favorite beverages. We then made our way up to the Pilot House, with the glass bottom bar, and had a few appetizers, again while enjoying the views of the marina there. Our last stop of the afternoon was to Shipwrecks, the same place I had bought the Stone Crab we enjoyed a few nights before, and had a few more appetizers and beers. We hurried home to catch the sunset, not nearly as spectacular as the night before, and another evening of dominoes and laughter.

Dominoes!

Dominoes!

Tuesday we hit the road and made our way to Key West. We had made a reservation to stay down there for a night, as it is about 100 miles away, but takes about 2.5-3 hours due to all the traffic and slow speed limits in the Keys. We checked into our hotel, and made it quickly out for lunch on Duvall Street. Full of food, we showed our friends the town, including the “Smallest Bar in Key West,”  Sloppy Joes, and capped it all off with a wonderful sunset near Mallory Square at Sunset Pier. We then made our way back toward the hotel, and stopped off at a wine bar for a bottle, then on to dinner at a nice little Italian place close to the hotel. After a great meal, Mitch and I headed home, while Sunny and Traci stayed out for a couple more beverages, before making their way home. Another awesome day with great friends.

Worlds Smallest Bar, Key West

Smallest Bar in Key West

Sunset Pier, Key West

Sunset Pier, Key West

Key West Sunset

Key West Sunset

Traci & Sunny on Duvall Street

Traci & Sunny on Duvall Street

Wednesday we checked out of the hotel and went to breakfast/brunch at the Banana Café, a neat little old place that had great food, and most important, open seats for us. We then drove up to the north side of town, stopped for a beer over the marina, before making our way towards home. A quick trip to Key West, but plenty of great memories for sure. On the way home, we made a stop at Robbie’s, a place Traci and I had been before. Here is where people can “Feed the Tarpons.” We went out to the dock, and there were dozens of the massive fish in port. With a bait bucket in hand, we fed these giants, while watching others doing the same. We then made our way around the village with all the vendors, and then returned to the car for the remaining drive home. We got the cooler loaded up and headed out to the bay again for the sunset, not going out too far as the boat was not sounding very strong. We had a nice evening on the water, and returned to order some really bad pizza from a local joint, an early night to bed, as Mitch and I were going fishing in the morning on our rescheduled trip.

Robbie's Marina, Feeding the Tarpon

Robbie’s Marina, Feeding the Tarpon

MD and I woke early, out of the MoHo at 7:00AM to meet our guide at the marina by 7:30AM. We got there and met Captain Barry Hoffman as scheduled. After a few minutes of talking, it was agreed by all that the trip should be canceled. The water temps in the area where we were going to try to fish were in the high 50’s and many of the fish do not liven up till the water temps are around 70 degrees. We thanked Captain Barry for his honesty, saving us and costing him money, but in the end the smart decision was made. We returned to the MoHo, and joined our wives back in bed and slept for a few more hours. The winds kicked up as predicted, so we made our own party in the tent outside the MoHo, playing more dominoes, and just enjoying each other’s company. (We probably would have tried to hit the pool at some point, but it was closed for a “massive leak”; no idea when it will get repaired, remember we are in the Keys and nothing gets done quickly around here.) Nearing the late afternoon, and all of us hungry, we headed out on the boat to a couple restaurants a few miles away, the Bayside and then on to Snook’s for dinner. Fortunately it was a partial moon and not too cloudy so I could navigate us home in the dark, and we finished our dominos tournament and off to bed.

On the Pontoon...

On the Pontoon…

Captain Miller

Captain Miller

MD chillin' with his BevFridge

MD chillin’ with his Bevfridge

Sun & Mitch at the Bayside

Sun & Mitch at the Bayside Grill

Sunny & Traci at Snook's

Sunny & Traci at Snook’s

Friday brought the end of Sunny and Mitch’s visit, but not before one last trip out in the boat. The day was perfect, almost no wind, and very clear skies, so we made our way out to the “blue water” beyond the local mangrove islands. We turned off the engine and just floated for an hour or so, before having to make our way back to the MoHo to head to the airport. It was a great finish to a fantastic visit with awesome friends. We are so glad they came down to stay with us for a week, and enjoy our lifestyle with us on this journey. Thanks Burn and Mitchell D. – love you guys, Baby G and E!

Sunny took this very cool pano shot

Sunny took this very cool pano shot

Happy Cameron's!

Happy Camerons!

 

This shot was clearly taken BEFORE the game.  Don't need to rehash what happened. :(((

This shot was clearly taken BEFORE the big game when we were all smiles. We don’t need to rehash what happened :(((

 

Life in Key Largo

 

Sunset from our campground, Calusa

Sunset from our campground in Key Largo

We have been in Key Largo for almost two weeks now. We returned to one of our favorite campgrounds from last year, Calusa Campground, staying in the same site.   We were able to get it for 7 weeks, which was awesome as this is kind of our last hurrah. When we leave at the end of February, we will start our journey home to Washington State (we refer to it this way now, as most people think Washington means DC). This campground is our little slice of heaven. It is a mixed bag of full time owners who either live here or come in for weekends and a small percentage of people like us who are transients trying to soak up the low-stress lifestyle of The Keys.

Mike soaking it all in

Mike soaking it all in

Our site, tent is for nighttime to avoid the bugs.

Our spot on the bay.  The tent is for nighttime to avoid the bugs.

Our spot is right on the bay and Mike is able to fish daily. He landed a small shark the other day, which was pretty exciting. His hope it to catch the big one, the Tarpon that everyone is after. I have been walking every day, trying to get in my 10,000 steps, and we are using our bikes a lot. We have a Publix grocery across the street and there is an amazing fruit stand next door that we hit every few days. We have great neighbors on either side of us. Nick & Sherry from the Ft. Lauderdale area work during the week, then come down on Thurs for the weekend. Pete & Bonnie from Minnesota are renting like us. One of the best parts of the park is the huge pool, only about 50 yards from our site. We have been using it a lot, a great place to meet people too.

Mike's big catch, a 3 foot Nurse Shark

Mike’s big catch, a 3-foot Nurse Shark

The Manatee's come right up to our site, they like the fresh water

The Manatee come right up to our site, they like the fresh water from the bucket

Mama and Baby Manatee

Mama and Baby Manatee

We have been cooking a lot at home, but have enjoyed hitting local places including Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill Happy Hour. Mike can get half-priced peel & eat shrimp and wings and Tuesday is ladies night, which means that my drinks are free. One day we drove about 30 minutes south to Islamorada to see Candy & Cheryl, who we met on a cruise last year. They own a few of the souvenir shops at Robbie’s Marina. We showed up out of the blue, but Cheryl was there and bought us a beer and we spent an hour catching up. They have a great thing going there and it was nice to reconnect.

Ladies night at the Big Chill

Ladies night at the Big Chill

One day we went to Brew on the Bay, the annual Key Largo Brewfest. We love “lucking” into these types of events. This one was pretty cool. There were 30+ breweries there, the setting was amazing and surprisingly it wasn’t very crowded. There were a few of the usual breweries that we seem to always see, but most of them were ones that we have never sampled before including a few from the Keys. There were multiple bands playing, yummy food and overall a pretty great atmosphere.

Brew on the Bay

Brew on the Bay

Taps right on the side of the car

Taps right on the side of the car

This was the day of the game vs Carolina. Ran into this Panther fan.

This was the day of the game vs Carolina. Ran into this Panther fan.

We have really settled in nicely to our temporary home. This is the longest, by far, that we have stayed in one place. I struggle a lot with feeling like we aren’t really doing anything. I mean, we are busy with everyday type of chores and exploring, but the days just seem to be slipping by. I have this ridiculous feeling of guilt at times, but then I snap out of it and remember to embrace this time. Soon enough, we will be home working again and daydreaming about our time on the road. Now is the time to live in the moment!

Up next…Seahawks game on Sunday! It has been fun flying our flags. AND, our great friends, Sunny & Mitch Cameron, arrive on Friday for a week. Can’t wait to see them and share our lifestyle with them!

Soaking it all in!

The water is just so blue!

We love the nightly sunsets

We love the nightly sunsets

Naples and Mom Time! – 12/6/14 – 12/21/14

Happy Cruisers in St. Maarten

Happy Cruisers in St. Maarten

Naples was a place we had not stayed on the last time through, only a drive by on our way south, so we were looking forward to our visit. Our home for the week was the Naples Motorcoach Resort, one of the top 5 places we have stayed as far as RV parks go. It had all the amenities including very large paver sites, 3 pools, a nice clubhouse with theater room and workout room and many organized events including daily morning coffee and ‘Margarita Monday.’ The park wasn’t very full while we were there as I think they are just about to come into their busy season. But, we loved it for all the nice amenities and perfect location.

Our spot at the Naples Motorcoach Resort

Our spot at the Naples Motorcoach Resort

Pool at Naples Motorcoach Resort

Pool at Naples Motorcoach Resort

Our time here was spent relaxing and exploring the town and surrounding areas of Marco Island and the Isle of Capri.   Naples is a pretty ritzy area that is known for great shopping (which we didn’t participate in) and otherwise a pretty laid back, vacation type atmosphere. One day we attended the Franklin Templeton Shootout golf tournament, which was a lot of fun as it was a different format than a typical golf tourney. The day we were there, it was a 2-man best ball and the players seemed less formal than other tourney’s we have been to (p.s. I saw Mike Weir at the Mercato the night before – love those celebrity sightings!). We also visited the beach and walked town, had a few great meals out and Mike did lots of fishing. Before we knew it, it was time to get packed up and ready for our Princess cruise!

Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples

Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples

We drove 40 minutes south to Everglades City and Everglades Isle, a place we stayed last year and loved. They were kind enough to let us park the MoHo there while we were on the cruise, all plugged in, waiting for our return. We then drove the 90 miles across to Ft. Lauderdale and picked up my mom at the airport for our cruise on Regal Princess. We stayed in a hotel on Sat. night, then boarded the ship on Sunday for a 7-day Caribbean Cruise. This was our Holiday celebration with her since Mike & I would be away from home again this year.

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

Regal Princess is a brand new ship.  Notice the over-water seawall at the top of the ship

Regal Princess is a brand new ship. Notice the over-water seawalk at the top of the ship

Showing our 12th man spirit!

Showing our 12th man spirit!

We loved our time together and the itinerary was a perfect mix of time at sea and a few ports of call. Highlights were nightly dinners, wine at Vine’s, talking up the Seahawks, bingo (Mom won $200), exploring St. Thomas and St. Maarten, meeting new friends, lounging on deck and our spa day!

Mike & I on tender with Princess Cays behind us

Mike & I on the tender with Princess Cays behind us

Relaxing on deck

Relaxing on deck

Mom & I on water taxi in St. Maarten

Mom & I on water taxi in St. Maarten

Colorful trio in St. Maarten, Regal Princess behind us

Colorful trio in St. Maarten, Regal Princess behind us

Mike & I on our balcony

Mike & I on our balcony

Amazing nightly sunsets!

Amazing nightly sunsets!

Pre-dinner wine at Vine's

Pre-dinner wine at Vine’s

Last night of the cruise

Last night of the cruise

The time went by very quickly and before we knew it, we were back in Ft. Lauderdale. We dropped mom off at the airport after a nice lunch on the beach, then Mike and I headed back across to the west coast of FL and our 2-week stay at Everglades Isle. Happy Holidays All! This is a hard time to be away from friends and family, but we are still enjoying our time on the road. Thanks to everyone for supporting us on this amazing adventure we are on.

Lunch in Ft. Lauderdale before Mom's flight

Lunch in Ft. Lauderdale before Mom’s flight

Surprised by South Dakota – 9/13/14 – 9/23/14

Mount Rushmore, Keystone, SD

Mount Rushmore, Keystone, SD

Really Surprised! I was looking forward to this stop because Mt. Rushmore was the last big landmark on my list to see, but I had no idea how much more this area had to offer. It all started with the perfect place to stay to explore the Black Hills and surrounding area, Hart Ranch in Rapid City (thanks Bob for the great recommendation!). There are dozens of RV parks in this area making it hard to know what is best, so we really lucked out having this great spot. This place was a member park, but since it was the offseason, they had space for us and at a great rate of $32/night. Sites were roomy, onsite restaurant, cheap laundry, very clean, secure, friendly staff and above all centrally located to everything we wanted to see.   We originally booked 5 nights here and wondered if there would be enough to fill our time, but we extended not once, but twice, for a total of 11 nights. The weather couldn’t have been better, sunny and in the 70’s/80’s most of the time; it had snowed here just a week prior.   I think this area was our biggest surprise of the whole trip, a combination of Utah for unique landscape, Grand Canyon for the awe factor and Yellowstone for wildlife. And, I must hand it to their Visitor’s Association! The guides and marketing materials were very well laid out and easy to use. They had several scenic drives outlined that connected all of the sites and made planning our days more manageable. We saw quite a bit here, but also had some very relaxing days. I loved being in one spot for this long, so we could just settle in and have our ‘home’ setup. The nature of this trip is such that we are on the move a lot and when we have the chance to put down some roots, it really does make a difference.

Beautiful scenery everywhere!

Beautiful scenery everywhere!

Here are the highlights of our time here:

Deadwood
This was a cool town that the HBO show was based on, reminiscent of the gold rush of 1876 and Wild Bill Hickok. It was basically a one-street town set in a valley with steep hills on either side, full of saloons and gambling halls. It was Sunday when we were there, so we both had our Seahawks gear on. We watched the Hawks lose to San Diego over appies and a few beers, then decided to try our luck at the tables. Most of the casinos were strictly slots, but we did find a few with tables. 3-card was very popular here, so we sat down at a $2 table with a crew of locals. It’s amazing how much longer you can play when the minimums aren’t $10. Mike actually hit a few good hands to balance out my losing ones and we walked out even for the night. Always a victory when gambling. This town was really fun, a bit touristy, but made for a great day. We missed their annual brew fest by one day, darn.

Downtown Deadwood

Downtown Deadwood

Sturgis
The annual Sturgis Rally had taken place about a month ago, and apparently the weather was pretty bad for them. Next year they are expecting close to a million bikers for the 75th Anniversary. While we were there, it was just another town, actually quite small, but obvious that they cater to bikers. We didn’t go to the Motorcycle Museum/Hall of Fame, as that really isn’t our thing. Instead we just walked around, there was an outdoor moto-cross event going on through the streets, which was kind of interesting. We stopped in at Knuckle Brewing Company for a local beer, then got on our way. I can only imagine how crazy this place would be for the rally.

One of the MANY biker bars in Sturgis

One of the MANY biker bars in Sturgis

Custer State Park
This was one of our favorites and we visited multiple times. The entrance fee was good for a week, which was nice and the location of the park was such that we drove through it many times on our way to other places. There were three spectacular scenic roads throughout the park that were equally amazing, but all unique. The diversity of this park was what made it special, from rolling prairie lands to dense forest to steep granite “needles” towering toward the sky. Iron Mountain Road had many pigtail bridges and narrow one-way tunnels framing Mount Rushmore. The roads were switchbacks at times and showcased lush scenery all around with the fall colors starting to turn. On the Wildlife Loop Road, the animals were the highlight, hello Buffalo! There are over 1,200 buffalo that roam freely in the park, one of the largest herds anywhere. We saw many throughout the park in one’s or two’s, but on this road, there were hundreds of them. We also saw Burros; they had no shame and came right up to the car window. I think people feed them, so they were looking for some treats. We didn’t think the drive could get any better, until we hit the narrow and curvy section call the Needles Highway. We went from lowland prairie to steep twisty roads that took us to the top of the tree line. We weren’t sure what the ‘needles’ referred to until we came around a corner and there were these tall rock sphere/pinnacles just popping up out of nowhere.  We were amazed at how much the landscape and elevation changed in this park

One of the many bridges along Iron Mountain Road

One of the one-way narrow bridges along Iron Mountain Road, nice view huh?

Wildlife Loop Road, my Tatanka impression.  Dances with Wolves was filmed here

Wildlife Loop Road, my Tatanka impression. Dances with Wolves was filmed here.

The Needles!

The Needles!

The drive through the Needles was gorgeous

The drive through the Needles was gorgeous

We loved this one of the rock balances between two needles

We loved this one of the rock balancing

Our di

The Fall Colors were starting to come out

Crazy Horse Memorial
This attraction is known as the world’s largest mountain carving in progress and is a memorial to honor the culture of the North American Indian people. The sculptor started in 1948 and I bet it is only about 5% complete. I’m not sure they will ever finish, but it was very impressive and I think the allure is that it is an ongoing project that is constantly changing. Family members and supporters are continuing the project to ultimately create a statue that will be 641 ft long and 563 ft high. The face of Crazy Horse was completed in 1998 at 88 ft tall and they are now focusing on the 219 ft horse’s head. They operate solely on private donations and visitor entrance fees (no public funding), so I’m sure that it why it is a slow go. The surrounding visitor center was impressive and full of native art and history.

Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse Memorial, the head is finished and you can see the outline of the horse that they will start on soon

This is a scale of what the finished product will look like

This is a model of what the finished product will look like.  Cool to compare it to the actual sculpture in the background (they have a long ways to go!)

Badlands National Park
We had to drive about 90 minutes east to get to the park, but worth it! We entered through the NE entrance and were able to use our annual pass to save us the entrance cost. Immediately there was a pullout that showcased this amazing scenery. It just dropped down into a hole, kind of like the Grand Canyon, with sheer cliffs all around. The colors of the walls were striped due to the minerals in the stone, making for jaw dropping views. A perfect description from the park brochure was “a striking landscape featuring a maze of buttes, canyons, pinnacles and spires.” We continued to another spot and did a hike out along what looked liked sharp pinnacles rising up from the canyon floor. From afar it looked like people were standing on narrow ledges, but once you got out there, the landscape had shallower little valleys to get around on. It felt a bit like walking on the moon. The heat really started to intensify and we were both cooking. After the hike, we continued by car along the scenic drive through the park and pulled out at many scenic points, my favorite being the Yellow Mounds. The colors were awesome. As we headed out of the park, we took another side road and bam, we saw Bighorn Sheep and Buffalo. We stopped at Wall Drug on the way out and it was kind of a dud. Basically a lot of trinkets and trash, but had to stop at this iconic place that I had always heard about.  We really liked this National Park, it seems a bit underrated for the spectacular scenery that it has!

Our first glimpse reminded us of the Grand Canyon

Badlands National Park. Our first glimpse reminded us of the Grand Canyon

Mike on top of the world!

Mike on top of the world!

The contrast of a deep canyon and grasslands was

The contrast of deep canyons and grasslands was very unique

Hiking on top of the canyon pinnacles

Hiking on top of the canyon pinnacles

My favorite was the "Yellow Mounds"

My favorite was the “Yellow Mounds”

Mount Rushmore
We saw this iconic attraction multiple times on our stay here, but the best was my first glimpse. We were driving up the hill out of Keystone and there it was off in the distance as we rounded a corner. I think I said to Mike, “that is so cool!” Something I had seen so many times in print or on screen and now to see in person was pretty spectacular.   We saw it many more times from different viewpoints while in the car, but the day we actually went into the monument was pretty awesome.   We got there around 8am and so glad we made the effort to get there early before the masses/tour buses, plus the light was better so that the faces weren’t shadowed. We had the viewing area pretty much to ourselves. We did the walk around the Presidential Trail for the most up-close view available and Mike was a photo-taking fool. He got some great shots! What struck me the most I think is how realistic the carvings were, pretty impressive considering the tools and resources the artists had back in the 1920/30’s to sculpt at such a massive scale in granite. I am baffled how they kept their perspective while carving so up close for something so huge.

Avenue of the Flags at Mount Rushmore

Avenue of the Flags at Mount Rushmore

Photobombed by George, Tom, Teddy and Abe!

Photobombed by George, Tom, Teddy and Abe!

Close up of Honest Abe

Close up of Honest Abe

A cool side view of George from the backside of the monument

A cool side view of George from the backside of the monument

Wind Cave National Park
The day we drove to this park, we weren’t sure what to expect. We got to the park and the only way to see the caves was to pay for the $12 tour. We typically prefer to explore on our own, but we figured since we drove all the way to see it, we should go for it. And, so glad we did. It was like nothing I have ever seen before or experienced. It is one of the nation’s oldest parks (7th), becoming part of the park system in 1903. The cave system is approximately one square mile with over 140 miles of explored passages and growing as they continue to explore and map. The Park Ranger told us to imagine it as a cube with multiple levels of passages within it. The tour was about 75 minutes and well worth it. There was a concrete path with handrails and lit areas showcasing the walls. Our tour took us through narrow, low walkways, then into larger “rooms.” The walls and ceilings were full of boxwork and popcorn formations which are very rare and only found here and in some cave system in Europe. We were both so impressed with the tour and blown away by this unique park.

This only natural opening to the caves. This is where the original explorers entered.

The only natural opening to the caves. This is where the original explorers entered (very small!)

Inside the Cave!

Inside the Cave!

Mike and I inside one of the larger "rooms"

Mike and I inside one of the larger “rooms”

The rare and fragile boxwork that covered the ceilings

The rare and fragile boxwork that covered the ceilings

Hiking
One day, we ventured back to Custer State Park for a hike we had seen on our earlier drive. We did about a 3-mile hike up toward Little Devil Tower with spectacular views of Harney Peak. This is the state’s highest elevation point at 7,242 feet. There was a route to the top, but it was considered strenuous and we weren’t up for it on this hot day. The one we did was a gradual uphill climb, moderate, but felt about right for our current condition level. Since it was the off-season, we saw few other people, which is a refreshing change from other hikes we have done that are packed.

Happy Hikers!

Happy Hikers!

Great scenery on our hike in Custer State Park

Great scenery on our hike in Custer State Park

Sylvan Lake
This was a hidden gem that we found on our exploration of Custer State Park. It is a man-made lake with a nice loop trail around that we walked and really enjoyed the peaceful setting. There was even a wedding taking place on the shore while we were there. A pretty sweet spot!

Picturesque Lake Sylvan

Picturesque Sylvan Lake

Taking it all in!

Taking it all in!

Golf
There was a golf course affiliated with our campground, just about a mile down the road. We drove by it often and it never seemed too busy. We hadn’t golfed for months, so it was a nice break for us from the sightseeing. We were able to go out just the two of us, which I loved and we weren’t rushed at all. Neither one of us golfed that well and by the time we got off the course it was toasty and we were a bit overheated. But, worth it and the setting of the course was beautiful.

Mike matched the Fall Colors!

Mike matched the Fall Colors!

Wildlife
By far, we saw the most wildlife here than we have seen at any other place we have been. We saw mule and white tailed deer daily, more Buffalo (Tatanka) than you can imagine, Pronghorn, Burro, Bighorn Sheep, Coyote, and my personal favorite, the very cute Prairie Dog.

This Bighorn Sheep was not intimidated by us at all

This Bighorn Sheep was not intimidated by us at all

Prairie Dogs on high alert with a coyote on the prowl

Prairie Dogs on high alert with a coyote on the prowl

This Tatanka was just hanging out in a nearby RV Park

This Tatanka was just hanging out in a nearby RV Park

The Burro came right up to the car

The Burro came right up to the car

We saw countless deer

We saw countless deer

We had a great Seahwaks Sunday, watching them beat Denver in OT. The game was a bit stressful, but beings that we are in Bronco territory, it was a sweet victory! We were also able to get a much-needed MoHo wash from a great local company, Pro Wash and found a guy to create a personalized sign for the MoHo! One other random tidbit…of all the places we have been so far, we have seen more RV’s here than anywhere else we have been. It is cheap and easy to license here (you only have to stay one night in the state before you can claim residency), so we know that many fellow MoHo’ers take advantage of this and register in SD where there is also no sales tax. This was a great stop for us, and the furthest west we have been in a long time. It definitely felt like we were closer to home, even had a Safeway! Next up is Nebraska and starting to head eastbound and Central Time.

Our tailgating setup for the big game - notice our new flag!

Our tailgating setup for the big game – notice our new flag!

Here's our new sign!

Here’s our new sign!

For many more amazing pics of this area, click HERE

Our Nation’s Capital – Washington, DC! 5/19/14 – 5/26/14

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As you may have noticed, I usually get a bit long penned writing my blog posts, and this could certainly be one of those. But with there being so much we were able to do here in DC, I am going to just try and hit the highlights.

The White House

The White House (it was smaller than we imagined)

We were able to enjoy 8 days here and I think that was just perfect. Our days were full and long, but so worth it! Our RV Park, Cherry Hill Campground was the perfect base camp from which to explore and close to a Metro Station, which we used a lot. Easy to figure out, safe and fairly clean, but more expensive than we thought.  Certainly there is always more to see and do, but we feel like we hit the big items that were on our list. Let me start with the things we did not get to. The Washington Monument just re-opened after being repaired from an earthquake a couple years ago. Thus, if we did not have an advanced ticket or get in line at 6:00AM to get a daily ticket, we weren’t able to go up in the monument, so that one we just were able to view from the outside. Still massively impressive in its size and so iconic, it was surreal to be standing outside of that monument. The other venue we could not get into that we wanted was the White House tour. This is one you have to request through your Senator 4-6 months in advance, and we obviously did not do that. But, we did get Capitol Tour tickets through Patty Murray’s office, with two interns leading the way, allowing us to get access to some areas that most people do not see. I would have to say the highlight of this was sitting in the House of Representatives balcony at the opening of a session and standing with the reps and gallery for an opening Pledge of Allegiance and prayer, pretty cool. Also sitting in the Senate listening to Senators from TX, LA and CA strongly discuss environmental issues.

The Capitol Building

The Capitol Building

Our first couple days we spent touring the Mall area, basically the heart of DC from the Capitol building stretching past the Washington Monument down to the Lincoln Memorial and over to the Jefferson Memorial. Lining the Mall area are many of the Smithsonian Museums (all free!), with other gardens and lesser recognizable structures. The Mall is a huge grassy area that is used by everyone for relaxing and taking in all the sights, and grabbing a beverage or snack from one of the dozens of food truck vendors. It is almost two miles long from end to end, so there is a ton of walking, and most of DC is very pedestrian friendly. We did A LOT of walking, between 5 and 9 miles everyday (according to Traci’s fitbit).

Washington Monument and Reflecting Pond

Washington Monument and Reflecting Pond

Some of the other highlights in this area:

  • Lincoln Memorial – awesome to stand at the base of him sitting in the chair we have all seen so many times.

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Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pond

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pond

  • Jefferson Memorial – not as impressive, we thought the view was better from across the Tidal Basin to look back at the structure.

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  • National Air and Space Museum – Many iconic flying vehicles, one of my favorites.
  • Museum of American History – So many items to see; Dorothy’s slippers from the Wizard of Oz, Julia Child’s kitchen, the original star-spangled banner, etc. This was Traci’s favorite.
  • Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial – super powerful here with many people laying flowers and other gifts, and taking a piece of paper and tracing a name of a loved one or friend listed on the wall.
Reflection of Mike & I and Wash. Monument

Notice the reflection of Traci & I and Wash. Monument

  • Korean War Memorial – awesome display of troops walking through the rice fields.

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  • Museum of Natural History – this one was so packed with school groups that we didn’t stay as long as we would have liked. Great exhibits on mammals, bones and gems (the 45 ½ caret Hope Diamond).
  • National Archives Museum – the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and Constitution are housed here.
  • Other Memorials we visited in the Mall area were World War II, MLK, FDR and the Navy.

During our visit, we were lucky to be in town for a few other events as it was Memorial Day week. First was the official visit to the White House by our Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks! We found their buses on the backside of the White House and stood outside with about 75 other fans hoping for a glimpse of the players before they got on the buses to leave (we missed them arriving). After waiting around for almost two hours, they finally emerged and many were very gracious in signing autographs and engaging a bit with the group. Pete Carroll came right out and shook my hand first and then signed for everyone for several minutes, it was great to see the team!

Coach Pete Carroll giving the crowd some love

Coach Pete Carroll giving the crowd some love

Wilson & Sherman

Wilson & Sherman

Back of the White House - notice the security on the roof

Back of the White House – notice the security guards on the roof

Another day, we took the Metro out to Arlington National Cemetery. This is one of those hallowed grounds that we have all seen dozens of pictures of over the years, but it is much larger that I had anticipated. Here lay the remains of over 400,000 people, all with some affiliation to the military. Our first stop was to the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy and his family; with the eternal flame burning. We then continued up the hill to the house of General Robert E. Lee. This was his homestead back in the 1800’s and the story we learned was that during the Civil War, they began to lay to rest the Union soldiers just below his homestead, so that the General would not want to reside here following the war. Well as it turns out, he was killed in battle, but the family did not want to remain here after the war, and thus sold it to the US Gov’t and it has evolved into one of the most significant burial sites in America today. We then made our way across the ridge of the cemetery to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; a memorial to all those who have served our country, and not returned or been identified. Every 30 minutes there is a ceremony as this memorial is guarded day and night by the Marines Corps; a precisely executed transition, from one Sentinel to the next, to maintain watch over their fallen comrade that is enshrined in the memorial. As our visit here ended, we were fortunate enough to witness the dozens of army personnel placing flags in front of each and every head stone. As it was Memorial Day Weekend, and a ceremony was to be held on Monday, they were getting the grounds ready for thousands of visitors. 400,000 small US flags precisely placed the exact same distance from each headstone made for a very powerful ending to our visit.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

We took one day to make a side trip up to Baltimore, only about 30 miles from our MoHo park. We arrived in the early afternoon to a beautiful 75-degree day, and stopped in the visitor’s center to get our local maps. We were greeted by a nice little old man who gave us the lay of the land and mentioned a couple places we needed to see while we were there. The Inner Harbor area of Baltimore is beautiful, we both were very surprised by how much was going on, and how much there was to do. Tons of restaurant’s, shops, water taxi’s and a variety of historic boats lining the docks. We walked to another area on the harbor, Fell Point, a neat little neighborhood just a mile or so out of the main harbor area and had a beverage at one of the local watering holes recommended by our visitor center gentleman, then returned via water taxi to the main part of the harbor. This was a very vibrant area with lots of people walking around, many getting ready for the Orioles baseball game that night. Traci and I also were headed that way (thanks again Matt for the tickets!) and we eventually arrived outside the stadium and took in the atmosphere.  The home team won easily, a nice 8-4 victory over Cleveland. A perfect day and visit to an area we both really enjoyed, a return trip to this area is a must at some point.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore

We also visited Annapolis, a tiny little town known for the US Naval Academy that is there. The grounds of the Naval facility are beautiful, with a very significant sports presence, lot of fields, tracks, and all sports related types of areas. It is also where many of the students come to learn how to sail, and there are dozens of training boats on property to use in and around the area. After walking the grounds, we headed into the harbor area of town. Wow, what a neat little place! There were several little restaurants, shops, bars and tons of people out enjoying the day. It was graduation weekend, so it was pretty crowded. It was like this little place was just dropped in here some 200 years ago, and had not changed that much. Narrow streets, with beautiful architectural buildings, and we just loved the vibe here, again a pleasant surprise.

Another event that I had heard of but did not know much about was the Rolling Thunder motorcycle parade held on the Sunday prior to Memorial Day Monday. The bikers congregated at the Pentagon parking lots at 7:00AM, and at about noon they started their ride around the main road of the Mall area and past the Capitol. This ride started back in 1988 to bring to light the POW/MIA movement that was still getting very little traction in the media and public opinion. That first year, there were about 2,500 bikers, with their loud pipes cruising through the area and heard from blocks away. This year there were an anticipated 500,000 bikers, half a million! We were able to find a spot on Constitution Ave. and take in the bikers as they drove by; we stood there for 90 minutes watching and waving at them all. Their message was clear, do not forget those that are missing or lost serving their country, and it was very powerful to see. We finally got hot and hungry, and left the street, but the parade continued for at least 3-4 more hours, and no they were not doing laps, it just takes that long for them all to drive to route, 4 or 5 wide down the street.

Rolling Thunder Parade

Rolling Thunder Parade, 500,000+ bikers

Our last day in DC, we went down to Mt Vernon and toured General/ President George Washington’s home and estate. A huge area of some 200 acres (originally over 8,000 acres). It is now maintained by a group originally founded back in the mid 1800’s that raised $200,000 back then to purchase and preserve the property. With beautiful gardens, and an amazing view overlooking the Potomac River, Washington had a pretty awesome home, some 250+ years ago. After this we decided to head to the Iwo Jima US Marine Corps Memorial, located across the Potomac from DC, and right next to Arlington National Cemetery. It was Monday, Memorial Day, and it was a perfect ending to our visit to DC. Everyone knows this massive statue, depicting the Marines erecting a flag on top of a hill at Iwo Jima. We were both struck by how large it was, standing some 32 feet off the base of the monument, with a huge American flag waving, it was an amazing site to end our trip on!

George Washington's Estate, Mt. Vernon

George Washington’s Estate, Mt. Vernon

Iwo Jima Memorial

Iwo Jima Memorial

A few of our favorite food/drink stops were:

  • Rooftop bar in the Washington W Hotel – a great view of the city and looking down on the White House.
  • The Tombs in Georgetown – a fun college bar with ice cold beers
  • Founding Farmers – close to the White House. We had breakfast here one morning and it was fantastic! Traci had Stuffed Banana’s Foster French Toast and she said it was her best breakfast ever.
  • Mama Lucia’s – a strip mall Italian joint in College Park right by our MoHo campground. Awesome lasagna and inexpensive!
  • Dock Street Bar & Grill in Annapolis – excellent food and great atmosphere right in the main part of town.

This stop will go down as one of our favorites, and we were so lucky to have great weather, get some great recommendations from friends (Thanks Dave Albrecht), hook up for dinner with a childhood classmate and her family one night (Thanks for hosting us Liz and Steve!), and taking in all that we could have imagined in DC! I would highly recommend a visit to our Nation’s capital if you have never been. It is a MUST!

Click HERE to see more pics from our time in the DC area

Lovin’ Key Largo – 2/1/14 – 2/12/14

Our spot in Key Largo, Calusa Campground

Our spot in Key Largo, Calusa Campground

Written by Mike:

After returning from our cruise with Traci’s mom, we drove back down to the Key Largo area to get the MoHo out of a short-term storage lot. The first thing I did was check the fridge, as we were not plugged into any power source, so we were running the entire 9 days on propane to keep the food cold. Fortunately we had emptied the fridge out as best we could prior to departure, as it was barely even cold when we got back. Something was not working and we had to toss just about everything inside, as it almost all was either unfrozen, or too warm to feel safe about. (Odd that it would not have kept everything cold, the propane was still over half full in the tank?) We got settled at the Calusa Campground in Key Largo, spot #233. (This was exactly the site we reserved, no bait and switch tactics like we had to deal with at Boyd’s in Key West!) The site was on the south side of the property and backed right up to the water, kayaking and fishing at the ready! Our first night was a bit hectic, as we were fighting the darkness, and dealing with the fridge issues. We rushed over to Publix grocery to restock the fridge, after a 9-day cruise our stomachs were quite expanded and wanted to make sure we had plenty of food on hand. When we got back, we noticed that the fridge had not started to cool off much, even though we were now running on power vs. the propane. (Note: this is Saturday evening about 7:30PM, the night before the Super Bowl.) I decided to put everything into coolers before bed just to be safe, and ran back out to load up on ice.

We woke the next day and no changes to the fridge, so it was time for a call to a repair technician. We left a message on Sunday and did not expect to hear back till Monday, and that was when they called back. As for the rest of the day, not a lot going on….well….maybe….the Super Bowl!! We were both amped up a bit, trying to hold back on our beverage consumption till at least a few hours before kickoff. (East coast kickoff times suck – did not start till 6:30PM). We started watching outside and after a few minutes decided to head in, as the mosquitoes and no-see-ums were out in force. What a great game, the Seahawks drilled the Broncos, and sorry to say it, a really old looking quarterback Peyton Manning! At the final whistle the MoHo air horn sounded and the whole campground knew who had rooted for!  The 12’s were represented in Key Largo!

World Champions!!!

World Champions!!!

Monday we spent at the MoHo, the technician arrived and said we needed to replace the cooling unit and it would take several days to get one here via truck, as it is a hazardous material and can’t be shipped overnight. We submitted the info to our MoHo insurance folks, and they did not cover our model, as it is part of a $48 million recall and class action lawsuit. I spent a lot of time researching the issue, and kept a close eye on the fridge. There was some responsiveness from the fridge, and it was starting to cool off a bit better, and slowly making ice again. With a $2,500 repair bill looming or a $5,500 replacement to another model, I thought we should make sure it was dead before dropping the cash. (It has been limping along since, and I am just going to have to keep a very close watch on the temps to make sure we are keeping everything in the safe zone, so far so good a week later.)

We had the Seahwawks parade broadcasting on all cylinders!  We were missing home at this point.

We had the Seahwawks parade broadcasting on all cylinders! We were missing home big time.

Tuesday we headed down to an area called Islamorada, about 25 miles back down the highway south. When we were on the cruise, and ported at Princess Cays, we met a couple of ladies that live and work down there and told us we should come down to see the area. They specifically had a couple of souvenir shops at a resort called Robbie’s. This little spot had it all; fishing charters, a nice restaurant and bar, several small shops, and the most important part, a dock that you could feed the Tarpons. Tarpons are some really large fish in the Key’s and are a very prized catch-and-release sport fish. (I had seen many a show on TV about these fish and was very interested to see them up close.) When we arrived, Cheryl and Candy both greeted us as we entered one of their booths. (We originally planned to try and go down there on Sunday mid-morning, but with the fridge acting up, just could not make it work.) They are both retired teachers, and were out working that day, odd for them as they usually are off on Tuesdays. Cheryl instantly became our host, and took us out to the dock to feed the Tarpons. You get a bucket of baitfish, and walk out to the dock, making sure to protect the bait from the very aggressive and huge Pelican’s. Tarpons do not have teeth, so you can let them take the bait right out of your hands, if you have the guts to leave your hand out there. These Tarpons were huge; some of them were over 5 feet long and weighed upwards of 80-90 lbs! I tried a couple of times to let them take the bait from me, but my natural reaction was to jerk my hand back every time they came up for the bait, I basically wimped out! Traci and I then sat down for some lunch at the restaurant, and when we finished, there was Cheryl to show us around some more. She took us back to their 5th-wheel trailer that her and Candy share on the property, and we sat out and had a couple beverages, and then headed back into the market area for some shopping. When we were done, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the MoHo. We really enjoyed the unplanned, unannounced visit with Cheryl and Candy, and hope to spend more time down the road with them. If you are ever in the Keys, be sure to stop at Robbie’s (Mile Post 77.5 on the north side), feed the Tarpons and get some new Sunglasses!

Hard to tell, but these Taropons were HUGE!

Hard to tell, but these Tarpons were HUGE!

With the MoHo parked right on the water, I spent a lot of hours out fishing right off the bulkhead behind us. One morning, after very little luck, I actually reeled in a very nice sized Blue Crab, and he immediately became breakfast for me that day. Another evening, we were watching the sunset, and I discussed with a couple other guys about how to catch certain types of fish I had seen. Getting the scoop was great, but it also meant several trips to the bait and tackle shop for me to up my game. One morning, about 11:45AM, I hooked into something huge, as my pole bent in half and it was game on. For the next 30 seconds I was doing everything in my power to keep this monster on the line, and then he jumped, a massive Tarpon was on the end of my line, and then gone! I was shaking with the excitement, and a couple other campers were all smiles as they witnessed the short, but exciting event. Needless to say, now I am going to get him, and another couple trips out to the tackle store and he won’t get away next time, if there is a next time.

The blue crab I caught right from our spot

The blue crab I caught right from our spot

Another great thing about being on the water and fishing so much was what we were able to see around us. Almost daily, we had Manatee’s passing by, sometimes they even came over to visit us against our bulkhead, and are they massive! (Just imagine a cow swimming up to you, the most gentle of giants, very fun every time!) Another evening we saw a shark swim by, again very exciting, needless to say we were not going to swim after seeing that guy go past. There are tons of Pelican’s, Egrets, a ga-zillion Mullet fish jumping constantly, a horseshoe crab (look that one up), and I even witnessed a dolphin in our little cove. There was always something outside to watch, and it made the lack of fish catching a lot more enjoyable.

The Manatee family

The Manatee family

We have eaten out a few times, and it varies across the board. We noticed that there are a lot of happy hours, although we usually miss them as we are on a different schedule most days. One of our favorite places was Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill. They had a live band playing, at happy hour I got a ½ lb. of peel and eat shrimp for $5.50 and 20 chicken wings for $9.50; great deals, better food, I thought about never leaving! The nice thing about Key Largo is that the land is very narrow, and once you get off the main highway, even just a block, you find a lot of hidden little gems to dine right on the water and take in the sites. There are little marinas and restaurant’s everywhere, and most of them are reasonable and good quality food, just have to get out and try it all.

Sunset at the Big Chill

Sunset at the Big Chill

Much of the rest of our time has been spent at the pool, a very warm pool that was probably close to 80 degrees. The weather has been great with just a few rain showers that haven’t lasted long. We are both getting pretty tan! Traci has been walking almost every day and there is a great local fruit stand right next door that we have frequented. Trying to cook as much as possible at home too. Weekdays this campground is relatively quiet, and the pool fairly empty. But come Friday, the hoards arrive, and it becomes a different place. Lots of loud Latin music, kids on bikes, golf carts everywhere, and a whole lot more boat traffic in the marina behind the MoHo. But, we have really loved our time here at Calusa. In fact, one or our favorite spots so far. So relaxing and the nightly sunsets just can’t be beat. Actually, we were scheduled to leave on Monday Feb. 10th, but enjoyed the place so much decided to extend three more nights and make it a long drive up to Jacksonville, our next destination.

Happy Hour at Snook's

Happy Hour at Snook’s

 

Everything is big in Texas – 12/7/13 – 12/17/13

Mike at the Alamo - huge Oak Tree

Huge Oak Tree at the Alamo, San Antonio

Hi everyone, sorry I have not posted for a while, been busy driving! We left Tucson and headed toward the state of Texas. This is the part of the trip I have been dreading the most. (Sorry you Texas fans out there, but a lot of it has very little to see on the road.) We got to El Paso and found (finally after a missed turn) the Mission RV Park on the east side of town. We arrived later in the afternoon, and just hunkered down for the night. This place was basically a place to sleep, and not one of our favorite parks, too many sketchy people hanging around.

Hit the road quite early the next morning, about 8:15AM. (We usually dilly dally around and get on the road about 10-10:30AM, so 8:15 was early for us!) We drove to Fort Stockton, a tiny little town, again for just the night to get across Texas. The drive was an interesting one for me. The temps were in the low 30’s, and there was a lot of fog and frost everywhere. I was a bit nervous, MoHo not good in ice! We came to the area that Hwy 10 splits off to Hwy 20, a particularly frosty area. About 2 miles down our side of Hwy 10, there were the remains of a huge accident on the opposite side of the roadway. Come to find out, there was a 20-car pile-up 24 hours prior, with one fatality, and a completely burned out carcass of another MoHo! I was so glad we were in the area a day later, as the whole area was frozen solid just 24 hours earlier; we missed it by just one day! Got to the campground and set up as quickly as we could, Seahawks were on at 3:25PM central time vs. 49ers. (Probably should have kept on driving in hindsight, not a great game, oh well.) We stayed at the Fort Stockton RV Park, about 5 miles east of town. A great little place, friendly staff, (tiniest showers in the world) and just a good quiet place to rest for the night.

The next morning we were off and driving again, still cold, but I was feeling better about the temps in the mid-30’s. We were on our way to San Antonio, our next destination for a few days. We got to the park, Travelers World RV Resort, on the south side of downtown, and were happy our satellite found a hole in the trees to get our valuable signal. We headed out to grab some groceries and dinner. We found a little Mexican place, Nichas about ½ mile away, with lots of cars in the lot (always a good sign when a lot of others are there.) I had Fajita’s as usual, and they were awesome. (Only second best to the ones I had in last year when I met the previous owners we bought the MoHo from, and they took me to a place near their place in central Texas.) Traci had some Tortilla Soup and we very much enjoyed ourselves.

The next day we were off to Downtown San Antonio, and the famous Alamo and River Walk. Being a History major, I was very much interested in the Alamo. Well, there was not a lot to it. I would have to say the best part for me was the landscaping, some amazingly huge foliage. We then headed to the River Walk, a famed area in downtown, with tons of restaurants and shops. There, we had a cocktail at the oldest bar on the river walk, Esquire Bar. Next was a stop at some terrible Mexican Place, quick beer and out. (OK, terrible because of the staff – on our way to being seated the server dropped his towel on the floor, then proceeded to wipe our table “clean” with the same towel. The rest of the staff just huddled at the bar, did nothing to make it a fun place that it could have been, their loss.) We went next door to the Irish bar, had a couple of cocktails and then headed to the Menger Hotel, a historic landmark in the area (thanks for the tip Allyson). We bellied up to the bar, had a couple of drinks, and then headed to another joint for dinner. We drove to Mi Tierra, a highly recommended Mexican place a few blocks away. I again had the Fajitas, and these were not good at all! Tasted like they had boiled the chicken in liquid smoke, just a poor showing for a place that was so highly recommended. The service and atmosphere were good though. Then it was time to head home. When we got back, Traci noticed she was missing one of her diamond studs, oh ****! I immediately started to call all the places we had been, but we walked so much that day we both knew it was a lost cause. We left messages with a couple places, and Traci actually got ahold of a nice guy at the Menger Hotel Bar. He went around the bar to where we sat, and it was sitting there on the floor!! We were shocked, and immediately got back in the car and drove downtown to retrieve it! What was a good day, went bad quickly, and turned out awesome in the end! Side note: These earrings are on their 3rd life…we had a similar situation happen years ago when Traci lost one downtown Seattle and she found it the next day in her parking garage at work. Crazy!

In front of the Alamo, San Antonio

In front of the Alamo, San Antonio

Esquire Bar, Oldest Bar on the River Walk, San Antonio

Esquire Bar, Oldest Bar on the River Walk, San Antonio

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The River Walk, San Antonio

The next day we headed to Austin for the day, about 80 miles north. We got some great tips from friends, Sean Holman, Allyson McBride and Jeff Brauns, so had a full day planned and then some. Most of the tips were food/restaurants, so we kind of ate our way through. Our first stop was for BBQ! We tried to get into Franklins (world famous), but we were 20 people back in line, past the point that they could guarantee we would get food. They only cook so much every day and we got there too late. We then found the Iron Works BBQ downtown, near the convention center. Looked and smelled good, and it was awesome! Traci had the BBQ brisket sandwich, I had the three beef rib plate, and damn those were the best ribs I have ever had, home run!! Next we headed to the capitol area. The state capitol building there is huge (largest in the US), and was open to touring, so we walked around, took some pictures and were just awed at the size of the structure. We then headed to a little old school drug store, Nau’s Enfield Drug, that still has a lunch counter, and had a really good milkshake, worth the journey out to find this little gem. Also, stopped by the University of Texas to check out Longhorn Stadium. Back to town and we walked up and down 6th street, a really busy nightlife area that was quiet as it was only about 4:00PM. A bit rough here, a lot of interesting people watching, glad we left while it was still light out. Stopped in at the Driskill Hotel, for a cocktail then stumbled upon a Gourdoughs Donuts food truck and could not resist. BTW, I think Austin is the food truck capital of the country, they are everywhere! Headed back to MoHo and relaxed, long day up and back. There was so much more to explore in Austin, wished we had more time there.

Iron Works BBQ, Austin

Iron Works BBQ – HUGE ribs!

Capital Building, Austin

Capitol Building, Austin

Inside the Capital Building looking up, Austin

Inside the Capitol Building looking up, Austin

Inside the Senate chambers, Austin

Inside the Senate chambers, Austin

Go Longhorns!

Go Longhorns!

Gourdoughs Donuts food truck.  Notice the tagline - Big. Fat. Donuts.  They are meals!

Gourdoughs Donuts food truck. Notice the tagline – Big. Fat. Donuts. They are meals!

Nau Enfield Drug, Best Milkshakes!

Nau’s Enfield Drug, Best Milkshakes!

The next day we thought about heading out of town, but decided to stay another night and just get some errands, laundry, etc. done. We headed out for another BBQ place, only to find it closed, and then stumbled onto one called Augies Barbed Wire BBQ. I had the ribs here and they were nothing like the ones in Austin. Traci had the brisket, and it was more like pot roast. Oh well, can’t win them all right? Back to the MoHo and got ready to head out the next morning. We liked San Antonio ok, but probably won’t return. Didn’t seem like much going on except for the River Walk.

The next day we headed south to Corpus Christi and a place called Port Aransas which is part of Padre/Mustang Island, about a 3-hour drive south from S.A. We got to our park, the Pioneer Beach RV Resort. This place was right on the water, just a 100-yard walk out of the park onto the beach and we could hear the waves crashing from our spot. We chilled that night in the MoHo. The next day was a bit of a wet start so it was a nice excuse to have a lazy morning. It cleared off and we took a 4 mile walk on the beach. We came back, relaxed the rest of the afternoon and BBQ’s some steaks for dinner that night. Sunday brought us another Seahawks game, so we headed to town and found a really nice little bar, Stingrays. We bellied up to the bar, and had a front row view to a great victory, 23-0 vs. the NY Giants. We sat there most of the afternoon and enjoyed the bar, food and beverages. After the game, we drove on the beach back to the MoHo and watched movies and got ready for our departure the next morning towards Galveston. This was a really neat resort town, pretty quiet while we were there, but I’m sure in season it would be hopping.

The Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas

The Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas

The MoHo's first ferry ride!

The MoHo’s first ferry ride!

The next days’ drive to Galveston was a fairly short trip, only about 4 hours. We started the trip by taking a short 5 minute crossing on a free ferry. Saved us an hour’s time! We took a lot of back roads and smaller highways, and the sights were nice. Along the way, we drove over several tall bridges. This area is super flat, no hills, just water and flat lands. When you get on one of these bridges, you can see for miles. Also, a lot of chemical and petroleum plants here. We arrived at our park, the Jamaica Beach RV Park; a nice little place, recently expanded, and going through more renovations. We hunkered down, Traci feeling a bit under the weather. I went out and did some errands and came back for dinner and movies. The next day we headed into Galveston, we were about 15 miles south at our RV park. We drove through town, did a little shopping, and went to the cruise terminal area for a lackluster lunch. Traci started to get a real bad headache, so we headed back to the MoHo and she went to bed. I went down the road to get a fishing reel re-strung.  Fishing is HUGE down here.  I found a little bait and tackle shop on the side of the road, what a place. Live bait wells, and stuff everywhere. Galveston was hit by hurricane Ike in Sept. of 2008, and I think this place never cleaned up after the storm, amazing. Another interesting thing is that all of the houses/structures are built up on stilts. This area floods a lot due to storms, so their first floor is actually one level up. Makes for an interesting looking landscape. I headed back to the MoHo, and Traci was still in bed with a full-blown migraine. I landed it in front of the TV for the night and got caught up on some of my series recording on the DVR. Traci came out of bed for some food, and was back in bed and out for the night. She woke up the next day tired, but headache gone thank goodness.

On our way to New Orleans (Nawlins)!

This is how all of the houses are built - on stilts!

This is how all of the houses on the Gulf of Mexico are built – on stilts because it floods so much.

The MoHo driving down Galveston Beach

The MoHo driving down Galveston Beach