Friday, November 27, 2009

Vegas of the Ozarks

Well, our week in Branson is quickly coming to an end. We have greatly enjoyed our time here. The signs say that the population of Branson proper is 6,000 people, but I'm sure with all the suburbs that it must be about 100,000. At the info booth, they told us that 10,000,000 people a year pass through here. Traffic is heavy during the rush hours, but thins out for the rest of the day. Getting around in the city is quite easy, as all the main routes are color coded. For instance if you want to get the the "Sheppard of the Hills" all you have to do is follow the green route. In just a week we have found ourselves quite comfortable with finding our way around.
We started the week on Monday with a trip to the Bu
tterfly Palace - Denice took lots of pics

This Statue is real!! I saw her blink!!!

The Sheppard of the Hills

Then we went around Highway 65 by the Lake and Tablerock Dam and then back to Branson
Went to "Fish House"for dinner - Denice had catfish, me shrimp. Both were very good. Appetizer was alligator tail. It was good. Pink Flesk, but it didn't squirm!
Then returned to 2 1/2 miles of "Trail of Lights" - 4,000,000 lights! Very Good!! Took lots of photo's, but many did not turn out, as taking them in the dark is an art that we obviously have not mastered. Instead we bought a DVD that a professional had done.
Back at ELTORO at 9:00PM

Tuesday - Spent the day shopping. Walked the whole Branson Landing Mall, a huge place, with 2 main Dep't stores at each end and a couple hundred in between. Made a few purchases. Knick-knacks and stuff
Denice bought another photo scanner. This one scans old 4" X 6" pictures, She is going to scan a whole bunch of the old ones we have.
Then we drove all over town looking for some thread that she needs to do some stitching that she wants to get back to.
Lunch at a wine tasting place. We had coffee and a sandwich - No wine ----

Wednesday - Shopping again today. Wally World for groceries
Michaels for for Denices thread
Not much excitement today

Thursday - US Thanksgiving - stayed home all day
Did some cleaning and then Denice cooked a great Turkey Breast Dinner with all the trimmings. Turnips, Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, and salad. Turkey and dressing.

Friday - Black Friday - not sure why they call it that, but it’s the day after US Thanksgiving and one month till Christmas. This apparently starts the Xmas shopping season and has the highest volume of purchases of and time in the year.
Did some shopping in the morning - Home Depot, Wally World,
Michaels, post office etc.

Then drove out to the Branson Belle paddle wheeler ship, till evening - sunset pics.
Cleaned up the Left over Thanksgiving Dinner for supper - It's even better than yesterday

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Charms of Branson, Missouri

Well, finally back on the Blankety-Blank Computer. Spend a good share of the past few days trying to get onto my Blog to do a new Posting. For some reason unknown, as soon as I put in my Password, the stupid thing would go into all kinds of contortions, and keep re-directing to an address in a circle route. Thats the best I can explain it. I have tried everything, and nothing seemed to work. However something I did must have been right, as all at once, "Here I Am". Denice says "write it down so you know what to do next time" I don't know what I did, so how am I going to write it down. "IT'S A COMPUTER". That explains it all.
Now, when I have a little more time I will fill in some of the Branson details. Today is US Thanksgiving, so we are cooking a turkey breast to help celebrate.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And on to Branson, Missouri

Nov 19th:
Lazed around today - A few motorhome chores. Went and got some more groceries at Price Chopper store - Nice grocery store!! Put groceries away - Cooked a steak for supper. End of Day. Now wasn't that exciting !!!! Watched planes come in to Kansas City as we are in the flight path and only 4 miles from the end of the runways.

Nov 20th:
Denice does washing this morning.
Dennis washes floors in ELTORO.
Mostly just a rest day - went for a walk around the RV site - It is very nice - I wouldn't mind spending a few more days here, but we have reservations in Branson, so will leave in AM tomorrow.
Nov 21st:
Leave Platte City by 9:00AM this morning. Take circle route ,East 435 around outskirts of Kansas City, then 71 to 7 and then 13 to Springfield, and then 65 to Branson. Arrive early at 2:00PM. Check in at Lakeside RV park, a City owned Park. Decided to stay for a week rather than the 3 days we had reserved for. They had to do some shuffiling of spaces to accomadate us. We are in space 103 tonight and then move to 108 for a week. Both are right on the water. Our front widow faces the Lake. A Great Spot!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ELTORO Repaired for under a buck

Woke up to light fog and cloudy skies this Morning. Decided to re-route to the south as fast as we can go rather than through Kentucky/Tennessee. Headed south down Interstate 29 - Lots of construction going on, on the highway to upgrade, What is good is very good, What is bad is quite bad. We stopped at a rest area and looked up RV Parks open all year long, ahead of us. Found one,"Basswood Resort" near Platte City Missouri. We called ahead to confirm reservations. Although only a couple of hundred miles travel, decided to stop there. As it is now raining steadily, we knew that was far enough for the day. (ELTORO behaved well in the rain - see note below) Arrived at about 2:30PM and checked in. Very nice park and friendly people. We reserved for 3 days. We were ready for a rest. They have a nice store and some take-out food. We ordered a Pizza and 10 hot wings. They delivered them to us at about 4:30PM, and they were well worth waiting for.
--- ELTORO -- I think you have heard me speak of him as being a "Fair Weather Vehicle" who does not like rain. Whenever in the past we have been in rain it is inevitable that it will soon start missing, and soon after the windshield wipers will start acting up, either start without turning on, or not be able to shut them off. I have spend at least $1500 trying to find a solution to both these problems. Been to some of the best service centers on both sides of the border. Installed new Spark Plug Wires, a new Wiper module for $800, and $100 here and $100 there at several diferent shops. No one seems to be able to solve the riddle.

Well I think I have.

At Shaw GMC they said they thought that the missing was from moisture getting into the air intake, not a wiring problem. Their solution was to extend the air intake higher into the front compartment, to be above moisture sucking in. I did that, but to no avail. But I was looking at the problem before I left High River, it just dawned on me that there was a little rubber valve arrangment at the bottom of the intake pipe to allow any dust that might accumulate there to escape. I inspected it and found when I pulled it off that it was not closed completely, and concluded that moisture could easily be sucked in there. My solution, 3" of duck tape!!! As for the wipers, I sprayed water on the electrical junction, and sure enough the wipers started on their own. Out with the black electrical tape, and taped it up firmly. Tried spraying water there again. Voila, success!! But when sprayed around the wiper moter they started again. Solution, one baggy completely covering the motor and electrical connections, secured by tightly wrapped electrical tape. Soak again with water. Everything working just great!!
Moral of the story:
After spending nearly $1500 at some of the best service departments in the country, yours truly fixed it with a 3" piece of "Duck Tape" and one large baggy from our kitchen. Lets hope that it is a perminant fix.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 15th

Whats that white stuff??

Fairly long day traveling - from Roundup to Spearfish SD. Good highways all the way. Stop in Billings and buy cell phone with 300 minutes airtime. Phone number 406-671-2957. Arrive in Spearfish, just across the SD border just before dark - found a great RV Park called Elhorn Resort.

Nov 16th

Left Elkhorn at 9:00AM and traveled down to Wall Drug at 11:30AM. Stopped for a couple of hours until 1:30PM - had lunch. Then on east on I-90 - trouble finding a RV Park that was open - most closed at the end of October. Called ahead to Cedar Shores in Chamberlain - they were closed but allowed us to park in the lot anyway - power was supposed to be on but wasn't, so we used the gen set as required to make sure water compartments did not freeze during the night

Nov 17th
Left Cedar Shores by about 8:30AM and headed south again - sure looking for some warm weather - last night in ELTORO was cold. Started Gen set at 9:00PM, 12 Midnight, and 3:00AM and let run for a half hour to warm things up - especially underneath to ensure water lines did not freeze. At 3:30AM after shutting Gen set off, turned thermostat down to 50 F but left furnace on to run from batteries. Between then and about 7:30AM furnace started quite often, but batteries worked well. Was a little cool in bed but we covered up well with blankets and an afgan. Didn't drive too far today. Down past Sioux Falls, SD and Sioux City, IA. Stopped at a rest area and set up international calling in our new cell phone. No big deal, just have to call 1-800-584-7652, then 1 for English, the the long distance number you want to call in Canada, including the 1- Area code - number. Our Cell number is 1-406-584-2957. We also were looking for an RV Park open all year and found one about 25 miles south of Sioux City, right on the banks of the Missouri River, a little rustic, but all hookups, except cable TV. We had called ahead and got directions to their site. Found it quite easily, and with help of hired hand set up on a grass site. Complete by about 3:00PM. Early supper of bacon, eggs and Hash Browns. By then sun dipping lower in western sky, so went and took some sundown pics across the Missouri.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

South into Winter - Hmmm - somethings the matter here

Up and Have breakfast with Tom and Linda, Say our goodbye's and on the road south before 9:00AM. Long line up at Coutts border, but it moves quite well. No difficult questions this time, just the usual, firearms, booze, where you goin, how long you all going to be gone. I told him 120 days for sure and possibly 180 days. His comment, "Better come home in 120 days, we don't like you to stay any longer and we don't care how much money you spend" Don't know where that come from, but I thought a little uncalled for. OH WELL !!!!!!! Uneventfull from there on to Great Falls and then on to Roundup on Highway 87 where we stopped for the night. RV park next to motel. Manager allowed us to park right up beside the motel so we would not have to unhook TOAD. Couldn't make to corner into the yard, so Co-Pilot Denice to the rescue. Sit in TOAD an hold the steering wheel while I did some creative driving maneuvers. Highways were good all the way,but fields covered with up to 6" snow. Are we really traveling south??

Friday, November 13, 2009


It's Friday the 13th, and that explains it all. We are prepared to leave first thing this morning - all I have to do is fill with water, and we are off - Not To Be!!! Go to hook up the water and immediately find a froze up and broken valve on the hook up rigummaroll thingamajig. Can't get it apart - fingers freezing, and then finally able to completely break it and get it apart. Off to High River RV Supply, but as luck would have it, I walked in and walked directly to the exact fitting/valve that I required$29.50 later I walked out and returned to the subject site. Installed same quite easily, then went to hook up the hose - Froze solid - get new one from garage and commence filling. Can't get water to the Hot Water tank --- Hmmmmm, forget that, we'll deal with that later. RV Water pump will not start, even though I did a proper "Winterization" a month ago. Deal with that later also. Then yesterday, we had the bedroom slide out, to access our closets, but didn't slide it back in at the end of the day. Denice said we should put the furnace on overnight, but Me knowing best, said why would we do that, as its all winterized and nothing can freeze - Maybe a little "Scotch" blood there. You know, we need to conserve propane.Anyway the long and short of it, when we tried to activate the slide it would not budge. Checked 120 Volt breakers - AOK. Tried 12 Volt Fuses AOK - now what?? I went outside and tried to assist by pushing while Denice activated the switch - Good Luck, thats like a flee trying to stampede an elephant!! But while I was out there I detected a small short hum when Denice acivated the switch -- so the motor is ok. I went back in and tried the switch a few more times, and alas, finally noticed small movements. A few more tmes and finally it started to come in. I surmise that overnight there must have been a small amount of condensation on the rubber sealing around the slide perimeter, and it had froze overnight. Now it was about 10:30 AM. By now our master plan said that we would be somewhere south of Lethbridge. Oh well plans are only made to be broken. By the way, we are retired. What we don't get done today, we will do tomorrow!! So now shut off the water and all appliances in the house, humidifier, water softener, add vegetable oil to all setting water in the "P" traps and toilets to prevent evaporation (as we plan to be gone up to 6 months) and finally at 11:00AM we are on the road. Once out of High River I ask my co-pilot to call friends, Linda and Tom in Warner to let them know we are on the way and will see them in a few hours. Not to be. I had instructed Telus to put our land line, internet, and cell phone on Vacation Disconnect while we are gone, in an effort to save $$$. Again SCOTCH you know!! We plan to buy a "Wally World" cell for $29.99 once in the USA and a 300 minute card. So now our cell is out of commission. Can't call anyone. So we just arrive at Lindas and Toms at 2:00PM. Linda whips up a turkey sandwich for us, and dinner at 6:00PM. GREAT FRIENDS !!! Tom and I get the Pump working - must have been stuck!! Fill the hot water tank, and now I do believe we are really on our way. Spend the night in ELTORO in front of Lindas house.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

OK, starting new 2009-2010 winter blog

Here it is November the 10th, 2009, and we are getting ready to head south once again. We have had a great summer here in Alberta. Just spent a lot of time relaxing and enjoying our home in High River. Did about 3 short week long trips in ELTORO during the summer. Twice down to Pincher Creek to visit our kids and once to Waterton, with a day trip into Glacier Park and over the "Going to the Sun" highway. And, oh yes, once out west of Turner Valley to Blue Rock campground for a week long primitive sojorn. The last month has been rather hectic, as my financial advisor, Denice, took a well deserved vacation in England with her sister and another friend. Denice, has always wanted to go and see some castles and see some of the real old stuff.
If that is all she wanted all she had to do was look at me, as I am some of the really old stuff.

Anyway, if she was going to wait for me to take her to England, she would have had to wait a long time, as I have no desire. While she was gone, our son Ross, decided that he could no longer affort the basement suite that he was living in, so we decided to buy him a Mobile home close to where he works at the Sears Warehouse in Calgary. So, the long and short of it, Dad had to step in with some assistance, and then to move him. God, how I hate moving!!! The big stuff is easy. A few loads of furniture, and its done. But the small things a person collects over the years. Seems it never ends. Load after load after load. Finally finished on Sunday. His mobile home is 30 years old. Originally 12' x 54', but with a 10' x 40' well constructed add-on on one side, as well as a nice deck and a garden shed for all his landscaping equipment. He should be happy now!!
So now we are rushing around trying to get all the final arrangement done before we leave this fall. Put phone, internet, and cell phone on "Vacation Disconnect", get all insurances, and ongoing bills organized for auto payment, vehicles (TOADONE and ELTORO) serviced and ready for a long vacation ahead, medicals, pills, and all of that stuff figured out, etc, etc, etc. I'm sure you all know what I mean!!
Plan on leaving as early as Friday, or Saturday. Heading down across the border at Coutts and on to Shelby, then turn east on US #2 across Montana and North Dakota to Grand Forks, then turn south down to Minneapolis, and down the Mississippi on the Great River Road to near St Louis somewhere, then likely over into Kentucky/Tennessee. From there everything is just cast in jello. Whatever road look appealing, that is the way we will go. Hope to be somewhere in Texas in mid January, and spend a couple of months there, between Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, before returning home in the spring. This year we are going to try for 6 months away. Not sure how that will work out!! May have to fly home for Christmas, for a break, but we'll see!!
This year, I have decided not to do a daily "Blog" as what we eat at each meal, gets to be rather "Old Hat", so will try to update at least once a week, to keep all informed of our whereabouts, and activities. Sometimes, I may do it more often, if we have interesting things to report.
So now follow along, and do send comments as you see fit. We do love to hear any news from home.