Category Archives: Free Camping

Part 2 – May 15’s Post, The Exciting End Involving Cops

May 15, 2014 – Thursday (Continued)

Ok, so we are both tired, but not fighting. 🙂
We were looking forward to getting to the campground and I was going to get to do laundry. Yippee. Now we are driving and searching the side of the freeway for more campgrounds. We see a couple, but they look pitiful too. I would rather stay at Cracker Barrel or Walmart than a junky campground. We pull off to get gas and I got on his iPad to search for another place. It doesn’t have hookups, but by now we don’t care. We can boondock again.

We are at Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque for then night. I stayed here before when I took my Arizona/New Mexico trip a few years ago. It’s the first time on this trip staying at a casino in their parking lot.

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Sorry about the Cop tease. I wasn’t pulled over again, but there were a lot of them here at the casino.

When we pulled in, there were maybe 50 motorcycle cops all lined up by the entrance. There were Sheriff cars too. I parked the RV and took the dogs out to potty and to snoop a little bit, to see what was going on. I took a few photos along with other RVer’s. I took the dogs back in the RV and watched the bikes from the window. Pretty soon, there were hundreds of motorcycle riders pulling into the adjoining gas/truck stop area. They were just regular bikers, not cops. I didn’t think it was a club, since there were so many different type of bikes. I asked Chica if she wanted to go for a walk and grabbed my camera phone again. Bella didn’t want to go, she would rather take a nap with Bill.

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By this time there were more people standing around taking pictures. I asked one of them what the deal was. He told me it was a club of bikers that are on a cross country motorcycle ride in honor of military veterans, prisoners of war, those who have been killed in action and their families. This ride is called Ride of Their Lives. I did a google search to get more info and it came up with Run for The Wall Motorcycle Event May 14-23rd. One mission Three Routes. Riders visit VA medical centers, veterans memorials, VFW posts, as well as schools along the routes. This particular group was taking the middle route, while others were farther north or south. They all started in Rancho Cucamonga, CA and will all end up in Arlington, VA.

The cops were there to escort them thru the traffic to keep them together. Once everyone was ready, a signal was given and the cops rode off followed by all the bikers. There were so many of them! I just took photos every few seconds till they were all gone. Chica wasn’t even scared. Her ears are kinda funny in the photos, like maybe it was too loud, but she wasn’t afraid that I could tell.

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For those that are interested, like my son Rick, I’ll post the rest of the bike photos in the next post called Bikes – Ride of Their Lives – Part 2

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Another Long Day of Driving with an Exciting End

May 15, 2014 – Thursday

When we woke up at Walmart, most of the other RV’s were already gone. There must have been at least 20 of us spending the night there. We had our own campground, dogs got to mingle as well as the people. One lady, had a relative in Norwalk, where I grew up, and she lived in Cerritos area I think she said. She also belonged to SKP and has stayed at our RV park in Aguanga before. Small world.

We left Walmart in Amarillo, TX at 9:20 and just 15 minutes down the freeway we saw a lot of cars stopped on the frontage road on the other side of the freeway. I thought maybe there was an accident, but then I noticed them pointing cameras out into the field just off the freeway. I looked and just barely caught a glimpse as we drove past, of the Cadillac Ranch cars! Bummer, I didn’t even have a chance to take a picture. I did a google search and “lifted a couple of photos” off the website RoadsideAmerica
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We crossed into New Mexico at 10:30.

All along the freeway there were big billboards for various tourist traps at a gas station. First one we saw was for the Flying C Ranch. Bill said I could stop, and it was time for the dogs to have a potty break…so I did. We walked the dogs, then I went in to browse around and my reward at the end was a Pecan, Carmel Blizzard at the Dairy Queen there. Yummy

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Farther down the road, we started seeing similar signs for Clines Corners, a famous stop so I’ve read. Bill gave me the OK to go see it too, so I took the off ramp with intentions to stop. It wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be, probably had the same souvenir stuff and the parking lot was a lot smaller and had pot holes all over it. I decided to skip it and get back on the freeway.

Bill’s goal was to make it to Albuquerque today, which was a little over a four hour drive for me. I had looked thru my Passport America 1/2 price book before leaving Walmart, for a campground that advertised full hookups, laundry and free wifi. After two nights of no hookups, I was ready for electric and to do laundry finally. When we finally got there, it was a dumpy place with older RV’s that appeared to be living there with junk around them. The place was gravel and weeds. It was ugly. I told Bill I could t stay there, so we continued west.

SEE PART 2 of where we stayed and more COPS! Just a tease….

Goodbye Oklahoma, Hello Texas

May 14, 2014 – Wednesday

We had a quiet evening at good old Cracker Barrel last night. We were on the road this morning at 8:30. Destination, Amarillo, TX. We are both in a much better mood today. Bill says he is feeling better.

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We see billboards for Cherokee Trading Post in Clinton ahead. They advertise live buffalo too. Bill asked if I wanted to stop, so we did.

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So many fancy boots, hats, and western stuff. Then we went outside to look at the buffalo.

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Bella and Chica didn’t react at all to seeing the big animals. As we walked back to the RV, I noticed a dead bird on my front bumper. Bill thought he saw a bird fly into the RV earlier that day. Poor little thing.

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We continued only stopping to eat lunch and get gas. Along the way I snap pictures of the Welcome to Texas sign, the leaning tower in Groom, TX, a huge cross, and the famous Big Texan Steak House. If you can eat their 72 oz steak, you get it for free.

During our lunch break, I found a half price campground in my Passport America membership book. Full hookups, and they had a laundry room, which I could use about mow, all for $12.50. Nobody answered the phone when I tried to call a couple times to see if they have space for us. Since it was just off the freeway in Amarillo, we just decided to drive there and hopefully get a spot. When we saw it, we drove in one driveway and out the other. It was a dumpy looking campground. Down the road we got gas and saw another campground. It looked a little better, but too many old, permanent trailers living there, so we passed on it too. I got my overnight RV parking website up and found a Walmart nearby.

Good old Walmart and Cracker Barrel have saved us a lot of camping fees. I went in and got a haircut and bought a few groceries. One stop shopping, haircut and camping. We got her around 3:00 I think, and there was already about six RVs here. Tonight there are probably at least fifteen of us parked for the night. Big expensive motor homes as well as a few old ones. It’s like a real campground here. The dogs found a few other dogs to socialize with too. One lady I talked to with the long haired Chihuahua even had relatives in Norwalk and grew up near there.

I have a few more pictures to go with the text above, but for some reason, WordPress isn’t letting me add more right now. I’ll try publishing this post, then go back and try to add the other pictures.

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St. Louis, MO and Disappointment – Part 1 Mothers Day

May 11, 2014 – Sunday

Happy Mother’s Day!

We left Cracker Barrel at 8:45 am, destination St. Louis, MO, a little over an hour away. It rained off and all all the way there.

There were a few things I wanted to see in St Louis, but the Arch was the main thing. I put an address into the GPS for a place along the river that was suppose to have RV parking. Today the GPS had a mind of its own. As you get close to any major city freeways and interchanges there are roads going everywhere and not much time to get in the correct lanes. My GPS usually does an excellent job, but today, not so. She told me to go one way and the overhead freeway signs seem to say another way. She “Recalculated” over and over, while we were left to our selves to figure the interchanges out. Not sure if the overcast sky or tall buildings threw her off, but she was crazy that day.

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I’m not even sure what bridge we crossed but it was pretty and we could see the Arch in the distance to our left. I just got off on a random street and tried to get close to the Arch while the GPS was still recalculating. Bill hates big cities, but I kept pointing out to him how empty it was on Mothers Day morning and in rainy weather. We had no traffic, so I continued to search for the Arch. There are lots of one way streets in downtown, some with construction, some with vehicles blocking lanes. When we got to the river, there was construction and road closures. The following pictures were all taken from the RV. We never got out.

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I finally gave up and we tried to find our freeway on ramp again. After more than a few cuss words at each other and the GPS, we finally found our way back on the correct freeway and direction.
To cheer myself up, I pulled into to a White Castle, only my 2nd time trying one. Since it was still morning, I got a waffle, egg and sausage sandwich and a plain hamburger to split between the dogs.

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Next touristy thing I wanted to see was the Sculpture Gardens, which I read, allowed dogs. When we got there, we encountered a Mother’s Day Art Fair going on at the park, with a big sign that said No Dogs Allowed for this event. Rats, I didn’t want to walk around without the dogs at a park, so we left. Strike two for the day.
Back on the freeway, eventually getting off at the Visitor Center at the entrance to Route 66 State Park. Finally, I could pick up brochures for touristy things to do on Route 66. I walked away with lots of information.

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I thought the dog sign was cute, and reminded me of my dog Bella who loves to lick people.

I will continue this days post in Part Two, since there are so many photos. Stay tuned for Meramec Caverns!

Military Museum Tour and Cracker Barrel Camping Again

May, 10, 2014 – Saturday

We left Cracker Barrel at 10 am, first stop was gas. Seems like we get gas a lot, but we like to keep the tank topped up when we can. I’ve been keeping track of all the gas fill ups, and plugged those numbers into a gas mileage app on my phone, that calculates miles per gallon for you. We are getting an average of 10 to 11mpg. The best was 13.12 mpg and the worst was 8.85 mpg.

Next we went to Best Buy to buy a new car phone charger. The one we had stopped charging.

At 10:45 driving on I-70 we passed the “Welcome to Illinois” sign.

At 11:30 we saw a billboard advertising a historical town just off the freeway. Sounded like a good potty break stop and a chance to walk around. The town is called Greenup on The Historical National Road, also called US 40. Parked on the street next to a grassy park, which the dogs loved. While there, a lady walking to her car stopped to talk to us after seeing the RV. She was very proud of her little town and started telling us about it. She said there was a really nice military museum we should see. We said ok, so she went back to her car to get the key. Apparently, she is in charge or a volunteer of the place to have the key. We got the dog stroller out then walked down the street passing little shops she would point out.

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It was a nice old building with a lot of displays. I took a photo of Bill next to the uniform he wore in the Marines. I saw a Navy uniform that reminded me of my dad in his uniform photos. We stayed about fifteen minutes, signed the guest book and put some money in the donation box. We thanked Margaret for the private tour, then walked down the other side of the street.

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We went in a couple of the antique/gift shops, then headed back to the RV and back on the freeway.

We are getting really close to St. Louis, Missouri. I don’t want to get there till tomorrow, so we stopped at 3:30 in Troy, Illinois at another Cracker Barrel. St. Louis is where we will pick up Route 66 towards home. I haven’t been able to pick up any information about St. Louis or even Route 66 on the trip yet. I needed an evening to go online and see what to do tomorrow. Chances are, the big city will freak Bill out and he will want to get out of there fast, so I’m probably planning for nothing. 🙂

Bill still isn’t feeling good. He is slowly getting better, but isn’t there yet. I’m hoping the extra day will make him feel better before we start Route 66.

This Cracker Barrel has RV parking in the back, so cars aren’t coming back here to park in the RV spots. We did have a truck pulling a horse trailer park next to us, while the two cowgirls went in to Cracker Barrel for dinner. One kept kicking his stall while they were gone. I think he wanted out.

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I walked Chica around the restaurant a few times, trying to wear her out. She has a lot of energy, and misses being able to run free, without a harness and leash, like she does at home.

Bill Gets a Tour of His Old Neighborhood and We Go Dancing

May 3, 2014 – Saturday

This morning, Sharon and Denise picked us up at our RV in the school parking lot.

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They are going to drive us around to see the neighborhood where Bill grew up and went to school. Some people refer to this neighborhood as “the Bottoms”. We aren’t sure how long we will be gone, so we bring the dogs. They drive us past different houses where relatives use to live, Bills Middle School, his High School, neighborhood stores and thru the residential streets of the neighborhood his house was in. They were all a little sad how the neighborhood has deteriorated.

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The brown house on the left, is the house Bill grew up in, from birth till after High School, when he joined the Marines. These are called “shot gun” houses because they are very narrow. If you open the front and back doors, you could shoot straight thru the houses.

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The first school is Bill’s middle school and the bottom one is his high school.
The rest of the houses are just random houses in the same neighborhood.

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After the tour around the old neighborhood we took the dogs back to their house, let them potty, gave them water and places to sleep in her laundry room, while we all went to lunch. After lunch we go thrift store shopping at two different places. They like bargain shopping too. :-). We got a small vacuum for the RV and a couple of new carpet mats for inside the RV when it rains.

Later that evening, Denise wants to take Bill and I to a bar in town that has music and dancing. Sharon offers to keep the dogs while we are out. We have dinner first at a Mexican restaurant. I have my first margarita. Then we head to the bar. It’s early still and the music hasn’t started. I have my second and third margarita for the night and Bill has coffee. It’s strange for Bill and I to go to a bar, something we haven’t ever done together. We sit at the counter surrounding the bar tenders and watch them prepare and serve drinks. Large tv’s above the bars all have sports on them, something we don’t watch. We notice it’s a much younger crowd, and we feel a little out of place. Finally, the DJ starts playing music. It’s not the normal type of music we dance to, but we got up and danced to about three different songs. We were the only ones on the dance floor.

Later a big group of “young adults” come in still dressed in their wedding party dresses and tuxes. They were celebrating someone getting married. Even the bride and groom walked in a little later still in their wedding clothes. They immediately took to the dance floor, filling it up with fun and laughter and a lot of drinking. Even Denise and I got up to dance with the big group for a couple of very long songs. 🙂

By 11:15, Bill and I, being old fuddy-duddies decide we were ready to go home. Josh, Mary Ann’s son, comes in about then and says he will take Denise home later, and we drive her car back to get our puppies at their house. When we got to the house, Sharon had just gotten up to take all four dogs out to potty. She said they had all been sleeping in her bed and got along fine. Pups were happy to see us, and we loaded them up in the car and drove to the school “campground”.

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Patty Pigs Out and Arriving at Bill’s Relatives in Ohio

May 1, 2014 – Thursday (Continued)

After leaving Bowling Green and the National Corvette Museum, we continued north on I-65, passing Mammoth Cave National Park and Cave City with Dinosaur World, various zip lines, cave tours, and Guntown Mountain at exit 53. No grass grows under our wheels. 🙂

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Some place between Bowling Green and Louisville, KY I was hungry and saw a Waffle House restaurant, which we don’t have in CA, so we stopped. I’m surprised how many Waffle Houses I see on this trip, and how small they all are! When I took my FL trip a few years ago, I had the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten at one. I had to order them again, along with a couple of my favorite breakfast items, waffles and biscuits and gravy.

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The scrambled eggs with cheese were as good as I remembered! The biscuits and gravy were good too. I had to take half the waffles in a to go box because I was too full. I also took the white toast and gave it to Chica and Bella.
Back on the freeway I drove another hour or so, before parking at Cracker Barrel in La Grange, KY for the night. This is another restaurant we don’t have in CA, and I like the food and country store in the lobby. We went inside to get permission to park overnight and ended up ordering a late lunch. Bill had beans, and I had the turkey special plate with stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, and hash brown casserole. I even ordered an apple dumpling for desert. Of course I was still full from Waffle House, so I took a few bites of each thing and had two to go boxes to take dinner and desert back to the RV and put it in the freezer.

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Besides the country store, I think all Cracker Barrels have the rocking chairs on the porch.
It started to rain just before we went to bed at 11:00.

May 2, 2014 – Friday
We left Cracker Barrel after getting coffee in there, at 8:45 am. A couple hours later, we were crossing the Ohio Bridge in Cincinnati. We didn’t stop, just took pictures from the RV as I was driving.

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Once away from the big city, we stopped in Lebanon, OH for a potty break and my very first White Castle hamburger! Again, we don’t have these in CA, so I just had to see what all the fuss was about. I ordered two little cheeseburgers, fries and a soda for my self and two plain burgers for the dogs.

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They gobbled them up then asked for a few of my fries!
We are getting close to Bill’s sister Sharon and her daughter Denise in Columbus, but they both work and aren’t home yet. We really need to do laundry, so we find one in Columbus and spend the afternoon with me in the Laundromat and Bill touching up the outside of the RV with a waterless wash cleaner and cleaning the windows.
We parked in front of Sharon and Denise’s house a little before they got home. They both arrived and hugs all around. They got a tour of the RV and met the dogs, then we all went into their house for a nice visit.

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Bill and his Sister Sharon

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Sharon’s daughter Denise.

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The dogs got along pretty good, as long as her dogs didn’t get too close to me or Bill, their toys, or food Sharon gave them. My dogs growled a bit at them. They have a nice grassy backyard that they could be off leash in and they continued to get use to each other as the day went on. They had pizza delivered for dinner and it tasted so good. Later, Sharon’s other daughter, Mary Ann, her son Josh, and his little girl Maci came over to visit. It was really nice meeting more of Bill’s family! I don’t know why we didn’t get pictures of them. 😦
We had permission from a local middle school behind the house, and from the police dept, to park our RV in the school parking lot over the weekend. We drove the RV over there at 9:30 pm, wrote in my journal for a bit and was in bed at 10:30.