Monthly Archives: June 2017

Epilogue 2…Driving Across the United States…2017

20170616_100915We are one of the few people in the world who have a Father who in a couple months will turn 100.  He enjoys visitors more than just about anything and that is the main reason we headed on this driving trip.  We had a good time with him, the brothers and sister, the nephews and nieces and even the great nephews and nieces.  Really good visit.

One of the things we noticed on this trip was that cost of food on the road.  First the good news.  No one comes even close to the cost of California.  Where has the price of eating out on the road gone up the most from our last trips?  North Dakota and Montana.  Could it be the money coming into those states from the energy business?

Service at the businesses we used on the road were exceptional.  Hotels, restaurants and every other place, the people were friendly,  helpful and very were happy with how things are going for them at home and work.  Funny…so different from what you hear on the cable news channels. 

20170616_163314Finally a very interesting story from this trip.  Our favorite restaurant for years on our trips is without a doubt is the Cracker Barrel. We have eaten at them all over the United States(three times this trip)  Never ate at one in California because there isn’t one.  Here is why.  Talking to a person directly involved in getting their first Cracker Barrel in California here is what is happening. 

Eight years ago, the company decided to try again in opening their first California restaurant this time in Victorville.  Great location on the 15 highway.  It is due to open maybe, hopefully, possibly by the end of this year.  Every thing that you can imagine to slow down a business from opening in a state was thrown in against the company.  They have finally broken ground and are going to stick with it to the bloody end. Sad isn’t it?

Finally, the trip is done but our memories about the experience will last as long as we are around. 

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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in California, Montana, North Dakota



Epilogue Part 1…Driving Across the United States 2017

We are home.  After 14 days of driving across 11 states…mostly western and mid-western states…we have many thoughts of who the United States is and changed in the past eight years when we took the same drive.  Our experiences are about simple things that we observed.. 

Infrastructure improvement is exploding across the West especially the upper mid-west.  Roads, hospitals, airports, colleges, and bridges.  North Dakota looks to using their windfall of taxes from their oil/gas bonanza to rebuild their state from scratch.  Montana seems to be right behind them.  The rest of the country should thank North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Texas and Oklahoma for all of the wealth they are providing the rest of the country.

The gas prices were an eye opener, $1.99 in Minnesota to $3.51 in California.  Looks like the far west state governments are taxing the heck out of their residents who use gasoline.

By the way, if you can, never drive through Denver or Las Vegas.  Horrible traffic any time of the day.  Matches Los Angeles or San Diego. 

The good news is that gas mileage on cars have improved dramatically in the past eight years.  We averaged over over 33 miles per gallon with the Honda CRV driving the speed limited.  One thing I noticed this trip was the impact driving into a 20 mph head wind has on your gas mileage.  Drops it from 33 to 25 mpg.  When are the car company engineers going to improve the aerodynamics of our vehicles?

Part 2 tomorrow on the food, service, hotels and family.



Day 13, Sunday…110 Degrees…Close Call

We left Pocatello, Idaho at 630 a.m. and arrived in St. George, Utah at 3 p.m.  From 55 degrees to 110 degrees.  Big change.

We had the only close call on the whole trip today.  A pickup truck doing quite a bit over the 80 mph limit decided to merge into me from the fast lane.  To survive I shot over into the shoulder and the “stoner” missed me.  Did the same thing to someone else about 1/2 mile up the road too.  Wasn’t our time yet. 

We took a nap after we arrived and then headed off to the Cracker Barrel and had their Chicken Sunday Supper.  Oh my goodness was it good!


Home tomorrow by mid-afternoon.  Great trip.  Glad to get home.


Posted by on June 26, 2017 in idaho, utah



Day 13, Saturday…46 degrees to 83 degrees


This is a shot out of our window in our hotel in Miles City, Montana.  Less than 50 yards from our hotel, this small herd of Herford cattle decided to eat some grass.  Love traveling in the West.  Add to that when we took off today, we saw a Bald Eagle fly over the Yellowstone river looking for fish and seven Antelope busily munching in a field of soy beans.  So many wild creatures in this state. 

Image result for photo bald eagle Image result for Antelope Family

A stop at the confluence of the Little Big Horn and Yellowstone Rivers where Custer and his troops were massacred. 


The ride today was 536 miles that ranged from 7100 to 4608 feet.  Best gas mileage 0f the trip 35.6 mpg today mostly due to over 200 miles of two lane roads with speed always under 65 mph.

We are now in a very comfortable room in Pocatello, Idaho.  Tomorrow a relatively short drive….465 miles…to St. George, Utah.

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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in idaho, Montana



Days 10, 11…Last Full Day…On the Way Back

Day 10, 2017 Last full day in Minnesota.

Wednesday was our day to visit the We then spent head waters of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota. Outstanding park with 45 miles of hiking trails and sites. We really enjoyed our trip.


We spent the evening with our family at Dead Lake. Great family time the whole trip.


Day 11, 2017 Friday, Day 1 of driving home on the Northern route.

We left our hotel by 0615 and it was cold and windy. 40 mph wind and 53 degrees. Guess what? That was the whole day. Ramming the car directly into a 40 mph gale which led to 25 mpg gas mileage for the day. Add to that we climbed over a 1000 feet in altitude to our current location of Mills City, Montana. Now up to 2390 feet. Still not as high as home yet. P.S. Congratulations to the State of Minnesota for having the cheapest gas on our trip. $1.99.

We stopped for lunch in Dickenson, ND where we have sent four basketball players on scholarships…two woman and two men to Dickerson State University. We headed to a Thai 20170623_124149restaurant where the internet say the student from the University eat their food. So true, we ran into two football player from SoCal who had lots of questions on things on California. We enjoyed our visit.

Finally, one of our stop was at Teddy Roosevelt National Park in the far west of North Dakota. Georgious place with lots of bison.

Tomorrow, 530 miles to Pocatello, Idaho.

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Posted by on June 24, 2017 in Minnesota



Day 9, Turtle Races…Wild Weather!

Up this morning and we met the family in the resort town where we are staying, Perham, Minnesota.  Every Wednesday during the season they have turtle races for the kids.  The population of the town jumps from 3000 to 5000 as it off to the races. 

20170621_121336  20170621_121127After the races we headed to a favorite hangout on a lake called Zorba’s.  No it’s not Greek, it’s a pizza place with Mexican food.  Yep, one of a kind.  We all had a great couple of hours visiting and eating.

We hit our hotel for a vacation nap and then off to the Lake and then it happened.  I always tease Libby that she is a tornado magnet.  I am not kidding, every trip we take in the summer in states that have tornados, we hit tornados.  Well, we arrived at the lake and the weather alert on my phone went off..  Tornado on way.  It missed us by 15 miles including its golf ball sized hail.  We are back now in our hotel and the bad weather is SUPPOSED to be over in an hour.  Lets hope


Tomorrow we are headed for the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca. 

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Posted by on June 22, 2017 in Minnesota



Day 8, Libby Crushes Competition in Fishing Derby

20170620_191219Wednesday, June 21, 2017
7:17 AM

Tuesday started out mundane with shopping, washing clothes, filling the ice chest with ice and the drive to the lake. Things you just had to get done. Then the fun began.

With our newly purchased fishing license in hand we were ready for our first Dead Lake fishing expedition. Dave Simonson invited us into his boat and Libby put on a show catching more fish that the two of us guys together. Northern Pike, Crappy, Rock Bass and perch. That’s called” putting the hurt” on us. It was catch and release for the fish so they were happy. Great fun.

We had delicious food with the family and went to our favorite ice cream shop with the kids where I got my badly needed Dead Lake Minnesota replacement sweat shirt.

Great Day!

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Posted by on June 21, 2017 in Uncategorized