Sunday, November 27, 2022

Journey On!

 We wrapped up Utah with a couple of nice, or more spectacular than nice, views and visits. We were in

Zion National Park which of course was crowded and no dogs on trails so we drove the main thoroughfare a couple of times. I am glad I got my National Park Pass and we don't pay for as many times as we want to go in the parks. There was a nice dog friendly park in Springdale, the next town over for hiking so we did that a couple days and she seemed to enjoy. A little rushing river, a few doggie hellos.

Regrettably we had to stay at an RV Park (Nov. 22,23 check out on 24) but were plugged in so had plenty of heat and electricity for microwaves and such. Still not roughing it! I am thankful for my plug in heater which backs up the propane van one. (Which is also a pain to run out of- which we did and because of the crowds of RV folks there was none to be had in 3 stops) I am able to have coffee in the morning, heating up water in the microwave. 

Leaving Zion we really didn't have plans on where to go which is not good out West on a holiday. Happy Thanksgiving. We swung over to a ghost town I had heard about down a dusty gravel road. It was where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed and was very western. Interesting how and where settlers came out here and what they did. Mostly planted fruit trees. When you think about that it is sort of amazing to cart little saplings on your

Gina looks for ghosts, or even mice.
wagon train. Lots of Mormon stories- some horrendous. 

I thought to head for the Valley of Fire in Nevada, thinking there wouldn't be anyone there- Wrong. Carry on- Another 10 miles to an RV park on Lake Meade which was nice and quiet. Saw a shadowy coyote in the campground. Gina got to see some dogs. She smelled the coyote but didn't know how exciting that was. Good.

The next day we continued into Nevada. I was struck by the change of the mountains character. It made me think of the character of each of the mountainy places. Arches was like a well trained choir of holy voices. Bryce was the singing of Angels, high and ethereal, Zion was a concert of sopranos, big and round and spectacular but the Nevada stretch I drove through was growly and ominous. Big dark round forbidding rocks. Sorta gave me the heeby-jeebies.

We were heading for the tiny town of Rachel on the Extraterrestial highway. On the way we passed a

lovely lake with golden cottonwood trees and willows. I saw a sign for camping so we stopped to check it out and got a superlative site right on the lake. There was no plug in but the batteries were enough. I also had a ready made salad so dinner was no problem. In the morning we walked halfway around the lake and saw the most wonderful birds- Tundra swans, ring necked ducks, Several kinds of grebes, great blue herons, coots, cinnamon teals, a harrier hawk that was searching for a duck breakfast, ..well, you get the idea... Lots of cool birds.

Rachel- Down a REALLY boring desert road near Area 51. Nothing there but the Ale'i Inn. So I had to see what that was about. Had a chili dog in this dive-y bar filled with tacky alien souvenirs. Good chili dog. Walked around a little bit but then decided to skip Area 51 and get outta town.
Woof! I am glad I did not plan to spend the night there! Back tracked out of there, heading towards California. Lots of driving!

Found a campsite at a place called Cottonwood Resort. Perhaps it used to be a resort but with Lake Meade being so dry most activities were caput. Houseboats all at moorings. No one on 'em that I could tell. But pretty enough. I was glad to have a 12V blanket as there was no electrical hookup but the bathrooms were still open. (These things are important)

Here are some other pictures that I couldn't get to cooperate in placement. There are some also on my FB page.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Southern Utah

 I have been out of wifi for a while but you'll see why. Southern Utah deserves a post of it's own. I have been hopping from park to park, seeing the most spectacular vistas and sculptures of nature. I have also seen quite a few dusty little towns, scattered ranches, and choices that people have made to live in these places. I think many do make a choice to live here. There are established places that have a hundred year plus history. Of course there are also places that came in 100 plus years ago and then disappeared. Railroad was a driver. Water was a driver. (That will only continue to be a challenge- or a deciding factor) But I am just going to talk about what I have seen.

Wow. What I have seen.

I came into Blanding, UT out of Flagstaff. It is a Mormon town, so not a lot going on, no wine served at the Steakhouse, but the portion of Navaho Taco was big (Too big.) Stopped at a very nice small museum [Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum] to the Pueblo culture. Informative and attractive. The town touts its central location to the Big Outdoor Events (State and National Parks).

It was not a long drive to Moab and Arches National Park so we took a bit of a turn there. I had to get her in the photo album for Arches. Dogs are allowed on paved areas but hey, it worked. This is Gina at Balanicing Rock. I have a senior Parks Pass so I come and go and have paid with the purchase of the card. Very convenient. I also checked out a day care for Gina-
Moab National Bark, just outside of town. It turned out to be.a good thing to find and truth be told it was nice not having dogs and irresponsible owners on the trails. Note: Most popular national parks do not allow dogs on the trails so
you cannot hike with them. Make plans accordingly. I did Arches for two days. Took a challenging but awesome hike on my day without Gina  to the Delicate Arch as well as driving through other parts of the park and chilled.

I began staying at Dead Horse Campground near Moab. It was really cold. The wind blew over the mesa and found every crack in the van. We had winterized also so it was a challenge to use restroom facilities at the end of the day and the beginning! Getting old? yep. I hate being cold. There is also an issue with the propane heater due to a Flagstaff RV "repair". I bought a little heater and will have the system checked.

We ended up at a La Quinta Hotel that was so convenient and comfortable I asked to stay another night. I slowed down a bit. Got my laundry done, Gina liked the walking paths around the hotel. There was a barbeque place right next door which was pretty fair. It all worked. We walked around town a while, finding the dog park and trails that went through the town, next to streams and through neighborhoods. Nice!

Taking a day trip from Moab (Nov 17) to Canyonlands National Park worked out well. Again, we couldn't walk the trails so we explored and got in and out  of the van where we could. It is very different from Arches, Each of these parks seem different from the other. What a heritage we have to have all these parks! There are many visitors in all the parks from everywhere here, many Asians, lots of young people hiking, biking, 4 wheeling, Europeans who seem to have brought their camper vehicles with them, retirees.

If you are going to go to one place Moab is probably where you want to go but honestly, I am glad I have gone to each place, as they are different. I was taking pictures- and pictures and pictures. I asked myself how many pictures of rocks can you take? But they are all different, although I won't post as many as I took here. There will be different ones on my FB page if you are interested in a wider scope
We headed out to Capital Reef NP on November 18. They have pictographs, hoodoos and incredible landscapes The speed limit said 80. I don't want to go 80. I didn't folks passed me. What do I care. At any rate the time allotted by Google Maps almost always needs to be doubled. Between me in the lumbering van and stops for Gina. It takes twice as long to do anything. I drove some remote roads to Cap Reef but you  know, there were still folks living way out there on the range. We ended up at Frulia campgound for the night because it was so pretty and fairly protected. Although they did have a sign for mountain lion sightings.... I kept Gina close! Lots of big deer. She went after a big buck but was on a leash or I may have never seen her again!They sold pies at a little store at the campground as the early settlers planted fruit trees (which are still there) Good pies, deer, a rapid river. Plugged in for the night

Wanted to spend a couple of days at Kodachrome State Park (Nov 19-21) which is an hour from Bryce. It wasn't very crowded and had a super dark sky. Good dry firewood and, it is famous for it's showers so I had to take a shower. Felt good to get the red dust off. The showers were quite nice. River tiles on the
floors, bronze and stone theme. I know, I should have taken pictures but I did not bring my camera into the shower room. Imagine. We took a number of walks. Gina was allowed on the trails here. She had lots of new smells and I saw tracks of rabbits, little antelope feet, free range cows and micey things. I saw a kangaroo rat run across the road (she missed that) and have been getting a kick out of the ravens that are brave and big.  I hear Native American stories in my ears as I walk these trails. 
We were plugged in and pretty cozy. THe wind wasn't blowing!
Bryce was out destination on the 21st and I had hoped to spend a couple days there but it is a bit crazy. LOTS of visitors, busloads of Asians, carloads of Norwegians, lots of Americans of all flavors. Suddenly I remember it is Thanksgiving week. I had been asked about it but thought it was out there somewhere. No, it is here and I think it will be a challenge to camp anywhere this week. We'll see how it all shakes out. In the meantime, Bryce is another
astounding place. I had to skip seeing Sunset Point as there were no parking spots... But I feel like I got a good feeling for it. See if you agree. Again, no dogs on the trails, at the Lodge, etc. But we got our documentation!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Southwest

 Ah, what an experience

Such beautiful country. Spectacular in its space. Around one mountain the terrain changes altogether. Hearing history from Autio adds to the character of the space, history,  through the milleniums. the beginning of the shallow seas to the development of the Original Americans to the development of the White Man's America. Such history.

The  Southwest

Not much wifi around so I am behind. I will write this a little differently

I Spent a couple days in Oklahoma City with an old high school friend. Kevin was a most gracious host. He and his fiance took me all over for a couple days on Nov. 5 nd 6. It is an attractive city but very spread out. We went to A lovely bronze statue of the Sooners race. They apparently got to choose land if they made a run for it and claimed it. We also stopped by the Capital where, although closed the guard let us walk around and see the exhibits and the interior of the cupola. Dinner the first night was at a kitchy ROute 66 diner which was pretty awful but you have to experience things, right? The second night followed a walk in a Nature Park and a lovely Oklahoma bombing memorial. It was lit beautifully at night. They encouraged me to stay two days and it was nice to sleep in a home with space and a real bathroom and bed. Thanks Kevin. After all these years he is still a stand up guy. I had a good meal at Toby Keith's restaurant- real Americana and lots of memorabilia.

Nov 7, 8

Kevin recommended I check out Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas and so I squeaked in there with a cancellation that had called in. It felt quite wild and western with the canyon walls around me. In the process of getting there I passed the Chisholm Trail, the Great Cattle Trail and heard lots of history about how we broke promises to the Indians over and over and over. Honestly, white Americans have never collectively had a good track record on land they inhabit.

The Canyon has hiking and cross country biking, horseback riding and such. Gina and I took a hike for a couple miles the morning we left. It was windy windy everywhere.

We went back to Amarillo to see the old Cadillac Ranch art installation. Apparently the thing to do now is to bring spray paint and add your two cents. I miss the old Cadillacs. Now they are sort of mutants. Look up the original installation by a group of hippie folks called The Ant Farm. The wind made me sort of crazy.

We ended up in Tucumcari (like the Little Feat song - Willing) and although they had some nice ROute 66 stuff it was sort of a sad little town. There are a lot of poor people in our country. I did have the most amazing tacos I have ever had there at a restaurant called La Cita. Smoky, moist grilled beef, served with real beans and rice- not the runny mushy stuff you get back east. 

Nov. 9

Got caught up with laundering sheets and such before I headed to Roswell AZ. Had to check out the aliens. Boy have they capitalized on their legendary crash in the 40's. There are murals and aliens everywhere!
It is amusing but nothing is done particularly well. They have a UFO Museum and research center. Although Gina could come in she was not interested in the aliens or reading the displays. We went into a few souvenir shops but nothing grabbed me. 
I stopped by the tourist office and they recommended camping in Bottomless Lake State Park. So I did. Many of the lakes are almost dried up. It's a free campsite so you just pick a spot, which we did. Another wild place. Poor Gina has been having a hard time with all the thistles and thorns. She is not a desert dog. She did not want to walk much and I can't blame her when she would get a thorn every dozen yards. Poor baby.

Nov 10

A late departure from Roswell.
Stopped at a real cute town which had a lot of history from Billy the Kid and Pat Garret (interesting fellow) to CCC and WW2 internment camps.
Tired of driving, I looked up to see if there were any Harvest Hosts in the area and there were! I stayed at a New Mexican winery- Black's Smugglers and had conversation with some good ol' boys.  I bought a bottle of their San Giovese, even though I could hear Will tsking me. It was a cold night!
I found out it was indeed a cold night and what's more the cold was coming in a strong way.

Nov 11

I had planned to go for a couple days to  a unique and wilderness spot called El Malpais Park. Hundred of thousands of acres of high desert and lava fields. Upon arrival I also found out that the temperature was supposed to drop to 15 degrees that night. I did not winterize the van. It never occurred to me that I would be in an area that would be that cold. My pipes would freeze. So instead of relaxing after a less than 2 hour drive I decided to head south rather than north as planned and get to Phoenix- 5 hours away. Ugh. I passed through some stunning country and rock formations, lots of tribal artwork that I did not stop for. I know how that extends a day!

By the time I reached Holbrook I had dropped down 2000 feet from the High desert and thought that would be good enough. Nevertheless I drained my water tank( recently topped off) and my waste tanks and planned to put RV antifreeze in the lines. Didn't get that part done as it was so late but I figured the water was out. A long day full of stuff. I treated myself to a Route 66 motel of Wigwams, names, strangely enough, The Wigwam Hotel. They were concrete and smelled funky but they were quiet, scenic, and I was done! Rustled up a salad from the van and called it a day after walking Gina around. Concrete wigwams are very sound proof. Which was good as it was right by the railroad tracks!

Nov 12

Well, into each adventure a little stress must fall. There is some snafu with the winterization. I don't think it filled each pipe all the way. I went to an RV dealer in Flagstaff but they didn't really understand Roadtreks and couldn't figure out why I am leaking pink RV fluid - non toxic.
I have been buying more and more antifreeze as everyone wants to see where it's going/coming from besides down the drain...
The result of this is that I will no longer have my bathroom, sinks and tap water. I will be camping in a van. Poor me!!!😁. I checked my heat and it wasn't too bad this morning although I will be tempted to have hook ups in campsites- just in case I run out of propane I won't freeze my tookus. I need an attitude adjustment but other than that this is a first world problem!
We took an amusing stop in Winslow, Arizona where we stood on a corner and had an amusing 1/2 hour.

There were a lot of Eagles (the band, not the football) fans. For those of you who may not know the song the line goes- "Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona, such a fine sight to see. There's a girl, my Lord, in a flat bed Ford slowing down to take a look at me." The song has apparently done wonders for the town. There was a positive vibe and shops and bar and grills. Perhaps every town should hire an artist to put them on the map!
We landed in Flagstaff now that I am semi winterized. I wasn't going to come here as it is chilly but now, hey, I am much more flexible. Making lemonade.... Flagstaff is a hip place. There is a lot to do here. Although I would like to go to the Lowell Observatory they don't take dogs in. Perhaps I will do a short trip but I found a park we can take a proper hike. We may stay another day. What the heck!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Visiting America- Part Two The Midwest

 I write when I have a good connection so sometimes that may be a few days. Gina and I are finding our pace on taking care of the van, taking care of ourselves and satisfying our curiosity about almost everything that we see. We are also learning how to attempt to get the Blogspot to do what we want to do. I think the next connection I shall have to take a tutorial...

October 23. Saginaw

Departure 10:30

We crossed the Canada/US border at Sarnia very easily, despite the fact that Google did not want me to go to Sarnia at all. The way is well marked and we gassed and propaned so we should be in good shape.

We spent a couple of days at the Comfort in in Saginaw. Not recommended. It was clean enough but many small maintenance problems. I got laundry done, received all the maps I had forgotten in Maine- thank you, Will. and did a bit of exploring. I tried in vain to find an accessible salad bar or healthier food in this area to no avail. If I had wanted to be in a crowd I could have gone out to dinner. Note to self- go to dinner at 5 to get a seat....
I looked for a Saginaw historic district or parks or charm but was unable to be satisfied on that account. Regrettably I am staying in a strip/developed/mall area which Gina and I both find uncomfortable. Lots of traffic (folks are not inclined to cut you a break, slow down or offer car courtesies).
We headed over to Bay City which had some, actually many, lovely Victorian houses. With their paint jobs and the fall colors it was quite the show.
We also visited to a dog park yesterday so Gina can remember she's a dog. She was not interested. 😉 
At the dog park a nearby park was recommended to us-The Bay City Park. It was quite lovely and we saw Sandhill cranes which are special to me. Several years ago the sandhill migration was going to be a first birds expedition with my dear friend Molly. We were to go to the Platte RIver in Nebraska to view the gathering. Covid came. Everything was cancelled and the birds got by without us. Seeing them yesterday wet my whistle for a future trip.
Here are some pictures from the lovely day yesterday. The character who recommended the park also recommended the ice cream joint!


It takes some practice just to Be. Letting go of judgement and looking where you are right now. What is offered. But it also helps your perspective on a numbere of observations, physical and psychological.
I pulled into the stop for the night and there was a minimal of luxury. The farm had no bees, The racoons had killed the chickens- no eggs and things were all just a bit down in the mouth.
Okay. Some overnights were bound to not be riverside on graded land (Do I not sound SO hoity toity!!) 
That’s okay. Each spot is different. As I slowed down and saw my spot I saw the milkweed lit bt the setting sun, the bluebirds came by. I heard a bird, and applying my app it was a Vespers Sparrow singing in the night. I watched the wild grasses blow and settled.Gina found the deer sleeping spots.
 It was a lovely spot but needed me to be In it. So I became in it. And grew thankful and observant. I practiced Being where I was. I will practice being where I am.
Passing thought- Perhaps folks you believe have made poor choices in their lives made the best choices they could in the circumstance they were in. Who are we to judge?

October 23

Mileage 54394
Departure 11:53 arrival some time around 3 I think
Battle Creek
It is easy to think of American things- like Kelloggs cereal. When I found my journey was going to take me near Battle Creek I thought, well, maybe there is a huge red K there. There wasn’t. It was the quietst town I have ever seen. No one was around downtown. There had been effort made to plant the planters and have public art but they had forgotten to put people in it. Okay it was a Sunday. There were more churches than McDonald’s- or Starbucks (didn’t see one at all, can you imagine? And the churches we Big. Not just large but monumental. I felt as though I was in the middle ages with families competing for an entrance to their heaven.

It was pretty enough as you can see. The Kellogg’s World Headquarters does give tours- but not on Sundays. You could see their influence all over town in auditoriums and community centers.  But not enough to keep the stores from being closed up or windows papered over. Sad, but also sorta weird. Like someone flipped a switch to close the downtown lights.

October 24

Mileage 54778
Departure 9:30 arrival 2:30
It took a long time to get past Chicago. I needed to be more attentive to Google’s direction as they did not take me to Valparaiso, where I wanted to see the big statue of Orville Reddenbacher but kept me on the busy highway. Gina and I were not impressed. 
But we ended up- with no prior reservation at Kankakee State Park near Bourbonnais Illinois. No one here almost. Pretty park, electric hook up, no water.

And for two nights it was $1.11. Really, amazing,
We are near the Kankakee River and there are bike trails, good bathrooms and showers and it is a pleasant spot- except for the rain. The rain came in on the 25th and it rained all. Day. Long… We got our walks in but it wasn’t a joyous occasion. Ran some errands the following day, Gina is having a blast chasing the squirrels. She likes the black ones the best. I think because they show up well against the fallen leaves 


October 26

Mileage- forgot
Departure 11:30 arrive 1:30 Pontiac, IL
Pontiac has some lovely parks, murals of Route 66, a couple memorabilia museums and not much else.

That being said they offer their Office of Tourism/City Hall parking lot to Harvest Host members so it was convenient. Gina had a blast chasing the fat squirrels at Chataqua Park (for more about that movement, unknown to me but perhaps should be revived read here ). I went to the museum and walked Gina around town. In conversation with a clerk from the town hall I was informed that the big factory at the end of town was a shelving factory, a big employer, also a high security prison outside of town provided many jobs. Hm. I guess it would. 
Although the fried chicken at the Italian restaurant was recommended to me I did not go out to dinner. It was a restless night parked in a parking lot. There was some traffic but I much prefer the woods and farms. Yes, I lock myself in every night regardless of where I am.
THe countryside is flat, flat, flat, as far as the eye can see. Miles between corn farms, mostly cut and sileaged so there are long long swaths of flat tan space.  It is as different to the East Coast or any country as any space could be. People are shaped by their topography and I can understand why the Midwest seems so different philosophically. The live a life I can barely imagine shaped by nature as designed by man.  I can imagine an ancient ocean bed here, now substituted for these shorn fields. It is a wonder that America gets along as well as it does. This is a foreign country.

October 27

Mileage 55082
Departure 8:30 arrival 1:40 Beardstown
Harvest Host overnight at the Old Homestead Event Venue
I wandered a bit today. Wanted to check out the Cozy Dog Drive Inn. They do make a good corn dog and it was full of Route 66 memorabilia on the edge of Springfield. Like all other towns the strip malls were all on the edge of town
The highway to Beardstown was not crowded and was that flat flat land. The town itself looked poor but then I saw many many Mexican restaurants. Odd. There were signs that it had been prosperous, an Old Opera House, Lincoln doing his community thing at the river. (Lots of Lincoln in this part of the world) A village square. An immigration center. ? Turns out

that the Scripps family- yes THE Scripps family is from this area and started their fortune and hence the philanthrophy and education from Ellen Browning Scripps is from here. Who’da thunk’? I looked up the demographics of the town and because of the p\meat packing plant the town has earned the nickname Porkopolis. From the next town over it was referred to as a “dirty little town”. I thought of the Randy Newman song - Keeping the N__ down and wanted to be a philanthropist myself to make it a Mecca. I also wondered if this was the area that was horrendously depicted during covid requiring workers to overwork, work when sick and on it goes. Man’s inhumanity never ends, it seems.
I stayed at a very pretty farm with a terrific wedding barn- a lot of work went in here and it showed. Lisa, the host, was very kind and explained the set up and the heritage of the farm/ barn. A labor of love to be sure. I did eat, as per her recommendation at Los Charros, a Mexican restaurant in a nearby town. 

October 28

Mileage 55260
Departure 9:00 arrival Hannibal 11
I was listening to my historical car tour app and found out about Quincy, IL where many things happened. It also sounded like they had some pretty amazing architecture. So I diverted and checked it out and they did! It was quite lovely and I drove up and down the streets looking at spectacular housed festooned for Halloween.  A pleasant diversion. I thought Hannibal would be the same and we could walk around the neighboods enjoying the day and the ambience.
Expectations- In general, always a mistake.
For some reason I thought Hannibal was going to be a cute little town with Mark Twain-age flair. It is for a couple blocks…. The rest of the town has fallen on hard times. Lovely old houses that hven’t been kept up, Empty stores. Gina and I di go on a riverboat ride on the Mississippi. I thought it was sort of a Twain-ish thing to do. It ws a beautiful day. Not much wildlife on the river. I expect most everything has worked its way south or is on the way. It was a sunny quiet drive and Gina took a nap for the most part.
The hotel I thought I was getting -chiefly for a long shower was decrepit and appeared closed, no caars in the lot and so very seedy. I went to another hotel and that struck me poorly. I went to a Days Inn and it smelled better, had a place to walk the dog and the shower was admirable.
I was going to stay 2 days in Hannibal but there is no reason to so I am heading back out to the State Parks.
I feel as though the Midwest has been resting on their laurels in the countryside. I cannot speak for the cities and these are only observations. What used to be a way of life is no more. The world has shifted and the population here does not appear to have shifted with it. Their town governments have failed them. Their ideologies seem to have failed them and they would rather not see it. I know, I am making generalizations. But these do not look like happy places.

October 29

Mileage 55355

Departure 9:30 arrive 2:30

My mothers birthday and she is much on my mind.

We booked a night at the Meramec State Park near Sullivan.

Passed a very pleasant town- Hermann which was having an Oktoberfest. Very lively. The town had been founded in the 1800’s by a German immigrant looking to establish a utopian Germanic community. Lots of distilleries and farms in this rolling area.

When we arrived at the State Park it was packed solid with big RVs. Sort of horrifying but at that point I was committed so I parked my little van next to these behemoths and strolled. Well. It was quite the weekend. Many, many RVs had extensive Halloween decorations, lights, light shows, blow up sculptures, parties with neighbors. There was a chili cook off happening and it was quite the neighborhood. I do not live in a neighborhood, and haven’t for 25+ years. After I got over my initial dismay I enjoyed the parade, the trick or treaters, the families, the dogs- all of every shape and size. It was Americana to be sure. The rains came that night. And the next wet still rainy morning these “houses” on wheels quietly dispersed to parts unknown. It was an interesting experience.

October 30

Mileage 55526

Departure 11:00 arrived Haven Hollow @1:30

I did not feel like going far and wanted to see theWorld’s Second Largest Rocker so we headed out towards Cuba, Missouri and wandered a bit.

Saw the rocker- meh.

Went to Rolla where I had read about the pie shop. They were a good pie shop and I gor a piece of strawberry rhubarb for my dinner and a slice of peach pie for breakfast. After that, it was still a dismal day. I saw two- can you believe it- tractor trailers that had fallen off the road and caused a bit to do. So I decided to stop and found a good Harvest Host Farm farm nearby that took me in. It was a bucolic farm and I got fresh eggs and had a quiet afternoon. We donned our neon orange as it is hunting season and went for several pleasant walks, just chillin’.  Good stop at Haven Hollow. Thank you to the hosts.

So you may wonder- what does she do all day- just drive?
No, not at all. My typical day seems to be this so far-
7:00 ish Gina gets me up and we take a short 1/2 hour  walk. I make her breakfast and then my coffee. I have a little breakfast of my own. Not much. An egg, a piece of fruit
Before we head out I take Gina for another walk, longer to explore the area. She seems to be comfortable the next morning after she has checked out the smells the day before. If we are on a farm she has sighted all the mouse tracks, deer tracks and other local animals so she feels more comfortable. We generally walk for 1/2 hour or so. 
I do daily housekeeping to keep the grit and dog hair down. I have a little rechargeble vac that is very useful,
If we are in an interesting place she can count on me checking out the town and local sights. Sometimes she comes, sometimes not.
 We mark our destination on Google maps. On the way I listen to music and a history app that locates where you are and tells you about the local history. I have enjoyed this very much. I even may take a detour to see what they are talking about but it fills in the countryside.
After an hour or so- depending on the day’s plan, I stop at a local park or roadside stand and we take a little stretch. Then we head to where we are going. Sometimes that means a stop at a gas station or even a store to get provisions. Target has a lot of fresh food with more variety than the local grocery store. I got salads that had not expired and other ready to eat possibilities, along with fruit salads, etc. I did not find ready mades in several supermarkets I found.
When we get to where we are going we go for another walk to get to know the smells of the area and settle in for the afternoon. This is usually by 3. I don’t drive long and I don’t drive late. I did this on a long ago trip to Nova Scotia and found the best campsites are the ones found early.We do another walk, as much for her as for me ( I get stiff!) and then have a fairly early dinner. She eats about 4:30. I like to eat at 5:30 or 6 and then can do the dishes and whatever cleanup is required before it gets dark. I have anything from a steak with brussel sprouts to a can of soup, to whatever leftovers I may have, including some pizza Chicago style!
Gina likes a brief after dinner walk and then one after dark- when the critters come out. Very exciting. She is on a leash then for sure. Sometimes I leash her regardless but in strange places she likes to stay close.
If we are in a hotel, which she does not like, I get on the computer, hope for some sort of decent connection and take a long shower, sometimes I get to do laundry down the hall. As it does not center around her, she is not much interested in this protocol.
We turn in for the night in the van about 8:30, when I do my evening ablutions. I even have a waterpik that runs on rechargeable batteries. 
I read or journal the day and she snoozes. I wake up around 3:30 or 4AM for a while, looking at the stars through the window and thinking not so deep thoughts. Back to sleep she wakes me up in the morning!

October 31

Mileage. 55590

  Passed my 2000 mile mark- did not get a reward

It started out as a gray day so I was not inclined to wander.

We entered the Ozarks which couldn’t be more different from the landscape we had been in. Lots of rolling hills, Cattle, sheep and pig farms. Lots of horses. And a flavor of VA but not. It is very pretty. Most of the trees have lost their leaves so it is mostly rich brown oaks that create  the colors of the landscape. Lakes are scattered about and there are a fair amount of wooded areas. So different from the flat flatness of Illinois.

I had set my sights on Pomme de Terre State Park, yes, that is the name and we got here fairly early. Beautiful spot and not a soul in sight. I chose the site I wanted, a promontory overlooking the lake and went into town for firewood, a steak and some local Brussel sprouts. A quiet afternoon with a couple of walks and a few squirrels, not many, much to Gina’s dismay. No neighbors around, Woodpeckers, bluebirds and an owl entertained. It was a low key day.

And that wraps up the Midwest. I am heading into the South Central states. This blogspot app seems to have a mind of its own. I hope things come through.