Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Utah (and a quick visit to our friends in Francis, Utah)

We have fallen in love with our National Parks.  No matter where we go, we find one or two to visit.  We have purchased the yearly pass for $80.00, which gains us admission to any National Park anywhere in this amazing Country.  During our quick trip through Utah, we visited our friends, Cheryl and John Gorman, who were gracious enough to allow us to park our RV at their “barn” while we headed to GA.  They have a beautiful estate with ponds on the property stocked with pet trout (Ted got to 4 wheel throughout the property and feed them everyday-torture) They also hosted other friend in from Fort Lauderdale.  It was great to see the Ryders in Utah!

 

After that short visit, we headed to Arches and Canyonlands for a couple of days. The weather was perfect so out came the Harley.  What an awesome way to experience the Arches National Park.

Ted found a really cool ride that went through the valley of the Canyonlands. Thank goodness he has his 4 wheel drive GMC Denali with us on this trip. He got to test it out in the most challenging areas on the ride.  It was an exciting day.  We are (or I am) definetlty going outside of my sand box during this adventure.

 

Happy Birthday TJ! FSU vs Alabama in Atlanta, GA.

We packed up our puppies (first time flying) and headed out to Atlanta GA for the FSU vs Alabama season opening game (did not turn out as expected 😦  It was our sons TJ’s birthday so we got three tickets to the game (thanks to our friend Cheryl) and had a great weekend! Our friends Rod and Jaime drove up their RV from Florida and had a great tail gate.  They are Alabama fans. We were the only FSU fans in the group but they welcomed us with welcome arms 🙂 We met some really nice people and even a few FSU tailgaters in the crowd. Our seats were amazing (we were in a suite with delish food, cocktails and very nice new friends.  The best part was spending the weekend with TJ. He turned 23 and we got to spend his birthday with him.

Grand Teton National Park-Wyoming

Just a hop skip and a jump away from Yellowstone National Park (literally attached) but a completely different scenery. Stunning mountains with snow topped peaks, lakes, waterfalls and parks. We, of course, did a great hike (HOT but good), lunched in Jackson Hole (very cute town) and chilled by the camp fire that my amazing husband built each night. Our visitors consisted of beautiful deer that wandered onto our site.  Can’t beat that experience.

Yellowstone-What an Amazing Place!

Ted and I did not know when we decided to make Yellowstone one of our stops, that we would end up spending 6 full days at this amazing National Park.

It is as an absolutely incredible piece of the United States.  We were not alone. There were people from all over the globe visiting the park.  The wildlife is abundant. The views are breathtaking. The hiking is endless.  There really is not a bad spot in the over 2 million acres.  We packed a lunch everyday and found a picnic spot to eat and enjoy nature at its best.  It was such a peaceful and beautiful park. We very much enjoyed every second of our time there.

Yellowstone is the perfect vacation spot for everyone!

 

The Bear, the Eagle and the Elk

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A real life National Geographics moment.  While traveling along Yellowstone, we came across a large roadside crowd armed with large lense camera’s and binoculars.  We learned three days earlier a large Elk had died, floated down river and washed up along the river bank.  A large grizzly laid claim to it and has been feeding on it ever since.  Per the Park Ranger, other grizzlies (including a sow and two cubs) have made attempts to share the elk, but the grizzly would have none of it.  Apparently, he even has slept on top of the carcass each night to protect his meal.

This is all taking place under the very watchful eye of a bald eagle perched just above.

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After some time, the bear was finally full.  He left the carcass and started wandering down river, not without turning and rethinking it as if to say “Na, I’m full”.

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All of this with the bald eagle NEVER taking his eye off the bear.  Look closely as the bear swims across the river behind the eagle, the eagles head pivots with his every move.

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And now off to a big ol’ nap in the woods.

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A very surreal moment!

 

Little Bighorn Battlefield, A Place of Reflection, Montana

Ted and I always search out the local history in every new town we visit. We were told we had to go to Little Bighorn Battlefield. We arrived just in time to hear the Ranger give a very animated, one hour history lesson about the US Army’s 7th Calvalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne battle knows as Battle of Little Bighorn.  This battle was the Sioux and Cheyennes last ditch effort the preserve their way of life and their land.  They won the battle against Lieutenant Colonel Custer and his troops but eventually lost their land and life as they knew it. A piece of history worth learning about and a park definitely worth visiting (recommended book, A Terrible Glory – Custer and The Little Bighorn by James Donovan).

Beartooth Pass

Red Lodge, Montana to Yellowstone Northeast Entrance

This amazing ride is one of the top motorcycle rides in the country.  This road will curl your hair. Lotsa UP (nealry 11,000 feet) and DOWN, little guardrails, awesome scenery. You couldn’t build a better route than this one! You see more bikes on this road than cars! Everything from incredible mountains, dense forest, rivers, rocks to snow and tundra. The pictures show don’t do it justice …

 

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2017

Sturgis is the World Series of motorcycling and if you ride, it is a “bucket list” must.  I have had my sights set on this one for the last 4 years.  In reality, the RV trip around the country was conceived out of wanting to do Sturgis.

For 77 years, now over 500,000 bikers converge into the tiny town of Sturgis, South Dakota (Population 6,600).  After what we have seen this week, there is no wonder why… Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, The Black Hills, Badlands National Park, Needles, Iron Mountain, Deadwood, Keystone, Buffalo Chip, Iron Horse Saloon and much more.  We rode over 1,000 miles this week and enjoyed every one.

Words can’t explain it so I will let the pictures do the talking.

Downtown Sturgis

Mount Rushmore

 

Crazy Horse

 

Needles

 

Custer National Park

 

Badlands National Park

 

The bike got some new paint

The Doobie Brothers at Buffalo Chip

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HOG (Harley Owners Group) Rally – Cookesville, Tennessee

We had an amazing week in the Bahama islands, now it is time to hit the roads of Tennessee.

We met our friends, Rod and Jaime, in Cookesville for the HOG Rally. A week of organized rides, interesting and fun day trips and lots of laugher.

Our first ride took us to Cumberland Caverns-Home of the Bluegrass Underground. Literally, a bluegrass band in underground caverns. Unique and very beautiful. You snake through the cavern to end up at this build in amphitheater. A huge chandelier was donated to the cavern by a hotel in NY that was being renovated. Amazing that they erected this piece of artwork 50-60 feet in the air and secured it into the rock ceiling! The “amphitheater” was carved into the side of the underground cavern. There are 32 miles of caves that can be toured.  We went as far as the music was going to take us and “dined” on chips, hotdogs and pulled pork sandwiches (not gourmet but it hit the spot). A very cool way to start the week.

Our second day at the rally takes us to prison. Yes, I said prison! At the end of a fantasitc ride through the foothills of Tennessee, we ended up at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. It opened in 1896 and closed in 2009. It housed James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.  It is now open for public tours.  If prison tours were mandatory for the youth in America, crime would go down considerably. Talking about being scared straight.  This place would do it! 3 hours was enought for all of us 🙂

 

We really did it up that last day. We went rogue, split away from the group and headed out on our own to Jack Daniels Distillary.  We have our own organizer and her name is Jaime Larue! Jaime picked our desitination for this sunny day and we had a great time. Rod and Jaimes friends, Rodney and Denise drove in from Alabama to meet us. That was a nice suprise.

The tour at the distillary was really interesting.  The water used in all the whiskeys comes from the spring that is on site.  The corn mush is recycled and sold to local farmers for live stock meal.  The barrels are made into JD souveniers.  Amazing how a young orphaned boy, raised by a local lay preacher and moonshine distiller, turned his trade into the number one whiskey distillary in the United States. The story is not only interesting but inspiring.  This is a “must stop” if you are in Lynchburg, whether you drink whiskey or not. In our case, we do like whiskey so after the tour, we treated ourselves to the whiskey tasting.  We all came out with our favorites, but Jaime and I really liked the Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey. Yummy!

Our next stop, shopping of course.  The Lynchburg General Store is owned and operated by Jack Daniels.  There are over 20 local artisians that take the old barrels and create amazing pieces of art work.  Rod and Jaime purchased this amazing barrel bar set with table and stools. It will go perfect in their home.  A perfect way to end our Tennessee HOG Rally trip!

 

The Abaco’s – Saltwater, Sun and Fun!

It has been a whirl wind month since we went back to Florida.  We sold are house and are now full time RV’ers traveling the United States until November.  Very exciting time.

We threw in a trip to the Bahamas while we were home with our friends to get our fill of sun, saltwater, beach fun and boating before we hit the road again!

First, we took Driving Miss Crazy (3 – the water version) to Bimini for LYC Bimini Blast. We got a chance to spend quality time with TJ & Kristen, Ali & Eric and great friends.   Especially if you call 5′-7′ with sets of 10′ every 15 minutes quality time.  All survived (barely) just a little wetter and rattled than when we left.

After Bimini, we headed for Lucaya to pick up Zoltan, Jen, Jeff & Christine.  From there….Abaco here we come.  We stayed on Tilloo Cay at the most magnificent house on the island.

Abacos

What an amazing place and an even more amazing vacation. Our house was one of maybe 10 on the island.  We were the only occupants on the island the majority of the week. Pretty cool.  The “compound” is called “The High House of Tilloo Cay”.  We rented the guest house on the compound.  As we approached the house (via boat), we were in awe that this was going to be “our home” for the next 7 days.  We all immediately went into Chill mode 🙂

Ted (our fabulous captain) took us to a different location each day to experience the multiple islands throughout the Abaco’s.  We shopped, fed the pigs, snorkeled, ate (and ate some more), beached, cocktails in the water (more cocktails in the water), laughed and played 3 coin all week. What an awesome trip to jump start the summer!

Fun Fun Fun: Cracker P’s….Pete’s Pub…. the Hope Town Inn & Marina shit show… Our favorite quotes for the week: “I’ll make you a special drink”… “It’s only 3′ deep”… “jump and breath”….. “Anchor Monkey”….. “I don’t talk much”…. “Shut up Zoltan”…. “Meanest captain ever”…. “Who’s Up?”

It was a beautiful place enjoyed with fabulous friends. No better way to jump start the summer.