Saturday, August 31, 2013


Day 4

 Today was a 377 mile ride from Independence, Missouri through Kansas City, MO (I look for some crazy little women but decided to keep the one I have) and up the east side of Missouri River through Iowa and into South Dakota. One of the stranger sites is the 24 St. Bridge in Council Bluffs. Here’s a little background on it, Photo at the bottom of the page.

24St. Bridge
Albert Paley's iconic gateway into Iowa and the City of Council Bluffs stands at 100 feet above Interstate 80/29. Located on the 24th Street Bridge spanning I-80/I-29, this site is a prioritized site within the City's Public Art Master Plan.

Paley's Odyssey is comprehensively his largest composition, with each of the four individual sculptures ranging from 46 to 61 feet high and weighing in at 46,000 to 70,000 pounds. Communication from the beginning between all parties allowed the Iowa Department of Transportation to properly engineer Paley's plinths (located at the four corners of the bridge) based on Paley's estimated weight, wind loads, and dimensions during initial 2009 bridge construction.

Paley's design for the site includes four works of art constructed of bronze (which has a green patina), Cor-Ten steel (which develops a rust color) and brushed stainless steel (which reflects sunlight). Each material was chosen to represent the dialogue between the land and air and sky and light, as well as minimize future maintenance expenses.

 Time for the farm report from Iowa, I thought we had seen a whole heap of ethanol farms in Illinois and Missouri. I believe Iowa out does them both. On either side of the road from where we entered Iowa all the way to the South Dakota border it was cornfield after corn field interspersed with soy beans. In Texas they pump it out of the ground; in this part of the country they grow it out of the ground. Ethanol is not going away soon.

I-29 in South Dakota presented us with longer straight stretches over rolling hills. We keep looking for a herd of Tatanka (Buffalo) to come roaming over the hills and through the valleys, but none appeared, we did see some Black Angus if that counts for anything.

We are currently checked into the most expensive, over a $100, Microtel I have ever been in, but it is still less expensive then any of the other motels in the area. Looking at Sioux Falls I can’t see why or how they manage to get these prices. From what we’ve seen of the town it isn’t much.

We skipped lunch today for lack of hunger. As we have not been in a Cracked Barrel for two days, it’s the Barrel for dinner tonight. The Pecan Crusted Catfish was real good. Judy had the Spice Glazed Pork Chop and enjoyed it. Tomorrow we start the real sightseeing part of this trip, the last four days where just to get us here in South Dakota. On the agenda in the morning is a stop in Mitchell, SD to see the Corn Palace and then before we get to Rapid City…Wall Drug!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 3

Day 3
Tonight I’m sitting in our room at the Drury Inn & Suites in Independence, MO. We rolled in about 4:30 in the afternoon just in time for a quick wash up and make the 5:30 Kick Back reception in the lobby. Free wine, beer and cocktails for all the hotel guests, and of course we took full advantage
of their generosity.
It was a 404 mile day with brief look at the Gateway Arch as we crossed the Mississippi and breezed through St. Louis. We’ll visit the Arch on our return later this month. Compared to Atlanta traversing St. Louis was a piece of cake.
There is a whole lot of ethanol growing in the miles after miles of corn fields we passed in Illinois. Actually, it amazing to see, either side of the highway as far as the eye can see. Corn is the money crop.
A funny thing happened on the way across Missouri; we pulled off at a rest stop, got out of the car and walked up to the reception building. A lady stepped out of the building, looked at Judy and I and said “I know you, you’re friends of Ed and Bonnie Ketchum.” It seems that Bonnie used to work in this woman’s beauty shop and somewhere along the way she met Judy. We had a nice chat and upon parting she said the she was going to text Bonnie to tell her that she had just met us.
Dinner tonight was a pure homespun delight. It’s a tradition in this part of Missouri, It’s the kind of place where everybody is friendly and before you leave you are part of the family. The food quality is excellent, the quantity is awesome and the price looks like a roll back to the sixties, it’s known as The Corner CafĂ©. Check out the other old Indian.
Tomorrow we off the KC and north to Sioux Falls, SD.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


It was a most unusual day. Yes, it’s Interstate all the way to Paducah, KY, 470 miles. But to keep me wake it included Atlanta, Chattanooga and Nashville. I really don’t like navigating the Interstate through large urban communities. The residents are always late for work, late for shopping or late for something and have little patience for old guys with Florida tags trying to find his way through their fair city. As for Atlanta, I have tried going through on I-75, that sucks, traffic comes to a complete stop about the time your in the middle of downtown. I tried it from the north; I’ve tried it from the south, impossible. I’ve tried the beltway, I-285, on the east side of town, slow traffic and backups. I’ve tried the beltway on the west side of town; one could read Gone with the Wind while sitting in traffic. There is no good way to get through ATLANTA!
But, once your north of this pride of the new south, the terrain starts to change, yesterday I said scenic was not a description of I-75 well that was yesterday. In North Georgia hill country, I-75 is quite scenic. What ever happened to the Kudzu? I didn’t see any of it today. Good riddance.
Once we cleared Chattanooga, I-24 through the mountains was beautiful. Heading North West we were soon coming down the mountains and rolling open farm land took us into Kentucky. Past Lake Barkley and reminisced about the bike trip to the 100th Anniversary when we overnighted at the State Park on the lake.
We had lunch today at a Cracker Barrel so for dinner we opted for the Texas Roadhouse right behind the Pear Tree Inn our lodging for this night.
Tomorrow we heading for Independence, MO home of our 33rd President Harry S. Truman

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Day 1
It's really happening! Everything got done yesterday including installing the storm shutters. By 9:33 we had the car packed, Judy said goodby to her plants, I chained up the aligators, raised the moat drawbridge and we were on our way.

Today was the first of several interstate days. Our interstate highway system is the legacy of President Eisenhower.As the US Army rolled through France and into Germany during WWII,  General Eisenhower was in awe of the German Autobahn. To get the US economy out of the war mode and into domestic progress the Interstate Highway system was started. It took many years to build this web of highways and work continues today with rebuilding these arteries of commerce.

Anyways, they are great for getting to somewhere quick and easy. Scenic is a word not often used when describing a day on the interstate and today was no exception. We are in Macon, GA, logged 407 miles and are getting ready to go to Natalia's  for dinner.

We can heartily recommend Natalia's, an outstanding dining experence. I think we found one of Macon's best restaurant. Tomorrow it's Paducha, KY and the Cracker Barrel, oh well. See ya tomorrow.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Time Draws Near

Time draws near for our westward departure. We have been busy organizing stuff like lodging reservations, drug supplies (medically prescribed drugs that is) while trying to learn how to use the new cell phone! I can now make a call and probably receive a call. It has been paired with the MS SYNC system in the Conestoga (otherwise known as the Focus Hatchback). Now I can use the phone in a hands free manor, whoopee!
We received a call from niece Diann saying that the wildfires in Yosemite, 200 miles away, were blanketing Dayton, NV with smoke. She said it reminded her of San Francesco fog. Plans to visit Yosemite are on hold.
I showed the trip plan to Jim Wattam and seeing the national parks we were planning to visit, he suggested that we admit our age and get a Senior Pass. It gets us into any US National Park, it’s good for life and it only costs $10! In that admission to just Mt. Rushmore is $11, it looked like a deal to me.
So Judy and I drove to the nearest National Park, The De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton and bought into the program.
Now, do I have all the cords and cables for the GPS, the laptop, the cell phone and my Nook? I’d better check for batteries for the camera too. Let’s get packing!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Packin' the Wagon.

The Old Indian and the Jewish Princess are packing their bags and Tepee in preparation for another western adventure. One big difference this time is that Old Harley will be left in the corral at home.  We traded off the old farm wagon a while back and acquired a new mini Conestoga wagon, a few more wheels and a few more horse than what we've traveled with before.
We’ll be heading for Dayton, NV (Carson City area) byway of the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Grand Canyon. About as indirect a route as I could find.

It all began shortly after we returned from our last New Mexico tour in 2011. I found out that my Niece Diann, who I had not seen since we both were a whole lot younger, something like 45 years ago, called to say that she and Paul were in DC and wanted to come to Florida to visit. It was a wonderful reunion and we all agreed that we had to get together again and SOON! Well, by now you may have figured out the Diann and Paul live in Dayton, NV.

Judy and I pondered the idea of riding the Harley out west once again, but not for long. The heat and long hours on the Harley were still fresh in our minds from the NM ride. Maybe we could do a Fly and Ride? In that I moved from two wheels to three a few years ago, renting a Trike in Nevada was not an option. Then in January the old farm wagon, a 2000 Chevy S10 Xtreme pickup, needed serious A/C repairs. That’s when the mini Conestoga, 2013 Ford Focus hatchback, moved into the carport.

So now it’s time pack the wagon and head’er out! Tonto rides again!