Wednesday, October 24, 2018


An uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution, an intermediate state or condition.*

We arrived at our newest and most secretest of undisclosed locations. Our hosts. Mike and Robin wanted to give our arrival a big shindig, being our first trip here. We told them no parades or fireworks. We are keeping this on the down low.  Thankfully they listened because as we pulled into their compound when know one else was around, we very promptly got ourselves stuck in the mud.
 Twice on this journey after leaving Minnesota we have needed 4 wheel drive and we were thankful to have it.
This photo shows the camper wheels in a hole. That hole actually goes up to the axles. Our camper weighs 16,000 lbs. I had to use the leveling jacks twice to prop up that side and stick those yellow blocks under the tires. It was about a foot deep.  Once that side was high enough I got in and hammered it and we started to move. Yay!
It looked drier than what it was but they have gotten a lot of rain lately like everyone else.
Even with new AT tires we got stuck. Maybe "The Beast" needs great big mud tires. After events such as this we can look back and laugh. But during it, we are thinking that Karma is trying to tell us something. Maybe something like "What idiots".

Well anyways we got ourselves out and were enjoying a victory adult libation when I happened to notice the security cameras on Mike and Robins building. "Well that will give them something to laugh at when they watch the footage." I told Lisa. Dorks on Parade.

Good news! We got our water tank ordered. Now to wait for it. 

*courtesy of Google.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Great River Road from Hell Part Deux

Week 2.

We have settled a little bit here in the Quad cities. We have some business to take care of on Monday and a visit with someone on Tuesday so we are just chillin. Literally and figuratively.

Saturday we did some sight seeing in the Quad cities. We found the Camping World to get a new sewer vent cover and then drove along the river to see some of the flooding. Of all of the years coming to the Quad cities I have always wanted to see the Rock Island Arsenal.
Any history or military buffs might recognize the name. It is a Army post that has been around for a long time. They produce weapons and weapon systems for the military. They have a huge collection of firearms that just gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside when you gaze at them.

I was like a kid in a candy store with my nose pressed against the glass, drooling. "Clean up in the gun aisle" was heard over the intercom.
It's been awhile since I have taken a cannon photo so here you go. After the museum we went to find the Mississippi River Center. That also happened to be on the Rock Island Arsenal. We were in luck because when we got there there was a barge going through the locks. The River center is at Lock and Dam No. 15.

It is amazing watching those big barges go through there. It is a tight fit. Just a couple of feet of room to spare on each side. We were talking to the Army Corps of Engineers person who said that because of the flooding down river, 2 of the locks were closed. So there wasn't much traffic on the river. In fact this lock and dam was still working but the difference in height of the river from one side to the other was only about 6 inches.

Trestle bridge over the Mississippi.

Sunday we wanted to do some shopping. Lisa found an outlet mall 1 short hour away. So off we went. She did not have much luck finding clothes, but I did. Then she wanted to find a Gander Outdoors and that was about 40 minutes north of the outlet mall. For those that don't know about Gander Mountain, Gander Mountain went bankrupt.  Apparently Camping World has bought Gander Mountain and has started opening some as Gander Outdoors. As camping people who may belong to Good Sam, you can use your Good Sam card at Gander Outdoors for an additional 10% off. They have some great deals. We have found two so far. One in La Crosse, Wis. and one in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. One good example is this. I like to shoot 9mm. At Gander Outdoors they have a box of Remington 9mm FMJ  after the discount for $9.29 a box. BANG! BANG! BANG!

Driving back to Davenport we passed the Herbert Hoover National Monument and Presidential Library. So we had to stop for a quick look. I got my National Parks Passport Book stamped and learned a little about a president I really didn't know much about.
Herbert Hoover's house he was born in.

A look down the street.
He came from a very humble beginning.

His final resting place. We would have gone to his library but there must have been some kind of event going on. There were no parking spots left and we were getting to the end of the day anyways.

The Great River Road or Bust

We have abandoned the "Great River Road" for fear of turning this journey into the Donner Party. Actually there are many factors that have conspired against us, forcing us to give up the dream.

#1. The weather. It has been unseasonably cold and rainy for this time of year. Maybe we have become wimps. Who knows?

#2. With all of the rain came flooding leading to closed campgrounds and closed roads. Detouring us in circles just to get to the next road that happens to be closed.

#3. The "Great River Road" itself. The road is old and in horrendous shape. We lost one sewer vent to low hanging trees already. Which brings us to the main reason for abandoning the road.

Todays travel promised to be a nice one. The sun was shining, although it was still cold. We left Davenport, Iowa headed to Ft. Madison, Iowa. Lots of road construction on that first leg of the journey which led to some pretty rough roads. Roads that I would assume would be called smooth if they were up in Alaska. However they were in Iowa and the bumps were bone jarring. We also had one of our shades come crashing down from the bumps. 

We stopped for a pit stop and Lisa was in using the facilities. I said to her that we were going to be awhile because we had a minor problem behind our RV. She said "a flat?" No, just take a look.
It looks like our underbelly came loose and has been dragging for awhile. I know it was loose in Minnesota and I fixed those areas with changle iron so everything behind the area I fixed came loose. Well upon closer inspection, things didn't quite look right under there.
In fact if you look at that area that is all black, that is where our fresh water tank should be. But it appears to be missing. We have no idea where it fell off because there was no crash or sounds of wreckage. Nothing. Our camper is literally falling apart on this road.
So I threw some straps on it and we headed down the road, away from "The Great River Road from Hell." You can see the changle iron that I used to fix the under belly is still fine.

It is always an adventure with us. It's like the old "Hee Haw" song. "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. Woe, despair and agony on me."

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Great River Road/Week One

The cold has chased us out of our super secret undisclosed location. All for the better I say because colds and flus were running rampant in those parts. But we didn't get away fast enough because Lisa has gotten it and I also. The only good thing about that is is that she has lost her voice.

The Great River Road starts at the headwaters of the Mississippi. Well, we have been there countless times so we skipped that and joined the river road in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Traffic was heavy for Sunday and we found our turn off and headed along the river. The sky was overcast and sprinkling. If it wasn't for that the fall colors would have been wonderful. Speaking of the skies being overcast, we have not seen the sun in a week at least. Maybe more. There is a thing up north here called S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It is a lack of sunshine. Just another reason for us to find the sun.

So we traveled down highway 61 through the Minnesota bluff country. Even without the sun it was beautiful. Kind of.
We had the bluffs on our right and the Mississippi on our left traveling through quaint little towns like Wabasha (Grumpy Old Men) and Winona (Home of Red Wing Boots and Red Wing Pottery).
Our first stop was Winona at the Prairie Island City Park and Campground on the Mississippi. It was going to be an over nighter but that turned into 2 nights. Like I said we left Fergus Falls both feeling under the weather. Lisa more than me. So when we woke up she couldn't stand it anymore and said that she had to go to the clinic. So I took her in and they said she had a very bad sinus infection and gave her meds to take care of it. They even gave her a chest xray because there was the possibility of pneumonia, which there wasn't. We were not in the sight seeing mood so we just stayed home and relaxed. I am feeling lots better and am glad that whatever I had wasn't half as bad as her illness.

On to our second stop, La Crosse Wisconsin.The weather is still gloomy, rainy and foggy so the views are not the best. We are still under the weather so that makes it harder for us to get out and explore. One thing about driving through La Crosse is that our route took us through town. There are so many corner bars in the neighborhoods. You can tell they have been there for awhile and I often thought it would be cool to live within walking distance of a quaint little pub like these.

We stayed at a county park just south of LaCrosse. Goose Island Rec area.
Goose Island is very large. Over 300 sites.

Our view of the Mississippi backwaters.
It is an island out in the Mississippi backwaters. the weather cooperated a little bit so we did get out and do some sightseeing. When I say cooperated, I mean no rain and the clouds where actually above the bluffs.  First stop was the Grandad Bluff. This is a 600 foot bluff above La Crosse. It gave us some spectacular views of the city and the river.

My sick little trooper.

La Crosse from Grandad Bluff.

Fall colors.
After that we went to find Lock and Dam Number 7. You can only get to it from off of I-90 going west which took us awhile to figure that out. By the time we got there it was closed because of construction. Damn! Lock and Dam number 8 wasn't to far away so we went there. But there were no boats going through it at the time. There are plenty more of those on this journey.
Lock and Dam number 8.
The cold weather has caught up to us again so we are moving farther south to see what we can see.

Our next stop brought us through Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Our plan was to visit Effigy Mounds National Monument and then camp at Pikes Peak state park. (No we are not back in Colorado) We stopped at the National Monument and did a quick 2 mile hike. There are over 200 burial mounds located around this area. It was cold and all of the mounds start to look the same after the first one.

Great view of the Mississippi river..
Once back on the road we went to Pikes Peak State Park. The camp ground was small and very compact. If we had the pickup camper it would have been no problem but with the fifthwheel we didn't want to squeeze in there. So we headed down to Dubuque Iowa to the Swiss Valley County Park campground. Or as I like to say it, Debookey. Huge sites and only $17.00 a night for electric and water.
Hardly anyone there because of the cold I guess. It was a very nice campground.We are only stayed one night because we want to get farther south. We are cold and want to warm up.

As I sit here having coffee and looking at the computer, I look at the weather channel and they are calling for snow. The hated four letter "S" word. "Get in the truck honey, NOW!"

We went to the Quad cities as our next destination and yes, we did drive through some snow flurries. The Great River Road has been a fun trip so far. I think this was meant to be traveled in a car is what they intended. Some of the places the road takes you are interesting for sure but not meant for a fifthwheel. Ours stands at over 13 feet tall and we have gotten into some small towns off of the truck routes, which means low hanging branches.
We lost one of our sewer vents to such a low hanging branch.

We are at West Lake County Park. A nice park with full hookups for $23.00 a night. If you should ever stay here, bring lots of sewer hose and water hose. All of the utilities are in the back of the site. We had to make a Wallyworld run for extra sewer hose.

The Great River Road has decided to make the drive for us a little more challenging. Due to the amount of rain recently in the upper Mississippi river valley the river has decided to flood. That will make it a little more difficult to find campgrounds along the river. In fact we talked to the Army Corps of Engineers person who said their campgrounds along the river have closed.

This was the campground we were going to stay at while at the Quad Cities. We are glad we didn't. We stayed there before at a site that backed up to the river. We would have been wet.

What will we find down the road? Stay tuned boys and girls.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

OMG, I Can't Believe it has been Six Months Already

As October starts. I stop to think about how much has gone on this summer. The birth of our first grandson, Virgo. The death of Lisa's grandfather, Archie. Our little project in the woods that has occupied us all summer. Kendra moving back to Minnesota from Florida. Roman and Heather buying their first house and us helping them to move out and into their new house. The infamous Turtle Expedition. Kendra moving into an apartment in Fargo. And finally we think that Lisa's father's estate may finally by coming to an end after an entire year of having to deal with that legal mess.

Also how long have we been here? I can't believe it has been over 6 months. We got to Minnesota April 1st and there was still snow on the ground, a lot of snow. (I hope we can get out of here before the snow comes.) The campgrounds were not open yet. Now it is October 6th and the campgrounds have closed. We have just finished up our commitments here. Now we can head to warmer weather. So we started out here in Lisa's mother's driveway and we have ended up here again. I can't thank her enough for her tolerance.

The weather has definitely turned cooler here now. Lows in the thirties and sometimes twenties and the highs only being in the forties. With temps like that for long periods of time the fifthwheel does not get warmed up.

 Lisa has spent the week at my sons house nice and warm and she came home and said "No wonder we are going through so much propane, you have it set a 70."

To which I had to reply," I am trying to stay warm, not being cheap now. Get me to warmer weather and I will turn it down."

And so it goes, the life of "The Bickersons" as our kids call us.

Next up, The Great River Road. Look it up, its a thing.