A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Saturday, October 1, 2022

Mystery Solved, Partially

 

North Lake, Nebraska

I took another walk back to the first campground we stayed at.  It is about a mile away.  Along the bike path/walkway they have marked off distances every quarter of a mile.  That is nice.  
I like to know my pace.


I wanted to get a better photo of the levee road that divides the two lakes for you.
North Lake on the left, Lake Babcock on the right.


The wind was really whipping churning up the water a bit.
Look closely and you can see a ladder for swimmers to get in and out from the water.


Down at the “abandoned” trailer the car I saw come in late that one night was there.


As was someone else.  I can’t even guess what is going on here.
Just glad I didn’t go snooping inside.


It was dark, I was in bed reading and I heard someone messing with the bicycle hanging in back.  I turned on the outside light.  I saw no one.  Beans is looking up at the ceiling.  She hears something.  A bit later I heard the bicycle noise again.  Light on.  There is a cat, a tortie no less, looking in the window.  “Beans, here!”  Meow. Meow! Meow!!  They looked at each other for a half a minute and the cat jumped down.  You think I could find my phone in the bed somewhere to capture this interaction?  Nope. 
The next morning I discovered her footprint when she jumped down.


The cat must live in one of the houses in Lakeview that borders the camp road.


- comment replies -

I am holding off as long as possible on returning to Quartzsite, Arizona this year.  When I return it is as if I never left.  Nothing has changed.  I grow tired of the same old.  I am only there for the warm winter weather.  I may move around more while down there this year.

“What’s the shadiest character you ever came across in your travels?”  Boy, I had to think hard on that one.  What came to mind finally was one time while in Wyoming.  We were by ourselves at a reservoir.  It was the Fourth of July holiday weekend.  One afternoon this beat-to-hell jacked up four wheel drive pickup truck with a blown out muffler came rolling in and stopped.  Its Wyoming remember.  Loud heavy metal music blasting.  Inside are two guys and woman, a rough looking trio.  The passenger guy climbs out and walks up to our door.  He’s covered with tattoos holding a beer in his hand, cigarette dangling from his mouth.

“Hello in there.”
“Hello.”
“Everything okay?”
“Uh...yeah.”
“We saw you had your hood up.  Thought you were having engine trouble.”
“Oh, I leave it up to discourage the rodents from getting in there chewing things up.”
“Okay.  Good.  Well we are camped down by the dam.  If you ever need anything come on down.”
“Why thank you.  We’re good.  Just trying to make it through the holiday weekend.”
“Okeedoke. Have a nice day.”
And they drove away, music blasting, beer cans rolling around in the back.  
As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover.

“How many miles a year do you put on the RV?’
Since full time on the road:
2017 - 12,249
2018 - 12,128
2019 - 5,537
2020 - 4,207
2021 - 7,091
 

 

Friday, September 30, 2022

We Move

 

This campground owned and operated by the Loup Power District has two sections.  I missed the turnoff to the first one as I had a guy riding my butt coming in on the highway.  He went around finally and then the second campground came up.  That is what you saw yesterday.  Well the traffic noise was getting to me there.  I really couldn’t understand why so many cars were going back and forth.  There is just the small resort community of Lakeview (pop. 317) between the two camp areas. That is it except for the few farmers in the area.  Anyway, the next morning we drove the couple miles back to check out the other campground.  It proved to be much quieter as it had part of Lakeview between the highway and camp.


And we could park out in the open, in the sun, all by ourselves.
There are designated sites with electrical hookups but they are all in the shade for the most part and not all that level.


The two parks are connected by walking and bicycling paths.  A lot of people (locals) take advantage of them.  I walked back to our first camp to get those photos for yesterday.  It was sure nice to get out and stretch those leg muscles at a brisk pace.  That is one thing I look forward to in returning to the desert for the winter - my long walks and hikes.  I miss that.


Beans misses lizard chasing.


- comment replies -

“If I buy your eBooks from Amazon would you get any of it?”  Pennies.  Please don’t buy them when you can get them for free.  Amazon forces me to set a price and 99 cents is the least amount permitted.  I think I get around 35 cents a sale.  It’s a rip-off.

“Is there anything you missed during the pandemic like face to face conversations, small talk, etc.”  You realize how much of an introvert you are when a pandemic sets in and it doesn’t affect your life all that much.  I do relate an instance in the Pandemic Year ebook.  I met a lady while camping north of Las Vegas.  We sat and visited for awhile.  Before parting we shared a hug.  That was the first time I had had human contact in like nine months.  Same for her.  We felt the loss.  We hugged again.  So the answer to your question Barbara is the simple touch of another human, a hug, holding hands.  I missed that.

Thank you Debby for the offer of sending books but that would take away the thrill of the quest from me.   

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Lake North

 

Just north of Columbus, Nebraska

Gee, I think they have room for a couple more signs, don’t you think?


It was free to stay here and that even included electricity along the row to the right.
We stayed down at the end on the left beyond that van.


We were over there to the right on the other side of this trailer that was parked in the corner.  It had all the appearances of being abandoned.  There were no propane tanks on the front.  Two windows on this side were busted out and blocked off from the inside by plywood.  The other side windows were painted over similar as to that back window.  The Nebraska license plate had a tag from 09.  An open padlock hung from the door.  I could have gone inside but did not.  Why?  You can see the orange electric cord.  It was plugged into electricity.  Is someone actually living in there?  Maybe that someone is dead.  I didn’t want to find out.  That first night a car roared in at 10:42 p.m. and parked near the trailer.  The guy got out with a super bright flashlight and went into the trailer.  It lit up the whole inside.  He was in there for just a minute then came out, got in his car and left.  Weird.  I thought it might be the Sheriff but it was too dark to see if any lettering was on the side of the car.  I also thought if it were the law he might have hung around a bit longer.


Incidentally, my new flashlight is super bright.  A good buy.

Lake North is a huge man made reservoir.  The wind would come whipping in off the water.


Swimming was allowed although the water was too cold for me and looked a bit yucky.
These ski vests were just sitting here.  Lost off boats and drifted to shore?


Now behind me from where I was standing to take the above photo is a road that cuts across the lake on a levee.  You can just make it out above the ‘NO DIVING’  sign in the upper photo.  On the other side of the levee road is Lake Babcock below.
I have never seen lily pads standing tall and free before.


- comment reply -

“When did it (the RV) become home?” and “I’ll have to read the eBooks so I can find out why you ended up living in an RV.”  It was the transition of 2016 to 2017 when it all began.  The “Getting to Know You” eBook details when it all started and my adoption of Beans.  

“What do you do when you get sick?”  I don’t get sick.  I haven’t been sick once since 2009 when I came down with a case of the flu that turned into pneumonia.  After two trips to the ER, that scared me enough to change my way of living and being around people.  I’ve never had so much as a sore throat or sniffles since then.  But...I did have a medical issue since living on the road.  That experience is detailed (maybe a bit too graphically) in the “Pandemic Year” eBook.

So read the ‘Beans and I’ eBooks in order.  The ‘Sinbad and I’ eBook is just collection stories from trips we made before I began living on the road full time.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be read before the ‘Beans and I’ series.  They are all free to download.

and lastly

Thank you Lini for the very nice comment.  It meant a lot to me.  I received a review on one of the eBooks long ago.  It was from a ninety-year old man who said “These books have given me adventure for many days.  I love cats.  Sinbad and Beans have filled my days with joy.”  If that man was the only person who read the eBooks, it would be worth every minute I put into writing them.





Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A Most Excellent Day

 

Before leaving Norfolk I had a couple fruitless thrift shops to check out.  Ever see them try to maneuver a monstrous wind turbine blade through a major highway intersection in a big town?  Stopped traffic in all four ways through two signal changes.


It was just a fifteen mile drive to our next town with city park camping, Madison (pop. 2283) when we arrived just before noon.  See the small print?  That’s going to be a problem.


The camp park was a bit scruffy looking and appeared unused.


Gee, I wonder why?  Ya gotta get the key from City Hall just to use the restrooms?
Can they make this place any more unaccomadating?

Then I saw this.  Well that solved one problem.  But compare: $20 here versus $12 or $18 back at that lovely park in Norfolk.  I wouldn’t even consider.  It wasn’t far to our next possibility which I knew was free and had a lakeside setting only thirty-five miles further.


As we drove through town I saw this.  $4.38 for diesel?!!  I thought the place was out of business and that was the price left over from a year ago.  But no, it was open.  Unbelievable!  The last time I paid any less than $4.38 was the first of November last year in Yuma, Arizona and that was $4.00 even.  
The lowest I have paid this year is $4.70.


“Prepay Inside.”  Now that is a problem.  I usually just move on to a station elsewhere rather than go inside.  But for $4.38 a gallon I’d screw up my courage and go on inside.  I asked the lady who was around my age “Diesel is $4.38, really?”  She looked out the window to the big sign to check.  I told her about the four dollar price in Yuma last year and the lowest amount this year.  She had no explanation.
I looked around the store.  “Am I on Candid Camera?”
She laughed.  I could only use that line on old people.  It would be lost on these younger generations.


To celebrate my good fortune I thought I would buy lunch in this town.  Maybe a hamburger from a local stand.  Or even a Subway sandwich if there is one and lo and behold up the street I saw the sign.


No one in line.  Really, I ought to buy a lottery ticket this day.
(Truth be known, I have never bought a lottery ticket in my life.  I have always felt I would have a better chance at robbing a bank and getting away with it than I would at winning the lottery)


I was on a roll.  We moved next door to the empty parking lot of Dollar General to eat half my sandwich and feed Beans again.  Just before leaving I remembered I needed milk.  I picked up a bottle inside DG.  Now we were good for a long time, and no need to go into the next big town as the free camp place was a few miles north of town.  We could sit for awhile.  It’s warmer here.  Things were great.

- comment reply -
It was supposed to be eighty, not eight Barbara.  I fixed it after you caught it.
and
“You seem to luck out on beautiful weather and lovely blue sky.”  That is one of the great advantages of living this lifestyle is being able to follow the good weather.  On a side note to that is that fifteen years ago yesterday I bought this RV.  I never imagined at that time it would eventually become my home. 



Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Norfolk

 

Norfolk, Nebraska  (pop. 24, 955)

Johnny Carson went to school in Norfolk.  More interesting to me though was that Joyce Ballantyne was from Norfolk.  Who is Joyce Ballantyne?  I never heard of her.  Well she was an artist who did pin-up art.  I thought that was very unusual a woman painting pin-up girls.  Her most famous piece of work was the Coppertone suntan lotion girl.  She often resented the fact that it was her most famous painting.


Their city park was at the south end of town, the end of a eighty-one mile drive.
Time for lunch.


It was a lovely big park.


Hmm...looks like I’ll have to break out the old pocketbook for this stay.


Notice the part where the police will no longer inform you of possible eminent death.
For twelve or eighteen dollars is that too much to expect?


We took the twelve dollar option, parked on the grass and had this fine view with rainbow.


After lunch I went to go check out the shower.
Naw...I don’t think I need a shower.  I took two at the last place.


I have seen (and used) worse shower facilities over the years.  
Taking a shower here would be much like swimming in the pond.


- comment reply -
Thank you Kathe for the answer.  I would never have thought that.




Monday, September 26, 2022

Country Roads Take Me Home

 

We could have stayed longer at the Vermillion Lions Club City Park Campground.  Well maybe not as it was a three-day limit but who cared?  At any rate we were wanting to chase the warmer weather south and so left.  After a bit of misdirection of GPS coordinates for our next town we were on our way.

We crossed the Missouri River and were now back in Nebraska.


It looked to be nice empty country roads all the way.


I love driving these backroads.


Okay you farm girls, tell me why they harvest the corn leaving behind rows of corn standing.


Soon we found ourselves on the mountain roads of Nebraska.


Our turnoff for Coleridge and their city park.
I don’t want to drive seven miles of dirt road!


We continued on south over a mountain pass for our next camping opportunity.



Sunday, September 25, 2022

An Unexpected Find and Finding Nothing

 

Vermillion, South Dakota

About a hundred feet away is the restroom building.  The one on the left, the women’s, is out of order. So the men have to share with the women now. I’m sure the girls love that.  The toilet seat is up again!!


I saw a woman with wet hair come out from behind the building.  I went to investigate.
Golly they have showers here!  I had no idea.  I’d take advantage of that when we got back from errands on our second day there.


Vermillion has no bookstores.  It does have two thrift shops.  I said I wouldn’t look in thrift shops anymore for books.  But two people have mentioned James Patterson books.  I looked into that and see he has a long list of stand-alone novels.  This would be good as I wouldn’t have to read them in any order.  I see his books all the time.  Now that I am looking, I saw none on errand day.  Figures.


Not really the right kind of thrift store for books.


- comment reply - 

Beans is a really good well-behaved cat.  She doesn’t play around with the collection of bones up on the dash knocking skulls off onto the floor.  






Saturday, September 24, 2022

A Sudden Change of Plan

 

I thought we would stay in Gunderson Park three days.  Locals drove through but no campers ever came to stay except for one couple in a tent.  It rained that night.  In the morning we got a knock on the door.   The police. I opened the door and of course Beans is right there.  “No! Get back.”  She did.  The nice policeman was just letting us know that there was to be a car show tomorrow “if the weather permits”.   I said we were planning on leaving tomorrow.  I asked if the car show was going to create a problem driving through town.  


“Oh no, its going to be here.”  Egads!  I thanked him for the warning.
“Sure thing.  You and Beans have a nice day.”
I was cold. I wasn’t going to enjoy the day.  I didn’t want to try to beat the car show in the morning.
It was only twenty-five miles to our next site.  I could run the heater.
And so we left Centerville a day early.


The Vermillion River behind the park took out this huge tree long ago.


Vermillion South Dakota (pop. 11, 695)

When we got within sight of the campground “Oh. I remember this place!”  It was June of last year.  Now no disrespect to the homeless but it looked like a homeless encampment.  Vehicles of questionable road worthiness, cheap tents with blue tarps and sketchy looking individuals milling about.  We drove on to another town.  This time it looked better.  Only one beat-up old camper van was of any interest.  The grubby guy sat outside in the cold, talking to himself waving his hands about.  It appeared he wasn’t wearing any pants.  Not sure.


As I looped around thinking, this other guy came walking over across the grass to cut us off.  “Great!  What does he want?”  Nice guy in a big RV (in that vacant spot below) wanted to let me know he was leaving in thirty minutes and we could have his spot.  I thanked him for his offer.  I told him I think we will park down there on the grass.  “But this has electricity.”  
“We have solar so don’t need it.  Thanks again.”  He shrugged his shoulders and walked away.  I didn’t go into the other reasons why we were going to park on the grass.  You folks know.  Anyway, let someone else who needs it have the electricity.


This was parked in spot number one.  I have never seen one of these before. 
 It looks like out of the sixties.  Pretty cool.


Beans spent the longest time up on the dash watching the comings and goings of people and cars.  She uses the GPS screen as a back rest.  There is a main thoroughfare across the way over there but it isn’t that noisy.  I think we’ll stay throughout the weekend here as long as the neighborhood doesn’t deteriorate. 


That first afternoon the sun came out, I got warm and was once again enjoying myself.
Meanwhile I was getting warnings of eminent rain back in Centerville 25 miles away.

- comment reply -

“What are all those skulls on your dashboard?”  They are coyote, bobcat, raccoon, turkey vulture, a duck and assorted rodents.
“How do you keep them from sliding off onto the floor?”  I drive slow.