• Day 19 - Middle of Nowhere Manitoba

    We are heading towards Saskatoon, but spent the night in the middle of nowhere ( actually Colnsay No. 342) at the Painted Rocks Campground

    Once again, our views included miles and miles of beautiful fields of canola flowers, a few trains and some silos for storage.

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    These plastic shelters are also known as bee condos or bee houses that provide nesting spaces for alfalfa leaf-cutter bees and are seen in Saskatchewan. These bees act as tiny farmhands-pollinating crops such as alfalfa or hybrid canola.


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    Saskatchewan is renowned for its vast canola fields.  Canola is one of the primary crops grown in Saskatchewan and is used to manufacture canola oil. Canola is a major export commodity .  The province exports large quantities of canola oil and see to international markets, including the USA, China, Japan and the European Union.  Canola is also used in the production of biodiesel. 

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    The remains of an old Ukrainian Church

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    We stayed at the Painted Rocks RV Campground in site #5


    • Miles driven in the RV today :247
    • Total miles driven in car and RV: 3.048
    • Painted Rock RV Campground $27.78. The average cost has been 36.08 per night
    • Groceries and food: $433.78  for an average of $22.83 per day
    • Last gas cost $3.978 a gallon . Our total is now $1,198.48 which has averaged $63.08 per day. Today’s average is .393 a mile


  • Day 18 Alaska Trip - Binscarth Park and Pool Campground, Manitoba

    Binscarth, Manitoba

    The whole day was spent driving across the prairie lands in a very rural section of Manitoba.  We saw many beautiful canola fields which helped break the monotony, but other than those and an occasional passing train, there wasn’t much to see.  

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    The weather is beautiful up here!

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    We stayed at the Binscarth Pool and Campground and our space looked very promising until I backed into the site.  No matter which position I put the motorhome, it was still going downhill in the back.  We tried placing blocks under the levelers to no avail.  Finally gave us and just kept all the slides pulled in.  Wasn’t bad though—our first motorhome was only this wide to start with and had no slides.



  • Day 17 Alaska Trip - Riding Mountain National Park

    Today’s destination was Riding Mountain National Park in western Manitoba. The wildlife of Riding Mountain National Park is supposed to be unparalleled according to the brochures. Parks Canada estimates there are 800-1,000 black bears, 3,000 moose and 40 plains bison in the park. IMG 7317

    The first and only moose we saw in the park


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    We walked on this floating boardwalk around the lake and were surprised to see a family of swans.

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    After dinner we drove to another lake to try to see some other wildlife.  Tom spotted a bear right outside of our campground area and then we spotted another a few mile up the road.

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    Notice that this bear gave himself a little blonde streak on his nose1

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    It’s not unusual to see a deer, but this one was just eating grass on the side of the road rather than trying to dart across the road.

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    The Canadian National Parks places a set of these red Adirondack chairs in several locations in each of their parks to encouraging taking and sharing your picture at that location. We sat in these as we enjoyed the beautiful sunset over Lake Clear.

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    Our ride today across Manitoba was 150 miles.



    • Miles driven in RV from last stop: 151
    • Miles driven car today: 42
    • Total miles driven in car and RV: 2,716
    • Wasagaming Campground in Riding Mountain NP  31.23
    • Groceries and food:  $423.43  for an average of $24.97 per day
    • Last gas was $3.956 a gallon and we filled up the car and RV for 187.94, and average of $62.63 per day


  • Day 16 Alaska Trip - Manitoba

    We had a lazy morning at the camper waiting for two loads of laundry to wash and dry which cost $11.00.

    In the afternoon we drove to the ROYAL AVIATION MUSEUM OF WESTERN CANADA where we learned about the people and planes of western Canada’s aviation’s history.

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    Signs of the Times

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    These children were forced to attend school away from their parents.  Can you imagine what their life was like? 

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    It was a very interesting visit to not only see the various aircraft, but to read all the signs that told about the history of such a rural population.

    Fort Wythe Alive

    Our next stop was at Fort Wythe Alive.  It is a HUGE nature area with walking trails, bison and lakes.  We walked the trail to the bison trail and back, but the entire area is flat and not the most interesting for hiking. 

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    Fort whyte alive



  • Day 15 Alaska Trip - Mannitoba's Mint and Legislature Building

    Royal Canadian Mint

    Our day started with a fascinating tour of the Royal Canadian Mint.  There are only two mints in Canada and only the one in Winnipeg produces the coins that are in circulation. In 1968 the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa couldn’t keep up with the demand for circulated coins.  The Winnipeg Mint was opened in 1976 and has produced coins in circulation  for 77 countries. They also produce some the blanks for the mints in the USA, but never actually prioduce US coins.  The mints in the USA, on the other hand, only print coins and currency for the United States.

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    In 1908 - the first Canadian coin minted was the 50 cent piece

    1984 - the last circulated coins were minted in Ottawa

    1987 - the last $1.00 note is printed and replaced by the $1.00 coin named the “loonie.”

    1996 - the $2.00 note was replaced by the $2.00 coin called the “tooie” - a coin made from two different metals.

    2004 - the Mint becomes the first in the world to produce a colored circulation coin with the popular red Poppy coin.

    2012- the last Canadian one-cent circulation coin is stuck.  Distribution of Canada’s penny ends February 4, 2013.

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    This parade of flags is in honor of the Royal Canadian Mint’s many international customers.

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    Canadian colored coins in circulation

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    In 2017 the first  glow-in-the-dark coin was entered into circulation, The CA $2 “toonie” features a view of the blue-green aurora borealis above two canoeists paddling along a tree-lined lake. In the dark, the special ink used to produce the image illuminates the northern lights.

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    New coins minted in 2024 featuring King Charles.


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    The newest coin - the Tom Hatfield Canadian Loonie!

    Manitoba Legislature Building


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    • Miles driven in the car today: 58
    • Total miles driven in car and RV: 2,467
    • Winnipeg West KOA Campground $43.91.  The average cost has been 39.66 per night.
    • Groceries and food:  $339.37  for an average of $25.96 per day
    • Last gas cost $3.14 a gallon . Our total is now $878.74 which has  averaged $58.46 per day.  Today’s average is .36 a mile

  • Day 14 Alaska Trip - Manitoba Human Rights Museum and Manitoba Museum

    We purchased a Winnipeg Attractions Pass and used it today to see some amazing attractions.  The first was the Canadian Museum for  Human Rights

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    It was opened in 2014 and is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to human rights.  The museum features exhibits on various human rights issues, historical events, the stories of individuals and communities who have fought for human rights.

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    Where in the world are Tom and Mary???  In the middle of Winnipeg!

    Winnipeg Museum

    Next, we went to the Winnipeg Museum which features the natural and human history of Manitoba and exhibits on the province’s environment, cultures, and history. The dioramas are very detailed and depict life-sized glimpses into life in earlier times

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    The buffalo are depicted in mid-motion, capturing the energy and movement of the herd.

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    Carved sunglasses crafted by the Intuit people. These sunglasses, made from materials such as bone, wood or antlers and were designed to protect the wearer’s eyes from the intense glare of sunlight reflecting off snow and ice.

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    Ice knife traditionally made from bone for cutting snow and a snow scoop designed for moving snow efficiently.  These two tools were used to build igloos.

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    This Arctic diorama depicts an adult male polar bear with a half grown ringed seal that he has dragged onto the ice pack. He is about to enjoy his high energy-packed meal.

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    This diorama depicts the daily life of the Intuit people showing their tents (lupiqs) and other structures that illustrate the types of dwellings used by the Inuit in different seasons and tools used in daily life.

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    This is a full-size replica on the “Nonsuch,” a historic ship that played a pivotal role in the fur trade and the establishment of Hudson’t Bay Company in it’s 1868-69voyage.This replica was built in 1969 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the original voyage.

    After touring the museum we watched a presentation at the Planetarium and then walked around the Children’s Museum..

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    Check out this giant version of a Lite Brite!

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    I ducked inside a huge kaleidoscope!


    • Miles driven in the car today: 58
    • Total miles driven in car and RV: 2,409
    • Winnipeg West KOA Campground $43.91.  The average cost has been 39.66 per night.
    • Groceries and food:  $339.37  for an average of $25.96 per day
    • Last gas cost $3.14 a gallon . Our total is now $878.74 which has  averaged $58.46 per day.  Today’s average is .36 a mile


  • Day 13 Alaska Trip -Steinbach, Manitoba

    Today we drove from International Falls, MN and stopped in Steinbach, Manitoba to visit the Mennonite Heritage Village. 

    The village has both an indoor museum and an outdoor open-air museum which displays original buildings that are significant to Mennonite history. These included traditional Mennonite houses, barns, schools, and church buildings.IMG 7187

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    The house looks short on the outside but at least three feet of the base is underground.  Once we walked down inside we saw that the inside ceilings were at least 8 feet tall.

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    One room classroom with all student assignments on the board.

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    There were props on a table by an old fashioned background screen.  The rolling pin just jumped into my hand.

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    In was interesting to see that Mennonites originated in Amsterdam and Switzerland .  The ones from Switzerland went directly to Pennsylvania in 1690 for religious freedom.  The ones from the Netherlands went to Poland in 1530, to Ukraine in 1776 and then came to Manitoba in 1874, 1924, and 1948

    The drive across the province

    The ride from International Falls to Winnipeg was completely flat!  We only went over one overpass the whole way.  This road is straighter and flatter for a longer period of time that any other road I’ve ever traveled.

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    There were many large fields of  canola flowers blooming all along the way.

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    • Miles driven in RV from last stop: 266
    • Miles driven car today: 2
    • Total miles driven in car and RV: 2,370
    • Winnipeg West KOA Campground $43.91  
    • Groceries and food:  $328.05  for an average of $25.23 per day
    • Last was was $3.14 a gallon and we filled up the car and RV for $232.58, and average of $17.89 per day

  • Day 12 Alaska Trip - TransCanada Hwy to International Falls

    We drove the TransCanada Highway from Kakabeka Falls until 4 miles before we dipped back down into the USA at International Falls..IMG 7160

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    This was a very rural highway.  We probably went 150 miles without seeing a gas station.  There was even a warning sign stating limited services when we turned west near near the beginning.

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    This Smokey the Bear monument was erected in 1954, a little more than ten years after the original Bear was invented in World War II as a cartoon character -- to protect the nation's lumber resources from careless campfires. 

    IMG 7156We camped fort he night at Arnold’s Campground and RV Park at $36.  It’s a good thing it was a short one night stop because  our spot was like a giant mud puddle.

  • Alaska Trip Day 11 - Isle of Royale National Park

    Island of Royale National Park

    This morning we boarded the Sea Hunter III for the 1.5 hour trip to Isle of Royal from Grand Portage. The weather was a sunny and clear and Lake Superior was nice and smooth.  Sixty-five of us were loaded on the boat with half of us and having to sit on the outside with some of us able to sit on the inside.IMG 6262

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    Isle of Royale National Park

    We just made it to our 58th National Park (there are 64)!  We tried to go there in 2020, but the boat service to get there was not sailing because of covid.  The park was open, but we had no way of getting there.The park is located in Lake Superior and can only be accessed by boat or small pantoon plane.

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    We spent the day hiking 4 miles on the the Overlook Point Trail which was gently uphill the first half.

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    Male 421 was a lone wolf that wore a radioactive collar trom 1988 to 1991. As a lone, living without companionship or pack support. his existence would likely have been difficult and perhaps lonely..

    Throughout the summer of 1990, this wolf slowly declined in health and eventuallv died of malnutrition as his body was weak and his teeth were worn and damaged.  As an active lone wolf, he traveled the entire island actually killing moose by himself. but his dinners were often stolen by packs of wolves.

    He died just outside a den he frequently used, which was located along the Winding Nature Trail.  Researchers found him a few days after hhis death when they arrived in January of 1991 for the annual winter study.

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    Moose 2129–This bull moose’s skull was found in 1989, just south of Lake Richie.  He died when he was just six years old.

    Moose 2828–The rest of this moose’s skeleton is made up from female 2828.  She was found in 1996 after starving to deathbed less than a mile from Starvation Point.  She was 12 years old when she died.

    Each of these moose escaped several encounters with wolves through their lifetime.

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    After our hike and a visit to the Ranger’s Station and store, we boarded our boat for the 1.5 hour ride back to Grand Portage.

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    We passed the Rock of Ages Lighthouse on the trip back to Grand Portage


    After our trip to Isle of Royale we drove back to the casino and retrieved our motorhome. We then drove across the border into Ontario, Canada and continued on to Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park where we spent the night.

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    The beautiful Kakabeka Falls are located within the park and are Ontario’s second tallest waterfall.  

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    We camped in site #46 and had 30amp electric but no water or sewer hookup.  The great thing about this camper is that we can go many days without hookups for either.


    • Miles driven in RV from last stop: 55
    • Miles driven car today: 10
    • Total miles driven in car and RV: 1893
    • Kaakabeka Provincial Campground: 82.50 (that was for two nights but we camped for free at casino last night instead).  
    • Groceries and food:  $177.46 for an average of $17.75 per day
    • We’ve spend $644.26 on gas for car and RV

  • Alaska Trip Day 10 - Grand Portage, MN

    We are back in Minnesota today after spending the last two nights in Wisconsin.  We drove along Lake Superior for most of today’s journey.  The lake was on our right with beautiful wildflowers and  hills on our left. We went through a few most towns, but most of this area is sparsely populated.

    Grand Portage, Minnesota

    Grand Portage received its name due to its historical significance as a portage or carrying place between the Pigeon River and the western end of Lake Superior.  At Grand Portage, travelers and traders would navigate the Pigeon River to reach the shores of Lake Superior. Due to the geography of the area, a portage of approximately 8.5 miles was necessary to bypass the impassable rapids and waterfalls of the Pigeon River.

     We arrived in Grand Portage around 3:00 and stopped at the National Monument Heritage Center before continuing on to Grand Portage State Park.

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    The traditional winter lodge of the Ojibwe, also known as a wigwam or wiigiwaam, was typically constructed using a framework of saplings covered with sheets of birch bark or other available materials like cattail mats or woven reeds. Birch bark was especially valued for its waterproof properties and insulation against cold temperatures.  I can’t imagine this structure providing enough warmth for a southern girl like me!

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    The Grand Hall is located within Grand Portage National Historical Park. It was historically part of a fur trading post operated by the North West Company during the late 1700s and early 1800s. The Grand Hall served as a vital center for fur trading activities between the Ojibwe people and European fur traders. It was here that furs collected from the interior of North America were traded for European goods such as tools, cloth, and metalware.

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    After leaving Grand Portage National Historic Site we drove to Grand Portage State Park where we walked to the High Falls, the tallest waterfall in Minnesota. High Falls is situated on the Pigeon River, which forms part of the border between Minnesota and Canada.


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     The temperature has been in the low 60s all day, but felt quite warm in the afternoon while we were hiking.

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    Boundary markers like this one were placed in 1908 and each has a specific number to identify a location.  They can be found at intervals on both sides of the  Pigeon river.

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    It was a wonderful day and we ended it by listening to an outdoor concert at the Grand Portage Lodge Casino.

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    Tomorrow morning we have to be at the Grand Portage Ferry Terminal by 8:00AM.  The closest campground was 51 miles away, so we are staying tonight in the Grand Portage Casino Parking Lot for free.  Price is right, but amenities are lacking.

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    • Miles driven in RV from last stop: 223 
    • Miles driven car today: 20
    • Total miles driven in car and RV: 1,828
    • No campground cost here.  
    • Groceries and food:  $169.46 for an average of $16.46 per day
    • Gas was $2.879 a gallon and we filled up the car and RV for $147.33

  • Alaska Trip Days 8 & 9- Spooner, Wisconsin

    We spent two relaxing days in Spooner, WI with our friends Dave and Emy Current who we met on our cruise from Singapore to Bali two years ago.  They have a cabin on Island Lake near Spooner where we were able to enjoy a relaxing two days with temperatures in the mid 70s.  Dave drove us around the lake on their pontoon boat both days and we peddled in the lake on the peddle pontoon this morning.  While on the lake, we saw two loons and three bald eagles.IMG 6979

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    We paddled their pontoon boat on the lake in the morning.

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    Dave and Emy sitting on their dock

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    Who would have thought we could be sitting around a campfire in the middle of the afternoon on July 4!!!  Perfect weather here.

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    Dave arranged for us to park our motorhome on their neighbor’s lakefront property which also had a 50 amp hookup.  Couldn’t have asked for a better arrangement.

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    • Miles driven in RV from last stop: 143
    • Total miles driven in car and RV: 1,585
    • No campground cost here.  Total campground cost $383 or 33.43 per night
    • Groceries and food:  $169.46 for an average of $18.83 per day

  • Alaska Trip Day 7 - St. Paul, MN

    Welcome to Minnesota!  (Now if we only can learn how to use this crazy selfie stick)!


    After parking our camper at the Lebanon Hills Regional Park Campground, we drove our car into St. Paul to tour the state capital.  Our guide was very knowledgeable and interesting .

    Minnesota State Capital Building

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    A view of the dome from the first floor

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    The guide took us to see he quadriga on top of the dome. It is.a classical chariot drawn by four horses abreast, often symbolizing triumph or victory. In the case of the Minnesota Capitol dome, the Quadriga specifically represents the “Progress of the State.” The Quadriga is made of copper sheeting and was gilded with gold leaf, giving it a striking appearance against the blue-green dome. It stands as a symbol of the state’s aspirations and achievements, embodying the ideals of prosperity and growth that Minnesota strives for.

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    Cathedral of St. Paul

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    Summit Ave

    Summit Avenue is one of the best-preserved Victorian-era residential boulevards in the United States. It was developed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as St. Paul’s elite moved westward from the downtown area.The avenue is lined with grand mansions and homes that showcase a variety of architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, Italianate, and Classical Revival. Many of these homes were designed by prominent architects of the time.

    Summit Avenue is home to several cultural landmarks, including the James J. Hill House, a National Historic Landmark and former residence of the railroad magnate James J. Hill. Other notable buildings include the Governor’s Residence, the Cathedral of Saint Paul, and the University Club of Saint Paul.

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    Completed in 1891, the 36,000 square foot residence immediately became the largest and most expensive house in Minnesota.

    Trip Statistics

    • Distance driven in motorhome from last stop - 227miles (total miles driven 1195)
    • Miles driven in car today 39 (245 total)
    • Campsite cost  - $55.14 (total 300.83 or an average of $42.98 per night)
    • Gas cost was $205.44 today. 

  • Alaska Trip - Days 5 & 6 - Des Moines, Iowa

    We started the day by attending worship at The Church of the Resurrection  in Leawood, KS where Adam Hamilton is the pastor.  In a congregation with 1,000s of people in attendance we just happened to walk in and sit by someone we met 5 years ago when we went to Egypt with members of that congregation.IMG 6854

    After church we drove from there to a beautiful park called Cherry Glen Campground in Polk City, Iowa, near Des Moines.

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    The campground is nicely wooded with large sites and located on a beautiful lake. 

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    Iowa State Capital Tour

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    This mosaic pictured above the railing depicts the various branches of government. Each mosaic is comprised of approximately 100,000 individual pieces of Italian glass.

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    The judicial mosaic

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    The capital library is famous for its grand, ornate design, including spiral staircases made of wrought iron, stained glass windows, and intricate woodwork. The design reflects the 19th-century architectural style, emphasizing elegance and detail.

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    High Trestle Bridge

    The High Trestle Trail Bridge is a pedestrian and bicycle bridge located in central Iowa that spans the Des Moines River between the towns of Madrid and Woodward, Iowa.

    The bridge was originally part of a railroad line built in the early 20th century.It was converted into a pedestrian and bicycle trail bridge and opened to the public in 2011. The High Trestle Trail Bridge is part of the High Trestle Trail, a 25-mile (40 km) multi-use trail that is popular with cyclists, hikers, and nature enthusiasts.

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    Since we don’t have our bikes with us, we decided to walk a section of this wonderful bicycle trail.

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    Trip Statistics

    • Distance driven in motorhome from last stop - 230 miles (total miles driven 968)
    • Miles driven in car today 68 (206 total)
    • Campsite cost  - $24 a night for the last two nights (total 245.69 or an average of $40.95 per night)

  • Alaska Trip Day 4 - Peculiar, Missouri

    Today’s journey was from  Bentonville, AR area to Peculiar, MO.  We are staying at the Peculiar RV Park.IMG 6837

    After we arrived at the Peculiar RV Park I drove into Kansas City to see the Nelson-Adkins Art Museum. The museum was already closed when I arrived, but a temporary building had been erected in the back for a wedding!!!  There were tents attached with air conditioning ducts to cool the building.


    Temporary building from tent side

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    Other side of temporary building

    The mission of my drive was to take a picture of the iconic shuttlecock on the front lawn.  Mission accomplished.

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    Trip Statistics

    • Distance driven in motorhome today - 178 miles (total miles driven 725)
    • Miles driven in car today 61
    • Campsite cost  - $60 

  • Alaska Trip Day 3 - Bentonville and Belle Vista, Arkansas — someplace special!

    Bentonville is a remarkable place, blending a rich history with modern amenities and a vibrant community spirit. It’s home to the headquarters of Walmart, which has brought significant economic growth and development to the area. The town boasts a thriving arts scene, highlighted by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which draws visitors from around the world.

    Outdoor enthusiasts appreciate the extensive network of trails, including the Razorback Greenway, and numerous parks that make the area ideal for hiking, biking, and other recreational activities. The community is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, making it a great place to live, work, and visit.

    We started the day with breakfast at the Buttered Biscuit which several people from home recommended to us.  

    After breakfast we took a bike ride from downtown Bentonville to our campground and them back around town which was over 20 miles. This area has the finest bicycle trails I’ve ever seen with a choice of paved or mountain dirt trails.

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    The Bentonville area is known for its extensive trail system, particularly for mountain biking. The are has over 140 miles of trails, including both paved and unpaved. This is the map of our ride from my Fitness App.

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    Some fun sculptures we saw along our bike ride.

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    Downtown Bentonville

    The is the Walmart Spark Ice cream truck on the town square which was serving delicious homemade ice cream for $1.59 for a double scoop in a waffle cone.  What a treat.  When we were here last time, this was a little cafe in the outside corner of the Walmart Museum.

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    This wrapped building behind the ice cream truck and in the bottom picture is where the Walmart Museum was located and will be located again by spring.

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    Some glistening fish on the side of a building caught my eye. 

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    I ended the day with a delicious dinner and  a wonderful visit  with my longtime friend Shauna who lives in Fayetteville but used to live in our neighborhood in LC. We met at Mirabella’s Table in Rogers.

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    Trip Statistics

    • Distance driven in motorhome today - 0 miles (total miles driven 547)
    • Miles driven in car today 45
    • Campsite cost  - $44.12 
    • Entertainment cost - $142
    • Food and groceries - $76

  • Roadtrip to Alaska Day 2- Texarkana to Bentonville

    Texarkana, Texas to Bentonville, AR

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    We had nice weather for our drive today through Arkansas today and enjoyed seeing the beautiful hills and blue skies.  The thrill of the day was driving through the town of Hatfield with a population of 345.  It’s definitely a town that time has forgotten.

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    The gas price on these tanks was 49.9 a gallon when this station was last operational, I guess.

    Blowing Springs RV Park

    The campground is named after the natural springs within the park.  One of the standout features of the Blowing Springs campground is its access to scenic trails, including the Blowing Springs Loop and connections to the extensive Razorback Regional Greenway.  These trails are perfect for biking and walking.

    We walked tonight along one of the trails from the campground and saw these beautiful crocheted works of art.

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    • Distance driven in motorhome today - 273 miles (total miles driven 547)
    • Campsite cost  - $44.12 
    • Gas 2.93 per gallon and we spent  $175


  • 2024 Road Trip to Alaska - Day 1

    We left our home today headed for our first stop in Texarkana, TX.

    2024 Road Trip to Alaska

    This is the map of our planned journey which will last 106 days. We’ve made reservations for our campsites and some of our tours in addition to some plane reservations to get to the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Kabuki Valley National Park.  

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    My son Stephen helped design the map on the t-shirt I designed for this trip.  The back of the t shirt has some of the stops we will be making.

    Our first day’s summary

    We ran into some heavy rain along the way and the driver’s windshield wiper broke.  Luckily, we were able to pull under an overpass and fix it with some duct tape.

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    Our first night’s stop was at the Texarkana RV Park.  

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    Distance driven in motorhome today - 274 miles

    Campsite cost  - $48

    Gas 2.79 per gallon $84.18

  • Day 13 - Goa, India

    Across from the beach and playground which was our first stop was this fish created from plastics.  The sign in front reads, 
    “By 2050 there will be more plastics in our oceans than fish."

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    Our next stop was a huge open market where people were making fresh flower arrangements and selling fresh vegetables.

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    Latin Quarter in Goa - Fountain’s

    We walked through The Latin Quarter in Goa, also known as Fontainhas, a charming and historic neighborhood in the state capital of Panaji.Many of the houses are over 300 years old.

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    Basilica of the Born Jesus

    The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Old Goa, India. The basilica was constructed in the late 16th century and is a example of Baroque architecture in India. The body of St. Francis Xavier is preserved in a silver casket and displayed to the public every ten years during the Exposition of the Sacred Relics.

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    Spice Plantation

    Our last stop was a spice plantation where we cinnamon trees, all spice tree, black pepper plant, coffee plant, jack fruit tree, and had a buffet lunch of typical Indian food.

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  • Day 11 - Mangalore, India

    The 11th century Kadri Manjunatha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed to be the oldest Shiva Temple in Mangaluru. The temple also has tanks with natural springs and laterite caves also known as the Pandava Caves.

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    The healing pools within the temple area filled from the natural springs.

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    We were fortunate to be at the temple in time to witness some of a wedding.  The groom is picture above inside the building where the wedding is held.  In the picture below, the family is escorting the bride.

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    St. Aloysius College Chapel

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    St. Aloysius College Chapel

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    The inside of the chapel was painted by Jesuit Brother Antony Moscheni.  In just over two years, he completed 600 square metres of frescoes, and 400 square metres of oil paintings on canvases. Since there were no locally available paints then, and importing them from Europe was not a viable option, Moscheni used dried powder pigments combined with pure water on freshly applied lime plaster for the frescoes. For the canvases, he used linseed oil mixed with dried powder pigments.

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    Mangaladevi Temple


    The Mangaladevi Temple is a Hindu Temple located in Mangalore.  The temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shakti in the form of Mangaladevi, for whom the city is named.


    Mangaladevi Temple entrance Mangaladevi Mangalore

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    Our next stop for the day was the deep sea port in Mangalore where the fishing boats were returning after being out for sea for two weeks. The port was bustling with activity and we saw many different types of fish on pallets waiting to be transported across the country.

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    The women clean the fish on the side of the road so people can buy the fresh fish.

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    The fish are layed on tarps in the hot sun to dry (in case you ever wondered where dried fish comes from)!


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    Cutting jackfruit for us to taste (definitely not my preference for fruit!)


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  • Day 12 - Cochin (Kochi ), India

    Our private driver and tour guide  picked us at the port and drove us to points of interest for the day.  Our first stop was to St. Francis Catholic Church which was built in 1503 and is one of the oldest European churches in India. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gamma died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India.  His body was originally buried in the church, but after fourteen years, his remains were relocated to Lisbon.

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    Here we are outside the church with our guides.

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    The humidity was horrible —felt like Louisiana in August!

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    Where Vasco da Game was originally buried inside the church.

    Our second stop was at the District Heritage Museum at Bastion Bungalow at Fort Kochi. The structure was built in 1667.

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    Chinese Fishing Nets

    Not only did we get to see at least a dozen Chinese fishing nets, we were also shown how to fish with them.  

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    It takes a lot of effort to pull the nets out of the water. Clearly the men helping us were doing the bulk of the work!

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    Pull, Pull, PULL!!!

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    A meager catch for all the effort!

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    One of many banyan trees that we saw on our walk along Cochi’s sea wall.

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    Criminals were burned alive as punishment in these chambers.

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    Jew Town

    We spent an hour or so walking the shops in Jew Town, the heart of the once-thriving Cochin Jewish community during the 16th century.  The Paradise Synagogue and quaint shops around Synagogue Lane and Jew Town Road sell antiques, carvings, Keralan crafts and aromatic spices.

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    Boat Ride through the Mangroves on the Backwaters

    Our final tour of the day was a boat ride through the mangroves where we saw colorful birds, Chinese fishing nets, mangroves and some resorts and beautiful homes.

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    Check out the fish the eagle has in his talons !











  • Day 10 - Columbo, Sri Lanka

    We walked off the ship this morning and found a tuk tuk driver to give us a tour of Columbo.

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    It was a hot and steamy day today!

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    Traffic was crazy!  He took us to the railway station where we could get a look at their train system.

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    We went to the St. Anthony’s Shrine (Catholic Church) which was bombed on Easter Sunday April 21, 2019 at 8:45 AM during the service, killing 57 people as they worshipped.  At the same time, three luxury hotels were also bombed.  Two other churches in Sri Lanka were bombed that day killing a total of 269 people.  

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    The sanctuary has been rebuilt since then.

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    Our next photo stop was at the Al Altar Mosque (Red Mosque).

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    The Lotus Tower is a communications tower with a revolving restaurant and observation deck at the top. We rode up to the top to get a view of the city.

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    The view from the top of the Lotus Tower

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    A view of our ship from the top of the tower.

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    Sri Kaileswarman Temple, the oldest Hindu Temple in Columbo

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    Gangaramaya Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Columbo

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    Looks like many people have made a wish by rubbing the Buddha

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    The resident Buddha tying a bracelet on Tom’s arm.

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    KFC is all over the world (but no longer in Lake Charles)!

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    The infrastructure isn’t the best that we’ve seen!

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    The tug coming to take us out of the port.

  • Day 9 - Hambantota, Sri Lanka

    Our excursion today was to Udawalawa National Park, an 1 1/2 hour bus ride from the ship to the entrance. Along the way we saw a farmer plowng his rice fields while the birds followed close behind to find the worms that were just exposed.

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    We passed some beautiful scenery and saw water buffloes walking along side the road and grazing in the fields.

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    We passed several small towns with tuk tuks parked in the driveways.

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    When we arrived at Udawalawa National Park, we boarded our safari jeep  to see elephants, monkeys and birds.

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    Our next stop was the elephant sanctuary where we watched them call the baby elephants who came running to get their milk.

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    A house being built that we spotted on our way back to the ship.  Check out the sticks that are being used for studs in the house on the left.

  • Day 6 - Phuket, Thailand part 2

    We hired a private driver today and gave her a list of the places we wanted to see.  The first stop was the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary where we fed the elephants and posed for a few pictures.

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    The next stop was the Buddhist Temple of War Chai Thararam.

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    The Big Buddha

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    The last stop of the day was the Cashew Factory. 

    Cashew fruit, or cashew apple, is a tropical fruit that grows on the cashew tree. It’s often mistaken for the seed of the cashew nut, but it’s actually an edible fruit with a unique flavor and texture.

    What do cashew fruit taste like

    "Although the fruit itself is edible, it has a very short shelf life and can quickly become overripe. The most popular way to enjoy this fruit is by eating it fresh, either on its own or as part of a tropical fruit salad.

    Cashew fruit itself is not poisonous, but the cashew nut that it contains is. The cashew nut grows outside of the actual fruit and is protected by a strong shell. This shell contains anacardic acid, which can irritate your skin and cause blisters if you come into contact with it.” [betony-nyc.com/can-you-e...](https://betony-nyc.com/can-you-eat-cashew-fruit/)


  • Day 5 - Phuket, Thailand

    Phuket, Thailand was our destination today.   

    Hong by Starlight Sea Cave Kayaking and Loy Krathong Floating

    We booked a took with John Gray's 10 hour long boat ride from Phuket.

    We discovered the hidden “hong” lagoons and sea caves of Phang Nga Bay.  After lunch on the boat, our guide paddled us  through Koh Panak Cave and the caves and lagoons around Hong Island. x

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    Here is the route we sailed to get to the islands.

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    This is the boat with sailed and where we ate lunch, dinner and made our beautiful flower arrangements

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    We got into inflatable canoes (with a guide) and went through caves and tunnels in the limestone formations. At the end of tsome of the tunnels there were small lakes surrounded by mangroves.

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    Our guide helped each of us make our own “Krathong” offering arrangement to float in Koh Panak Cavelater this evening.  These are made from banana leaves and orchids.

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    Making progress on our arrangement.

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    After sunset we got back into our canoes and our guides paddled us near the caves to release the lighted flower arrangements.

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    Here we are making a wish and releasing our arrangement.

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    What a fabulous day!

  • Day 4 - Langkawi, Malaysia


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