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9-12 through 9/22/2016 - Go Cubs Go!

 Today is Sunday, November 13th and we are already on our way back to the southwest.  I have fallen way behind on this blog so here's a post about our trip from Washington to Chicago.  The very exciting October/November post (Go Cubs!) will be worked on soon.  

Monday and Tuesday (9/12 and 9/13)
One last stop at the Pacific before heading east
We left Forks, Washington on a beautiful sunny day and started our trip back to the Midwest.  Our plan was to be back by 9/23 so that I could watch the Cubs play the Cardinals in their last home game of the regular season.  Our first night on the road was spent in Ellensburg, WA, we had only planned to spend one night but there was an interesting wind farm tour so we ended up staying two.  We also wanted to check out the town of Roslyn (site of the old TV show "Northern Exposure", one of my favorites).

We were up bright and early to drive over to the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility for a 10:00 tour.  Ellensburg is one of the windiest spots in Washington and the tour was pretty interesting, we even got to go inside a turbine.
Hard hats and safety glasses are required!
It was a beautiful day for our tour

After leaving the wind farm we took a drive over to Roslyn to see the sights and to check out the local museum.  We got there around noon but the museum wasn't scheduled to open until 1:00 so we grabbed a bite to eat.  When we went back the museum still wasn't open due to "volunteers schedule".  I think they need better volunteers.   Oh well, it gives us something to look forward to the next time we find ourselves in that area.
From the TV show "Northern Exposure" - one of my favorites
We drove back to the rig to hang out for a few hours before making our way back to the wind farm for some sunset pictures.  If the skies are clear you can see three mountains to the west.

That's Mt. Ranier in the background
Wednesday, 9/14

Our next stop after leaving Ellensburg was Palouse, Washington.  It was an easy drive which was good because our GPS cord broke and the app on my IPad wouldn't work so we had to go "Old-School" and use our atlas.

We were settled in to our next campground by 1:00 and took a quick drive thru main street to the post office (when we left Forks we took our keys with us - OOPS!).  This is a very small town and, unfortunately for us, nothing was open except for the post office.  The museum is only open Thursday-Sunday and the antique store was also closed.

Since we couldn't shop or visit the museum we took a drive to Kamiak Butte.  Here's the information I copied from the internet:

Kamiak Butte rises 3,641 feet and offers 298 acres for hiking, picnicking, camping, and sightseeing. The area boasts over 130 species of birds, 170 species of plants, and nearly 30 species of mammals for wildlife viewing. A favorite spot for photography, a hike to the crest offers spectacular panoramic views of the rolling hills of the Palouse with the patchwork of fields and farmlands changing with the seasons.
The Palouse Reqion from Kamiak Butte

Thursday, 9/15

Our plan for this night was to drive as far as Butte, Montana and spend the night at Walmart. This was a very good day because we stopped for gas and lunch at a station with a casino attached and I put 10.00 in and won 67.00! Free camping, lunch and some gas - Cha-Ching!!


Friday, 9/16 and Saturday, 9/17

We continued our drive back to the Midwest on 90 and stopped in the very tiny town of Ranchester, Wyoming.  This is a town that is on Highway 14 (the same 14 that runs into Chicago).  We were about three hours east of Yellowstone.

On Saturday morning we walked over to the Visitor Center  to pick up some information and then walked across the street to the Farmers Market to pick up a few goodies.

The visitors center had recommended a drive to Medicine Wheel so off we went.  The drive was beautiful and we even found an antique shop to visit.  Our drive to Medicine Wheel took about 2-3 hours (we possibly went the wrong way at one point).

Marty and I visiting this spot may, possibly, be the reason the Cubs would go on to win the World Series.  This is a sacred Native American site and if you leave something there that is precious to you and say a prayer your prayer will come true.  It also helps if there is another tourist there who explains this to you and happens to have a baggie with tobacco in it to sprinkle on to your item which will make your prayers even more powerful.  
My precious item?  My "Believe" bracelet which I hadn't planned to take off until they won the World Series.  I was very sad to leave it but at that point I was willing to do anything to get the Cubs into the World Series - You're Welcome!

I should have had my Cubs shirt on but look at my matching socks!

My "Believe" bracelet - didn't have a string to tie it with so we left it under a rock

Here's some information from the internet about Medicine Wheel:

On top of the Bighorn Range in Wyoming, a desolate 9,642 feet high and only reachable during the warm summer months, lies an ancient Native American construction -- an 80' diameter wheel-like pattern made of stones. At the center of the circle is a doughnut-shaped pile of stones, a cairn, connected to the rim by 28 spoke-like lines of stones. Six more stone cairns are arranged around the circle, most large enough to hold a sitting human. The central cairn is about 12 feet in diameter and 2' high. 

The wheel was constructed by Plains Indians between 300-800 years ago, and has been used and maintained by various groups since then. The central cairn is the oldest part, with excavations showing it extends below the wheel and has been buried by wind-blown dust. It may have supported a central pole. The star alignments are most accurate for around 1200 AD, since slight changes in the Earth's orbit have caused perturbations since. The solstice alignments remain accurate today. 

The Bighorn wheel is part of a much larger complex of interrelated archeological sites that represent 7000 years of Native American adaptation to and use of the alpine landscape that surrounds Medicine Mountain. Numerous contemporary American Indian traditional use ceremonial staging areas, medicinal and ceremonial plant gathering areas, sweat lodge sites, altars offering locales and fasting (vision quest) enclosures, can be found nearby. Ethnohistoric, ethnographic, and archeological evidence demonstrates that the Medicine Wheel and the surrounding landscape constitute one of the most important and well preserved ancient Native American sacred site complexes in North America. Between 70 and 150 wheels have been identified in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. 

As warm as it was we still found snow on the side of the trail

Taking a break after all the emotions of leaving my bracelet

A stop along the road, looking out over the Bighorn Basinn

 Sunday 9/18 and Monday 9/19

Sunday morning we got back on I-90 and headed to Rapid City, South Dakota.  We stayed at a RV Park that was right off the highway and very convenient to Custer State Park and Crazy Horse.  Crazy Horse is an amazing sculpture - it's been a work in progress for 50 years and it won't be finished in my lifetime.  It's very near Mount Rushmore which we didn't stop at because we visited there a few years ago (before RVing).

American Bison
Custer State Park was a fun park to drive in. We drove the wildlife loop and were not disappointed - we saw all kinds of animals.  This is a park that we'd like to come back to and stay at.  It would be fun to wake up and see a bison outside our rig.

Prairie Dogs are very friendly!

The burro's were looking for handouts

Tuesday, 9/20

Tuesday was spent driving the width of South Dakota until we got to Sioux Falls where we spent another night in a Walmart parking lot.  The weather wasn't very conducive to sleeping-  a parking lot without electricity, it was hot and humid and very uncomfortable (but free!).

Wednesday, 9/21

Wednesday was our last night on the road and we spent it at Veteran's Memorial Park in LaCrosse, Wisconsin right on the LaCrosse River which was on the verge of flooding.  They were actually moving rigs from the river sites up to higher land because there was more rain coming.  We were fine on our site and we were very happy to be there because we were visiting our niece, Elizabeth, who is a freshman at UW-LaCrosse!  We took her out to eat and then went back to her dorm room to check it out and meet her roommates. It was so nice to see one of my very favorite girls!


Thursday, 9/22

Back in Illinois!!  We are very happy to be back in the midwest and have lots of catching up to do with friends and family.  We also have some issues with the rig that need to be addressed.

That's it for this post, there's a lot more coming in the next one for October!

Go Cubs!!