Cindy's Country Mix

do it yourself projects, watercolor

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Deadwood to Bismarck May 30, 2012

After just four days without a calendar, I am beginning to have a little trouble remembering what day of the week it is.  I do carry a Palm Pilot for just this sort of thing!

The road goes on forever.

Today we woke up at 7:30 a.m.  We ate our breakfast of uncooked oatmeal with almonds in our warm cabin.  Then we were on the road by  9:15.  That’s 30 minutes earlier than yesterday.  Tom set all the miles for driving each day when he planned out our route.  Most days we are scheduled to drive not more than 350 miles.  We don’t like long driving days.  We are trying to enjoy the journey.  I heard a woman at her campsite say she had been on the road for six weeks and had driven for 13 hours that day.  Why?  Not I, thank you very much.

Rainy Red Roads

Today was a rainy day.  It rained, lightly, all day of our driving.  We were on mostly red roads today, but drove the last 100 miles on I-94.  From now on, much of our trip will be on major interstates.  Less glory and awesomeness is all I have to say.

Welcome to North Dakota.  Hmmmm…even the sign looks cold and icy.  The weather was rainy and our low today was 42 while driving.  That’s colder than yesterday.  They say Summer’s coming, but I’m not so sure. 

We changed drivers in a little town called Bowman.  They had a little coffee bar in the main gas station/travel stop, so I bought an iced coffee blended by Big Train.  Big Train was the original coffee mix that I used to purchase at Costco years ago.  I wish they sold it still rather than Cafe DiVitto that they have now.  It was YUMMY. 

Salem Sue

We passed a city on I-94 named New Salem  with the world’s largest Holstein, Salem Sue.  Isn’t she cute?

We arrived in Bismarck at 3:45 Central Time.  This was a short driving day.  The heater in this KOA Kabin is a portable electric one.  The others were both built in electric.  Running constantly, it was able keep the room at a drafty 72.  The thermostat says 72, however it doesn’t feel that warm.  My fingers and nose are cold and I’m wearing a down vest.   Good night.


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Rawlins to Deadwood May 29, 2012

Day three of our 7 week trip finds us leaving Rawlins, Wyoming at 9:45 a.m. Mountain Time after a breakfast of raw oatmeal with almonds.  This was another day of pronghorn sightings.  There were hundreds of them here and there along our route.  After missing two on the road yesterday, we were alertly watching the roadsides today.  On our route today through Wyoming, we saw many critters including buffalo.

This is beef country, so we have seen many, many cows. But for lunch we ate chicken!  Oh, while eating lunch we saw a seagull fly by – in Wyoming! 

The South Dakota welcome sign shows Mount Rushmore.  We visited there in 2004 while on another road trip east.

After driving 350 miles today, we arrived in Deadwood, South Dakota at 3:30 Mountain Time.  Deadwood is in the Black Hills and the scenery is awesome.  We stayed at the Deadwood KOA in a Kamping Kabin.  The elevation was about 4500 feet.  The temperature was 45 when we went to bed, but the Kabin had a nice heater.  This KOA was beautiful.  The campsites were in a wooded area.  We did have to cart our stuff up the flight of stairs, though, and walk up the hill to the bathroom. 

This KOA offered a free shuttle into the historic town of Deadwood.  We took the ride at 6 p.m. 

  We spent two hours wandering through the town looking in gift shops and people watching.  One shop we stopped in sold ice cream cones!  The ice cream was exceptional.  I got a waffle cone filled with one scoop of Pecan Praline.  Their scoops were very generous.  Tom got a cake cone filled with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  By the time the shuttle picked us up at 8:00, we were getting cold.  Again, our cabin had a nice electric heater. 

These cabins may not have bathrooms, but they do have wifi! 

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Moab to Rawlins May 28, 2012

After a great night’s sleep and a free breakfast we headed out at 8:36 a.m. Mountain Time.  Today was sunny to start and the further north we went, the more clouds converged overhead.  🙂  It was also very windy with “gusts to 50” said the local weather.

Gray road in Utah

I don’t know why anyone would ever want to fly across the country.  I think it is just beautiful and don’t want to miss a thing.  The first four days of this journey are mostly traveled on red roads. Those are the roads that appear in red on your map.  We also traveled on a gray road today.  The TomTom is forever telling us to ‘turn around when possible’.  We try to keep her on her toes!

We have seen so many pronghorn today.  We have them, also, in our hometown each season.  Pronghorn are migratory.  The ones in my region are called Sonoran Pronghorn and are considered an endangered sub-species, because of their limited number of 200-300 in population. You can read about them here.  The historical account, I don’t necessarily believe accurate, however the description and other information is good.

A female ran across the road in front of us from the left side of the road.  I saw her heading across the road and slowed down so I didn’t hit her.  Later in the day, a male was running along the right side of the road heading toward us.  I slowed again, because I was afraid he would dart out in front of me.  I came almost to a stop as I passed him.  He ran across just after I passed right into the path of a truck and trailer coming the opposite direction.  I still can’t believe he made it across.  We saw one group of deer, also.

We drove through Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming today.  The welcome sign greeting us as we entered Colorado was pretty old and beat up.  From what I have seen across the country, most states have nice looking welcome signs.

Welcome to Wyoming.  Forever West.  What a great sign.

 After driving 366 miles, we arrived in Rawlins, Wyoming at 3:15 p.m. Mountain Time. This night we stayed in a KOA Kamping Kabin.  This was the most barren KOA at which we have ever stayed. 

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Road Trip!

The time has finally arrived!  We left our home on Sunday, May 27th at 8:00 a.m. for a 7 week, 7000 mile road trip!!  We have been attempting this trip for about six years and something always comes up that postpones it.  This year, we made it happen.  We do have weddings in July and August that we have to be back for, so we counted backwards from those dates to figure out what day to leave and there you have it! 

I began putting my updates on my Facebook account, but they are not cooperative, so I will just stick to my regular blog.  We expect to have internet at most of our stops, including the campgrounds.  We are staying 16 nights camping, 8 hotels, 17 with family or friends, and a 7 night cruise in the middle.  If possible, I will blog each evening after we have arrived at our ‘home base’ for the day. 

Agathla Peak, Arizona

Sunday’s drive to Moab, Utah was wonderful.  The scenery on the SR163 was amazing.  But the road was narrow and windy (long i).  There were also many steep hills with 6 to 10 per cent grades.  We prefer to take red roads whenever possible and also hit some gray roads on occasion. 

In northern Arizona we drove through part of Monument Valley and saw some beautiful buttes and peaks.  Some we found names for and others are unknown, but still very unique. 

After traveling 392 miles, we arrived in Moab at 4:00 p.m. Mountain time and spent the night at the Sleep Inn. 

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Button Rings

This morning, I decided to look through my collection of craft ideas waiting to be tried.  Deciding on ‘button rings’ I went downstairs to my studio to dig through my buttons.  Also collecting my jewelry making supply tin, I headed back upstairs ready to begin.

I created two lovely rings with supplies on hand.  It was very simple and I plan on doing this with my granddaughters this summer.  You can read about and learn this craft here.

I tried making one with two different gauges of wire.  First, I tried 24 gauge.  I felt that it was too thin, so I made a second ring using 20 gauge.  I like it better. Here’s a view of my two creations.

Now, you have no excuse for not having a ring to match your outfit!  🙂  Hmmm…one more thing to watch for at thrift stores and garage sales – fancy buttons!

Happy Friday to you…

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Vacation Time

My husband and I are busy these days planning our summer vacation.  Since 2005, we have been attempting to take a road trip to the New England states.  Every summer something comes up that prohibits us from accomplishing this goal.  This year things are looking up.  
We have already made hotel reservations in Plymouth, MA and have also booked a cruise while there.  We decided we should use whatever methods we can to reduce our costs.  Our original plans were to pull our 5th wheel and camp across the country.  With gas prices being so high, we have now decided to drive the car.  It gets three times the mileage of the truck pulling the camper.  
My husband created a spreadsheet to keep track of all the data and to calculate mileage and costs.  We entered info as camping and also hoteling it.  Then my husband got a brainstorm idea. Because I like camping so much, he suggested that we utilize the camping cabins at KOA campgrounds across the country.  So, we thought about this and came up with a pattern.  Deluxe cabin with bathroom, first choice; plain cabin, second choice; tent, third choice; and hotel, last resort if weather is bad or we just need it.  The cost for the cabins runs around $50 a night, which is cheaper than a hotel.  For Boston, however, we discovered the cabins were $125 a night and we found a decent hotel for $110 a night, so we booked a hotel while in that area.  
We have spent three full days pouring over maps and tour books and updating our spreadsheet as we go.  It takes a lot of work to plan a trip.  In days past, we would have just gotten in our car and headed out, stopping wherever and whenever we felt like it.  But since we are trying to save on fees, we are pre-planning our route.  

I intend to blog while on this journey, whenever possible.  Laptops will be going with us. The camping cabins have electricity and KOA’s have wi-fi, so I should be able to keep my blog current.  We noticed that many of the tent sites even come with electric hook-ups.  I guess that’s for running pumps to inflate those air-mattresses! But, for me, it means blogging at the picnic table.  🙂