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Day 19, Black Hills of South Dakota

Laurie had never been to Mount Rushmore so we took US 16A through a couple of tunnels with grand views of Mount Rushmore. With no crowds this time of year we had no problems getting in and parking. Mount Rushmore was nice but we really enjoyed the Crazy Horse Memorial and spent several hours there. They have a very extensive museum.
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Day 17, More Yellowstone, Beautiful Vistas and Old Homestead Buildings

Today we went back to Yellowstone under clear skies and moderate temperatures with no crowds. We spotted a wolf walking down the road like he owned it and late in the day we saw a moose. A couple of the roads in Yellowstone were closed because of snow so we could not make the traditional circle loop around the park.
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Day 16, Beautiful Big Sky Country and Yellowstone

Last night we stayed in a WalMart in Butte, Montana. We stayed in this same WalMart in 2012 during our last big trip with Tucker. It had a very nice view of the snow capped mountains. We were able to hit Hardee’s (one of my favorite biscuit places) this morning and they had the loaded omelet biscuit which is no longer available in NC. Oh, it was good.
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Day 14, Snow Capped Peaks

As I said yesterday I was bummed that I did not get to drive to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park to see the snow capped mountains. But we could see some of them from the WalMart where we camped last night. We will just add Hurricane Ridge to our list of places to return to sometime (when I retire). I did not want to drive south and then north again through Seattle to get to the Cascades so we took the Port Townsend ferry to Coupeville. I had called the day before to make reservations. An 18 wheeler pulled in behind me on the ferry. It was a fun ride of about 30 minutes.
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Day 13, More Pacific Coast and Olympic National Park

This morning we said goodbye to Kathy and Gary and headed to Olympic National Park. After a couple of hours on the road we stopped for a quick break at a rest area and went into the camper. I said to Laurie as a joke that I would like to have 2 eggs scrambled, bacon and toast. She grabbed her skillet and in a few minutes I had a very nice breakfast in a rest area someplace in Washington. We love traveling in a camper with all the comforts of home.
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Day 11-12 Laurie’s Friends Kathy and Gary

Today we continued up the Pacific Coast and ended the day at Laurie’s friends home in Washougal, WA. They were the perfect hosts and had wine waiting for us. The next day Kathy treated us to the Pompeii exhibit in Portland which we loved. That afternoon Laurie and Kathy caught up while baking cookies while I took a nap.
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Day 10, Pacific Coast

Today we headed for the Pacific Coast and actually got a campsite on the beach at Tillicum Beach not long after lunch. On the way to the beach we hit another wonderful roadside cafe in Elkton called Arlene’s Cafe. The breakfast was great. The owners were from Murphy, NC.
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Day 9, Crater Lake, OR

Today was all about getting to Crater Lake. We could see the snow capped mountains long before we got to the lake. The weather was perfect and the scenery made up for the sights we missed in Death Valley because of the smoke. I was here when I was 24 years old and it still looks the same.
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Day 8, Smith Valley, NV to Susanville, CA

We had a very nice visit with Cousin Judy. The sky gets dark at night in Smith Valley, NV. Judy and I got some photos of the Milky Way. The photo above is my best attempt. The vertical haze in the photo is the Milky Way. We can’t see that from Raleigh, NC.
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Day 7, Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley to Cousin Judy’s

We had high hopes for Death Valley. We planned to stay 2 days and 3 nights in the middle of the park at Stovepipe Wells. We were going to ride Ruby in the mid 80° weather that was forecasted and get some great sunrise and sunset shots. The fires in California cancelled our plans. I have been to Death Valley several times and the air has always been very clear. When we arrived the smoke was so thick there was not much to see. I did not take a single photo.
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Day 6, Peach Springs, AZ to Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley

A continental breakfast was included in the campground fee so we had coffee, juice and bagels before we left. Old Route 66 leaves I-40 near Seligman and loops north of I-40 through here to Peach Springs then back down to reconnect with I-40 at Kingman. I’ve read that Peach Springs was the inspiration for Radiator Springs in the movie Cars. We stopped to photograph a couple of abandoned motels on old Route 66 west of Peach Springs.
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Day 5, VLA, Pie Town and Seligman, AZ

We were on the road before sunrise again heading toward Pie Town. I took this route on my 40 to Phoenix motorcycle ride back in the spring and wanted to share it with Laurie. The first stop was the Very Large Array (VLA). The radio antennas are cool and the views are very nice. The air was clear and crisp unlike what we would run into the next day.
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Day 4, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and Good Local Food

We hate getting into crowds so I thought driving to the top of Sandia Crest at 10,600 feet would be a great place to view the morning ascension of the balloons while skipping the crowds. We were on the road before 5:00AM local time to reach the mountain top before the 7:00AM ascension. The view was great and we watched the sun rise with clouds below us in the valleys.
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Day 3, Route 66 From Amarillo to Bosque, NM

Showing Laurie some more Route 66 places I visited on my “40 to Phoenix” motorcycle ride back in the spring. You can read more about some of these places by reading my “40 to Phoenix” blog
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Day 2, Little Rock to Amarillo and Route 66

Today we visited some Route 66 sites I photographed earlier this year during my “40 to Phoenix” motorcycle ride. You can read more details about some of these places in that blog
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2017 Wings Over The Smokies

Travel > Local
When I met Laurie many years ago one of the first things we did together was to go to the Wings Over The Smokies Gold Wing rally in the western NC mountains. She had a yellow Honda 750 Nighthawk and I got a blue one shortly after we met. (I met her on AOL, remember those days?
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Wing World Article

The editor of the GWRRA magazine, Wing World, asked me to write a summary of my 40 to Phoenix trip in April of this year. It was printed in the July edition. Below is the text of the article. Following that are scans of the article as it appeared in the magazine.
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Day 12, Great Photo and Last Post From the Road

I originally planned to ride another curvy mountain road but I had enough of that yesterday. I decided on fast and straight and left before 6:00AM as I wanted to see the sunrise and needed to get in some miles today. I was rewarded with one of my favorite photos of this trip.
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Day 11, I Am Done With Curvy Roads for a While

Laurie returned home today. We got her bag, and extra bag for stuff we bought while she was here and my usual bag all strapped on Ruby for the ride to the airport. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies, but it all worked out and we got her on the plane for home. Southwest has a direct flight between Phoenix and Raleigh each day so that made her travel easier.
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Day 10, Old Copper Mining Town of Jerome

Laurie and I headed north west from Phoenix early in the morning. I had read and heard that 89A was a fun ride and it was. It had some nice curves and at the top of a mountain we popped into Jerome. The road makes a few switchbacks through the town as it is built on the side of the mountain.

© Bobby Daniel