Kent and Carol - Mobile travel blog

Corn Palace - Mitchell, SD

Corn Palace - This years theme was sports.

Corn Palace

Close-up of corn.

Inside Corn Palace

Montana snow capped mountain

Stopped on a Montana highway with some snow.

Washington Columbia River. We crossed the bridge after driving down the hill.

Correction from the last posting - the American Picker TV Show is on the History channel not National Geographic channel as I stated.

We arrived back in Kansas City about mid-day on Friday May 4th and then stopped at the Cummins Central Power to have the oil and filters changed on the RV engine and the generator. I like this place better than Freightliner Service, which makes me feel like they don’t want to service an RV; they would rather work on the big trucks. Central Power has one garage section for coaches and another section for large trucks with a different service manager and techs for each section. They also have a nice clean waiting room and a balcony that over looks the coach service area that you can go check on how the service is progressing. I have used Central Power several times now and feel they do a nice job and they were ready for me at my appointment time. At that completion, we drove into Liberty and got settled in Michelle’s backyard.

Saturday morning I got a call from niece Shanna, that brother-in-law Stan had passed away that morning. That was a shock but we knew he was getting weaker by the day. With my sister’s excellent care giving he was still able to live at home even with all his health problems. Shanna called back later that day to say the memorial service for Stan would be Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 pm. Our two daughters, two grandkids and us drove to Wichita on Wednesday morning. Daughters Michelle and Tracy drove a car and the grandkids wanted to ride in the RV so they could sit at the table and play games or watch videos. We got settled in at the RV Park in Wichita by mid-day and then took the car and our Jeep to the memorial service that afternoon. The girls and Grandkids had to return to Kansas City after the service. Carol and I stayed in Wichita until Friday morning so that I could help sister Sue on Thursday.

Back in Kansas City/Liberty we spent Saturday and Sunday with the daughters and Sunday celebrating Mother’s Day. Monday we left for our trip to Vancouver, BC to, of all things, ride a train through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I guess only we would drive about a 2,000 miles to ride a train and drive about 2,000 miles back to Kansas City by June 13th. We need to be back by then so that Carol can finish her driver’s license test. She did not pass the eye exam so we have an appointment with the eye doctor on the 14th and turn in paperwork by Friday the15th (they only do drivers licenses on Fridays) since her birthday is the 16th.

I don’t like to drive much longer than four hours per day or about 240 miles, so it will take about 8 or 9 days to drive to Vancouver, BC. Starting on Monday, May 14th we stopped at Sioux City, IA; Tuesday, Oacoma, SD; Wednesday, Belle Fourche, SD; Thursday, Hardin, MT; Friday, Cardwell, MT; Saturday, Missoula, MT; Sunday and Monday, Coeur D’Alene, ID; Tuesday, Ellensburg, WA; Wednesday and Thursday at Ferndale, WA. The Ferndale location is only eleven miles from the Canadian Border, so we rested there before entering Canada. The last three stops were Passport America locations, which means they were half price.

While in South Dakota we made a short stop in the small town of Mitchell to visit the Corn Palace. Portions of the exterior and interior are covered with murals made from ears of corn, local grasses and grains. Each year the building is redecorated and the murals are changed. The inside walls contain the photographs of each years design of the building. Besides a tourist attraction the building is used for the city auditorium and gymnasium. The rest of the drive of South Dakota was very monotonous driving. I was even glad for some road repairs to wake me up from time to time. I know billboards mar the landscape but when the drive is boring they at least give you something to read as you drive. There must have been 300 signs advertising Wall Drugs but we didn’t stop there this time, we stopped at that tourist trap several years ago. The eastern part of Montana is flat like South Dakota, but then it morphs into some beautiful mountains, a few were snow capped. Of course, mountains mean passes to climb up and over, but the Diesel engine was able to handle that just fine and I like the exhaust brake to slow us down on the downhill side of the passes. The exhaust brake downshifts the transmission at each tap of the brake pedal and you don’t need to ride the brake all the way down the hill. One of those “hills” was a pass over the Continental Divide. The hills also continued into the panhandle of Idaho but smoothed out in eastern Washington until we got to the Columbia River gorge. There, you have a fast decline in altitude to the level of the river, cross the bridge and then a long ten-mile climb back up to an elevation of 3000 feet. I thought that incline would never end. Then about 45 miles east of Seattle is Snoqualmie Pass, which is not all that high at only 3022 feet. The closer we got to the pass the light drizzle turned into rain and then at the summit the rain turned to snow. It was not sticking on the highway, but blowing right into the windshield. Of course there were road repairs and the road surface was very rough, probably chewed up from the previous use of tire chains. All of those combinations it was not my favorite pass to traverse but of course we made it with no problems.

Friday, May 25, we will drive into Canada and a short distance to Vancouver, BC to ride the Rocky Mountaineer Train. Details of that will be in the next posting.

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