Monday, June 13, 2011




Thought I would have a look at the map this morning & see what neck of the woods MIKE & PAT McFALL were hanging their hats in the past few days. I knew they were in South Dakota somewhere west of the Badlands but wasn't sure where.


Geography, as well as history were always a couple of my favorite high school subjects & I still enjoy pouring over maps looking at roads, towns & routes. Whether it be paper maps, State Atlas’s, Google Earth, MapQuest or Microsoft’s Streets & Trips, I enjoy using them all. It happened to be Streets & Trips I looked at this morning to find Mike’s location.  And, I did find the little town of Custer.

For me, looking at maps is like listening to old music. Each song brings back it’s own set of memories, just as a map's towns & highways bring back recollections of dates, places & thoughts of great traveling days gone by. Toledo, Cinncinatti & Interstate 75 bring memories of a few trips to Florida beginning in the summer of 64. The trans Canada highway from Halifax to Vancouver with countless towns & happenings in between can keep me glued to a map for many miles & smiles as well.


Each Province & State I have traveled holds a treasure trove of memories for me. From State Parks, historic sites, scenic overlooks, busy cities with their chaotic traffic patterns to dusty little Texas towns with boarded up main street store fronts. Georgia swamps, downtown Washington DC, the great Canadian Prairies, Miami Beach, Tucson, Vancouver Island’s Victoria harbor & a little speck of a place in northwest Ontario near the Manitoba border called Oxdrift. So many great travels, so many great memories & a few great people along the way.


It didn’t take long for my time in Map Land this morning to get myself all wound up thinking about the upcoming winter & our southwest travels.  In fact, my enthusiasm bubbled over so much that I even managed to broach the subject to Kelly of, "when do you think we can get out of here this year?" 



Date of departure is important because that determines just where we can head for right off the bat when we leave here.  A November departure means we have to get as far south as fast as we can to avoid any ice, snow & freezing cold temperatures.  An early to mid October departure means we could head straight west for the southwest corner of Colorado & hopefully get there before the snow does.  It is an area I have been wanting to see for a long time now.  A September departure (highly unlikely) could mean the same route but with a bunch of great stops along the way.  The South Dakota Badlands come to mind.  I have been through that neighborhood before (Mt. Rushmore) but not the Badlands.



I did manage to get a verbal October departure out of Kelly this morning but nothing official yet.  With 4+ months to go, any number of things can still happen between now & then.  Just the fact of sitting down with a road map up on the screen was good enough for me today.  Looking at that map knowing we might be heading for an area we have never been before is a great part of the excitement for me.  And, in my world, that is what the RV lifestyle is all about.  Traveling & staying on the move searching out new horizons, new adventures & new memories:))



GROANER'S CORNER:((     A police officer had just pulled a car over. When he walked up to the car a man rolled down the window and said, "what's the problem officer?" To which the policeman responded, "I stopped you for running that red light behind you." Just then the man's wife leaned forward from the driver's seat and said with a very loud voice, "I told him to stop at that light. But did he listen? No. He just kept right on going."
The man then turned to his wife and yelled "Shut up will ya!" The policeman continued, "And just before the light I clocked you doing 50 m.p.h. and the speed limit is only 30." His wife then leaned forward again and squawked "I told him to slow down. But did he listen to me. No! He never listens to me."
And again the man shouted at his wife "Listen Agnes, I told you to SHUT UP!"
The policeman then looked at the woman and said "does he always talk to you this way?"
To which the woman responded, "Only when he has been drinking."


The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right
now...... AL.


  1. I see many pictures of the west on the blogs. None of them are as vivid and inviting as yours. You make me want to see the same views.

  2. ditto what Merikay said..I spent all winter living vicariously through all the bloggers who were in the Southwest!..made a long winter seem so much shorter!..planning is half the fun!..keep pouring over the maps and planning where you want to go..the four months will go by so quickly!!

  3. I love pouring over Google Maps before a trip (especially now that they have a Terrain view in addition to the Satellite and Map views). I also use the Google My Maps or else MS Streets & Trips to save pushpin locations of various places I want to photograph or visit as I research an upcoming trip.

    Recently, I've been planning a trip to SW Colorado to explore the 4WD trails and photograph wildflowers. With luck, I'll be there by mid-July for about a month.

    I was in awe when I first visited the area a few years ago in mid-September. The aspens were nearing peak foliage and most days were sunny and relatively warm...except for the day it snowed 36" !!!! (yes, in mid Sept!). Fortunately, it's not too hard to get down to lower elevations if necessary to get away from these kinds of storms. I re-routed to Moab and enjoyed that area almost as much!

  4. Old fashioned folded paper maps are my favorites but my aging eyes have to strain a bit to see them well. Remember the old days when that was all we had?

  5. We share your excitement of thinking about new places we haven't been and we just LOVE your photos! Hope time passes quickly for you so you can come out on the road again. Fall will be here before you know it!

  6. You have certainly had some wonderful travels. The photo that really caught my eye tonight was the one of Rifle Falls in Colorado. Never been to Colorado but that makes me want to go. Oh my, Russ and I need to get on the move...places to go...scenery to see...memories to make...

  7. Love the groaner today, been that and heard that. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

  8. It's never too soon to start thinking and planning where you are going next. I had thought to take a different route when I go back to Sacramento, but I think I might re-route myself back through Montana again.

  9. I'm (Janna) ready to head out now Al--to somewhere sunny and warm!

  10. I'm already thinking of this winter's trip too..Unfortunately, the farmers just got their beans in. This means Dennis won't get out of the field till November..If we get out the first part of December, we'll be lucky. ..That doesn't make me happy at all. I guess I married a frustrated farmer.

  11. Sounds like you just need to hit the road full-time! Enjoy your blog daily.

  12. Goodmorning Al & Kelly,
    I am the same type of person, I am a map geek. I have every brochure and map from every place we have ventured. I love them :)
    In fact, I pulled out my Texas map and have planned a short weekend trip this coming weekend, and am very excited. We are enjoying discovering Texas.
    Thank you for your wonderful pics today, we have been to all the places except Borro Springs.
    Take care ~ phxmtngirl

  13. Your blog with its wonderful photos is my first read of the day; my day is not complete without it.

    I've grieved for Checkers and Max with you as I too have a history of heart dogs that I've lost. You might like to see some of them at

    Today I needed an upper and the Moab
    Utah photo is too superb! Al, somewhere there is another dog or dogs that NEED you and Motormouse may need them too. Helping them would be honoring the wonderful memories with
    Max and Checkers.

    Just my 2 cents worth as one dog lover to another. Go to the Animal
    Rescue Site and vote daily for free food for shelter dogs and you can
    vote in the Shelter Challenge to help
    a shelter win money for their dogs.
    The shelter stories are heart warming
    and will lift your spirits.

    Keep up the great writing; I love it!
    Donna in Arkansas

  14. I hope you get to leave early enough to visit some places you haven't been before. :)

  15. My husband and I also talked about the same thing this morning. We have decided our unofficial date is everyone says rv plans are writted in jello. We spend the winter in Florida but our youngest daughter lives in Texas so we also spend time with them. On a day with lots of sunshine who doesn't want to hit the road!!!
    Janet S.

  16. Great photo's Al! I am counting the days until we can head south again too...the only problem is the earlier we go the earlier we have to come back! Wish we were able to spend more than the 181 days in the south, there are so many places we would like to visit but there is never enough time.

  17. Al, you need to go on a Summer Trip somewhere just to get your travel lust satiated for a while........

  18. Those pictures sure make us want to head west. Too bad we have committed to going east this summer.

  19. loved your pictures, I am always looking at maps, online and paper maps, the road map atlas is usally on the table beside the computer. It is fun to plan, we are hoping for early October also so that we can go to Utah.

  20. Great photos and travel musings, Al. I can understand your advanced visioning for the coming snow birding travel season.

  21. Man you take some awesome photos!

  22. Memories can never be taken away from you and can give warm feelings thinking back. Never thought about the map bringing back the memories that much, but come to think about it, I have gone back and looked at my travel maps before and thought about the places I have been. Good thoughts!

  23. Always enjoy my daily read of your blog. Your photos are awesome and help me build my list of places to go when I can retire in a few years and spend the winters in the southwest. My parents spend winters in TX and plan their trip to max the 6 month limit. Too bad there's no free-travel agreement like the free-trade one that would get rid of the limit

  24. I always enjoy my daily read of your blog and the photos from your travels are awesome and help me figure where I'd like to travel to when I retire in a few years and get out of town for the winter. My parents spend the winter in TX and always plan their trip with the 6 month limit in mind. With the way the spring and fall seasons are getting up here maybe it needs to be increased to 7 months. :)

  25. Nice Blog Al,,,,Strange thing but we have been to every one of those places you show...
    Now that you know where Custer is, come on over,,,,Love to have you stop by..
    But are you kidding about Eastern Colorado??? NOTHING THERE!!! You will see what I mean if you go there. lots of pretty flat country,,,all fenced. Ya don't dare get on any of it, those Ranchers SHOOT YA!!
    I'm a map guy too, can't beat 'em.

  26. Sorry Al, I miss read that...I see you said South WESTERN cornor of Colorado... My appoligies. That is where we just came from and it is beautiful.....enjoy!!