We are South Dakotans!

We “live” in South Dakota now and our brand new state is SUPER CRAZY windy and cold today!

38 degrees with a real feel of 29!

So we decided to just chill out and hibernate in the camper until tomorrow. Then we’ll hit the road again and head up to North Dakota. (Wrong time of the year to be headed north but that’s where the money is!)

We got to Camp America Campground in Salem, SD on Monday afternoon. There was one other guy with a little R-Pod camper and a puppy, and a lady camping in a tent (crazy in my opinion because it’s cold!) but they both left the next morning and we’ve had the park all to ourselves since.

Tuesday morning we drove to My Dakota Address in Madison (about 40 minutes away). Teri was really nice and helped us get all our paperwork in order. We filled out change of address forms for the post office and I did a voter registration card. She made copies of our campground receipt for each of us and gave us copies of the residency affidavit then sent us over to the DMV around the corner to get our new driver’s licenses!

The only thing we could register was the motorcycle because we didn’t have the titles for the truck and camper. Teri is getting those from the bank and then she will register them and get our plates for us.

Allen was bummed because South Dakota doesn’t let you personalize camper plates. Our Ohio plates were BIGRIGN… But we are getting those for the truck instead. At least they were available! I think he would’ve cried actual tears if they weren’t!

He’s such a brat sometimes…

After all the address stuff we had lunch at the Country Cafe in town then went and got the fuel filter changed on the truck. On the way home we stopped and got some beer and Jager to celebrate our new domicile! The gas station sells beer (18pks of 16oz. cans!) and liquor, also ammo and hunting licenses, it has a casino and a fried chicken restaurant inside that seemed to be really busy. South Dakota is awesome. So when we got home we let Charlie run around off her leash and enjoy the grass and fall leaves – she needed that after being in a parking lot for 4 months then the truck for 4 days!

  
We called Hunter at American Adventure Insurance and switched all of our policies over.

That part took way longer than it should’ve considering I gave him all the info about 3 months ago, then even called last week to make sure everything was good to go and still valid.

We called all of our credit cards and loans and what not and updated our address with them and Allen updated his address with work.

Changing our domicile took lots of planning and research (see this blog post), but we got it done!

I still have lots of stuff to write about from our trip (we stopped at Mount Rushmore!) and I want to review all of the campgrounds we’ve stayed at along the way. So that’ll be coming soon! Cheers from a blustery South Dakota! (We turned our tank heaters on for the first time!)

And the Quake HOLD! held perfectly… That stuff is amazing!

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Utah the Beautiful! 

The Bonneville Salt Flats are the first indication you’ve gotten out of Nevada and into Utah. You crest a hill, or mountain, and all of a sudden the landscape looks way different. There’s a bunch of water reflecting the sky and it flattens out a ton. At first it made me think of Louisiana, how it’s AT sea level so you drive through areas that are swampy and wet right next to the highway. Only this isn’t swampy. It’s more like dried salty sand so it’s hard and not squishy. We stopped at the first rest stop and took some pictures.   
 The Bonneville Salt Flats are where the land speed records have been set. From what I read, it’s ten miles long and you can’t see the other end because of the curvature of the earth. It’s really something to see.  
I also read that the whole thing used to be a lake. Lake Bonneville. It was a mostly freshwater lake and it eventually got so high that it all started to drain out, ending with only what is now the Great Salt Lake. The water evaporated and left the little bits of salt behind and now every year lots of salt flows into the Great Salt Lake from the soil and what not. The lake is 12% salinity, much saltier than the ocean and fish can’t live in it. There are brine shrimp that are harvested for fish food and brine flies that are obnoxious to people. Also because of the high salinity, people float really easily.  
After the salt flats and the lake we went through or around Salt Lake City. Once we passed that we came into this huge valley with farms and ranches and a couple towns. It was the most beautiful part of the country I’ve seen yet. I kinda want to trade my Texas ranch idea for a Utah ranch!  
Shortly after that we came upon a “viewing area” and I convinced Allen to stop. We took a couple of pictures and let Charlie out. While we were there the camper and truck got full of those brine flies I mentioned earlier! It was entertainment for Charlie at least! She’s a fly catcher.   
 Have you heard that commercial, “happy cows live in California” or something like that?? Lies I tell you! Happy cows live in Wyoming! This state is just wide open, unincorporated, natural goodness. Wikipedia says it’s the least populated state in the country and the government owns almost half of the land. We kept seeing these weird looking fences along the highway. I always expect Allen to know the answer to all my wonderings, but he told me to google it after about the third time I asked what they could be for. They’re snow fences. They keep the snow from drifting onto the highway. Good to know!  
We stopped in Rock Springs, Wyoming at a KOA for the night. I reheated some gumbo and made some rice while we swatted a ton of brine flies then we hit the sack.  
  
Friday when we got on the road the truck said we had 40% oil life and 40% oil filter life left. Then yesterday the filter all of a sudden dropped to zero and we were getting messages on the dash. So once we get to South Dakota we will have to get it in the shop and checked out. We are aiming for Hermosa, South Dakota today. It’s close to Mount Rushmore so I’m
excited to see that! 

And, Allen made us bacon and eggs for breakfast AND did the dishes! I love him!

Winnemucca = #winning!

Winnemucca, Nevada. Who woulda thunk it’d be a booming little town?? We were definitely surprised.  
We pulled into the I-80 Winnemucca KOA Friday afternoon, checked in, got hooked up and walked Charlie. It was my first time staying at a KOA and it was pretty nice. We were excited to put our awnings out for the first time in about 4 months!  I’ll add a review in the next week or so. I should mention that there are a bunch of RV parks in this town. There was a brand new one across the street and one about a block down, so the KOA definitely isn’t your only option.  

Once we got little Charles settled in we headed to Walmart for some RV toilet paper (we ran out in San Francisco-crappy! *pun intended*) Then we went to Winger’s for food and drinks. It was almost right across the street from the campground. I think it’s a chain restaurant but we’d never been to one. We had some beers and some wings then headed home and called it a night. 

Charlie is climatized and used to mild San Francisco weather so we had to bundle her up!

 

Saturday morning we went to this 24/7 cafe for breakfast that Allen was seeing signs for on the highway. It was inside a casino. Love it. On the way there we passed a huge lot with buses pulling in and a whole bunch of parked pickups. We knew there had to be something going on in this little town down in a valley in the middle of the desert. We noticed Friday night that there seemed to be a lot of younger guys and Allen said there’s a lot of good looking girls for it being out in the middle of nowhere. Turns out there’s a big gold mining company in Winnemucca and they bus everyone to the mines. Pretty interesting…  

  

  

  

Anyhow, after breakfast we stopped at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and got a new air pump.  

 We burnt our old one up on the fourth camper tire in San Francisco. (A Cobalt) This one is a little more powerful. It’s an MV-50 and it has little jumper cable prongs on it instead of a plug. We still have to find an attachment thingy to fill the dually tires but the camper is good to go!   

 While Allen was filling up the tires I spread some of my brother’s ashes. I just wish he could actually see some of this with me.  

  
But, we are on the road again, heading for Wyoming by this evening! (Even though Allen wanted to stay another night just to have another breakfast at the casino!) Moving on!

Goodbye and Good Riddance!

We wiggled (kinda literally) out of spot #117 at Candlestick RV Park at 8:33AM on Friday morning. (Thanks to Marcus and Brad for their spotting help!)   
   
It took us a half hour to get past Oakland headed east on I-80. Not too shabby… I managed to narrowly avoid a panic attack crossing the Bay Bridge. (That thing just makes me nauseous!) But Allen is a fairly good driver (just kidding, he’s a beast) so when I get too scared I just close my eyes and get all religious and know that everything will be alright! 

my shaky panoramic picture taking skills

 
We are past Sacramento now and haven’t hit much traffic. (Knock on wood…) Our plan right now is to stop at a KOA in Winnemucca, Nevada. We have a while before we need to be in North Dakota so we may as well take our time! 

Happy Friday! 

Quake Hold!

We are just about ready to go! Mentally we’ve been ready for over a month! (Being out here just wears on everyone and we start longing for wide open spaces – cue the Dixie Chicks!)

I should mention here that I had a mini melt down yesterday. I was gathering up everything we need to register the vehicles and get our drivers licenses in South Dakota and I couldn’t find my social security card! I was all worried that Allen was going to have to “move” without me! But, not five minutes after he walked in the door, he found it for me, right where it was supposed to be, somehow I missed it. Thanks babe! (By “move” I mean change our domicile.)

We are putting the bike in the garage this evening (probably until next year!) and strapping everything down (bike, toolbox, file cabinet).  I have all of my sewing stuff put away and the pink flamingo is safely in the cubby! Now we only have little things left…

Our neighbor in Lantana, Florida told me about hurricane putty (or earthquake putty). She used it for little knickknack-y things in their camper when they hit the road. It’s supposed to keep things secure even in an earthquake.

So last week we stopped at Lowe’s and I finally picked some up. It was right around $4. I’ve used it on our pictures we have sitting on the shelves on the island so far. I hope it works! If so then I can leave them out and that’ll be one less thing to put away when we travel.

The frame on the middle shelf holds a drawing I did of the 26′ Wildwood by Forest River we had.

I’m wondering if they make a black or dark brown colored putty. That would look better… I’m also hoping it holds because when we bought the camper we had them Xzilon everything, inside and out. (Inside it’s supposed to protect against stains and what not and it’s almost like a waterproofness on everything-carpet, floor, walls, shelves… Outside it keeps it fresh so we don’t have to wax it for at least 5 years-guaranteed! I think that made it worth it right there!)

One thing I should mention… Traveling with our new fifth wheel vs. traveling in our travel trailer is SUCH a big difference! Everything got jostled around in the travel trailer so that’s what we were expecting when we got this one. I was even worried about the marble sink and stove covers getting broken, wondering if we should tape them down. The first stop we made after traveling the first time with all our stuff in it, we ever so slowly opened the medicine cabinet in the bathroom expecting everything to come flying out like it used to in the old camper. But everything stayed pretty much where we put it! It just seems so calm in comparison. Now, that said, I still wouldn’t trust picture frames with glass to stay put!

Fantastic Chili Bread!

I think I want this bread with a big bowl of chili for my last meal! It is SO good!

I made this chili bread yesterday with my Hillbilly Chili for dinner and Allen and I ate almost the whole loaf! We didn’t even bother to take the kneading paddle out, we just tore off chunks at a time…

I found the recipe on this website. It’s full of recipes for the bread machine. I’ve tried a few of them, and most work out, while some are complete failures (i.e.: Lemonade Bread!)

I was a little worried because it doesn’t call for any sugar, but beer has sugar in it… I modified the recipe a little bit to fit what I had available… Here’s what I did:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbs Budweiser (any beer would probably work, I actually think a darker hoppier beer would probably be delicious) *I used warm, room temp beer.
  • 1 tsp instant chicken bouillon (or, 1 cube crushed up very finely)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp hot chili oil (I usually find this in the Asian section with sesame oil)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin (I eyeballed this because I don’t have a measuring spoon that tiny)
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp yeast

This makes a 1lb loaf. I set my machine to the french bread setting and a medium crust color. The basic/white bread setting would probably work also.

It’s perfect to munch on by itself, it’s spicy and delicious, but even better dipped in chili. If you’re in the market to try a new chili recipe, mine is pretty fantastic! You can find that recipe here. It would actually probably be good served with gumbo too… Maybe I’ll put that on the list for next week!

I’ve been compiling my favorite bread recipes in one spot, if you want to check them out and maybe try one this weekend.

Happy Friday!

Blowing this joint!!!

Goodbye California! Well, we still have 7 days and a wake up! (As my brother would say…) We are getting Charlie out of the parking lot and heading for greener pastures! 4fa5624ca9922c60b5fa80bbf9dc0cc2

The tentative plan a few days ago included leaving here, driving to South Dakota to change our domicile, get a new mailing address, register vehicles, etc. then head on to Dallas for the next job.

But, plans changed as they usually do and the next job is in North Dakota now! So our little stop in South Dakota isn’t really out of the way at all!Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 2.34.05 PM

I’m excited, I’ve never been to the Dakotas and I’ve never been that far north period. I’m hoping for Allen’s sake if nothing else that we don’t get snow while we are there, but it’ll be an adventure nonetheless.

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We have Texas and California now. Allen says we should have New Mexico and Arizona but I say we only count the states that all three of us (Allen, Charlie and I) stay in THIS camper.. And since what I say goes (most of the time-sshhh!) they are not on the map yet!

I love traveling and I get a little hard to deal with (I think) when we sit somewhere for longer than a month or two. I just get antsy and want to get on with it already. And I can’t wait to add to our map!

The tower they are going to be working on was the tallest structure in the world when it was built in 1963. It’s now the 4th tallest structure in the world (after some buildings in Tokyo), THE tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the tallest radio mast in the world. Pretty cool…

 The KVLY-TV mast is in Blanchard, ND (almost exactly halfway between Fargo and Grand Forks). Blanchard has a population of 26. Yep. Small town. And I thought Convent, Louisiana was tiny! (Population 711, right on the Mississippi River)

 The closest RV park is in Hillsboro and that’s a little bigger, population 1,603 in the 2010 census. It’s 1 square mile. There is a family restaurant, a Burger King, a Subway, gas station, grocery store, bakery, and a florist and I think there MAY be 1-3 bars but I can’t really decide if they are still open. From what I gather online, the RV park is also the town laundry mat and a fried chicken place. It should be interesting!

 I’m pretty sure I can walk everywhere in less than 15 minutes (if I don’t let Charlie stop and smell ALL of the roses!)

I know this isnt Charlie and these aren’t roses but I couldn’t resist the adorableness!

I’m super excited to be getting out of the city and out into the country. I get to where I need open spaces after being in a city for too long. I’m excited Charlie will have some grass! And Allen will be glad to get back to real tower work (not just painting and piddling).

Today is full of typical San Francisco fogginess so I’m making my hillbilly chili for dinner and trying out this new recipe for Chili Bread that I found… I’ll let you know if it comes out delicious!

I also made these pillow covers for our friend Brandi back in Kentucky and mailed them to her this week… Her boyfriend went and installed a 50AMP outlet for us so we can stay in their yard during the holidays. Talk about some awesome friends!

 And I made these for us… I’m loving the teal and brown combo…

  
If you would like to see one of many tutorials on the web, this one by me, you can check out this link or this one!

For now I will leave you with some cuteness… Charlie and her parking lot pals… Cheers!

Cisco the friendly husky pup.

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Cisco gets bored and tears things up… For instance, his bed.

Duke and Daisy being lazy

Blue Angels in San Francisco

Last week was Fleet Week in San Francisco. Allen lucked out and had an amazing view from the tower. He saw them practicing Thursday then watched the whole show on Friday from level 6 on Sutro! Here’s some pictures he took…  

    
    
 Saturday he was off work so we took Charlie on a long walk over in Candlestick Recreation Area (right next door to the campground).  

we took a break after about a mile so Charlie could rest her little legs

  

there are ground squirrels all over at the park and Charlie tries to chase them into their holes

 
Then we headed down to the Wharf to watch the Blue Angels from the ground. We lucked out and found a good spot at the end of an alley. Very neat! I didn’t try to get any photos, they were just TOO fast! 

After the show we went to Fog Harbor Fish House on Pier 39. I thought it was going to be better than it was. We had calamari and clam chowder (not nearly as delicious as The Old Clam House). Then I got the Mixed Grill (shrimp, swordfish and salmon), and Allen ordered the Wild Alaskan King Salmon. It had a super disgusting taste to it, almost like propane even though I’ve never tasted propane… So he sent that back and got the Pacific Cod (that was much better). After that we were thoroughly stuffed and headed back home on the bike. Luckily we had a few blocks to walk off dinner 🙂  

Mixed Grill

  

Alaskan King Salmon

  

Pacific Cod

 
Sunday we watched the Bengals play a really close game against the Seahawks. And we got to stay home because it was actually on local tv!

5-0 now! 

   
We wanted to put the valve in the jacks but there were campers parked where we needed to pull the truck to hook up the camper in order to do that… So that had to wait.  

 
We did try to clean the water filter. The water here is gross and we are going through filters that should last 3 months in half the time. We also have a screen on the hose which gets full of debris in about a week and lessens the water pressure considerably. But there’s nowhere around here to get replacement water filters, so we are stuck with trying to clean them for now.  

 I hoping to be out of here, if not this coming weekend, then sometime next week! So I started loosely planning our trip. I use the Good Sam trip planner because it lets you put in height requirements and maps out Flying J and Pilot Travel Centers and rest areas and campgrounds along the way. We are going to go through South Dakota to change our domicile then on to Dallas to bring down the tower at Fair Park. Hopefully that job takes us until Christmastime. I’m just excited to get the heck out of San Francisco and this asphalt parking lot!

The BEST clam chowder EVER and Super Yummy Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Not together of course. That wouldn’t be so delicious. But separately=yum!

Side note: if you WANT to try chocolate covered clams, here’s a random recipe

 
Saturday Allen and I met my friend Dave for dinner at The Old Clam House. Dave and I went to the Academy of Art together about…. Oh, we’ll just say 7 years ago… And he lives in the city now.  

**Disclaimer: I took none of the pictures of The Old Clam House, just borrowed them from Google. 

   
He could not have picked a better place! The Old Clam House is the oldest restaurant in San Francisco. It started in 1861. If you’re ever hungry in the city I highly recommend it! We started with drinks of course. They have their own beer, brewed by Anchor Steam, so I had that. It was really good, a little lighter than Allen’s Lagunitas. It’s called Old Clam House Milwaukee Steam.  

 Then we had a sizzling iron platter of shrimp and mussels with butter to dip in. Dave hates that the place switched owners and they no longer serve sourdough bread, but they make this soda bread in a cast iron pot type thing that was really good (I wish I could make bread like that!) 

 Next came the, I think, world’s best clam chowder. Oh my goodness. I want a bowl for breakfast as I’m writing this. Fantastic.  

 Then I finally got to try cioppino! I’ve always wanted to but I was always a little iffy about it. It was really good! Allen liked it too. I was a TINY bit surprised he liked everything as much as I did.  

 Thank you Dave for a wonderful dinner! If you’re up for it, check out some of Dave’s paintings!

Now for the Chocolate Zucchini Bread…. 

I did take this photo!

 

I found the recipe here: With The Grains

I modified it a little to fit what I had and cut it in half. I love it! The closest way I can think to describe it is it’s kinda like a chocolate muffin. It’s not too sweet. But it doesn’t taste like zucchini at all. I’ll definitely make it again.  Here’s the version I made: 

  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I sifted mine)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 or convection oven to 325.
  2. Place the shredded zucchini on paper towels to absorb some of the moisture while you mix everything else. 
  3. Whisk together in a large bowl: the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt 
  4. Whisk in a medium bowl: eggs, butter, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla
  5. Pour wet into dry and stir together. (It will be thicker than cake mix, almost like a really wet bread dough)
  6. Fold in zucchini. 
  7. Pour/spoon into a parchment lined 9×5 loaf pan and top with chocolate chips. 
  8. Bake 45-55 minutes, or 60 minutes in the convection oven. (I rotated mine once)
  9. Place on a wire rack to cool. 
  10. Enjoy! And don’t forget to share with the neighbors 🙂

Almost an ENTIRE week of bad dinners!

Occasionally, well, more than occasionally, I get on a kick where I want to try lots of new recipes.  I go off of what’s on sale at the store then Google things to make.  I use a lot of Rachael Ray recipes (I too am a garlic fanatic!) but I also get them from all over the web. I usually jot them down on scraps of notebook paper then when it comes time to make them I have to go searching for the little scribbled recipe.

This past week there was a sale on bone-in skin-on chicken thighs.  I hardly ever cook with bone-in chicken, but I thought what the heck, it’s on sale! Here was my menu:

Allen joked on Thursday night that I was 0 for 4 for the week. But I pulled a win out on Friday with the Bacony Egg Noodles! I knew he would like bacon. And I didn’t think everything else was THAT bad…

But tonight we are meeting a guy I went to school with for dinner at The Old Clam House. So that should be delicious and I won’t have to cook it! First we have to take Charlie to get a much needed mani-pedi and go grocery shopping. Since tomorrow will be tied up with football! Go Bengals! Who Dey!