Bathroom Update

As you all know, we have been trying to renovate the half bath upstairs to create a full bath due to the downs stairs shower freezing up. It has been pretty warm the last few days. It got up into the 30’s. So, the downstairs shower defrosted. We are able to shower at the house again, but not for long. It’s starting to get cold again. I’m sure that the pipes in the shower wall will freeze up again.

We got the walls, plumbing, and the tub in place. I’ve painted the sheet rock and ceiling with primer. I need to paint the ceiling with the color white I chose. Hopefully, this week we will get the hard surface shower walls installed and it will be finished.

I can’t wait to have a full bath on the same floor as my bedroom. It’s very exciting! I also need to tape and mud some sheet rock where my vanity is going and then I can prime that too. It’s going to be wonderful to get all my girlie stuff of my chest of drawers in my room and into the bathroom where it belongs.

Dan gave me a rug for my bedroom the other day! It’s awesome! It covers most of my bedroom floor. Betsy loves it because she can roll and rub all over it.

It’s pretty darn cool. I can now walk barefooted in my room! Gandie loves it too! It’s very comfortable to sleep on. Taco just doesn’t care. He likes the bed. The rug even matches my quilt that I’m still trying to finish.

This house has almost no storage space. I’m still trying to figure out where to put stuff. I think I’m probably going to get rid of more stuff. If I haven’t used it in a year it should go. I’m sick of living with stuff all over the place. Nothing has a home because there is no place for anything.

Well. That’s all I have to tell you. I got nothing else.

Here’s a picture of my winter view from my bedroom.

Cold, Water, and Bathrooms

Sorry, it’s been a while. It has been so cold the last couple months. It’s been in the single digits during the day and below zero as the lows. Because of this, we’ve been having water issues. It started with forgetting to put heat tape on the pipe that goes to the septic. It froze. Which came as a big surprise when the sewage starting backing up into the downstairs bathtub, sink, toilet, and the kitchen sink. YUCK!

I crawled under the house and found the problem. I added heat tape to the pipe and re-insulated it. In a few hours the kitchen sink drained, only to find out that the water to the kitchen had frozen (face smack). Turns out all of the water pipes were completely frozen. NO WATER!!!

There was still a frozen spot of sewage pipe blocking the bathroom drainage. Dad went under and discovered that some of the heat tape had failed. So, Dad had to replace them and re-insulate the pipe. Unfortunately, one of the new heat tapes was not working. Dad had to return it. Turns out it was not just us having problems with their water. It hasn’t been this cold in a long time and it caught everyone off guard. All of a sudden, all the heat tape in town had been bought out. Dad had to drive to Kenai to find more heat tape. He found one. The last one in this little city. We were thankful to get the one.

Dad installed the new heat tape and it started to finally defrost the sewage pipe. This might seem to be a short story of our fight with water, but this was a month of fighting the frozen water and sewage.

You are probably wondering how were we showering and more importantly how were we going to the bathroom! Well, men are lucky to be able to pee where ever they want. Women not so lucky. I had a bucket. Nothing like living in the 17th century with a wash basin and pitcher. We melted snow on the wood stove to use for various things like washing hands, dishes, and we filtered the water for coffee, tooth brushing, etc. We also watered the geese and ducks with the water as well. Thank goodness we had power.

I am so lucky that I have a boyfriend that is so understanding and thoughtful. Dad and I have been showering at Dan’s house to this day and I had also been using his toilet for my “morning constitutional”. Tonight we will be going to Dan’s for our showers. He lives close and I am so grateful for the use of his bathroom and it’s always nice to spend time with him.

We have got some of the pipes defrosted and the upstairs bathroom works as well as the sink. But still no shower. A week and a half ago Dad and I were standing in the kitchen discussing this frustrating predicament we are in. I had a great idea! Screw the downstairs bathroom! We can revisit it in the spring after breakup. We have everything we need to go ahead and renovate the upstairs half bath and create a full bath. Let’s just make a new bathroom.

Dad thought it was a great idea, of course. So, the last week and a half we’ve been knocking down walls, plumbing, running new power and ordering hard surface panels for the shower enclosure. Since the bathroom is now in a dormer. The bathroom is taking over one small bedroom that is really too small for anything but storage. Now there will be a bath, a vanity for all my girly stuff with plenty of electrical outlets. It’s going to be wonderful!

Yesterday while I was at work, Dad finished the plumbing and installed the sheet rock. We are so close to having a new shower. All we will have to do is wait for the shower panels to be installed by Dan. It’s going to be so nice to be able to shower in my own home. No more dragging my toiletries and clothing to Dan’s for my shower. I can’t wait!

During all this water mess, before the heat tape trip, I was getting ready to go to Kenai with Dad for a few things and I sat on my little bench that decided to give way and I fell through it. Nails dug into my butt and left a long gash with lots of bruising and bleeding. This sucked because we were about to drive an hour and a half on bumpy icy roads. Sitting hurt!

I was so mad at the bench I was threatening to burn it in the wood stove. He said he could fix it, so I brought it to him. He said it would be easier to make a new one. And that is just what he did. It’s beautiful, functional, and sturdy. I bought nice foam for it and covered the cushion with what I had. I think the printed fabric doesn’t do it justice. And so, I got revenge on my old bench by smashing it up and throwing it into the fire.

These past few months have been so cold. I walk dogs for a living so no matter what the weather is doing I’m out there braving it with a group of dogs. I got to experience for the first time being frosty. My hair, eye lashes, and face mask were all frozen. It was pretty cool! Good thing I have great gear!

And so, I think I’ve caught you up on what’s been happening. So I will leave you with two toasty dogs looking out into the frozen landscape at my house. Thanks for reading!

Winter! Finally!

It started snowing early Sunday morning and dusted Homer with powder. It continued to snow throughout the day while Dad and I worked under the house. It wasn’t really sticking at the time since it was two degrees above freezing. We were “trying” to jack up apart of the house to try to get some shims out to begun some more of the lowering process. The ground has yet to freeze, so we were just jacking into the ground, well mud. Sunday it was still muddy under the house. Which means it was really cold mud and the wind chill under the house sucked. After a couple hours under the house we decided to wait until the ground freezes.

A couple weeks ago, we had gotten more gravel to get rid of the invasive mud. We had a company come out and spread it. They did a great job. Then, I found that they hit my greenhouse with their heavy equipment and did some major damage to it. I kept trying to figure out why my window panels kept popping out and blowing away with the wind. Further investigation, I found a huge dent and whole in the aluminum structure. The whole green house has been bent to the point that it’s integrity has been compromised. Now I need to call the green house company to see if they sell replacement parts. Then, I can call this company at fault and have them replace said parts. My geese and ducks are in the green house for protection from the elements. Sunday we had to be creative in order to keep these panels in and blowing away. We don’t want to expose the ducks and geese to snow at this point. It’s starting to get was too cold for them to be outside.

I put up my Christmas tree and decorated it as well. Seemed like the right time since it was snowing. I have Sunday afternoon picture when it was dusting the outside with snow and the next morning and boy is there a difference.

Sunday late afternoon, I went to my friend Tiana’s house to pay them a visit. But, they were off to one of our other friend’s house, Jen and Dave. So, I came along to wish Dave a happy birthday. They had a nice fire going outside and the snow was really coming down. The kids were sledding. It looked like so much fun! Living up here for over two years, I haven’t had the time to do any winter sports.

So, as I’m drinking my first adult beverage of the day; I decided to give it a go. I am so happy my friends filmed me on my first run and then my fifth run down the hills.

My first time sledding!

5th time sledding

I had sooo much fun! Thank you so much Jen, Dave, Tiana, Cory and the kids for such a wonderful experience for my first adventure sledding. I had so much fun I kept going back for more! I felt like a kid again!

Monday morning came quickly and I had to get ready for work. Looking out the window gave me a great surprise. Lots and lots of snow!

My car was covered as well!

It’s so beautiful! I walked around and took a couple more pictures of the property.

It was so much fun walking all the dogs in the snow. It’s really my favorite time of year to work. No mud!

So, today is Tuesday and I’m working in the office today and completely enjoying myself reminiscing about this weekend and sharing it with ya’ll.

I hope everything is well where you are and stay warm my friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It was pissing down rain and I just purchased a 4 – wheeler 4 days ago. Because of the rain I hadn’t had time to play with it. So, in Alaska fashion, I put on my rain gear on and played with it out in the rain on our rainy Thanksgiving holiday. I drove it to my friend Jamie’s house and visited with her and her family for a little while. The cable was out on their TV and couldn’t watch the game. So, Jamie decided to use her original iPad to watch the game. She couldn’t find the charger, I’m sure everyone remembers the old chargers that the iPads, iPhones and iPods used to have.

I suddenly remembered that I have about 4 or 5 of those ancient things at my house. I offered to go get one for her to use. I drive back home on the 4-wheeler in the rain and began my search for this ancient relic of the past. They were all in an old Bark Box with black sharpy labeling it CHARGERS. I couldn’t find the damn thing any where. I even searched my bedroom thinking I had stashed on there. No luck. As a my last ditched effort I looked on the kitchen table which had coats, winter hats, my purse and a plethora of other random items on it. I moved my coat and other random crap to make a hole where I stuck my hand through and grasped something that felt like a wiry object. Luck struck me and there it was! That ancient power cord from days of yore! I screamed! Dad popped popped out to find me holding on to this once white antique charger cord. I think we were both extremely surprised that I found it in some random spot on the catch all table!

I took the 4-wheeler back to Jamie’s and presented her with this archaic device charger. I didn’t think that the darn thing would even work since it has been buried for many years away from human use. I felt like an archeologist! It did work and it was happily charging her device. I hung out for a little bit longer and figured I still have to cook side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner, take a shower and of course fix my hair.

Back at home, I started readying myself to cook. This takes time. I got the water boiling for home made mac and cheese and started staring at the Christmas decorations. I got side tracked and started opening up the box and soon realized we are missing a box! Dad went out to the connex and the storage tent with no luck. I’m officially missing a large plastic container of Christmas stuff. Now that I am telling you this, I seem to remember maybe it’s in a card board U-Haul box. I will have to check that out tomorrow. Anyway, I pulled a few things out and started decorating. By then, the mac was done and I drained it. Time for the adding of cheeses

I added beaten eggs with a powdered milk solution, one block of cream cheese, a dollop of Daisy (dollop meaning the whole container), a cup of butter, lots of shredded cheddar, parmesan and bread crumbs. As I was making this, I was hoping everyone was in good heart shape to eat this. Talk about clogging your arteries.

I also made Southern Pear Salad. Something on the lighter side. Well, I guess mayo is lighter than that cheese dish. This salad consists of half pears, a small dollop of mayo, shredded cheddar cheese, and a maraschino cherry. It sounds kind of gross but it’s fantastic!

Picture courtesy of http://www.aletiadupree.com I took it of the internet because I forgot to take pics of mine. This is what it looked like

Everything came together at the last minute and we were off to Dave and Lisa’s house. Which Dave is my boyfriend Dan’s brother. There was so much food and we ate ourselves sick. There are so many leftovers! We had a lot to be thankful for last night. It was great spending time with family and friends. I can’t wait to do it again!

Today it didn’t rain, but is really gloomy. We are all hoping for snow again to get rid of the re-emerging mud that was once frozen and a pleasure to walk on.

Well, I guess that’s it. I guess I will leave you with a cute picture of Taco being cute and sleepy. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!

Someone just woke up to a phone in their face!

Riding the Pineapple Express

It has been raining now for about a month.  It’s dark, gloomy,  it’s warmer than usual, and we should have snow on the ground.  Instead, we are riding on the Pineapple Express which has brought in rain and warmer temps.  We were in a drought all summer.  It was dry, dusty, and hot.  All we wanted was some rain.  But nooooo, we had to get it now which has made outdoor conditions wet, muddy and miserable.

Highs have been in the mid to high 40s and lows in the high 30s.  It’s a yuck fest and it’s affecting everyone.  15 day forecast says more rain and same temps.  The ground needs to freeze at least.

WHERE IN THE SAM ELLIOT IS MY SNOW!!!

Because of this weird weather, Dad and I haven’t really been working outside very much.  Too muddy!

This has given us a chance to organize the house.  My late Uncle was a prepper and before he died he brought over all his food cache.  I’m talking tons upon tons of food. Way more than I could ever eat in my lifetime and most of it I can’t eat because of the gluten.  So, Dad went through it all and organized can goods and dried food.  Anything that we didn’t want went to the food bank.  It filled the whole old Land Rover up from front to back.  Dad had just enough room to drive and possibly see? It felt good to help people and to get all that food out of my house that I will never use.

While all this organizing was going on, Dad found many of my kitchen gadgets and small appliances that I have been searching for.  What won’t fit in my tiny unfinished kitchen is getting store in our BRAND NEW STORAGE TENT!

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We built a huge tent to store excess which has cleaned up the house and gives us a place to run power tools and build.  One of the big things I needed to do is insulate my bee hive so they will stay warm through the winter.  The tent sure came in handy with all this rain.  I was able to cut all my board insulation with the jigsaw and use screws and metal tape to create a mimicked shell of the hive. It just fit right over the hive with minimal problems.  The metal tape did cut me numerous times and bled all over the insulation.  The rain washed it all off so it’s not a bloody mess.  It seems to be working and my bees are warm.  I need to check up on them this weekend and make sure they are safe, warm, and dry.

Just when I think I have enough projects, I decided to revisit the quilt I started a year ago and see if I can finish it.  I am using batik in an outdoor/wild animal prints.  I love batik its so pretty. This is my first time making a quilt.  Yes, I just woke up one day and said, “I think I’m going to make a quilt with out knowing anything about quilting and a small amount of experience sewing”.  I think I’m doing a pretty good job for just starting out.  One thing I did make a mistake on was how many 5 inch squares I needed to make a queen sized quilt.  I was off by a crap load.  So now I am waiting on more squares because I didn’t have any to spare.  lol!  I went ahead and ordered some pinking shears to make my own squares if I decide to make another one.  That, I I have bees wax and I am going to make food wraps with leftover material.  I think that will be fun when we actually get winter.

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As you can see, the squares don’t really match up with each other, but I’m okay with that.  Gives it character.  I can’t wait to finish it and out it on my bed!  it’s going to be 90 x 108.  I have the batting and flannel material to go on the back.  It’s going tot be very warm and bring more color in my life.  That and the satisfactory that I finished a project.

Okay!  I think that about sums it up.  Life right now is all hunky dory!  Just need this God forsaken rain to stop.  We need sun or snow!  I will keep you posted.  Thanks for reading!

This Past Spring and Summer

It’s amazing to me that Dad and I have lived in Alaska now for over 2 years.  It’s been busy busy for us and I just haven’t felt like blogging.  So, as I sit at work today, I got a wild hair to try and catch everyone up.  We had such a beautiful summer.  The fireweed exploded this year.  It was hot too.  We got up into the 70s which is hot for us in Homer.

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Okay.  So, I have been working for a doggie daycare for a little over a year now.  This explains why my blogging stopped.  Not only am I working a job, but I am still working on our God forsaken house.  Time just kinda passed with a blink of an eye.

This passed spring Dad and I built a greenhouse I bought from Clima Pod.  It was about 50 million pieces with the worst directions ever.  I’m talking you can follow IKEA instructions better than this!  This green house about drove me to drink heavily.  I will never buy another one like this again.  We got it done and it was a little to late to grow veg at that point.  So I took care of all my house plants and made sure they got enough sun.  Although, I did plant cabbage and carrots to see if I can get them to grow in such a short period of time.  I don’t think there will be enough time.

We also built a new pond for the ducks and geese.  I planted clover around it.  We also took an old boat house and created a goose house!  The waterfowl love it!

I also decided to try my hand at honey bees and I’ve gotten honey as well!

 

We keep adding more things to our list of to do’s.  We keeping stretching ourselves a little thinner every time.  On top of all the work we are doing on the house, I take breaks to go halibut fishing with my boyfriend.  So, I gain food for the freezer but loose a day or two working on the house and property.  I also did some blueberry picking!

It’s fall here in Homer, Alaska and barreling down to winter.  We still need to lower the house, which will make it level.  FINALLY!  We need to skirt it and move on to the inside of the house.  I am so excited to have sheet rock, finish the kitchen, have real flooring instead of plywood.  I have this vision in my head on what it’s going to look like finished.  Hopefully, what I have envisioned will be close to the real thing.

We are also going to add a new room to the house.  There will be a basement, new living room, a bedroom with its own bathroom and shower in it for Dad.  This way he doesn’t have to climb the stairs anymore.  We are also going to enlarge the powder room upstairs to a full bath.    All my beauty stuff will have its own place in a bathroom, my bathroom, and not stored in my bedroom.  The days of feeling like I live in a dormitory will be over.  No more lugging around my bath stuff.  I’m really hoping to get to my new bathroom this winter.

When we are finished with this house, it will be a four bedroom, three bathroom house.  Large eat in kitchen. a basement, a large living room with great views and much more.

I will try to do better on posting what we’ve been up to.  Sorry for the long wait.  There will be more to come!!!  Thanks for reading!

Hello Again

Well, It’s been a while since my last blog entry. Sorry about the delay. Since we’ve arrived back home to Alaska we have been trying to find our groove and get back into normal life.

We finally made way inside the house and created a more comfortable living space.

Normal life. What is that? I guess for me it’s trying to start back up where I left off.   I got to go halibut fishing and it was a success!  I caught two big halibut for the freezer. It was so much fun!  Catching halibut is really like trying to pull a door off the ocean floor.  I couldn’t have asked for a better time with my friend Tiana.

I seemed to fit right back in to my friendships without a hitch. Thank goodness. Spring was nice and it was really cool to see new beginnings on the homestead. The grass and flowers growing and blooming, the moose with her twin calves. Birds singing, the sandhill cranes flying in for the summer with their noisy squawks, you just feel summer is here.

 

We have been busy with sheet rock, kitchen cabinets, clearing land, digging our spring box, creating a pond, spreading gravel for a big driveway, getting chickens and trying not to wear out our bodies before winter.

 

The best thing we came across was an estate sale that had a ton of firewood. This is something we have been struggling to get. If you have read my previous posts than you know this is something we have been struggling with. We have so much wood we can get through this season and maybe the next. It has been back-breaking to load and carry all this firewood and on top of that we bought a whole bunch of lumber from the same people. We now have the wood to fix the house and build whatever we want. Life is good.

All this and I got a part-time job that I really like. Two days a week I get to go hiking with a bunch of dogs! I get to be outdoors and play. In one full day, I hike about 4 miles up hill and sometimes on a flat surface. What a fun way to get exercise, all this and a great view to boot. On the third day I am in the office. a great break from all the work I do.

Yesterday, I cleaned and renovated the chicken coop. It was gross. It had about 2 hay bales in it. I was given the coop and chickens and I knew there would need to be some cleaning and maintenance to be done. So, I drove to Anchor Point for a couple of reasons. The first reason was I bought a new rooster and decided to buy a hen to make him feel like her wasn’t alone in the relocation process. Well, the hen started crowing yesterday morning. Dude looks like a lady!!! So, I had to return him and get a hen. While I was going that way, I might as well go to the mill and get saw dust for the coop.

So, I picked up the new hen and headed the mill. I got three aluminum cans worth of dust, loaded them up and headed home. At this point, I go into the coop and inspect it. I decided that the laying area was not acceptable and should be changed as well as the roosting configuration. Thank goodness for all the wood we have. I found a decent piece of plywood that I could handle myself and started the measuring procedures inside the coop. My thought is that I could use the nesting shelf and rafters to create nesting boxes.

I came up with a plan and went to work. The first pieces were basically prototypes to get the right sizes and angles. After that, I just traced the template on the plywood and cut it out. Everything was screwed into place including little roofs. Then, I added sawdust. I added new perches and cleaned the coop out. I added new sawdust to the floor, re-hung the food and water. Then I made them a more permanent ramp to get in and out. It’s clean and smells like fresh-cut spruce. The next thing on the list is to create a winter run for them. That way they can go outside without being neck-deep in snow.

 

 

We are still planning to level the house before fall sets in. It’s very important that we do this. Without the house being level trying to do finish work on the sheet rock will never happen and we can’t finish it this winter. Sheet rocking and flooring is top of the list for winter work. Also, leveling the house means we can build an arctic entry to the house. A place where we can keep our boots and coats and shake all the mud and snow off us. This keeps the house so much more clean. We tend to track Alaska right into the kitchen and the rest of the house. It creates a constant major cleanup every time we enter the house.

So, without the house being leveled we can’t finish sheet rock, install flooring or build an arctic entry. It must be done. “The spice must flow” (Dune).

Today, my neighbor had a bear in her turkey run. It ate all her feed, bit didn’t touch the turkeys. It seems the bears are moving lower and lower down the road closer to us. I have a feeling this weekend we might get to see a black bear in our yard. Probably trying to get into the chicken coop. That’s where we store the feed as well.

We also had an earthquake today. A 4.3 or 4.4. I haven’t felt one thus far until this morning at work. It happened so fast that I didn’t know what hit me. Can you say scary and exciting at the same time? There was a weird rumbling noise and the walls were shaking and I had to do a balance check as it was happening. There was not time to get outside or think. It was over as fast as it came.

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Well, I guess I have caught all y’all up on what’s happening on the homestead.

Oh! Here’s a movie with me driving my tractor.  It’s a really cool one too!  It’s a Pasquale and it articulates.  Enjoy!

Are We There Yet?

Yesterday, we pulled into Battleford, Alberta for the night.  As Dad was trying to keep us from dying, he hit a curb and blew a tire on the trailer.  First tire casualty and it wasn’t the roads fault.  We were going to spend the night in the Walmart parking lot, but decided we both wanted to take showers and take a break from the trailer.  So, we got a hotel room.  The Travelodge.  It was just renovated and the rooms were very nice…….but…..no A/C.  The room was extremely hot, but the beds were extremely comfortable.  So, we took out showers, opened a window, had a few drinks, and went to sleep.

We left The Battlefords this morning and was able to arrive in Dawson Creek, British Columbia for a grand total of 598 miles.  It was a tough one, but we did it.  We drove for almost 12 hours.  Tomorrow we are just going to drive as far as we can.  There is still a little snow on the ground,  frozen lakes and ponds, and break up is almost over for Canada.  Crossing rivers you can see the large floating ice burgs flowing down and the flooding that happens when snow melts.

Driving was nerve racking and stressful.  There were times I did’t know if we were going to be able to find a gas station to fill up Spike with diesel.  We managed to pull through without running out of fuel.  The roads are worse than the ALCAN!  Riding in the truck towing the large trailer and hitting bumps, dips, holes, cracks in the road feel like you’re being manipulated in a washing machine.  I feel my brain rattling in my head and it’s been giving me headaches.  Once we stop driving, my head calms down.

Tomorrow we start on the ALCAN where the roads are actually less bumpy and torcheres  than Canadian roads.  If we keep going driving the distance we are doing, we can be home hopefully in four days.  We have to stop in Ninilchik, AK to pick up Trubel, our new bear dog puppy.  She’s a cutie!

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Tonight, we are staying in the Walmart parking lot in Dawson Creek.  I am sitting in the McDonalds as I write this blog.  Dinner.  Dinner is and was awesome.  Have you ever heard of Poutine?  Nothing like gravy, real cheese curds and fries.  YUMMY!!!!

So.  Like I said.  We are just going to drive tomorrow.  I have no idea hoe far and where we will be sleeping.  I love a good adventure.

I hope I can blog tomorrow.  It’s hard to find internet when there are no campsites open yet.  Hence, McDonalds.

Good night everyone.

Hello Canada!

April 26, 2018

Today we crossed the Canadian border and our vehicle and trailer were searched. The border guards were very nice and joked with us. I guess because we spent 5 months in Florida they wanted to make sure we weren’t criminals. Lol.

LATER

We were able to get to Portage la Prairie and pull into a Walmart. Dad and I had a drink and mapped out the test of the way home. Ate the most beautiful big mack I’ve ever seen and it was good too. Had a few drinks and spent the night in the parking lot.

Good day. We hope we can get to Battleford, AB by tomorrow night.

So Long MO, Good Bye Iowa, Hello South Dakota

April 24, 2018

We left our campsite Cottonwood RV and hightailed it out of there. We ran a little late and didn’t officially get on the road until about 8:30 am.

It was a fairly smooth ride with some traffic scares and rain. We finally drove out of it just before Omaha. Then it was sunny and nice. Temperature was about 65 degrees and dropping. We ended up at a KOA in South Dakota that was officially closed but they were so nice that they let us stay the night. No wifi. But it had a great dog run and Taco was able to run all his energy out with Gandie.

I griller thin ribeye steaks and asparagus for dinner. It was so good. We had a great night.