08.04.13 Minneapolis here come the Chauvins!

Roy and I went to Minneapolis this week.  It’s a 5 hour drive south from Kabetogama. 

One of the things I noticed quickly as we got close to Minneapolis was that the road side grass and weeds in the city along the highway didn’t seem to have been cut all summer.  I thought, Goodness even in poor little Louisiana the roadsides get cut, especially in the bigger cities which Minneapolis is.  When we returned to the resort I shared this thought with Beth (one of our co-workers here) and she told me that it is a law that they don’t cut the grass because it is a nesting place for pheasants.  Once the pheasants have finished nesting they cut the grass.  Those pheasants sure have a lot of nice nesting places.  I googled to find out more and this protection of the pheasants nesting place is true.  They even have another law that says they CAN cut the first several inches next to the highway for safety so the high grass isn’t right next to the highway. IMG_20130801_184708

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city of Minneapolis was a very pretty one with some beautiful buildings and the traffic even though it was noon on a gameday was not too bad.  Here are a few pictures of the city we saw either walking or driving through.

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One of the neat looking buildings around the downtown area
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The downtown Minneapolis area from the interstate
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Close up view of downtown Minneapolis
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We saw several of these open air bicycle driven taxis around downtown Minneapolis.

Even though the Atlanta Braves are our team, I hope to be able to visit other ballparks throughout the country as we travel.  The Minnesota Twins home ballpark is in Minneapolis and we went there to see them play the Kansas City Royals this week.  I, of course, wore my Atlanta Braves jersey to the game and surprise, surprise I was the only person there in one!  We were surrounded by swarms of Minnesota Twins jerseys.  Their park, Target Field, is new and very nice.  I am partial to Turner Field in Atlanta and feel it has much more character than this new field but that will come in Minneapolis over time.  The Twins lost the game but we had fun cheering them on when they made great plays, even wearing the Braves jersey!  Our seats were behind right field and were very good seats.   Here’s some pictures of our visit to Target Field.

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“Mini” donuts cooked in “Minne”sota Twins ballpark in “Minne”apolis
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See, MIni Donuts
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Roy holding our bag of mini donuts!
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Our view at the Minnesota Twins ballpark
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Me in my Atlanta Braves jersey at the Minnesota Twins game
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Roy outside the ballpark
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Roy and Rosalyn Chauvin at Target Field in Minneapolis
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The entrance to Target Field in Minneapolis
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The left field corner at Target Field
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The Twins jumbo screen

Roy and I just came back from picking raspberries down the road.  We got about a cup full which will make a nice topping for some ice cream or maybe some raspberry muffins!  Somehow, all this fresh picked fruit seems to wind up in something sweet and fattening.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!

05.09.13 We’ve arrived in Kabetogama, MN!!!!!

We have arrived at Northern Lights Resort in Kabetogama, Minnesota where we will work until October 1st.  We’ve met the folks we’ll be working with and the owners of the Resort and had a little time to look around some.  The lake is starting to thaw and I was told that when it was frozen solid the ice was about 30+ inches thick.  There are some snow banks remaining in a few places and along the road as we entered. There is even snow built up next to the sandy beach.  What a contrast! And there are deer hoof marks in the sand from where the deer have walked! Everyone has been very gracious and very nice since we drove in.   I’ve taken several pictures but want to check with the owners before I post any of them to be sure it’s okay with them for me to do that.  I so wish this place was closer to Louisiana, so you guys could see it for yourself.

Our Verizon phone service only works when standing on a rock next to a telephone pole a good ways away from our RV.  Roy said it’s about 250 to 300 feet from our RV.  Needless to say we won’t be talking too much on the phone!  And when we do we’ll get some good exercise! Our family can reach us in an emergency through the resort office but everyone else should send us an email at Rosalyn@selu.edu or roy@rchauvin.com to communicate or text us on our cell phones.

We just ate our dinner of raw broccoli and dip, triscuits, cheese and summer sausage.   We sat on the floor, served it on the coffee table

Welcome to Minnesota!
Welcome to Minnesota!
Rosalyn enjoying the rushing Big Fork River!
Rosalyn enjoying the rushing Big Fork River!
Roy playing funny!
Roy playing funny!
My he man hubby!
My he man hubby!
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This is such a rough life!

and gobbled it up!  A great way to end this beautiful day.  It is 8:54 here now and the sun is just going down.  Tomorrow night we’re all getting together for a chili dinner.  Can’t wait to get together with our co-workers and get to know them better.

These are some pictures we took not far from the resort on our way here today.  This beautiful river was just waiting to be photographed!  The snow is actually still piled up next to the roads in Northern Minnesota.  I got to play with some this evening at the resort.  I’m glad we made it here before it all melted to at least get to see it!  I’ll write more tomorrow and post pictures if I can.  We don’t have to start working until Monday so we’ll have some time to explore and learn about this area some.  Hope everyone has a wonderful evening!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

05.08.13 My hometown – Madison, South Dakota

Bruce Springsteen sang the song “My hometown” and that kept running through my mind as we drove through the little town that is now “our hometown”.  If you’re driving up I-29 in South Dakota take exit 109 and hang a left, go down about 20 miles and you’ll enter the wonderful little town of Madison.  They don’t know how to spell their town name right, but they’ve been spelling it that way for so long we’ll just let it slide!  We discovered that Dakota State University is in Madison, which means we’ve moved from one college town to another college town!  We took a couple of pictures there also.  Hope you enjoy this little scenic tour of “our new hometown!”

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Lake County Courthouse in Madison
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Madison Public Library
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A big old building on the Dakota State University campus
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One of the entrances to Dakota State University in Madison
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The offices of My Dakota Address where our mail will be forwarded from

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Welcome to Madison sign – we caught it on the way out of town so it’s last!

05.07.13 We’re now South Dakota residents :) goodbye Louisiana residency :(

Twas a sad and emotional day today turning in our treasured Louisiana drivers licenses and getting our shiny new South Dakota licenses.   Kind of felt like we are turning our backs on the state of our birth.  Still more shedding of our Louisiana connections tomorrow when we register our vehicles, register to vote and change our auto insurances to South Dakota.    We would have gotten all that finished today if I hadn’t slept until 11:30…………….  Don’t remember when that happened last!  Roy was up and working on things at 7 am and checked a few times to make sure I wasn’t dead and finally at 11:30 he shook my leg until I woke up.  Don’t know how much longer I would have slept if he hadn’t woken me.

If you are reading this to learn about RV life for your own use please note that you’ll need two forms of identification other than your driver’s license to get your SD drivers license.  In our case we used our passports and our social security cards.  Unfortunately we were in Madison, SD (about 45 miles from Sioux Falls where Dora is parked) when we found this out.  This meant we had to drive back to Sioux Falls to get our passports and social security cards out of the safe.  At least the driver’s license place was in Sioux Falls so we took care of that today.  We’ll drive back to Madison tomorrow to take care of the rest.   Terry at My Dakota Address had all the forms and filled them out so we’d be ready at the Drivers License office and she’ll take care of registering our vehicles in SD.  We’ve found a State Farm agent in Madison where we’ll stop after we’re finished at My Dakota Address.

We are using our Minnesota address, 10176 Bay Club Drive, Kabetogama, MN 56669,  until around September 1st and then we’ll switch to our permanent mail forwarding address which will be 110 E. Center Street, #2301, Madison, SD 57042.  These people don’t know how to spell Madisyn properly but we’ll give them a pass on that!

pink roadWe’ve done a lot of driving today and we both agree we really like what we’ve seen of South Dakota.  It is very clean and everyone has been very nice to us.  The long stretches of highway we drove had open fields as far as you could see on both sides.  I wondered as we drove along who it would feel to live in one of the very few homes we saw along the way.  We’re use to having neighbors semi close by and most of these folks would have to travel miles to see their neighbor. The road between Sioux Falls and Madison was pink in color (see the picture) Just another part of our USA to learn about!  The little town of Madison reminded me somewhat of downtown Hammond and the surrounding areas looked like Old Metairie where Roy grew up off Metairie Road.

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Mini Sodas

We stopped at a Wal-Mart and Roy took a picture of some “mini sodas” which he thinks is like Minnesota so I’m including one of his pictures here!

It’s now Wednesday and we’re getting ready to head back to Madison to complete our transition to South Dakota residency.  I plan to take some pictures of the town and will post them in the next blog.

Have a great Wednesday and Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

05.06.13 Kansas back to Missouri, then Iowa and finally South Dakota! May 5th – 6th

Arrived in Linn Valley, Kansas at 4 pm on Sunday May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and stayed overnight at Linn Valley Lakes.  This is another Coast to Coast Resort so our stay only cost us $9 for the night to cover their  additional electrical charge.  While it was a far cry from the professionally maintained resort we left in Branson it is nice, quiet and a safe place to stay for the night.  Plus there are no street lights to be seen and the night sky was full of stars!  We slept really good that night in the solid darkness.

south dakota signMonday, May 6th we left Kansas and headed to our new home state of South Dakota.  If you weren’t reading our blog when I wrote about choosing a domicile state I’ll briefly tell you why we’re becoming South Dakota residents.  Since we are traveling from state to state we have the opportunity to choose a state for our residency that has the best benefits for us.  After a lot of research we chose South Dakota.  Louisiana has the first or second ranked (highest) auto insurance rates in the country.  This is a big reason to take advantage of choosing another state to be our home state.  South Dakota has much lower auto insurance rates (for both Boots the truck and Dora the RV).  The most recent information I could find ranked them 47th (third from the lowest).  They also don’t charge you taxes on your vehicle to register in their state if you’ve already paid at least that much in your original state, which we have.  They have very good mail forwarding services and we’re signing up with My Dakota Address in Madison, SD.  There are other ones but since this one is in Madison and our little granddaughters name is the same but spelled Madisyn we chose that one!  This gives us a street mailing address so we can get our driver licenses, vehicle registrations and insurance.  We’ll also register to vote there and they defer the jury duty requirement if you’re called for service when on the road, until a time that you’re back in South Dakota.  South Dakota does not have a huge residential population but their population that includes folks like us is pretty high We originally wanted to be Tennessee residents but the reason we chose to not be Tennessee residents is that they did not have a well known (or basically any) mail forwarding service which would give us a street address to obtain the other things with.  South Dakota does require that you spend one night there so tonight’s stay will take care of that.  We’ll stay Tuesday night as well because of the length of time it will take us to take care of all that’s involved in becoming state residents.

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Rosalyn in front of some sort of teepee at the Rest Area right inside of the South Dakota line

We drove for 7 hours today over a period of 10 hours.  Yes Roy took his mid-day nap and we just took our time today stopping many times since it was a lot of ground to cover.   We’ve traveled over 1,100 miles so far.  The scenery in Kansas was wonderful but Iowa really surprised me by how not pretty it was at least from the Interstate.  The trees looked like something that belonged in The Raven with black birds circling around.  Something I’m finding interesting is that all the trees are just now getting their first blooms of spring like our oak trees were doing over a month ago in Louisiana.  When we left LA our oak trees were in full bloom yet here they are just little buds!

We just pulled into Tower Campground in Sioux Falls, SD and were greeted by Judy.  She and her husband own the campground and were very welcoming and know all about the process for RVers to become South Dakota residents.   We’ll go first thing in the morning to Madison to get our new address and then back here to get a receipt from her with our new address on it.  That’s a requirement to get our drivers license, registrations, etc.  This is a Passport America campground so we paid more than our Coast to Coast campgrounds but it’s half of their regular rate which for a 50 amp site is $40 a night so for two nights we paid $40.

I’m cooking parmesan crusted Tilapia and baked potatoes for dinner and it’s smelling so good after a long day on the road.  Ya’ll have a great evening, I’m off to eat!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

05.03.13 Branson, MO May 3rd – May 5th

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Entrance to Treasure Lake RV Resort

We arrived in Branson Friday May 3rd around 5 pm and left on Sunday May 5th around 11 am.  We stayed at Treasure Lake RV Resort.  It is a beautiful resort on 340 acres with 544  sites.  It has a put-put golf course, playground, swimming pool and lots of other amenities. It’s one of the free sites on our Coast to Coast plan so we only had to pay their additional electrical charge of $7 per night.  It’s right off Shepherd of the Hills Road where lots of attractions are located but you’d never know we were so close since we were so far off the road surrounded by quiet!  The weather was cold, rainy and snowy the first day and just cold and rainy the other two days. The high was 39 degrees and I don’t want to know the low!

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Snow on the roofs in Branson

snow in townWhen we drove into Branson to do some sightseeing we saw many patches of snow on the ground and all the building’s roofs were covered in snow.  Quite a shock to have snow in May and the weather reporters said this is extremely rare in May, even for Missouri.  I think God is preparing us for the cold in Minnesota.  After the snow stopped it rained lightly all day so after going into town we stayed in and enjoyed the rest.

lamberts signMid afternoon we decided to drive around and see more sights in Branson and ran across Lambert’s Restaurant.  What a  lamberts window signsdelightfully enjoyable place that is.  The food was great, the atmosphere was fun and the novelty of people coming around with bowls of food (macaroni and tomatoes, fried potatoes, black-eyed pies, and fried okra) while you eat and offer you some made the whole experience perfect.  I forgot the perky guy who ran around throwing rolls to everyone who wanted one.  I took several pictures of him but he was always in such fast motion everyone came out blurred.

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The Sight and Sound Building where we saw Joseph

Day two in Branson we slept in late and after lunch went into town to Sight and Sound Theatre to see the production of Joseph (from the Bible).  It was amazing!  Characters came in from all over and the play wasn’t just in front of us it was on both sides too.  The singing was great but typical Roy said he just knew Jessica Davis would have sung the lead woman’s part better!   While we didn’t plan to do this we went straight from the Theatre to the IMAX to see Iron Man 3.  What a huge screen and a really good movie.  I think Robert Downey Jr. is a great actor and perfect for that part.  The IMAX is right next to our RV Resort so there was no long drive home!

On our way out of town leaving Branson I took some pictures of the highway through the mountains and the rocks they dug through for the highways.  it certainly isn’t the Louisiana flatlands!  We’re headed to Linn Valley, Kansas which is near Kansas City, Kansas for our overnight stay at Linn Valley Lakes RV Resort. The folks we’ll be working for in Minnesota wrote to us yesterday that they will understand if we’re late arriving there due to the unusual weather conditions in the North.  That is very comforting for us to know since we have no experience driving in the snow or bad winter conditions.  We’re really looking forwarding to joining our new little family at Lake Kabetogama, MN!

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Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

05.02.13 Travel Day to Branson, MO

Today (Thursday) was a travel day going to Branson, Missouri.  We’ve never been to Branson but I believe everyone we know has visited there and said it’s a must see place on our way to Minnesota.

We pulled out of Holiday Mountain Resorts around 10:45 and headed straight for Mellon’s Country Store. They are open today and we were dying to see the inside. We got to meet “Mama”, Pappy’s wife! Very quaint country  store with antiques, guitars, cool snacks and a small theatre connected to it.  Pappy built the theatre last year and it can hold 49 people in the audience.  As he promised us yesterday, there was someone pickin (don’t know if it is pickin or picking) on their guitar and another one setting up.   We listened for a while and he offered to let Roy take a picture of me holding his guitar on stage.  I really liked that.  Since the theatre where they were playing is  attached to the store through a big open door you can hear the music being played as you shop.

We’re on our way to Branson now with about 1-1/2 hours of travel remaining. We just stopped for Roy’s nap and for me to blog for a bit!  Driving in the mountains has been a new experience for Dora’s Explorers.  She is handling the steep ups and downs and the sharp never-ending curves quite well.  I got pretty good at securing things for traveling on a flat terrain but am learning the securing needs to be more extensive when you’re moving around as much as we have been in the mountains.  Arkansas was a beautiful state to travel through.  The people were extremely friendly and loved to tell about their area.  There is way more to see and do than we had time for on this trip but I can see us coming back in the future to spend more time and explore.

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We just pulled into Treasure Lake Resort in Branson!  It’s way bigger than the other two we’ve stayed at, but we’re in a semi secluded area of the park.  It took a while for Roy to get Dora situated so the satellite could pick up a signal.  I think this is becoming the least favorite part of traveling when we have to spend excessive amounts of time getting TV reception.  Perhaps one day we’ll be able to shed these creature comforts and be satisfied even when we don’t get reception.  Don’t see that happening any time soon though!  We’ll head out tomorrow to explore Branson and decide what we want to do or see.   I’ll post another blog on our Branson adventures when we get ready to leave here.

Ya’ll come back now ya hear!

05.01.13 Mountain View, Arkansas – Holiday Mountain Resort

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Rosalyn and Pat

When we left Jackson, MS yesterday after visiting with Pat Turner we headed to Mountain View, Arkansas. The morning got an A+ but the afternoon adventure got a C-! What should have been a 6 hour drive turned into a 10 hour trip. We stopped at a rest area where Roy took a nap and I found a beautiful oak tree to sit under and paint my fingernails and toenails! That part of the long trip was quite relaxing and probably gave us the strength to make it through the rest of the drive!

We’re learning that it’s hard to navigate in unknown places and especially hard when you’re in a motor home with a truck behind it. You can’t back up too far. Normally if you go the wrong way you pull into the next driveway and turn around once you realize you’ve taken a wrong turn. Just can’t be done with Dora and Boots so we ended up driving many miles out of our way to get back on the right track. Then because we did that more than once it made up have to drive in the dark which is a whole different adventure in itself. The extremely winding hilly roads gave me cause to grip my seat until the turn was over and then of course there was another turn just up ahead! Many lessons learned from yesterday’s travels. Never travel in the dark if you don’t know where you are was one of the most important ones. I did enjoy getting to drive the off roads and see the Arkansas towns and fields but since the last two hours were in the dark we saw nothing but yellow lines on the side of the road and asphalt ahead!

We had reservations at Holiday Mountain Resort in Mountain View, Arkansas where they gave us, ahead of time, the code to get in the gate because of our late arrival. When we pulled up at 10 pm we drove to the gate and entered the code and NOTHING happened. Roy of course thought I was doing something wrong (which I usually do when it comes to electronics) and tried it himself, still NOTHING. After several tries we gave up. We were able to back up Dora a little bit and drove up in front of the office and parked her for the night! Couldn’t put the slides out which isn’t ideal but when you’re asleep you don’t care. I woke up this morning to the sound of Dora’s engine cranking up and us moving forward. Turns out the battery in the gate opener was dead. Boots battery was also dead when we unhooked her so we’ll be going in search of a new battery sometime today.

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The river running through Holiday Mountain Resort
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Rosalyn playing in the river!
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Roy enjoying the fresh morning air!

Since waking up this morning the day has been an A++. We sat in our rockers under the awning next to the beach and rushing waters drinking our morning coffee. Talk about washing your cares away! We made our way down the hill to the beach, played and walked in the waters for a while totally enjoying ourselves. While we wanted to cross the water to the beach on the other side, the current was so strong we were afraid we’d wind up way down the stream and not by choice! I walked along the beach to the bridge that goes over the water and up the hill to the office to tell them we want to stay again tonight. Picked up a rock to send to Madisyn and enjoyed my stroll tremendously. Listening to the water rushing by, hearing the birds chirping and getting some exercise made for a perfect morning.

After lunch we decided to go into the town and see what we missed while arriving in the dark last night! Mountain View is a lot like the outskirts of Pigeon Forge and is quite a neat place. We went to the Post Office to mail off a package and shopped a little at Wal-Mart. Got tips from the locals on things to see, one of which was to go to the town square to see the pickers. Well I didn’t know what that was exactly and didn’t figure people were picking cotton there or picking for antiques so I asked. Turns out people gather there to pick on their banjos. We passed by and no one was there but later learned they come out near sunset and play all evening!

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Mellon’s Country Store Sign in Mountain View, Arkansas
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Pappy Mellon
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Mellon’s Country Store

The best find of the day was stopping at Mellon’s Store. They are closed today but it was so charming we stopped to take pictures. The owner Pappy Mellon came out and sat down on his porch to visit with us and tell us some stories. He played banjo music back in the day with some famous folks and still has a comedy and music show every Friday and Saturday night in the theatre in back of his store. How I wish we were going to be here then, sounds great! They open at 9 tomorrow so before we head out we’ll stop and check out the inside of the store. Sure glad we had the opportunity to sit a spell and visit with old Pappy! This is exactly the kind of off the beaten trail experience I’m hoping we’ll have so we will get to know the real USA and not just what we see from the Interstate.

51royonbridge  51rockbybridgeOn our way back to the campground we went to the swinging bridge on the campground property. What a marvel of old, old bridge design this was. Wooden boards made up the road we drove on and it actually swung. It wasn’t in the best condition (that’s putting it very gently) but was fun to see the river that runs through our campground from that view. We parked on the other side and walked over the bridge to enjoy the view. We took lots of pictures throughout today and are including a few of them in here.

We’re back at the campground rocking away while dinner cooks inside. Don’t know if everyday will be this amazing but I’m sure glad today was. We’ll leave tomorrow morning for Branson, MO for a few days there. It’s 2-1/2 hours from here and we’ll leave early so we don’t end up getting there in the dark!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!