Once we wrapped things up in Sioux City I realized we were just an hour away from some of our Winter Texan friends in Yankton, South Dakota. And we knew that other Texas friends, Sandy and Dave were on their way back to New York from Alaska. I had a feeling we would all meet up at Laura and Bill’s and indeed we did. They have room and hookups for two RVs and wanted us to bring the bus. “We love company!” she exclaimed. Our view for the next few days…
Laura is a talented musician and singer and she and Jim played some music together and plan to play more this winter. Sandy and Dave are naturalists and birdwatchers and we all had a fine time catching up with each others’ travels and getting to know each other better. We like all the big group parties in the winter but we love getting to know folks better with the quiet, thoughtful conversation that comes with a one-to-one meet-up. Or two-on-two in this case.
We were in their part of New York just as they were leaving for Alaska so we were really glad we got to meet up. Sandy is my official Tequila Bloody Mary taste tester. Along with Sherry, B and Jacqui. And Tony.
Laura likes to create things and paint them. She is also an avid gardener and their place is awash in colorful flowers and art projects of every type. People joke that if it’s standing still, Laura will paint it, including people. She does the annual body painting for the Mardi Gras party in February and her creations are always outstanding. A brief tour of the yard showed off many projects.
And so many butterflies! There were literally hundreds of butterflies, moths and bees on the sedum surrounding the patio. When you walked by, it was a butterfly cloud. It was wonderful.
More house and garden…
Sandy and Dave left a couple mornings later and Laura and Bill gave us a tour of their town, one of our absolute favorite things about traveling. Yankton has both a Walmart and a thriving downtown with many old buildings and signs. We drove around the town and they showed us their old house, business and the riverboat captains’ houses.
Then we drove out to see the Mighty Missouri. It rained so I was glad I washed and Rainexed our windshields before it started.
Tangent: Rainex is the bomb! Discovered during Jim’s motorcycling days, it works great on any windshield. Before we left Texas in April, I washed and Rainexed the windshield and I never had to wash it again until September in South Dakota. The raindrops just roll off and you don’t even really need to use your wipers. That’s a lotta miles with no icky streaks and incomplete wash from the nasty water at the truck stops when we fuel up.
This is Lewis and Clark Lake from the dam. We had a nice lunch at a really good restaurant. We like Yankton.
We were able to get PBS over the air so we continued watching Ken Burns’ Vietnam series. We were completely riveted by it and even though I lived through all that, I am ashamed at how much of the history and politics I was not aware of at the time. I knew the war was bad but I didn’t know how bad. And it is depressing to think we haven’t learned anything…
We said our goodbyes on a rainy morning and set our course for Valentine, Nebraska to ride the Cowboy Trail and visit another Winter Texan, Ray. Last year we came through and saw Win but this year she is in Denver working hurricane disaster insurance stuff so we will catch up with Ray. We will be able to finish watching Vietnam there.
Then we are off to Colorado as we wind our way back to Texas. Only about another month of wandering around until we head south. We have no more eclipses or obligations. Between the Elks and the bike trails we may try to catch the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque. And this might be a good time of year to visit Big Bend National Park. And lots of stuff in between.
It’s easy to run out of time!
We are so happy we stopped in Yankton. We had such a fun reunion with our Sandpeeps. Laura and Bill, thank you so much for a wonderful visit. We are BIG BIG Lucky.