Monthly Archives: August 2012
Dinner in a field surrounded by barley near Custer’s Last Stand
The KOA at Hardin, Montana, our camping spot for the next two days, is just across the street from the Crow Indian Nation Reservation. The campground is surrounded on three sides by a picturesque field of almost thigh high barley. The barley will be harvested and sold to one of the country’s major beer makers.
While the town is the staging area for most visitors to nearby Big Horn Battlefield National Monument, it made national news when local authorities proposed housing some of the Guantanamo Bay detainees at a vacant private prison built by the city in 2007. Montana and federal officials rejected the plan and the prison, built to help the economy of Hardin, remains vacant.
The Big Horn River which played a major role in the battle between the U. S. Army 7th Cavalry and the Sioux Nation, meanders throughout Big Horn County, and is only a half mile from the campground. The battlefield, also known as Custer’s “Last Stand,” is about 15 miles southeast of Hardin.
Originally known as The Custer National Battlefield, its name was changed in 1991 by President George H. W. Bush and Congress to Big Horn Battlefield National Monument.
I had just finished reading “The Last Stand,” a new non-fictional account of the battle which refers to Custer’s demise and also signals the last proud moment for the Sioux nation.
Although there have been dozens of books written about “Custer’s Last Stand,” surprisingly, the narration of our battlefield tour guide who was a member of the Blackfoot Lakota tribe followed most of the events as described in “Last Stand.” She retold the battle so well it was like reliving it hill-by-hill.
The Memorial’s visitor center has an excellent display of Custer and Sioux artifacts.
Custer was originally buried at the Memorial’s Custer National Cemetery alongside members of the 7th Cavalry who perished in the battle but was later interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
Later in the day and back at the campground , I climbed on top of the RV and managed to rewind the canvas slide topper that was pulled from its rolled up housing after we drove through a frightful wind, rain and hail storm passing through the Big Horn Mountains en route to Hardin.
Tonight’s dinner fare was hamburgers on the grill at a picnic table overlooking hundreds of acres of dark green barley. This country is full of new experiences for a couple of flatlanders from Florida.
Living on Air – On the Water
For many folks, boating is one of the primary pleasures of adventure travel and outdoor living. Some, however, just can’t handle adding a conventional boat to the package. They’re already towing something else behind that rig. And the thought of wrestling a canoe or kayak onto and off a roof rack is painful all by itself.
There is a way, however, to avoid a bum back or the never-ending search for a useable boat ramp. The answer is as close as your standby air pump. Whether you’re looking for exercise, desirous of hooking your own dinner or intent upon following the paddle tracks of Lewis and Clark, there’s most likely an inflatable boat out there that’ll meet your needs.
Today’s inflatable watercraft have come a long way from your sweet Aunt Agnes’s pool toy. They’re made of space-age materials that’ll stand up to river rocks and Fido’s claws. They come in a variety of sizes and styles from one-person kayaks to elaborate pontoon fishing rigs and even sailing cats and stand-up paddle boards. A number can be powered with an electric trolling motor or small outboard. Best of all, they inflate and deflate in a few minutes and stow in a duffle bag that’s easily carried from your trunk, pickup bed or under-floor storage bin to the water’s edge.
Plenty of reliable, easily handled boats in the 8-foot to 16-foot category can be found for prices ranging from $250 to $2,000. At least a dozen manufacturers make their products available in retail outlets and online.
A good website for descriptions and reviews of a range of inflatable boats is www.inflatablekayakworld.com. A web search will turn up countless others.
Sea Eagle (www.seaeagle.com), for example, is a 40-year-old U.S. firm that specializes in inflatable watercraft. One of its popular models is the SE 370 Sport Kayak (pictured). At 12 ½ feet, it’s rated for an impressive 650 lb., three-person carrying capacity, has three inflation chambers, packs into a 31-inch duffel bag and weighs just 32 pounds. Listing at $349, it comes with two seats, two double-ended paddles, foot pump, patch kit and storage bag. A 6-month trial period and a 3-year warranty complete the package.
Once you’ve decided on your watercraft, choosing a few extras can make life on the water a whole lot easier:
- Seats. Paddling from the bottom of a canoe or kayak is hard on the back. A good seat makes a big difference. Inflatable catamarans and rafts can usually be found with excellent swivel seats for fishing.
- Air pump. Small powered pumps will make filling your boat’s air chambers even easier.
- Repair kit. Modern inflatables are so tough you may never need it, but pfffft! happens. Specialized patch kits do a better job than duct tape.
- Anchor. If you plan to fish, you’ll want your watercraft to stay in one spot for a while, less susceptible to the wind. Specialized anchors for inflatables are available online for less than $30. Some boaters report good results with a window sash weight.
- PFDs. Even if you’re a good swimmer, the wind can carry your lightweight boat away faster than you can swim after it. A life vest for every person in the boat is not only a good idea, it’s mandatory in many places. And remember, it doesn’t work unless you’re wearing it.
- Registration. Most states don’t require registration for human-powered craft under 16 feet. Many, however, require any watercraft with a motor to be registered. Check with your applicable state agency to be sure. (Your home state boat registration is good in all other states, Canada and Mexico due to reciprocal agreements.)
This Illinois rock has a story
Starved Rock, Illinois
There is no particular reason for the Hughes’s to be here. It just happened to be about 130 rain soaked miles from the last stop at Springfield, IL, and “Handy” the driver, was ready to park this 40-foot RV for the evening.
Utica, located about 90 miles west of Chicago, was not a planned destination other than Utica is where I-39 north intersects with I-80 west. It’s time to turn the Green Knight West, across Illinois where we leave the corn fields and into Iowa, home to more corn fields, followed by Nebraska and you guessed it, more corn.
By accident the Hughes are here and like other stops along the way north, hope to find something that makes Utica special.
Most of the trip from Springfield was in the rain. This is the third straight day of rain. And, it’s cold. The land is still flat and planted mostly with corn, wheat and other crops. The wind is blowing hard out of the west and northwest. Welcome to the Great Plains.
Rv friends in Florida pulled a new fifth wheel on a trip through the northwest last summer and warned the wind blows hard in the plains. Other RV travelers have complained of driving against the continuous high winds and the impact it has on gas mileage.
Once the wind starts to blow on the plains, there’s nothing in sight to slow it down, except the broadside of the Green Knight. Keeping it between the ditches is a day’s work.
Several times on this trip before breaking camp Martha would prepare dinner in a crock pot, using the RV’s on-board electrical system for power. By noon the smell of pot roast and vegetables fills the RV. Dinner will be ready when arriving at Utica.
Without even a groan, the crock pot dies about halfway to Utica. The roast is half cooked. There goes dinner. The “house” batteries are too weak to power the slow cooker and for the first time on this trip, the onboard diesel generator is cranked up as we drive down the highway to recharge the batteries. The pot roast and dinner is rescued.
RV set-up at Hickory Hollow Campground takes only a few minutes and a telephone call is made to good friends and neighbors in St. Augustine. By chance, it is learned, our neighbors lived in this area before moving to Florida and still have family and friends here. He worked for the phone company and climbed many telephone poles here during his career.
The news from home hasn’t changed: hot and dry.
After traveling with cold and wet weather for the past week, some warmer temperatures would be welcomed.
The neighbors told us to visit Starved Rock State Park.
With the crock pot meal on hold and in the refrigerator, dinner will be at the picturesque and stately old Lodge at Starved Rock State Park which is only three miles away.
Starved Rock and the Illinois River valley is a major contrast to the surrounding flat plains. Almost like an oasis, it is hilly and nestled in a huge forest with 18 canyons. It is a beautiful state park with lots of hiking trails, waterfalls and overlooks of the Illinois River. It was the state’s first recreational park and voted one of the seven wonders of Illinois. It draws two million visitors annually and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2011.
According to legend its name is derived from a battle between Indian tribes, one of which took refuge at the top of Starved Rock. The other tribe held ground at the base of the bluff until the hapless Indians on top starved to death; hence the name Starved Rock.
Despite the rain, we bundle up and trek down a three mile path that ends at a huge overlook of a dam and lock over the Illinois River then take a different route back to the lodge.
A fire is burning in the double fire place at the 1940’s lodge which reminds us of pictures of Yellowstone and Old Faithful Inn, a far away destination and still a month and miles down the road.
Martha writes in her journal that “this place is a great find and plans should be made to return some day.”
Where is this trip headed, asks Handy or Ralph Kramden
Before leaving St. Augustine on a trip north and west, Ronnie and Martha Hughes, recent retirees and new RV owners, made the proverbial “bucket” list of places to visit: Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tn.; The Lincoln Museum, Springfield, Il.; The Badlands, Rushmore and Custer State Park, SD; Little Big Horn National Battlefield, Yellowstone National Park Glacier National Park, all in Montana; and Banff and Jasper National Parks, Alberta, Ca.
The flood wall murals erected along the Ohio River in downtown Paducah, Ky.
The Opry and Lincoln Museum, already visited, can be marked off the list. The rest of the trip is unfolding day-by-day, mile-by-mile, and one pothole after another.
When the northern turnaround point of Jasper, Alberta, Canada is reached, the Green Knight (our Monaco RV) will have registered 4,500 miles since leaving St. Augustine. The entire trip may cover 10,000 miles or more depending on the route home which is undetermined. If the walleye are biting in Minnesota, the trip may head east and pile on more very important miles.
Our mileage to Jasper Alberta, is farther than mapquest’s route because this once-in-a-lifetime cross-country RV trip does not follow the shortest route. Our route is not predetermined. There is no schedule. There are certain places on the list to visit, but the destinations in between are being determined daily. If a place looks interesting, regardless of its location, the course and length of stay may be altered. There is something in every little town and many have a hook that lures us off the highway.
To date, there have been notable surprises. Wateree State Park located north of Columbia, S.C., and nearby Camden and its Revolutionary War history, made this stop very worthwhile. Then there’s Abingdon,Va., in the far western corner of the state near the North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky borders and its’ Creeper Trail, heritage music trail and historic downtown venues. Abingdon is one of those towns that feel like home. And probably the most unexpected was Paducah, Ky., and its memorable flood wall murals, downtown historic district, fine restaurants and its connection with Lewis & Clark. All have been described in previous “blogs.”
Taking in the sights at some stops may take three or four days; others worthy of only a day or two. To date there has been only one overnight stop and that was because of poor planning. Utica, Il., home of Starved Rock State Park, deserved another day or two but the campground was full. Hopefully we can stop here on the return trip to Florida.
The most enjoyable part of the trip has been the people met along the way. New friends from many different walks of life are made at almost every stop along the way. Wearing a Florida Gator cap is a real ice breaker.
For readers just picking up on the blog, “The Green Knight” is the nickname for the green Monaco Knight RV; “Handy” is a self-inflicted nickname based on a character in the old PBS series “Red Green” who said “If you can’t be handsome, at least be handy.” I earned that nickname after patching the wire that connects the tow car brake lights to the RV with duct tape.
On days when “Handy” feels like he’s chauffeuring a real bus, he uses the moniker of Ralph Kramden, the blustery New York City bus driver on the old Jackie Gleason Honeymooners teevee show back in the 1950’s. Kramden got paid $62 a week to drive a bus for the Gotham Bus Company. The Green Knight drinks that much in diesel fuel in three hours.
Driving soon into the real west and following the wagon ruts of early settlers, whiskey peddlers, mountain men and a host of scoundrels, Handy and Ralph Kramden might take on a more suitable regional nickname.
Maybe Hopalong Cassidy, suggests the other half of this trip duo.
Visiting the world’s largest truck stop and the home of the microwave
The rain that started almost a week ago before Springfield is still coming down as we drive out of Hickory Hollow Campground, Utica, Il., heading 160 miles west on I-80 to Amana, Iowa.
Road construction delays, rough pavement and billboards galore were more than enough reasons to stop in Walcott, to see the world’s largest truck stop called “Iowa 80.”
Automobiles and RV’s almost outnumbered the 18 wheelers in the parking lot. At 220 acres, “Iowa 80” boasts it is twice as big as Disneyland.
In addition to a huge truck fueling area, it has a 300 seat restaurant with a 50 foot salad bar, a trucker’s warehouse, 24 private showers, a movie theatre, barbershop, dentist and three fast food restaurants. Inside the truckers warehouse store, which rivals a football field in size, is a shiny new 18 wheel tractor-trailer plus two big trucks.
“Iowa80” averages 5,000 visitors a day. This place has to be a trucker’s paradise but other than fuel, a spacious parking lot and food, there was little of interest for an RVer.
Like the World’s Largest Truck Stop, the 400-site RV Park at Amana is huge. It sits in the middle of a field and like the rest ofIowa’s landscape; it’s flat and not a tree in sight.
The nearby Amana Colonies, as the community is known, is a group of settlements all of which are listed on the National Historic Landmarks and one of the longest-lived communal societies in the country. Ancestors of today’s Amana left Germany in the mid 1800’s and originally settled inNew York State before relocating to Iowa in 1885.
“By working cooperatively and sharing their property, the community was able to carve a relatively comfortable living,” says the Amana Visitors Guide.
In seven villages, all within a mile or two of each other, residents received a home, medical care, meals, household necessities and schooling for children.
Everything was shared equally and jobs were assigned by the village council of brethren although no one received a paycheck. They maintained a self-sufficient local economy until the early 1930’s when the communal lifestyle was abandoned.
The church was retained and a new joint-stock ownership company was formed and from that corporation came Amana Refrigeration which is now owned by Whirlpool. The Amana Radarange was first developed and manufactured here in 1965.
Late in the afternoon we happened onto a small farmers market, the first of the spring season and purchased farm fresh eggs, lettuce and homemade cookies. This was followed by a visit to a micro brewery then a family style dinner at a nice German restaurant.
The following day Martha bought a sturdy handmade basket to hold travel info in the RV, visited a wool mill, chocolate factory and a butcher shop where we bought locally made sausage and ham. The day ended with a long walk on a well maintained trail system around scenic Lake Lily.
Next: Bridges of Madison County
Staying connected on the plains
Staying connected on the plains
After visiting the birthplace of that great American John Wayne and driving dusty gravel roads to see a bunch of wooden bridges near Des Moines, Iowa, it’s time to move on to Omaha.
T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oil man who says wind farms and natural gas can help solve this country’s dependence on foreign oil, must be proud of western Iowa and other states in the upper Midwest. For the first time on this trip, the horizon along I-80 near Adair, Iowa is filled with huge wind turbines that are generating electricity with each revolution. Within view are at least 50 of the giant airplane type propeller fans and probably twice that many unseen over the hill. They are so tall that blinking lights are installed on the top of each fan to warn airplane pilots. Thousands are working silently 24 hours a day throughout the Midwest and more are under construction.
Western Iowa along with other states in the upper Midwest has built many huge windmill farms for generating electricity. This picture was taken from inside the RV headed west on I90 just east of Omaha, Nebraska., made famous by Lewis and Clark is crossed for the first time. As the song “Shenandoah” says, it’s “wide.” Locals argue it is longer in miles than the Mississippi, making it the country’s longest.
After the surprise introduction with the famous 1800 explorers at Paducah, Ky., the traveling Hughes’s will unwittingly follow the Missouri and the Lewis and Clark trail off and on for the next three months.
After checking in at the KOA West Omaha, the laptop and an adult beverage go outside with Handy to a picnic table. He is planning the next stops at Sioux City and Sioux Falls.
Our camping neighbors from Panama City are in town to attend the graduation of their granddaughter. Severe thunderstorm warnings, a regular occurrence in the plains this time of year, are announced early in the evening. Like true Floridians, our new friends and neighbors offer their daughter’s basement if the weather worsens.
The laptop connects easily to the campground’s WIFI and reservations are made further north. That’s one of the advantages of the KOA system. Their WIFI works.
Although most campgrounds advertise WIFI hot spots, many are under-powered and cannot provide a connectable signal to all of its guests. Often a drive into town is necessary to find a Starbucks or other retailer with a WIFI connection.
The problem is just as bad if not worse for wireless cell phones. Of the two major wireless subscribers the Hughes’s subscribe to the one with poor signals in the upper Midwest.
Recreational vehicle owners depend heavily on laptop computers and wireless phones to conduct travel research and make future reservations, not to mention keeping in touch with family and friends back home.
A telephone with data connection would solve both problems, says a salesman in Omaha. It worked great in the store but failed to pick up a data signal after leaving the city limits. Frustrated when the phone and the data connection failed to work, the 30 day return option was exercised and the phone was returned.
Next: Omaha’s outstanding zoo
Omaha’s zoo is among the top ten nationally
AIt is our second day in Omaha and the retired first grade teacher is taking “Handy” on a field trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo. Famous for steaks, Omaha is also known for its zoo which is recognized as one of the top ten in the country.
Northeast Florida has a connection with the Doorly: Dennis Pate, former executive director at the Jacksonville Zoo, was hired last year as its Director and CEO.
At 10 a.m. the zoo parking lot is already crowded but inside the huge 130 acre complex the crowd is hardly noticeable. The 17,000 animals that reside here are just finishing breakfast and ready to face today’s visitors when we arrive.
Most of the large animals are housed in large open areas that resemble their natural habitat.
In the world of zoos Henry Doorly has a national reputation for animal conservation and research. Its cat complex is the largest in North America and its nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp is the world’s largest. It also has one of the largest indoor rain forests in the world and the world’s largest indoor desert dome.
To escape the heat for awhile, tickets were bought to an Imax showing of the Lewis & Clark Exhibition. Information from this film will be recalled frequently as the Hughes’s visit the Missouri River basin, the Dakotas and Montana.
Forgetting she is now retired, Martha is constantly remarking how much her former first grade students could learn with a field trip visit to this zoo.
Most of the zoo’s exhibits were seen but spending two days here will give a better appreciation of this fine zoo.
Good German sausages bought at a butcher shop in Amana, Iowa and fresh ears of Nebraska sweet corn were cooked on the outdoor grill for supper. Life on the road is good.
Next: Buffalo burgers in Sioux City
Buffalo on a bun in Sioux City
The Lewis and Clark exhibit in Sioux Falls, Iowa
The first of the “Siouxland Towns” is on the travel schedule because the local KOA Campground is advertising a buffalo burger cookout tonight.
Sioux City, the fourth largest city in Iowa, has more to offer than buffalo on a bun, but not tonight. The other half of the traveling Hughes’s will eat buffalo for the first time. She promises not to push and shove but, like a first grader, expects to be first in line.
A buffalo burger is not the oddity it used to be. Ted’s Montana Grill, which features buffalo burgers among other fare, is an upscale restaurant co-founded by former CNN founder Ted Turner. One has opened near St. Augustine at Jacksonville’s Town Center.
At the KOA check-in Martha reserves two one-third pound hamburgers for dinner. One is for the other Hughes.
She admits the buffalo burger tastes a lot like beef but not as greasy. A stop is made at a local meat market the next day and three pounds of ground buffalo meat lands in the RV freezer for “Handy” to make buffalo on a bun on the road.
Martha has another reason to be in Sioux City. Her great-grandparents who were born and raised in this area are buried in the town’s first cemetery. Her grandfather and grandmother who came to Titusville in the early 1920’s graduated from Sioux City’s Morningside College. Graceland Cemetery and family grave site were found and pictures taken of the grave markers. During this visit, Martha learned her great-grandfather was among a group that established the cemetery which explains why the family plot was in a prominent location at the main entrance. He was also on the board of trustees of Morningside College around the early 1900’s.
Sioux City has an excellent walking trail along the Missouri River in Chris Larsen Park. After a five mile walk, we head back to the campground for a quick change and drove to nearby La Mar,Iowa which bills itself as the ice cream capitol of the world. Blue Bunny Ice Cream, the largest producer of ice cream, is headquartered here. Unlike the breweries, there are no factory tours or free samples but ice cream is sold by the scoop in an old fashioned drug store with an ice cream-soda fountain atmosphere.
Later in the day we’re back at Chris Larsen Park on the Missouri River for a tour of the Lewis & Clark exhibit. A photography display of children from an Iowa Indian tribe in an adjacent building, coupled with the Lewis & Clark exhibit, made for a very interesting two hour tour.
During the next four days at Sioux Falls at least one day will be set aside for trip planning, house cleaning and laundry. There’s still work to be done, despite the fun on the road.
Approaching this segment of the trip causes the anticipation level to increase a bit day-by-day. Mt. Rushmore,Custer State Park, The Black Hills and the daunting 6.2 mile walk to the top of Crazy Horse Monument are less than a week away.
Next: Where’s my bank?
The road ahead is frightening for RV newbies
It’s raining today in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A “goofing-off” day is on the agenda which includes cleaning house and laundry for Martha while Handy does a little work on the RV and catches up on emails.
A couple hours are spent trip planning and for the first time since leaving St. Augustine, the Hughes’s realize the adventures ahead are somewhat frightening. The fright is mostly caused by the unknown.
Driving this 40 foot behemoth through and over mountains in The Badlands, Custer State Park and Rushmore, southwestern Montana,Yellowstone and Glacier National Park in extreme northwest Montana, will be quite a change from the flat lands of the Midwest. For weeks the biggest hill climbed was the Smoky Mountains at Deep Gap,Va., and a campground in Asheville, N. C.
Not many big hills in Illinois, Iowa and eastern South Dakota or for that matter, our home state of Florida.
Upcoming camping stops are scheduled for Interior, S. D., population 68 and reachable only after driving through the unknown Black Hills National Park;
Spearfish, S. D., three nights visiting Deadwood, the lawless old west gold mining town and Sturgis, home of one of the nation’s largest motorcycle rallies; three nights at Hardin, Mt., to tour The Little Bighorn National Battlefield; and three nights at Billings, Mt., for the annual strawberry festival.
The route from Sturgis to Hardin includes a stop at Devil’s Tower, made famous by the movie, “Encounters of the Third Kind. At Sheridan, Wy., the plains officially meet the Rockies. Near the Montana border, the interstate slices through a portion of the Big Horn Mountains and more unknown highways en route to Hardin.
There’s some consolation in knowing that hundreds of big rigs pass through these mountains daily. Maybe the Green Knight will be comfortable but not Handy the driver and his first grade school teacher passenger.
In the land of the Sioux
“Siouxland” is not a tourist attraction along one of the nation’s interstate highways. It refers to a region that includes Sioux City, Iowa, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the Big Sioux River and many more Sioux things including the famous Indian tribe that lives in this region. It also includes the northeast corner of Nebraska and the southwest corner of Minnesota.
Having spent the past three days in Sioux City, the traveling Hughes’s are now driving the RV north 90 miles to the next Sioux town—Sioux Falls. Martha wants to know if the KOA is having “buffalo on a bun” tonight.
This region was once owned and controlled by the Sioux Indian Nation and more than a half dozen reservations were set aside for various tribes of Sioux. Businesses, cities, counties, schools, etc., carry the Sioux name, a remembrance of a once powerful nation.
One of the city’s attractions is
The Big Sioux River falls at Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
the Sioux Falls River, a tributary of the Missouri River, which passes over a series of picturesque waterfalls in downtown and gives the city its name. The quartz rocks in this portion of the river are pink in color and referred to locally as rose quartz. Even some of the city’s sidewalks have a rose or pink color mixed into the concrete.
Today’s goal, after checking into the Sioux Falls KOA, however, is to find a bank. Getting money out of a bank, whether at home or on the road only requires an ATM card and a $2 fee. Putting money in a bank requires a branch bank of ones’ personal bank.
A small refund check from Uncle Sam arrived a couple weeks ago in a packet of forwarded mail from home and has been toted across two states in a fruitless search of “the” bank.
My bank, although it boasts nationwide branches, is not located in South Dakota. An online search locates a “bank” inside a downtown mall but after a search, proves to be an ATM and not a branch. It is equipped to dispense, not take money.
Add banking to the non-existence cell phone services as another provider that does not exist in this section of the upper Midwest.
The check is mailed to our branch in St. Augustine and a few days later the money appears in the checking account. The phone still doesn’t work, except in major cities.
The city has a nice park with overlooks including a five story tower for better views, and walking trails at itsSiouxRiverFalls. A couple hours is spent here before finding a pub downtown on Eighth Street that featured offerings from regional micro-breweries—too many to sample all.
Summer storms are cropping up each afternoon and evening, some more serious than others. Hail, high winds, heavy rains and possible tornadoes are predicted but fail to materialize. Windows in the RV are opened and a nice cool breeze makes for a great night’s sleep.
Friends have warned of the severity of summer storms in this region. Each new campground is asked at check-in if there is an on-site safe shelter in the event of a storm. Only Mama Gertie’s in Asheville, N. C., had a basement large enough to handle its campground customers. We will ride out tonight’s storm, if it comes, in the Green Knight and hope for the best.