September 1, 2007 19:01 - Gonna' Cool Out for a week
We've decided we need a respite from all of .... This. So, Next week, Monday afternoon about 4pm, we're going to pull out and head north for a week.
I think a few days in Yellowstone, and a few more over in the Devils Tower country will be an awful nice change from the 'stuff' we've been dealing with here.
Planning on taking off as soon as I get off from the Hardware store Monday... We'll only run up as far as a real nice roadside up in the vicinity of Wheatland. We'll spend the night there, and then roll easy, turning off at Casper toward Thermopolis.
I'm planning on a couple days somewhere between Cody and West Thumb in Yellowstone.... where ever we end up will be just fine.
The following weekend we'll swing through the Devils Tower area.
Then it's back here... somewhere... for more fun waiting.... But not....RIGHT.... here. Since they opened the road it's like sitting in some of those rest areas on I-80 .... the din is unsatisfying to say the least!
We're thinking maybe even staying up in Poudre Canyon for a bit... we'll see.
I will try to do a few posts along the way on this little circle... where ever I can find some Wi-Fi
September 3, 2007 06:13 - Pulling out this afternoon
We'll pull out as soon after 4 as I can get hitched up.... we'll only go as far as the Wheatland area and find a spot for a night camp.
Tuesday morning we'll cut off the interstate at Casper... after we find a tire! Unless we can find one today... a hard thing to do on labor day. Somehow, a tire got cut pretty good, just driving down the road Saturday evening....
That's one nice thing about duallys. I have enough 'extra' tires to keep on rolling...
I may be unable to post our journey for a couple days.... but I'll be sure to find someplace up around Cody.
However it turns out, we're looking forward to a week or so away from the 'hearburn' :-)
Have a good Labor Day.
Well, we got away about 5:30 loaded up and headed North. Fueled in Cheyenne and continued moving at a nice, easy 65 MPH... Lots of folks in a lot bigger hurry... Bet I'm burning less diesel..... at 12.3 MPG... Have I ever told you I really, really like this truck?
Hit that Rest Area I'd planned on, a little after 8 PM.... was feeling pretty good and Red was running like a top, so I just kept my nose to the wind till we got to Casper. Since I want to find a tire (can you tell we didn't find one in Fort Collins before we left?) in the morning... we can do that real relaxed.
We're parked in good Ol' Wally World Super Center.... Hmmmm.... there's a sign, just as you pull into the lot that says "Sorry, no overnite Camping"..... and there in the lot were at least eight rigs from little trailers to big Buses that were obviously 'dry campin'....
So, I went inside to enquire about the real deal... customer service told me the sign is required by state law but that we are welcome to park... "At our own Risk" and that no-one has been hassled by anyone that they no of since the store opened in something like 1991.... heck... that's in the last century! So... first night on the road FREE! What a cheapskate I am :-)
Free.... right up to the point we parked..... Good new has to be balanced with some oops.... right?
Then the fun started... Heidi got in and immediately.... before turning on the light... started kicking the slide out... which immediately caught a cabinet door which had opened against it.... Repairable but definitely worse for wear now... Moral of that little story... LOOK! before you start moving things! :-O .... of course.... I'M the one in trouble.... should have kept my mouth shut :-(
There's a Perkins restraunt maybe 200' from where we're sitting so we can have a nice, they serve us, breakfast while we wait for the tire shops to get fired up.
See you in the morning.... or whenever I can post this update....
September 4, 2007 21:02 - Big Red and the Eagle are in Yellowstone!
Spent a restful night, guests of Wally World. Had a real pleasant breakfast at the Perkins next door, waiting for the tire shops to open.
Borrowed a phone book from Perkins and made a few calls from the table looking for the tire we need. That's when I discovered... NO-ONE sells the suckers.... Uh Oh....
Well, we walked over to Sams Club which was right next to Wally's place and took a look at their tires..,, no luck there either... talking to the kid that was in the tire shop he thought he might be able to repair the cut rubber we have. When he looked at it he believed that he could so I pulled it out of the truck and rolled it in.
He pulled it apart and found the cut wasn't as bad on the inside as it looked on the outside and did manage to patch it... That was a good thing, because I was figuring I was going to have to put two new tires on to get matching tires on the axle. So, the kid bought me some time to find the tires I'll want to put all the way around.
If you are thinking about General Ameritrac Tires... think again. They perform superbly...but if you bust one... it takes 10 days they tell me, to get one! That don't work for this kid.
But... for the folks that cuss Wal Mart... and Sam's Club... they provided us a place to rest for the night and wouldn't take a nickel for the tire repair.... sounds like customer service to me... and how they'll continue to earn my business!
Any way, we got rolling west from Casper. Turned north at Shoshoni and ran through the wind river canyon along the Big Horn river. After miles of some of the dryest country in Wyoming, that is one pretty canyon. I wanted to stop and take some pictures a couple of times. But the trio of Diesels on my tail who didn't like me driving the speed limit made that pretty much a risky gamble.
I'm a bit confused about those rivers... looks to me like the wind flows into Boysen reservoir... but they call it the Bighorn coming out??? at least on the map I have.
Somewhere north of Shoshoni Buck jumped up in back reached over the seat and started licking my ear... then jumped over and started slobbering on Heidi... we've learned the hard way... when he starts that... you better be looking for a wide spot.... you may read about the flood on the national news!
Didn't stop at Thermopolis either. Heidi suggested we buy swimming suits and go to the Worlds largest mineral springs... but I thought that the folks there deserved a break. A bald headed, chicken legged 'buster' is not something that should be inflicted on the general public.
Transferred about a half a tank of diesel through the new system on the leg between Thermopolis and Cody... hmmm... even with the bright red light... high on the dash... you can still... almost... forget it's on. I'll need to watch that! :-) Otherwise, it worked SWEET!
We hadn't got out of Casper until 9:30 and I was rolling pretty slow so we didn't pull into Cody until after three. So, all though we plan to walk around and see what the tourist traps can con us out of.. we decided to let that wait a day or two and roll on to the the Jewel of the park system.
Just as we were leaving out the west side of Cody, a paramedic type rig, a highway patrolman, and a full size fire truck went screaming past... figured there must be a big wreck up ahead... lovely....
Several miles farther on a county sheriff came up behind me with his lights a flashing... at first I thought: "Heck no! I ain't speeding!" but when I pulled over he went racing on past too.
We went for miles and miles before we came to their destination. Some poor bugger in a silver chevy was crumpled into the side of the mountain ... right behind their crumpled pickup was the ashes, and not much more, of what used to be their RV trailer. I don't know if the trailer caught fire and sent them into the mountain in a panic... or they went into the mountain for some other reason and the trailer caught fire... but from the look of things as we crawled past their ordeal they totaled the whole shebang. Bad day for them... but Yellowstone was still ahead of us!
We got here in fine time... here being Bridge Bay Campground. Now... I much prefer full out Boondocking... in a dispersed area... but... in Yellowstone that means you have to camp one heck of a long way from the park.... Here, we can get up and be pretty central to a lot of the best areas... and.. although the bozo who laid this camp out needs some 'special help' ... there is enough space to make it a fairly nice camp for the two days we'll be here.
We had to run around the 'circle' the 'wrong' way to park in the assigned spot... you'd think they'd know which side of the road to put pull throughs on .... and what sort of a radius to make them... and not put them big Ol' boulders right where your trailer, has got to swing through... I guess the park service thinks it's a good thing to employ some of the learning disabled huh? I guess somebody has to give 'em a job :-)
We're walking distance to the bank of Yellowstone Lake... on which Heidi wants a boat ride... Hmmm... that sucker looks dang near big as an ocean.... I may just have to Cowboy up... anybody got any of them sea sickness pills?
We ran over to Lake Village after supper to do a little shopping... after a long dry day... and having forgot it at the grocery store... I had a hankering for a beer! Doing something I seldom do... I'm trying something different. I'm pretty loyal when it comes to beer. Generally it's Cowboy Koolaid (Coors) ... or Corona... I thought I'd really cut loose and experiment! Picked up some Teton Ale, from Grand Teton Brewing Co. down in Jackson I guess... not too bad.
I walked up to the counter and the woman says... I need to see your I.D. .... you got to be kidding me. I understand being carefull... that's a good thing.... but you can't really believe that ANYBODY is going to think I'm less than 21...... Hell.... I can't hardly even ever remember when I WAS 21 ! I made some quip about it and they replied that the Federal Parks are just a lot more strict than states are... bummer... and I thought she was just figurin' I was 'Youthfull' and cute...
Any way got a Six pack.... nine or ten days on the road... just about right!
Rain rattling on the roof as I type... Yellowstone around me.... cold beer... warm bed waiting... and a Hot woman in it! Hooo WEEE! Life is good!........... Ohhhhhh Heiiiiiiidiii!
Till Tomorrow... Take Care
September 5, 2007 20:07 - Close Encounters of the Wet Kind
***I've put several posts on this evening... you may want to go back to the last day you read and start from there. I think the last post I did was on the 3rd.... I'll be posting another couple 'days' posts tomorrow as I catch up... now that I have access to the net for a couple days.... I NEED my Datastorm!!***
We rolled out of the sack at 5;30 this morning. We'd wanted to try and get some good sunrise pics over Yellowstone lake. Would have worked too... if it wasn't heavy overcast. Made a nice morning though... after the 'incident' anyway.
I had hopped, rock to rock, out into the lake a short little way. Heidi thought it would be fun to join me. She only got half way to where I was and catastrophe! She lost her nerve and turned back. KER SPLASH! If I thought I'd not get clobbered I'd have laughed.... harder than I did... bad, bad, me :-O
Actually... it was a little spooky... that big rock she's standing on... is the spot she turned back from... that little grey rock behind her? is the one she jumped to... and missed... with her noggin missing the BIG rock by only a few inches... whew!
So... back the five or six miles to the rig, so she could put on some dry clothes... I sure am glad I invested in those water proof seatcovers to protect the seats from the dogs!
I wish I'd have had the nerve to get a picture of her face when her cute little backside hit that High Mountain Lake water! She seemed to think it was a mite cold at 6:30 in the A.M.
She kept bragging how her new 'waterproof' shoes kept her feet dry... Hmmm... do you think that her feet and hands sticking up in the air... and her BUTT in the lake had something to do with it?
Once she got dry, we headed out again. Too overcast to get much in the way of Sunrise pics, but a pretty day none the less.
Went on over to Old Faithfull... and managed to miss it's little outburst... twice! That's OK... there's plenty around here to capture a fella's attention... if you miss one thing, you usually see seven others. Like a herd of Buffalo taking their calves swimming across the Yellowstone river later in the day... awsome to see them little fellers just dive in and swim across. The only place we could pull Big Red out to try and photograph the event was occupied... so all we got to do was SEE it! Poor Us :-)
Changing plans in mid stream is pretty common for us. We'd planned on a short hike... but neither of us felt real ambitious by the time we worked around to the place we'd been thinking of. When we looked at where we were and what time it was, it got decided that West Yellowstone was closer than the Eagle to hit for lunch. Since that little town is one of our favorites it doesn't take much of an excuse to send us rolling that a way.
Had a very good meal at the Timberline Cafe just across the street from the police station... don't worry, they never saw me! :-)
After that the dogs were complaining they'd been cooped up in the rig for two days and it was time for a run. Just on the west side of West Yellowstone is a big open area used by snow mobilers in the winter. Makes a perfect place to take the dogs and throw a frisbee. Just what the canine psychologist ordered.
After the romp they insisted on their portraits in front of one of the 'Art' Buffaloes that are scattered all over town. Each one is painted differently by a different artist. Pretty neat.
I read a couple blogs in the last two weeks of people just coming to Yellowstone for the first time and being 'Shocked' by the devastation of the '88 fires. I can't help but wonder... Huh? I'll admit that they were pretty traumatic at the time... but devastation now? All I see is LIFE. Green everywhere. Everywhere there was fire is now lush, new, green sapling pines, grass, and brush.... and more Elk and Buffalo, from the increased forage, than they know what to do with! Nothing was destroyed... everything seems to be renewed.
Along the same lines. That bein'.... perception... Lots of folks coming to Yellowstone, and other 'Wild" country worry about safety around the critters. I just came across something that came from the Park Service I believe... The statistics show that: More people are hurt by PEOPLE & CARS ... inside the park... than the Bears and other Critters combined. SO... enjoy the trip... and be even more careful around people then you are around Bears! :-)
There were some new neighbors when we got back to the Eagle.... These boys kept one of our Two legged neighbors away from the door of his Living Quarters horse trailer for nearly an hour! I told him to just walk up and kick him in the butt... but he declined... offered to let me if I wanted to. Claimed he just wasn't that needful of getting in out of the rain! I declined too.... they weren't keepin' me out of my rig :-)
Another one just to show how close they were to the rig for about a half a day. The other guys rig is JUST to their left. They were kind of 'on the prod' too. They reacted if you got any closer than where I was for this pic. Fun!
It had been planned to move camp in the morning... but... why? We haven't seen a fraction of what there is within easy range of where we are.... I need to follow my own advice! So we extended here another night. It's only $9 for us... with my 'cripple card' (Golden Access) ... $18 for all you other poor buggers.... that ain't all stove up :-)
It's not as much space as I prefer... but it's not shoved together, awning to slide either. The rigs are kind of staggered along the road... so for a few days, considering the rest of our surroundings it's more than tolerable.
Do you notice how I get my wind up when I'm feeling pretty good? Kind of scary ain't it... Heck, I may write a novel every day once that house gets gone! :-) All I know, right this minute is; I'm Alive and I'm in Yellowstone... How does it get any better'n that?
I'm as happy as a Hog with fresh slop!
September 10, 2007 08:04 - Stayin' Busy
Haven't got the pics for the next updates done... got ambushed yesterday with the Mikes Birthday festivities...
Several of us had to reassure him that life don't stop at 50....
Were heading over to Devils Tower and Belle Fourche this morning... went by the Tower yesterday afternoon/evening after the party... it was heavy overcast and raining... what's new on this circle huh?
Today it's a beautiful sunny day.. so we're going to take advantage of it.... I'll get those other updates up this afternoon/evening... I promise!
Till then.... I'm rolling!
September 10, 2007 23:41 - Catching up another day of Yellowstone
I may get caught up... if I don't keep getting farther behind! This is for the 6th of September.
Returning to the scene of the 'incident'... here is another view of the rock from which Heidi took her swim... I thought it might give a little more perspective...
See the 'Big' Rock in the foreground? and the smaller grey rock to the right of it? She took this pic... just before she started her fateful, rock hopping trip out to join me.... and then turned back... taking her swim.
It was heavy overcast and raining when we woke up... so not much chance of sunrise pics today either. We started rolling North... just following our noses... no real destination... Just headed up toward Tower Jct.
These Buffalo posed for a pic in Hayden valley, soon after starting out.
Stopped in at Inspiration Point and Lookout Point... Spots with views of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone.... In the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. There was a fairly sizable earthquake here in '73 or 75'... forget which... the observation 'Deck' at Inspiration Point used to be 100' farther out into the canyon.
... hmmm.... how'd you like to have been standing on that sucker when it shook out from under you?
Talk about a trip to Wal Mart for fresh shorts!.. If you could climb back up out of the canyon...
A bit further on... the Coffee I'd picked up at Lake along with the second cup kidnapped at Canyon started wiggling to get free.... Got so bad my eyes started crossing. Makes it a little tough to steer the truck... which road do I follow... that one on the left or over there on the right?
Finally, came down a hill and found a little pic nik spot with an outhouse... cars comin' from the North... a BIG one right behind me... Big Red just locked up the binders and spun in there slick an' quick!.... Heidi claims it was still rolling when I jumped out and went hoofin' it for the one holer.
Nothing is quite as sweet... as an outhouse at the right moment! Beauty is in the simpler things in life!
We just sat there, in the rain, in the truck at the Lava Creek Pic Nik camp and enjoyed our lunch.... after my sweet relief.
With lunch gobbled up we started north again... there was a small group of people 'glassing' the other side of a long valley as we decended from the high ridge we'd just crossed. So... like all the other 'touristas' we rolled to a stop... got out OUR glasses and started looking....
We could hear him talking.... "See that lowest bank of trees? See that white rock half way up that one tree? Look to the right of that and you'll see his head... there are nine wolves bedded down right there...."
I'd been chasin' critters for well over a bunch of years... all you ever see when they're hidin' in the timber, is a flick of an ear... a tail switch... you seldom ever see the whole cow, or horse. I got pretty good at spottin' such tell tale movement... from a long way away, with just my eyes.
I studied that area for twenty minutes....with 10X binocs. One time he hollers... "There! One just got up and turned around, and layed back down! 15 feet from that white rock!" By this time, this 'actor' has quite a little following.... Trouble is... when he hollered... Heidi and I were looking right at that 'white rock'
... I'm here to tell you... there weren't nuthin' moving on that mountain side. Folks were duckin' and dodgin' trying to get "just the right angle" ... to see these, imaginary, wolves... 1,000 yards away on the other side of that valley. It was more fun to watch and listen to the people than to try and spot wolves that weren't there.
No pack of wolves is going to be in one spot, in the middle of the day... without a movement..
We finally just grinned... shook our heads.... got in the truck and left.... silly bugger was a pretty good con.... Don't know how many times I've seen folks take pictures of a big boulder... braggin' to everybody on the great Grizzly pic they got! :-) If it makes them feel better I guess...
We toured on around through Mammoth Hot Springs, Dropping down through Norris Jct to turn east and head back to the rig still waiting for us... in the rain... at Bridge Bay.
Just before we idled into camp the clouds finally broke so Heidi and I put the pups in the trailer and took a short hike up to the Natural Bridge that the area and campground are named after. They say the trail is supposed to be just over 2 1/2 miles, round trip, but I'd have to say 3 1/2 is probably closer to the truth.... I never took no hour and a half to walk 2 1/2 miles.... stove up or not! :-)
We'd planned on taking a lot more hikes... but it's rained until this afternoon... some days you play outside... some days you get to play inside! ;-)
Tomorrow we have to pull out and head for Devils Tower Country.... but we reeeeally don't want to leave.
September 11, 2007 00:22 - Movin' On (the post for Sept. 7th)
We were on the dump station at Bridge Bay at 9:15 this morning... only four rigs in front of us. Well designed setup for a campground with 400+ sites don't you think? A dump station with ONE port. And then, after you dumped, when you stopped to fill the fresh tank... you blocked the next guy dumping unless everybody paid real close attention... Yup.... Very well thought out :-)
Finally, got dumped, fresh water refilled and rolling at 9:55.
The trip meter has us at 19.7 mpg.. total average for the trip so far... at over 800 miles! Sweet!
Only made it maybe five miles or so to Fishing Bridge. HAD to stop for a fresh cup of Joe... and a print I decided I HAD to have for the rig.
We were walking back to the rig to head east, when I was approached by an RVer by the name of Fred. I think his last name was Speck... but that part is a mite foggy in my memory.
He wondered if I knew anything about awnings. I told him I thought they were used to keep the rain and sun off of you... but I think he wanted more information than that :-) I guess he was having problems with his... He just 'inherited' the rig from his Dad, I believe it was... He got too old to wander any more.
When I get there... just hit me in the head with a shovel and throw dirt in my face!
We walked over and took a look at it. Sure enough, the forward end wouldn't lock in for travel. As we deployed it a foot or so, to try and get it to go back up and lock in... BANG! CLUNK! The main spring completely let go.
We fiddled with it for a while and then finally just got it manually rolled up and tied in place with a bungee cord and a healthy dose of Duct Tape. Figured it would get him home.... but I'd guess that particular awning has crossed the great divide. There were a couple busted little parts on it... likely cheaper to just replace the whole deal.
Said our goodbyes and headed for Cody. Construction holdup again, in the Sylvan Pass area, for about a half hour. but then down the hill we went... by the time we rolled into Cody I'd pushed the mileage up to 20.1
It's gotten to be kind of a fun game for me. Of course... having a 10,000 lb trailer pushing you down the mountain can sure help with fuel mileage! :-)
And that Jake kept me from touching the brakes outside of a couple real tight corners.
Kept the average up pretty high... right up to the point we started climbing the Big Horns.
If you are crossing the Big Horns in northern Wyoming, on Hwy 14 I have a suggestion. If you lack some good Mountain Driving Experience, or consider your rig a bit 'marginal', for brakes or power... stay on REGULAR Hwy 14, Whether you are going east or west.
Alt 14 is best left to those with a strong rig and who know what they're about. We pulled into our Bald Mountain night camp with the mileage knocked down to 13.6 mpg. In very few miles... I don't even want to think what the consumption rate is grinding up that hill. 3? 4 mpg? good thing you get to the top!
Big Red came up that grade just fine... but he claims he don't wanna do it again anytime soon! That is a HILL! One motor munching, fuel sucking, brake eating monster. I'm guessing 10 maybe 12% grade. It's steep. :-O
3rd gear and cranking hard. Used every one of those 650 ft lbs of torque under the hood.
I made the mistake of pulling into a rest area fairly close to the top... to see if we wanted to just stop there for the night.
It didn't toot Heidi's whistle... and since I'm all about whistle tootin', I pulled right back out... only problem was.... on that grade, I couldn't get back into 3rd gear... had to stay in 2nd till the grade softened enough for me to shift... Truck would slow down so much on that slope that it just bogged when I let out the clutch. Ugly!
Temp. climbed to about 205 or so and stuck there... that Ol' Cummins was workin'!
Any way, just after topping out is the Medicine Wheel Nat. Historic site... and just east of that is our night camp... Bald Mountain Campground. Right nice spot.... there's only one other group in here tonight... looks like hunters.... and the camp is closed for the season... so no fee! no water and no trash cans... but no fee.... free is good!
Finally... no rain... so we got to have a 'S'mores' fire! Yes sirree bob.... It ain't a life worth havin' without S'mores! Especially at 9,400' !
It's cold! Gonna go see, has Heidi got that bed warmed up yet :-)
September 12, 2007 14:47 - Our Bald Mountain Camp
***Catch up post for the 8th of September***
Bald Mountain Camp in the Big Horns.... 7 A.M.
This is what Boondocking is all about. Plenty of space... nearly all alone here. You don't Have to stay out on the back side of beyond. There are no hookups here... there is a Forest Service outhouse that would sure help stretch water.
(At sunset last night)
They've got water here in the summer, but it's off now. Several real nice sites. A Diesel Pusher could back into the spot I grabbed. Hmmm... maybe I've been too hard on those folks :-)
Nice graded road coming in too. When you're tired, at the end of a long day, it's nice not having to worry about the road. If we had more time, we'd day trip out from here, and locate the spot for our 'Long Camp'.... If... we didn't just stay here!
It's a nice spot.
***Sunset last night in our Bald Mountain Camp
Perfect setting for the S'mores we had last night. The dogs got to run and play after a long day on their dog deck. This cheapie digital camera I still have is too slow to catch them very well... you trip the trigger and it takes the picture... tomorrow!
If that house ever sells I'm getting one of those good Nikon D80's or maybe I'll treat myself to a D200! Oh Yeah!
I'm gettin' soft. Ran the furnace last night. Only set it a touch over 60... but it was on.... I don't think those dome tents our neighbors are sleeping in are quite as warm. My thermometer I set out last night says it's 32 degrees outside.
I feel guilty... sitting here in my pajama bottoms, drinking coffee... with the heater pushing all that warm air... knowing them folks have to cook their breakfast... standing out there with gloves and wool caps on...
Yeah right... I feel reeeel guilty... :-)
A few snow pellets on the table outside when we crawled out this morning. Winter is just around the corner, up here at 9,000 feet. There's a herd of cows just outside the rail fence they put up around this little camp. They'll be pulling them out in the next few weeks I'd guess.
I remember those mornings in Cow Camp, making the fall gather. Rolling out of my bag, pulling on icy jeans, and stamping my feet into cold stiffened boots... Warming my hands with a tin cup of hot coffee... after I hobbled over to the fire... trying to get stood up straight.
I'd not change a thing.... glad to know I had it in me... kind of sad to see it going away... REEEL glad I have that furnace cranking THIS cold morning :-)
So far, been on this circle for five days... have $27 in 'parking' fees.... would have been a big zero outside of Yellowstone... you just can't boondock there! For the rest of you folks that Don't have my Golden Access 'cripple card' :-) ... it would have cost you $54... still a pretty good bargain I think...
Though... if you have a few years on you, you can get one of the Senior passes that gets you the same deal. Check it out with the Forest Service.
I'd have to say I prefer using NFS camp areas to National Park Service. Whoever the Park Service hired to lay out their camps... has never been to see one. They must think Motorhomes bend in the middle... and with 75 million acres, you'd think they could afford another 10 feet here and there to widen the roads and move sites a miter further apart... It's not like they have to buy it!
***One little side note about NFS campgrounds: they tend to be TOO conservative on their 'size' estimates. We've often stayed in camps that 'In the Book' were rated at 22-27 feet. We're some bigger than that and have had ZERO difficulty. Those aren't 'Enforced' limits. Just what some NFS official thought was right... I think they chose to err on the 'conservative' side.
Check them out once in a while before you just pass them by... you'll often find a sweet little camp.
Other than that, they're still better than the way most commercial 'RV Parks' try to squeeze that last drop of juice out of the turnip. They all should take a lesson from the Forest Service. It's my bet they'd have a lot happier bunch of guests and not have to try to get ordinances passed to force folks into their camps. I'd think, with a higher occupancy rate they could soften the bill a mite, and make their 'service' a mite more attractive.
Just my free advice... but they do get their moneys worth I guess :-)
We'll take a leisurely breakfast this morning, and thin we've got to move on over to the area northeast of Moorcroft. My buddy Mike lives there, and we're coming to celebrate his attaining the ancient age of 50. He's even starting to get a little bit moldy.... Too bad for him he's not as pretty as I am.
So far I'm real happy with the way the solar system is working. Considering I've only gotten a little less than half the planned panels installed... it's keeping us in quiet electricity just fine. I've only been running the inverter... maybe an hour or two... but those two 130 watt Kyocera panels have been doing a pretty fine job.
I'd originally planned on five panels... maybe six.... but I'm thinking now that 4 are going to be just dandy... If I'm wrong, adding the other one will be a simple thing.
Tomorrow it's on to Devils Tower...
September 14, 2007 17:05 - Catchin' Up some more
I have another day or two from the circle to get posted. Might get that done tonight if I can get the rest of these 'fires' put out.... dealing with the same old real estate 'inferno'... can't get people to listen to simple instruction.... frustrating.
On top of that, one of the reasons I've not been able to get my posts up the last couple days is that I couldn't get online.... again. So.... this afternoon, I went and got a Verizon air card set up... only took an hour on the phone with a tech to get the durn thing to actually work... but now, that seems to be happening... as this and that last post are getting there over the air card.
Whew! what a mule busting ordeal all this is for a guy who only wants to go fishin'....
I'll get back to work on the final day or two of our circle.... and hope we can get back to it.... soon!
September 16, 2007 19:59 - The Last Post on our Yellowstone/Devils Tower Circle
A couple days are compacted into this post.
One of the first mornings, parked at Mike's, southeast of Devils Tower, I woke to this view of Wild Turkeys out our bedroom window;
All he has to do, in season, is stand on his back porch to collect his Thanksgiving turkey... he has a rough life.
While we were parked there, east of Pine Haven, we made two visits to Devils Tower. The first was late in the afternoon of a rainy day ( the standard for this circle!) for a quick visit.
It may have been raining and kind of chilly, but it's still an awful pretty place. Without getting all gushy an' such, I do believe a fella'd have to be pretty cold inside, to not feel some sort of mystery in that place.
It may have been raining on our first attempt, but, how-some-ever, we returned the next day to enjoy the beauty of that mounument under a blue, clear, sky.
That first afternoon, we only went a short way on the inner, paved, Tower Trail. This one is best for folks a mite wobblier than my Ol' self. It stays pretty flat, and is only 1.3 miles to circle the tower.
For our second trip, Heidi and I decided, since we had not done much hiking, due to the weather, to take a stroll along the Red Beds Trail that goes a couple miles out around the whole area. This is another one of those places where it's pretty difficult to take a bad picture... even if you've only got a rinky dink little Kodak digital.
Had this view along the Red Beds trail. Hard to have low spirits in a place like this! Just set down for a spell and let it soak in. A fella can't help but feel better!
You get to see the Tower from every possible angle along the way... it peeks through the trees and over the ridges giving a new view, all along the way.
The Indians have one legend about how the Tower was formed....
... as for myself.... I don't believe you'll catch me poking a bear that big, with a sharp stick!
There are a couple fairly steep spots along that Red Beds trail... but nothing I consider awful... you can always stop and take a breather... no-one pushing you, I promise. It's quiet, and peaceful. A soul healing place for sure.
We made it around... taking a lot longer than I had figured... I guess we dawdled in a little bit of heaven... and got back to the truck before the sun could get to the other side of the tree we had the 'kids' parked under. They said since they had to wait for us they deserved their picture taken.... so....
Big Red got fired up and we turned east toward Belle Fourche... But, stopped just a mite east of Alva for a late pic nic lunch in the Bear Lodge Campground.
That's one of the best ways I know to keep your grocery bill down when you're touring... pack a pic nic lunch. Makes for an awful nice, quiet break too.
After lunch we moved on toward Belle Fourche. Got a cup of Joe there.... that's how I mark distances... How many cups of coffee to get there!... then, turning south we rolled down to Deadwood.
Now there's a town with a 'western' name don't you think? Pulled in there late in the afternoon, just in time for the Deadwood 'incident'. Came around a corner to gunsmoke and booming shooters!
Kind of a weak picture... but if you look close you can see the shooters...
It was gettin' on toward sunset so we turned back north, caught the interstate and burnt some rubber off the tires whistling back to Pine Haven for a promised Steak Dinner with Mike and Cathy.... You should see Mikes steaks... They have to sew two cows together to build one... biggest dang things I've ever seen... Heidi and I had to split one!
We left for Colorado the next day around noon.... didn't want to... but still have that 'stuff' to deal with.
Some one commented about the lousy weather we had most of the trip.... I thought about it a minute and replied;
"A rainy day in Heaven is better than the sunniest day in Hell.... ain't it?"
Every once in a while I manage to stitch a few words together.... if I say so myself!
September 17, 2007 09:14 - Pickup?... MDT?.... HDT?
After my posting of the description of 14A, climbing the west side of the Bighorn Mountains up in Wyoming, reader Art asked if I had... or why I hadn't.... considered a bigger truck. It was such a good question I thought I'd respond here.
The truth is, I have... and still am.
They eliminate, pretty much, any worry of running your rig over capacity... I mean, I don't know how you're going to overload an MDT or HDT with anything that can be called an RV. If you get one of those rigs overloaded, whatever it is you hitched the truck up to ... IS NOT... an RV :-) Hauling that sucker is not recreation... that's work!
So, my main goal, is to maintain our ability to get back into smaller, tighter, more secluded places. With that in mind it's my feeling, our 30' fiver is about as big as I can go. An MDT would be way under it's capacity, with our trailer... but our current '06 Dodge Cummins Dually is too.... so, so far - so good.
An HDT... pulling our rig would look wierd to me.... Kind of like having a 40' semi flatbed to haul your weekly groceries home. Way too much rig for our needs.... can't you see it? A Volvo 610... with a 40 foot flatbed... running down the interstate.... with six Wal Mart grocery bags strapped down on the bed? :-)
Now, if I/we ever opt to go to one of the bigger outfits... 37' fivers and such.... good ol' Big Red would be in way over his hood..... Honestly, I see THAT, all the time. I think that most of that comes from good folks gettin 'sold' by some dealer ONLY interested in making the commision. Those poor folks get dissillusioned by the experience and end up goin' home... a lot poorer.
Hopefully, more of 'em will run across a lot of you guys.... and maybe me.... so we can give 'em some better information before they cut the check.
Since we are stuck in our effort to break free and hit the road... and trying hard to continue to simplify our life in the mean time.... navigating around town in nothing but an MDT or HDT would be a genuine hassle....
Going into town... once in a while for supplies... once we got on the road would be no great trial.
One other thing... Since Big Red is 4wd... and a little narrower and shorter than even an MDT... when we're back roading on day trips... he is quite a bit more capable than the bigger trucks.... even with his wide 'hips'. You can get those Big trucks in 4wd ... but boy-o-boy, you better have a wallet a lot thicker than my skimpy little thing!
In the end, which rig is best for folks is probably mostly dependant on how you want to travel and where you want to go. If you keep to bigger 'parks' and don't move nearly so often... and have the rig set up with some sort of alternative/toad transport, for when you're in camp, I'd think a Volvo 610 would be a sweet rig that would allow a mite more bad weather living space.
If like us...you tend to move every few to 10 days... and want to get into forest camps, up narrow forest roads, the big rigs might be a little too awkward.... try bending 65' of rig around a turn with maybe a 20' radius, and rocks/trees right tight to the trail..... Oh yeah, it's fun Baby! right up to the point that the road ends around a blind bend, and you have to back 'Tiny' out of that hole! :-O
I'm not going to stand here.... um.... SIT.... here, and tell you I have all the answers.... even being as brilliant a cowboy philosopher as I am ;-) .... The only thing I can try to do is give you all the information I do have... try to point ya'll in the direction of folks with more knowledge and experience than I have; and hope your decision fits your world well.
One thing I think you'll find... As RV Boondocking and RV Full-Timing is, I believe, partly a search for a simpler life... I'm sure you're going to come to see a sure enough fact.... The effort to simplify can be a complicated deal! Often two steps forward... one step back... sometimes three! Do Not Despair... each failure is really success. You've found what doesn't work and eliminated one step from your search... It's not the destination anyway.... IT'S THE TRIP!
Take it from a genuine cynic (you can ask Mike!) ... work hard to find the good in a thing... the dark side only brings you heartburn.... cast it away... deliberately... find the growing grass in the rain. "It'll make for a more harmonious outcome"
End of Sermon :-) ..... (I'm sure glad I'm not one of those OPINIONATED people!... it's tough enough being as pretty as I am!)
September 19, 2007 09:11 - Buffalo Surprise!
I almost forgot to tell you about this little excitement.
We were taking some pictures of the 'Kids' (Lily and Buck) up in Yellowstone. Heidi had them posed on a log and I took this picture...
I was looking through the viewfinder and Heidi says.... "Oh, the leash is in the way...Let me move it"... and then steps back into my view, in the camera viewfinder to rearrange the leash. You can see it just peeking over Lily's shoulder. (She's the Black Tri Aussie)....
All of a sudden, as I'm looking through the viewfinder...and she is trying to rearrange the leash... she lets out a squeal, eeeiiiiii!!! , grabs both leashes, and literally jerks the pups off the log and goes to runnin'!
All I can see is them flailing out of my view in the camera.... So, I drop the camera from my eye and start to ask... "What the hey? Why..... !!!!..... Oh. "
RIGHT behind them comes this guy....
RIGHT behind means... he came walking across maybe 15 or 20 feet right behind them as she was fiddling with the leash. Neither of us saw or heard him coming and he never paid the least little bit of attention to us.... but 20 feet is way under the minimum distance you need to keep away from these critters. Way under being like 100' or more UNDER! :-)
He looks sort of BIG in this pic. That's because he was... I didn't have any zoom on it... he was close! Sneaky Bugger.
The sod there was soft and quiet, and we were focused on getting our pic.... failed to keep a proper awareness of the area around us... good way to get bruises.
We had to make a run in to the Wal Mart in Cody for some new BVD's! Heidi was still quivering a half hour later! :-O
On a differant note, a short while before we left on our Yellowstone/Devils Tower Circle I made an addition/modification to our Dog Deck.
Heidi was concerned that Buck occassionally seemed to limp a little after he jumped out of the truck, coming off the deck. I came up with this ramp idea to cut the distance he/they have to jump down to the ground. I hadn't thought about it, but coming off the full height of the deck would be sort of like me jumping off the roof of the fifth wheel a couple times a day... that probably wouldn't be a good thing for me either.
They both zip in and out a lot easier now, with no sign of any discomfort.... Just something to keep in mind if you build some similar setup for your 'Kids'.
Well, it's back to the salt mine for me!
Till Next time
September 20, 2007 07:52 - Walk Softly... But Carry a Big Stick!
You know, I was looking at our recent trip pics and it occurred to me... a little piece of wood could have saved Heidi a lot of embarrassment and discomfort... of course it would have also cut out some good material to write about but, oh well, life in the west right?
For both of us... though I'm not yet as wobbly as she is... :-) ... a walking staff or stick would have been just the ticket.
In both these pics, the water is only from a couple inches to a foot or so deep. If we'd had walking sticks, we would have been a lot steadier, goin' from rock to rock... and Heidi probably wouldn't have gone swimming!
So, next time you're in one of those tourist traps that hawk all the gizmos, goo gaws, and gotta-haves... you might just look in that barrel they usually have for the 'Hand Made, Hand Carved, Genuine imitation Walking sticks!" It might be one thing that you actually... could.... need! and a nice 'momento' at the same time.
It would have been nice to have one, in a spot or two, on our little Devils Tower Hike as well, and plenty others. Having that stick to brace yourself on slippery or steeper trails would be kind of nice.
I've not yet found the one that toots my own whistle. Being the finicky fella I am, I must be very careful that any accessories I add don't degrade my Image none... ;-)
So far, this Verizon Air Card is doing an excellant job.... though I've only used it here in town... The real 'test' will be out on the road... eventually.... it would be nice if it gets the job done for us. Total cost for the air card... if I get my keister in gear and send in the rebate paperwork is ZERO... I can afford that!
I do intend to add a Wilson electronics Antennae and Booster amplifier. The only thing that will knock it down for me is failure to get access when we're in a back country spot.... That'll be tolerable, if I don't have to go too far, to find signal so I can upload posts and check mail. If it's always necessary to take a 40 mile drive to do my posts... it'll get a little awkward.
For example... in Yellowstone, there is no cell signal over most of the park... but, there seemed to be cell sites in the vicinity of several of the 'Villages'... Canyon Village for instance. That was only a very few miles from our camp... I could live with that... especially when you consider that a satellite setup is going to cost me $1700 to $5200 depending on tripod or automatic.... and that much more expensive hardware to maintain.
Let's hope Verizon and the others keep on trying to live up to their advertising! I won't hold 'em to it... I don't expect they will... but if they can just get close... I'll be a happy, and not quite as broke, man! :-)
This air card is way faster than the dial up I'm used to and well within my needs for speed. Area coverage is my only concern with it. A real benefit to the air card is that you can use it ... AS.... you are driving down the road.... If you're searching an area for a campsite, or overnite location, that can be a sweet benefit. You just can't do that with the satellite systems..... too many choices!
The way cell phone area coverage has improved in the last few years... if a guy could tough it out for a year or two, satellite systems just might become obsolete!... Let me spend the big bucks for it today and I can just about guarantee it will! :-)
There sure are a lot of complications in simplifyin' your life, ain't there?
September 21, 2007 05:37 - You Just Can't See it From the Road!
Our last circle showed me, one more time, how much people miss. They make all the preparations and spend all the money to get there and then don't see a fraction of what there is in a place... because they won't get more than 50 feet from the seat of their Silverado! They roll on by, peering at the blur going by their windows and never see the fantastic beauty that's just over that first ridge... maybe a twenty minute stroll.
What a shame. Truth is, the best parts of Yellowstone, Glacier, The Mogollon Rim in Arizona, The Olympic Penninsula and on and on... cannot be seen from the road!
You'll most likely miss this view, if you only see what you can see... peering through your bug coated windshield.... and all your pictures of it... will have everyone elses cars in it as well.
If you're like me, you require a little dark forest to heal a bruised soul. This life is a piece of work, and a mite of solitude, on
a shrouded mountain trail, will do you a lot of good.
When you're feeling a little low... your portfolio is doin' an imitation of a submarine, your rig picked up another windshield ding, right after you burnt breakfast... don't you think a stroll along the Yellowstone River would put things back into proper perspective?
If that don't do it.... I know this lil' darlin' an' her youngster will do the trick!
All of these, you had to get away from the roads and the crowds to collect.... and to get the full benefit of. It's hard to appreciate things when some rude, pushy, inconsiderate, bozo is knocking you off the sidewalk at the usual tourist stops.
You don't have to hump a 60 Lb. combat ruck either. A little day pack with your lunch, some water, a rain jacket, etc will do the job just fine. I often use something as small as a fanny pack. Many of our 'Hikes' are only two or three miles. It's amazing how different things are just a few steps around the first bend in the trail. The crowds seldom go that far. The more steps you take, the more your privacy and rewards grow. Just a short walk, if that's all you have time for will do you wonders... and I think you'll find you start stopping more... and walking farther.
One of our "Family Joke" pictures... Brian... The great explorer... posing on a big rock.... with his lil' bitty fanny.... Pack!
And don't be over concerned with how well you get around either. I have been walkin' around with a dislocated spine for more than 25 years... and Heidi is no gymanast; But we get around Ok... And so what if you get a mite tired? Sit down, have a snack from your pack and enjoy the world around you while you catch your breath...
Guess what else? Your truck is not going to squeeze down this trail...
...Heidi would have liked a Hiking Staff on this little trail!...
If you're counting on your rig getting you down such trails as this one, let me tell you, it ain't gonna happen! You'll miss seeing such things. There's too much out there to see friends. Don't say you can't. Say you can, and then do it! The more you do, the stronger you'll be... and I promise, the happier too!
Come on... take those first steps... see what few others do... save some fabulous pictures of it.... and help me make the rest of 'em jealous!
September 23, 2007 14:49 - Did you know? They've created a new Photographic Technology!
These cameras could be real fun at a party... or at an RV Rally!
Heidi and I had supper with some friends a few weeks ago to celebrate her (one of the friends) birthday. During the meal she got out this new camera of hers and started popping pictures.
As it turns out, these new cameras have some sort of electronic sensors in them that can identify and read brain waves. In affect, reading your mind. They then print those readings on the photo when you print it out.
She stopped by yesterday to give us a copy. Pretty amazing stuff don't you think?
It's a little hard to read here but:
The 'sensor' printout from Heidi reads "I wonder if I have another Limon Cello and keep my eyes closed I can pretend he is Matthew McConahaughey?"
A fella really needs to watch what he's a thinkin' nowadays! You can't keep nuthin' private any more!
Take care people... and watch your thoughts :-)
September 24, 2007 10:10 - What a Wimp!
It started raining pretty steady about 3:30 or 4 a.m. this morning... seemed to start letting off a bit around 8... so I told Heidi I'd go ahead and get 'geared up' and ride Slick to work...
The 'let off' got suspended, with it coming down pretty solid again.... I quickly got dressed and Big Red and I took Heidi and the pups to her store... so I can take the truck to the farm and ranch store... I just don't feel like riding in the rain today.
Sure sign of advancing age!
Hey, a reader asked me why I hadn't considered changing to a composter toilet for boondocking... I told him we actually had... just hadn't got around to making a decision or doing it...
Has anyone made that conversion in their RV? If so... what's been your experience? I'd be real interested to hear...
Unusually short post today.... running behind with the weather...:-)
Keep dry where you're at!
September 25, 2007 07:30 - RV Boondocking Income
I want to take on a pretty delicate subject here. Money. This is a touchy thing that stirs a lot of emotions and opinions... so I'll try and not poke the badger too much! Like I said, this is a serious subject... so I'm putting my off center sense of humor on hold for the day. :-)
I figure a lot of folks, dreaming of RV Boondocking Full-Time, (as Heidi and I are struggling to get loose to do) like us, are going to need or desire, some added, supplemental income. After all the years pushing cows I can say that our savings are anemic to say the least... and darn near invisible if you want to be accurate! We've come a long way in the last 8 or 10 years, but have a long way to go!
It's pretty plain, as well, that there are a heck of a lot of ways to produce that income. Just as plain, I think, is that part of my effort here on my site , is to try and create some part of that income for Heidi and I.
My thought is that the only way I can do that... and look at myself when I shave in the morning.... is to put something of worth, quality, and value here for you. I have worked hard to do that and hopefully, some will agree that I have in some way succeeded.
Many of my readers here, like me, want something other than regular work kamping. That's why I chose the route of building a website.
The trip has been an unexpected joy.... some more of those flowery words from an Ol' Geezer! Only thing is, they're still true!
Building the site has become one of my greatest passions. I'd thought I'd probably find some enjoyment in it. The absolute pleasure I am experiencing is really unexpected.
Back to the income.... Come the end of April 2008, Goin' RV Boondocking will be two years old. Around last September/October the site had matured to the point I felt adding in the Google Adsense was reasonable. Since then the site, thanks to you people, has continued to grow steadily. It's taken a lot of work, but as I said, that work has been a true pleasure.
The fact that anyone wants to listen to the ramblings of a broken down old cowboy is rewarding in ways even I cannot put into words.(and I am seldom at a loss for words!)
It started out pretty slow... just a few dollars that first month or two. Google is very strict about discussing the money made. Their desire is to protect the integrity of their system, and in that they have my full support. So, I cannot go into detail.
That said, I can tell you that now, after somewhere around a year, my work is producing something like 65%+ of our diesel budget... I'm not getting rich, but it is making a significant contribution to our budget... and it continues to improve with each passing month... as long as I maintain a consistent effort, it continues steady growth.
In the coming months, I am working at getting some 'other' writing projects published here on the site.
The point of all this wind is this; If you are looking for a way to produce some supplemental income, and want the freedom of working in your own rig, on your own schedule, I urge you to consider building your own site.
Every one of you, whether you have realized it or not, possess a huge amount of knowledge and skills that others are looking for. It need not be about RVing. You've worked in countless professions and trades. You have a wide variety of avocations in which you are blessed with amazing talents.
Those skills and talents are assets. They can and will provide you supplemental, even full income, if they are shaped into a quality website.
It's not easy. It takes hard work. There are no free lunches. But, if you are willing to invest that time and effort, the rewards can be tremendous. It has been that for me... and remember, I was not, and remain NOT... a computer techie. I have not any sort of an idea what happens inside this machine when I push the buttons. I only know, with the webhost I have, what comes out!
If you plan on stepping off on your Full-Time RV Boondocking dream, a couple years from now, I urge you to start developing your method of producing any supplemental income now. Each success will take you closer to that dream.
OK... end of today's Sermon :-)
September 26, 2007 07:47 - More Rambling on Big Rigs/MDT's/HDT's and the 'Road' in general
Everybody out there has got different needs and pleasures. That's one of the things that makes being an RV'n Vagabond such a pleasure. Seeing all the different ways people have worked out their own personal answers to the question: "Which rig for me?"
I look at those Volvos, Internationals, Freightliners and such and I am 100% impressed. They are awsome rigs. Only thing is... they don't fit me. I guess I wandered in nothing but a pickup for too long. I crave simplicity... If it weren't for having Heidi and the dogs along... and that wild cat that insists on making my life a 'Howling' ride... I expect I would be living in either a pickup camper or a small pull trailer or maybe one of the really small fivers.
With the big rigs, for me, there's too much 'extra' to deal with. This is a 'personal perception' of mine. If those things don't cause you any heartburn, and those big rigs (including 37' fivers hauled by duallys) are what hangs a smile on your face go for it friend!
I don't need much... actually, to say that a little more accurately .... I need simple. I crave it. Having things constantly poking and jabbing at me... license requirements, registration issues, insurance, awkward size in tight quarters, more hardware to maintain, things to pay for, the simple burden of too many possessions, yadda, yadda, yadda, gives me the quivers.
Our rig, as I've said before, at 30 feet is the biggest that stays in my comfort zone. It's honestly bumping up against the top end. I think of going larger... but I end up deciding that I am more comfortable doing without those things I could have with a bigger rig, then I would be with the additional things 'poking' me by adding them.
I am, in no way, criticizing anyone who goes bigger or has bigger. I would only be critical of your 'way' if no matter how hard you tried it... it hung a frown on your face. If the world that you've built is making you unhappy... cull the stuff that's doing it! Don't hang on to it just because you put a lot of effort and money into it... if it ain't workin'... DUMP IT!
Life is way to short to hang on to things that hurt you just because you've been 'conditioned' to.
That's the point really, isn't it? If something makes you unhappy... get rid of that sucker. Sell it, trade it, give it away... have a BBQ! If it's a job.... think! .... somewhere out there is, something, that you can do... to produce your needs... that will also be a pleasure to do. Don't settle for Thoreau's "Quiet Desperation". Keep looking. Don't give up.
That's what this RV life is all about I think. Deep down inside it's that yearning ache to find what we've all decided is missing in our world. To discard all those things we've let ourselves be wrangled into pursuing, that failed to 'produce' the promised pleasure.
Now don't get me wrong... It ain't all roses... it can't be.... every once in a while you got to go hook up that sewer hose and dump some nasty stuff! But... change what you can. Accept what you can't... and give thanks that the boss let you have that sunny day that's streaming though the window as I sit here and write this.
Tomorrow, Miss Heidi and I are making one of our Mountain circles to recharge and refresh and push aside some of the frustration of having to continue waiting on the real estate market.
I want to thank all of you for coming to my site, and providing me with this opportunity that brings me so much pleasure. So... here goes! Many, Many Thanks! I will be forever grateful.
Before I go, I've been wondering.... How do you plant a seedless grape?
Take Good Care
September 28, 2007 08:35 - "To The Mountains, I can rest there"
....To quote a line from a favorite John Denver song of mine. For me, as long as I can remember, if I have a need to see the face of God, I go to the mountains. There is just nowhere better to find the Boss, than in the High up and Lonesome.
Fall color was also something we were looking for....
We started out kind of lazy yesterday though. Got a fairly late start for what turned out to be a day that used every bit of daylight.
I found a road we'd never rolled down before so headed south, about as fast as Big Red could roll without getting some expensive attention from Deputy Dog.
Our target was the area south and west of Georgetown, which sits along I-70 west of Denver. That's where we made our first stop. You know, we've rolled past the town for better than 20 years, and I have no memory of ever stopping there. If you're running along I-70 and need a place to take a break, it's a pretty good spot. There's a nice visitor center which contains a small shop and COFFEE!
If the pups need a break as well, the Visitor Center has a Dog Walk area on the west side.
If you go into the town itself... you'll not want to take the whole rig. It gets real narrow down in there but it's a picturesque little place.
Across the street from the visitor center is a little place called Mad Mikes.... Outdoor gear and espresso. Now, I have to say that I am not a consumer of espresso. Not latte. Not any of that frothy, flavored, milky, foo foo, stuff in a cup. I drink COFFEE! Plain old Cowboy, barefoot, hot, black, coffee.
So, I was not a customer for the espresso.... what caught my attention was hanging on the west wall of the establishment.
... I grinned as I walked past, headed for the Connoco to get plain old coffee... I wasn't aware of the coffee in the Visitor Center yet.... A clever recycling of old fixtures right?
Hmmmm.... so many rude jokes come to mind..... I'll behave myself this time though :-)
After I got coffee'd up, Heidi got her 'rest stop' and the Dogs got their run, we started down the road to Guanella Pass.
It starts out pretty pot holed and rough, but if you keep rolling it smooths out, and the sights along the way make the first few miles worth it.
Up on top there's an area to park with a trail or two branching out. It's high up there at 11,669 feet, so if you're not used to altitude, take it easy on your walk!
We got back to Hwy 85 at Grant, turned west, crossed over Kenosha pass (10,001 feet) where we stopped for lunch.
As it turned out our search for fall color was a little too late. Seems like we should have come through maybe a week ago.
Most of the best seemed to have gone by.
Looking up from the table in a campground along the 'Colorado trail' I did see this tree....
Those gold leaves against just about the bluest sky I could imagine, caught my eye.... or Heidi's... who pointed it out to me! As we pulled out after lunch there was this mountainside across the top of the pass.
Sometimes the mountains are spectacular.... sometimes, the 'always there' beauty of the High Country is more subtle. Harder to capture with a camera. This trip was one of those times. That High Country recharged me just as it always does... it just wasn't in the mood to be photographed much! Sometimes it's best to just let it soak in, rather than trying to 'capture' it.
Our road then went over Red Hill Pass (9,993 feet) turned north at Fairplay, climbed up over Hoosier Pass (11,541 feet) getting back to I-70 at Frisco. We had thought we might add a loop a little farther west, but decided we'd already bit off a healthy chunk of the Colorado Rockies for one day, and still had a ways to go to get home to the Eagle.
The shortest way home... that didn't involve the interstate the whole way, was to run back east on I-70, through the Eisenhower tunnel and jump off at Empire to run north again, over Berthoud Pass (11,315 feet) and on to Granby, and Grand Lake.... where we stopped for the required dose of 'road food' to get us over the top of Milner Pass (10,758 feet) and Trail Ridge road (12,183 feet) ... and down the Big Thompson Canyon and home.
Whew! A long day... quite a few miles, six passes, some really excellant fudge, and one darn high road, but, I never, ever, complain of a too long day, in the mountains I need so much! Especially when Big Red finishes up at 23+ mpg doin' it!
See Ya the next time!