Wyoming and Planning

Current Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

This morning we decided to take up the Mt. Rushmore KOA on their offer of all you can eat pancakes for $3. Though we only ate what they originally put on our plate (3 pancakes), it was a pretty good deal. After breakfast, we went back to the trailer, hitched up and headed out.

We had a windy drive today. A couple gusts hit us broadside and reminded us to take it easy, so we slowed back a bit. We stopped in Gillette, Wyoming at a truck stop and had lunch. It was about an hour from there when we arrived here in Buffalo, Wyoming. We were able to score the same creekside spot we had last fall when we were heading east through the same route.

IMG_6923

Creekside spot at Buffalo KOA

After we got set up, Malcolm took care of some work. Afterwards, we decided to eat out at a local steakhouse. The food was delicious and plentiful. We’ll have leftovers for dinner tomorrow night, for sure. After dinner we went to the grocery to get a few items and stopped to fill up the truck with fuel.

Our original plans had us stopping in Montana on Thursday, then on to either Coeur D’Alene, Idaho or Spokane, Washington for a two-night Friday/Saturday stay. It is still summer, though, and campgrounds in both areas are booked solid through the weekend.

We adapted and decided to stop in Livingston, Montana tomorrow night and Deer Lodge, Montana on Friday night, even though Deer Lodge and Livingston are not real far apart. On Saturday, we’ll make a fairly long (380-ish mile) trip on over to Moses Lake, Washington. There, we hope to find an empty spot in the Grant County Fairgrounds campground. Given that nothing is scheduled until their fair in a couple weeks and they have almost 300 campsites, we figure we’ll be able to find something.

Summer destinations are the bane of the full-time RV traveler. Many campgrounds understandably book up in advance for the weekends, requiring some pre-planning or flexibility on the part of the full-timer. Once we’re past Labor Day weekend, things typically open up pretty well.

 

Creekside In Wyoming

Current Location: Buffalo KOA, Buffalo, Wyoming

Pretty quiet travel day today. We left Montana around 8:45 AM and arrived here in Buffalo, Wyoming around 4:15 PM. We were put in one of the nicest spots (in our opinion) in the campground, right next to a creek and with our door facing away from everyone else.

Our site looking up from the creek

Our site looking up from the creek

Once we got set up, Val started preparing dinner while Malcolm pulled out the grill and a couple chairs. Dinner was cooked on the grill and we ate at the picnic table outside the trailer. Today’s temperatures were in the 70’s and 80’s (the upper 80’s at one point).

After dinner outside, we took everything in and headed downtown to the grocery store to pick up a few items and stopped by to fill up the truck on the way back. At the gas station, Val saw someone coming out with soft  serve ice cream on a cone. We decided we needed to check that out and ended up with cups of ice cream as a dessert. Back at the trailer afterwards, we put away groceries, washed and put away the dishes and settled down for the evening.

Tomorrow it is on to South Dakota.

Wyoming for the Night

Current Location: Douglas KOA, Douglas, Wyoming

We pulled up stakes and got a fairly early start this morning – closer to 8:00 AM. However, we gained an hour heading west into the Mountain Time Zone. We traversed I-80 to Cheyenne, Wyoming then headed north to Douglas on I-25 before pulling into the campground here around 2:00 PM.

The drive, of course, was beautiful. Here are some pictures Val took along the way.

Nebraska

Nebraska

Wyoming

Wyoming

Wyoming Road

Wyoming Road

Scenery in Wyoming

Scenery in Wyoming

We checked into the park and were led to our space. This is a pretty large KOA and it got pretty high ratings online. The price was reasonable as well. We had to call to reserve last night as it is getting close to the Wyoming State Fair, which is held here in Douglas.

Our site in Douglas

Our site in Douglas

Just a few miles before we got off at Douglas, the truck information center informed us it was time for an oil change. As we got off at the Douglas exit, we passed a Ford dealer. Malcolm called them after we got set up at the campground, but they are booked until Saturday. Our next planned stop is in Hardin, Montana, so Malcolm called the Ford dealer there and we have an appointment at 3:00 PM tomorrow for an oil change.

Once we were settled in here at the KOA, we took a walk around the park to see all the facilities. They have a really nice pool, miniature golf, two nice playgrounds and, Malcolm’s favorite, they cater to horse owners. Several horse owners checked in with their horses over the course of the afternoon and evening, so Malcolm made it a point to visit the horses.

A couple of the horses

A couple of the horses

More horses

More horses

Cute trash can covers

Cute trash can covers

Here is today’s license plate hunt results – 33 states. We scored the somewhat elusive Alaska. North Dakota continues to elude us and we didn’t see any Nevada plates today.

License Plates

License Plates

Big Sky Country

Current Location: Deer Lodge KOA, Deer Lodge, Montana

We got up this morning and took our time pulling out of Sheridan. We drove nearly 400 miles today – more than we expected to originally. We’re just ready to visit those grandchildren. We are expecting to arrive in the Seattle area on Saturday. Given that, we’re going to travel as far as comfortable tomorrow so that we won’t have so many miles to travel on Saturday.

Today was all about hills. Part of the time, on the east side of the Rockies, we had a pretty stiff breeze tossing us around and slowing us down. Once we climbed over a ridge of mountains, the wind died down and it was a pretty easy drive as far as weather conditions. It is pretty hot up here, though. The truck thermometer was reading in the high 80’s to low 90’s the entire trip. The engine fan was working overtime between it being hot and us climbing so many long, steep grades.

Scenery along the way

Scenery along the way

Welcome to Montana

Welcome to Montana

Funny dog walk at rest area

Funny dog walk at rest area

Mountains upon mountains

Mountains upon mountains

More mountains

More mountains

Continental Divide!

Continental Divide!

Bozeman Pass sign

Bozeman Pass sign

All in all, it wasn’t a bad drive up and over the Rockies. We descended into Butte, Montana, which was where we had decided would be a good stopping point. It was only about 3:00 PM at that time and Malcolm indicated that if he could get out and stretch a bit, he could drive a bit further. We pulled into a Safeway parking lot in Butte and checked out campgrounds out ahead and decided on Deer Lodge KOA at about another 45 minutes from Butte.

We dropped into the Safeway and picked up steaks, potatoes, onion and bell peppers to grill out dinner once we got to the KOA. We pulled in around 4:30 and were assigned a nice pull-through site. While Val got things turned on and settled inside the trailer, Malcolm got the outside kitchen set up to grill out.

Set up at Deer Lodge

Set up at Deer Lodge

We chatted with our next-door neighbors who are also traveling to the Tacoma area to visit their son, who is in the service. They are taking it slowly across from their home in North Carolina and staying two or three days in each place. Since they are fully retired, they have that luxury. We hope to be able to do that someday, as well.

After dinner, Val and Malcolm walked downtown and looked around just a bit, then headed back to the trailer to do dishes and relax. Malcolm wrote out postcards and we dropped them off at the camp office to be mailed out.

Downtown Deer Lodge and the one stop light

Downtown Deer Lodge and the one stop light

Railroad tracks going off to who knows where

Railroad tracks going off to who knows where

 

Former United States Bank on one of the corners at the traffic light

Former United States Bank on one of the corners at the traffic light

Did pretty good on license plates today. There was a little more traffic on I-90 in Montana than there was in Wyoming. Probably because there are more cities along the interstate in Montana. We had 35 of 51 plates. Note that we saw both Alaska and Hawaii plates today. Oddly enough, no Nevada plates today.

Today's License Plates

Today’s License Plates

Into Wyoming

Current Location: Sheridan/Big Horn Mountains KOA, Sheridan, Wyoming

Today we were up and moving (this mountain time stuff is tricky) early, though not as early as some of our neighbors. Malcolm jotted out a few postcards that we needed to catch up on and we walked down to the office to mail them out. We browsed their store for a bit, checked out the coffee and wine shop they have on site and Malcolm wandered over to the horse ride concession to pet a few of the horses (they were eating their breakfast, so they were not very attentive).

We hooked up and pulled out around 9:00 and headed back down the hill to Rapid City and filled up the truck at the Flying J at the interstate. Then, it was back on I-90 west towards Wyoming.

Welcome to Wyoming

Welcome to Wyoming

Wyoming Welcome Center

Wyoming Welcome Center

Petrified wood at welcome center

Petrified wood at welcome center

We stopped at the welcome center inside Wyoming and inquired about visiting Devil’s Tower, since it looked fairly close. It wasn’t too much out of the way and the welcome center staff mentioned that they had parking for big RV’s, so off we went. It’s a nice loop, though lots of steep hills (up and down) with semi-sharp curves (35-45 mph) on some areas.

Devil's Tower from a distance.

Devil’s Tower from a distance.

From the road leading into the park

From the road leading into the park

Up close

Up close

We made it to the entry gate and the gentleman there gave us a slip of paper and said we didn’t have to pay unless we managed to find a place to park (honor system, I guess) since they have fairly limited parking for RV’s. We lucked out when we got there and found a space on the very end of the RV parking (it’s all parallel to the road coming in). As we were getting out and checking to see if our trailer was sticking out too far in the traffic (it kinda was), the motorhome in front of us pulled out, so we pulled on up.

Really close

Really close

We got our passport book stamped and decided to go ahead and eat lunch there, fixing sandwiches and stuff from the outside kitchen and eating on a bench in the shade. After lunch, we did a short hike up a trail and got pictures. We got back in the truck, pulled out from our spot (sort of tight, but not bad) and paid our parking fee ($10) on the way out. We headed back across country and got on I-90.

We got off at Gillette to fuel up. This sculpture was located at the bottom of the exit ramp.

Cowboy at exit ramp

Cowboy at exit ramp

We pulled into the KOA in Sheridan right at dinner time (mountain time, at least). Malcolm and David finished setting up the trailer as Val started dinner.

Our "shaded" site at the KOA.

Our “shaded” site at the KOA.

We ate dinner, relaxed for a bit, ran out to KMart and grabbed a few groceries, filled up the truck across the street and headed back to the campground to relax.

Here are today’s license plate results – 28 out of 51.

License plates

License plates

By the way, we updated yesterday’s short post with updated information. Scroll down to read it.