Our fifth wheel and the truck

Friday, June 3, 2011

An Eventful Time! And Some Wonderful Sights!

It is nice to see you back again and see, I am not very late in getting this here blog done again! LOL

I left off our adventures as we left Minnesota heading west. We have passed the Badlands in South Dakota three times already in our US adventures. Once in 2007 and twice on this trip so I had decided that we would have to stop there on our way west this time.

We stopped off in Mitchell SD en route, just to do some housework and laundry. How boring!! But even in an rv there is some housework that just has to be done!

We arrived in the Badlands about lunch time and pulled into a very wet, muddy rv park. It didn’t look too flash at all. Quite dilapidated and uncared for really. However, it was close to the Badlands and we figured that we were self contained so no big deal - as long as the connections were okay - it wasn’t going to be a real problem. Haha - famous last words! We set up with Norm trying very hard to avoid all the mud. Apparently they had received about 2.5” of rain over the previous couple of days and it hadn’t had time to dry out!

We spent the next day exploring the Badlands. What an amazing place - real alien planet looking stuff. I could just imagine it being used as the site for a movie about aliens. The layers of colour in the mountains are just beautiful and with the sun highlighting them they are just gorgeous. It was one of those places where you just keep taking photos. Thank goodness for digital cameras. We saw lots of animals and birds including a prairie dog that just about came up to the door of the car and big horned sheep.

We also visited the town of Wall again. If you have never been to Wall then you need to stop there - along with about 20,000 other visitors every day in the summer. Interesting story of how the town got to be such a tourist attraction so look it up on the web.

The weather on the drive back from Wall was so interesting. There was another big storm coming over so we were hoping it was going to miss our rv park otherwise we might have been looking for a tractor to pull the fiver out of the mud!

When we got back to the park we couldn’t believe the change. The owners had finally been able to get some mowing done and it looked like a completely different park - much neater! Although it had been raining later in the day and the mud was a little deeper.

We had intended to go back into the Badlands the next day however it started raining in the morning and didn’t let up at all so we just stayed home.

Devils Tower, Wyoming was our next stop - if we could get out of the mud at the Badlands. It was a pain and just so dirty. All over the hoses, our shoes and the vehicles.

The park we stayed at in Sundance, WY was the exact opposite of the previous one. It was impeccable! Neat, clean and really well maintained. But very cold and windy. The weather here in the US is really up the creek at the moment. Everywhere we go people are saying the weather is really weird.

The next day we took the drive out to Devils Tower. This place is so strange and sort of eerie! Part of the movie Close Encounters was filmed at Devils Tower. Geologically, this is a really interesting place and there are a number of theories as to how it was formed however there is no definitive explanation. It is magnificent and huge and beautiful. We were so lucky with the weather. We went for a short hike around the base of the Tower and managed to get back just before the heavens opened and it poured - AGAIN!

The Native Americans are having the same battle as the Australian Aboriginals are having at Uluru (Ayers Rock). Both groups look on the formations as having cultural significance and neither group want people climbing the formations however it still happens.

We stayed in Sundance for another day and spent it wandering around the town (10 mins), visiting the museum and doing some shopping. The museum has some great stuff in it and when they move out of the basement of the court house into a new building it will be really good. Everything is very cramped at the moment however I really enjoyed finding out about the Sundance Kid who took his nickname from the town.

On the road again!!!! This time bound for Flaming Gorge in Utah. We boon docked over night at the busiest, nosiest truck stop I have ever seen or heard. It was in Rock Springs, WY. Truck drivers often spend the night in truck stops with their engines running ALL night! So the trick is to try to find a place where the drivers don’t have their engines on! We parked next to a truck that had its bonnet (hood) up so we thought maybe it would be quiet. - WRONG! We ended up being surrounded by noisy trucks so at about midnight Norm had a dummy spit, got in the F250 and drove around looking for a quieter spot. Word of advice - don’t stay in bed while your husband drives around a potholed truck stop looking for a quiet spot!! Anyway we found another spot that was significantly quieter and both managed to get some sleep.

I have to tell you about the dramas getting to Rock Springs! We filled up with fuel in Sundance and headed off south into a really strong head wind. I took over the driving after about two hours and continued into the head wind. We passed through Casper ($3.46 per gallon), heading towards Rock Springs and decided we better get some fuel and just as the truck dinged to warn us that we only had 50miles of fuel left (we still had about 90 miles to go) we came upon a fuel station in the middle of nowhere. We stopped for gas ($3.95 per gallon). Reluctant to pay toooooo much per gallon I did a quick calculation and suggested that we get $40 worth and then fill up when we got to Rock Springs. Weeeeell, Norm continued driving (into a really strong headwind!!) and to cut a long story short we went to the first fuel stop we got to in Rock Springs with 9 miles of fuel left in the tank!!! Needless to say the next day (heading into a really strong headwind) we filled up at every opportunity!! Never again, it was much too close for comfort!

We arrived in Dutch John, UT about 2.00pm, set up and took a drive down to the dam at Flaming Gorge and then around the thriving metropolis of Dutch John. In the morning we went to the dam for the tour which was really interesting because you actually get to go inside the dam and take a lift right down to the bottom near the outlets into the river. The guide explained that the last time they had to use the outlets was back in 1997 when the water was lapping over the road across the top of the dam. Apparently, with the snow melt expected this year, they are anticipating that they will have to use the outlets for quite a long period of time. I will be following it on the web when it happens.

After the tour we took a drive around the gorge which is just beautiful. It is easy to see how it got its name. The sunlight (when it came out) shining on the walls of the gorge picked out all the amazing shades of red. We had lunch at the Red Canyon Lodge and sat and watched the most amazing number of birds. And the hummingbirds just outside the window were so gorgeous.

We were due to leave Dutch John the next day and when we woke up we were amazed to see some snow lying on the ground and on the windscreen of the truck. We were sitting in the fiver having a cup of tea and planning on packing up when it started snowing again. I got online to check the weather and discovered that there was a forecast of 1 - 3” of snow expected so .. Oops we are out of here! We very quickly packed up and got on the road. We had seen on the TV that by going north onto I80 and then to Twin Falls Idaho (our next stop) we would encounter more snow with the Interstate covered with snow so we decided to head south and make our way to Reno, Nevada instead.

The only problem with that was that to get there we would have to pass over the mountains and into heavier snow falls! Anyway, to cut another long story short, with some very slow, careful driving, lots of photos and places of driving snow we made it safely to Vernal. We encountered more falling snow as we made our way to Salt Lake City however it was only light and didn’t pose a problem.

Oh boy is time just flying by now! It is less than seven weeks till we head home and it makes me quite sad. I am looking forward to getting home to family and friends however…..

I will leave it here for now and wish you all health and happiness until we come back again. Take care of you and yours dear family and friends. Love and hugs from me.

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