Monday, August 25, 2014

The One That Got Away.... Aug 22-24, 2014

I'm sure you all know by now I try to find boondocking spots with some interest...especially photographic interest.  Well, it doesn't always work out that way....and I'm not talking about "Walmart" nights...those are just a given in this lifestyle.

I had been having a bit of a generator issue...nothing serious, but enough that it wouldn't turn over. If I were one to stay at RV Parks, this wouldn't really be a problem because I could just plug into an electrical outlet to charge my cameras, laptop, using the microwave or A/C.  But, considering I am of the anti-park mentality, my generator is an integral part of my life.

Anyway, after adding some oil at my stop at Bear Butte, it seemed fine.  So, on the way I the Big Horn National Forest.  UUUUUUP the mountain, down miles of gravely, windy roads then finally at my perfect camp site where I'm planning to hang out for a few days. REALLY beautiful!

I got all my stuff  'untied', wandered about the area a little, and settled in.  Switched on the wouldn't turn over.  Now what????  Hmmmmmmmm...what to do??  I was going to be needing it.  Sooooooo, reluctantly, I tied everything back down....went back through the miles of gravely, winding roads and DOOOOOOOWN the mountain (only to loose my brakes half way down.  Had to stop at a pull off to let them cool down.)  Then I drove to Sheridan, WY thinking it may offer a place to have the generator looked at.  Pulled into Walmart and added a little more oil. AND...the generator turned over!  YAY!  But, I had left the ideal campsite.  Oh well...stuff happens.  Nice scenery, tho', to and from:

As it turned out, it was all probably a good thing.  It started raining like crazy with 35+ mph winds. It very well could have been a big mess at the site, especially trying to get out of there two days later.

I ended up staying at WM for two nights, due to heavy rains (first rain out days I've had on this adventure!) and to get some things done (groceries, laundry, etc.) but I couldn't find anyone who knew about Onan generators.  Eventho' it was working, I wanted to get it checked out.

At this point, too, I had decided to head south instead of further west toward Oregon.  I want to get to Arizona before the flock of snow birds.  Going down the west coast would just take tooooo long, unfortunately.  But, I can always go back.


The weather cleared and Sunday I drove down to the Ayers Natural Bridge State Park just outside of Casper, WY...only 22 acres.

Road to the park....

I snagged the best site - most people have left by Sunday afternoons.  And no one else showed up.

This was my view....25 feet from the RV -  the water running under the natural bridge:

This natural bridge is the one of the very few natural bridges IN THE WORLD that has water flowing under it!  It has a history associated with the Native Americans.  They believed that the "King of Beasts" lived under this bridge.  Therefore, it became a sanctuary for people fleeing the Indians because the Indians wouldn't follow them there for fear of the evil spirit.

I get settled in and turn on the generator.....IT WON'T TURN OVER!  I decide to put that out of my mind and just enjoy this beautiful space!  I take a little walk around...

I walked up on top of the bridge....

That's me....almost under the bridge at my site!

I came back down and rustled up some chicken curry and roasted sweet potatoes on the grill outside my door....

Then I settled in for the evening.... a very relaxing evening, with perfect weather....listening to the water rushing over the rocks by my window....

Will be heading towards a spot in Utah, hopefully for a looooong holiday weekend.  Want to get there before the 'crowds'.  May or may not have internet and cell service....  but that's part of the adventure....the unknown waiting around the corner!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Vroooom....Bear Butte Lake SP - Sturgis, SD Aug 20-21, 2014

After leaving Deadwood, I drove the rather short drive up to Sturgis.....the motorcycle capital of the universe!  They have the HUGE motorcycle rally there every summer.  And I mean HUGE! Click on this link to see a photo and you'll know what I mean!  2014 74th Annual Sturgis Rally. The main street is lined with 'saloons' and biker joints....but why shouldn't it be?  That's what they are known for to bikers in every way possible.

Anyway, I was headed to the Bear Butte (NOT Bare Butt! LOL!) State Park just out of town.  I hadn't really researched it except that it was a place to stay within the distance I wanted to drive. It's the first spot I have actually paid for! A whopping $13/night.  It was a beautiful and restful stop! There was a great view from my RV dining table...sitting on one side I saw the mountain, from the other, the lake...perfect!

This was taken from my parking spot!

I could walk partially around this side of the lake....those are the Black Hills in the background.

The second night I went to the campground on the other side of the lake for a little bit different vantage point....

Beautiful from all directions!  And of course, this little stay wouldn't be complete without some sunrise and sunset memories!

I finished off the evening with a nice dinner looking out over the plains and The Black Hills and a walk by the lake...

This stop was very well worth my $26!  A great South Dakota state park!

Happy Trails!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Deadwood, SD - Aug 20, 2014

On my way north in South Dakota, after departing the beautiful Badlands, I stopped in Deadwood for a few minutes.  While it is a 'tourist attraction' there were some aspects of it that were attractive to me....especially after reading about the history of Deadwood back in the Gold Rush days.  I won't reiterate all that, but for you western history buffs, here is a good write up about it.  History of Deadwood, SD.

What I enjoyed the most was the architecture from 'back in the day'.  It is definitely a "gaming town" --  many buildings house casinos.....where, again, I was tempted to play a few hands of black jack.....but didn't!

Enough's part of my Deadwood photographic scrapbook.  Oh - one thing I will say -- so often people forget to look "up"...they are usually focused on what is straight ahead.  There is a lot of whimsy depicting what was going on in the upper floors of these buildings!

This would probably be an enjoyable little theater night for $5...then a steak!
The parks/tourism and cattle are South Dakota's primary sources of income.

This is the grand Franklin Hotel.  
It houses a very glitzy casino full of glass chandeliers and very proper greeters at the entry. 

A billboard advertising a restaurant....loved the colors!

Hope you enjoyed a walk down Main Street in historic Deadwood, South Dakota!  

As always, thanks for following!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Baaaadlands - Aug 18-19, 2014

Well, I'm still in South Dakota....making the most of it I can!  Today's post is all about The Badlands National Park.  It just springs up out of miles and miles of plains and prairies.  This will be mostly photographs....they will give you a good idea what The Badlands are all about.

On the way to the park, I stopped at your typical highway rest stop and saw this:

First tho', my free campsite.  It's right in the park, which is nice, however, from the exit I took to the park entrance, the campsite was a 40 miles drive through the park...20 of it was a gravel road. But that was fine....I got a lot of good photos on the drive. The campsite is the Sage Creek Campground.  It's really more for tenters, but there was no signage that said "RVs Keep Out" I went in!

It's a large circle.  Period.  This was early in the really filled up with tents by night, but everyone was very quiet and asleep by 9pm.  I started at the circle...see me on the left side, but moved off the circle to the equestrian section as no one with horses was there.  Much better! I know...this doesn't look like the pictures of The Badlands that you may have seen....this area was beautiful, rolling hills.  The circle reminds me of where a circle of covered wagons should be!

Oh...on the way to the campground, I saw a herd of bison crossing over an adjacent road.  I had just enough time to make a quick turn (well, as quick as you can make a turn in a 27' RV!) and get fairly close to them...

I wouldn't want to run into one of these in a dark alley!  They finally crossed and settled down across the road.

I also saw some other "wild animals" on the way to the campground...

Now for The Badlands.... not much commentary...just photos....and no cemeteries!  LOL!

This sign was at one viewing station.  I didn't see (or hear) any!

It was hard to choose just a few photos.  It was all spectacular.  A very good $15 investment!

Then back to the campground for a sunset, dinner, sleep and this morning's sunrise.  Next stop...Deadwood and camping near Sturgis, SD.  Hope you enjoyed the tour of The Badlands!


...but a fabulous sunrise!