Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away! And a Celebration!

We’re in Thermopolis, Wyoming at a lovely little campground named Eagle RV Park. The owners are RVers who bought the park about 6 years ago, and are really nice people. They manage the park 24/7 with no help, and seem to love their jobs.









It’s been raining since we left Rapid City on Thursday. We thought we’d get past the storm by driving west, but it just keeps coming.

Before leaving South Dakota, we finally got the kayaks wet. Sylvan Lake was featured in the 2007 film “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” Through the magic of cinema, they made the lake appear to be located directly behind Mount Rushmore, but it’s really about five miles away. It was an overcast day, and it started raining later, but we managed to paddle around this small lake before we got too cold to stay on the water.


Don paddled himself backwards into this crevice between the rocks. It’s actually a dead end.


There are lots of interesting rock formations in the lake. DSCN2314



This formation seems to be one rock, but closer examination shows a clear opening between the two, with a tree growing on the other side.

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After 8 medical appointments during an 8 day period, the final visit with our primary care doc in Rapid City allowed us to be free to hit the road again, off on a new adventure. We spent the first day by checking off an item on our ‘bucket list.’ Devil’s Tower holds the distinction of being the first National Monument, as proclaimed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.DSCN2393

The tower is an amazing sight close up, and we were glad to make a brief visit, although we didn’t take the time to walk around it. The tower is associated with several Native American legends. To read about them, visit the National Park website.

We spent that night at High Plains Campground in Gillette, WY. There’s a big opportunity in this town for anyone wanting to build a new campground. With only two choices of campgrounds, other than the huge Cam-Plex which only offers RV sites to attendees of rallies and other special events, it’s hard to find a vacant site. Both choices are bad, with ‘workers on wheels’ occupying most of the spaces; and the owners evidently have enough business that they don’t feel the need to keep their places clean or maintained.

We left Friday morning, hoping that the rainstorm would be moving further east as we headed west. Instead, we just drove into the approaching storm. It was windy on I-90 from Gillette to Buffalo. Then it was foggy as we approached the 9,666 ft. summit of the Big Horn Mountains southwest of Buffalo. DSCN2405








We actually drove through the clouds, and emerged on top with some sunshine on our backs.


The temp had dropped, however, and we saw lots of remnants of snow beside the road.


The Phaeton handled the hills just fine. Don was having so much fun driving these roads, I hardly got to drive at all on this leg. Oh, well, I did a lot of knitting and took a lot of photos.

Thermopolis is an interesting town, the home of the world’s largest mineral hot springs. Through an 1896 treaty with the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes, the hot springs are open to the public at no charge. But the chilly, drippy weather kept us from disrobing and jumping in. Evidence of the minerals can be seen on this Teepee Fountain in the Hot Springs State Park.


Eagle RV Park has lots of trees and the sites are a little small. It was a challenge to get the satellite dishes tuned in because of all the trees. However, by inching forward as far as possible in the site, we finally succeeded! DSCN2560








So, as happy campers, we huddled down to wait out the storm. We didn’t do much site-seeing while here, and we couldn’t go kayaking even if we didn’t mind the rain, as the swollen Big Horn River that runs through town is too high and rapid. A nearby town, Landers, is under water, so we’re happy to be high and relatively dry. Here are a few more photos from the campground and town.

Small sites didn’t prevent this 42’ Allegro Bus from getting shoe-horned in!DSCN2564

There are nice laundry facilities and restrooms in the main building.


The Big Horn River is about to claim the picnic table at this house.


We might have a hard time paddling our kayaks under this bridge!


This doe didn’t seem to mind the high water, or us for that matter!


We saw Bison in the open range portion of the Hot Springs State Park. Oops! Caught this one doing his business.DSCN2536

Of course, we had to visit Don’s supermarket!


And the weekend was capped off by a small celebration of our 2nd anniversary! We had shrimp scampi at the Safari Club.DSCN2579

The restaurant was filled with all sorts of mounted wild animals. DSCN2569



And one wild animal was still alive, stealing bird seed from feeders out front.DSCN2581