Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thermopolis and Gillette, WY

We’ve been having Internet access problems, so I’m sorry for the delay in posting this blog entry.

On our way east after leaving Thayne we stopped for visits with friends in Thermopolis and Gillette. Marlene & Frank Hinman are volunteering this summer for the Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis. This picture is from the park’s web site.


Our motorhome just fit in between the Hinmans (on the right) and their neighbors Jack Allen and Nell Dahl in the volunteer worker campsite.


They have a nice view of the Bighorn River that runs through the park, where we enjoyed getting together in the shade.


Marlene works 2 hours each morning at the State Bath House, which gave us time one day to go for a float down the river after she got off work. Don and I used our kayaks and Marlene used an inflatable raft. My waterproof camera isn’t working so Nell took this pic of us getting ready to put our boats in. (Marlene, your weight loss is remarkable and looks great on you, but I don’t like the comparison to me!)



Although it’s not obvious by looking, our put-in point is where the Wind River ends and the Bighorn River begins, called Wedding of The Waters.


The current was swift enough that we didn’t have to paddle much, just steer our boats to miss rocks and plants. The terrain varied from brushy banks to red stone cliffs, and we saw deer, geese and ducks along the way.


We had a very pleasant float and reached the volunteer camp after about 3 hours. When Don and I were in this area two years earlier (link to that blog entry if you missed it), there had been a lot of rain and the rivers were at flood stage and dangerous to navigate. We also avoided a brief but strong storm the previous afternoon during this visit. So we were very happy to finally have conditions right for an enjoyable float.

The rest of our visit with Frank, Marlene, Jack, Nell and Nell’s Mom Blondie was really nice, with daily visits to the mineral baths and sharing food, conversation and laughter. Thanks for the visit, Friends!


Our next stop was the Cam-Plex in Gillette to visit Kellie and Walt Gunn. The Cam-Plex is the world’s largest events facility and has 1,730 RV sites in 6 RV parks within its grounds! Walt is managing the RV parks this summer.


We stayed next to them (facing opposite directions) in Boxelder, the largest RV park, with 688 full hookup sites.


A Holiday Rambler rally was starting the next day, and several vendors as well as some of the attendees were already on site. Still, this huge RV park looked almost empty.



During the evening, a monster truck event was held in the arena visible at a distance. We could watch it from our vantage point, without all the noise and dust, and my camera’s zoom lens allowed me to get a few good shots even though the fence was in the way.



Kellie and Walt stepped up to lead the next Western Area Rally for Escapees (WARE) in April 2013, after working with us on the one we directed a few months ago. We discussed their plans and the great team they’ve put together for staffing the rally, and we know it’s in capable hands.


It was a nice visit, although short. Thanks, Kellie & Walt - We’ll look forward to seeing you again somewhere down the road!