It has been quite a while since an update. This is due to the fact that I have been working full time and running my photo business and doing my speaking appearances with the net result of there being little time for travel our outdoor pursuits.
I am grateful to my employer for allowing me to take a couple of months unpaid leave so I can get some travel time in. All work and no play makes Marty and unhappy camper.
It took me about five days to get things together and get back on the road. I am headed west with stops planned at the Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier.
I have purchased a new hard side camper for my travels. It is a Camplite made by Livin’ Lite. I have had my eye on this for quite some time. She is a 13 foot model and I have named her the Wanderlust. This is just what I wanted….a lot of nothing. No TV, no CD player, no bathroom, no holding tanks, no water tank. She is just a good basic package with three beds and lots of storage. These are 98% recyclable after I have had my use. No wood so there will be no rot, no steel, except for the axle, so there will be no rust. All aluminum and composites so she is super lightweight. Dry weight is only 1730 pounds. That is 900 pounds lighter than my old pop-up tent camper.
I had hoped to depart St,. Louis on Saturday, July 20th but the heat was so bad that I could only work for a short while and then needed a long rest to dry out. My roommate who I rent from is quite the spendthrift and will not under any circumstances turn the AC on so it would take a full hour infront of a fan after a cold shower to feel up to more packing and work.
Just as I was about to leave my roommate got violently ill and I stayed an extra two days to be sure he could fend for himself. So long story short I got on the road mid day on Thursday, July 25.
While I love the west the drive to get there from St. Louis is substantial and not the most exciting scenically. The first night I slept in a rest area. On day two I made it to Badlands National Park in S. Dakota. And tonight I find myself camped at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.
When I entered the Badlands I purchased the last $80 interagency pass I will ever need. Starting next year I will get the Golden Age pass for $10 and it will be good for as long as I live. My goal has been to make it to this age, get the pass, and use it before my time is up. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Devil’s Tower is a national monument and by western standards is very small. This old lava core was made famous by the movie Close Encounters of the Third Time . It is the third time I have visited and I never fail to marvel at the sight.
View From My Campsite
This is the first time I have camped there and what a joy it is. The campground is small with only aboujt 25 sites and yet hardly ever fills. The sites are very nice, all close to the two restrooms. The campground sits in a grove of the biggest Cottonwood trees I have ever seen. Several of them have circumferences of over 9 feet! And top this off with a fee of only $12 and FREE FIREWOOD! I have never seen free firewood provided at any National Park.
After setting up camp I worked a bet on getting the camper organized. This is turning out to be a real challenge as I try to find a convenient place for everything.
Next I rode out of the park and went up to the town of Hulett, WY to check out the scene. I ate at a little place called the Ponderosa Café. At first I was a bit disappointed as the menu consisted of Hambugers, Bison Burgers, Elk Burgers, and a salad or two. When the server came to the table she rattled off eight of the chef’s specials. I settled on Sirloin Tips. There must have been a pound and a half of meat and a healthy serving of baked baby potatoes along with soup and salad. For the fist time in my life I had to leave some steak on the plate. And, the homemade Blue Cheese dressing was without a doubt the best I have ever tasted.
The wildflowers were in full bloom in a recent burn area.
This Tee Pee was sitting along the trail to the tower.
I came back to the campground and took a bike ride around the area and then sat hoping for a great sunset. No luck.
A note on the camper. I was going broke on gas getting only 8-11 mpg and I could not figure out what was going on. For one $88 tank of fuel I got a whopping 136 miles. Well, I think I have it figured out. I was using the cruise control and with the windows open I did not notice it was shifting down a gear at the slightest incline. By going manual on the accelerator I am able to avoid this and it looks like this tank is getting me a lot further.
Drove to Cody, WY and stayed in the kind of place I can't stand. An RV park where they give you five whole feet between units. Any port in a storm at the peak of tourist season I guess. Saw this unique wagon along the highway headed into town
Tomorrow I am headed off towards Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Will post that next time I have internet access.