The trip map – – >https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=z_amXijL4K0s.kqoFwBhb6Pr4
Sept 9 – First stop on the way to South Dakota. Vegas. Bloody hot here, hanging in the air conditioning for a bit before venturing out to explore.
Sept 10 – Our abode for the evening. A Flying J truckstop @ Willard Bay, Utah. Just across the street is the Great Salt Lake, and some nice mtns out the front window. Grass for the puppy and it’s free:)
Our sweet dog, Poppins, at the campfire that evening:
Sept 12 – Was a bit chilly and rainy, but got out for a walk around the campground and the Gros Ventre River:
Along this walk we came upon a bull moose in the brush a little too close for comfort for me, but he was very non-plussed with us, and after checking us out a bit, ignored us. 🙂
Caught a cool looking rainbow effect on the horizon on the way back to camp:
Had a nice simple supper-picnic along the upper Snake River Overlook tonight 🙂
Sept 14 – Walking around the Gros Ventre campground with Poppins, came across the momma and 2 baby meeses meandering around the camp. Coolest thing ever. Lunch in the valley just past Kelly, with the Teton Range in view
Sept 15– Rain and wind most of the trip from Gros Ventre/Jackson/Teton to Casper, WY. Saw 3 pair of bears along the way. Caught this one just before our diesel engine made it meander away like the others…
Sept 16 – Left Casper, WY, drove thru Thunder Basin, and logged in at Beaver Lake Campground in Custer, South Dakota
Sept 17 – Sept 23 In and around Custer SD
On the 19th we went up to the top of Mt Coolidge Lookout and Fire Tower at the southern end of the Black Hills and Custer State Park. It’s around 6,000′ with breath taking 360 degree views. You can see the Needles, Badland, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse with binoculars. It was built in the 40’s by the CCC (one of the MANY wonders we saw built by the CCC):
On the way down the mountain, we came across a herd of “wild” mules in the park. I say “wild” in parenthesis because they seemed quite happy about the cars stopping and the several people that were feeding them. This guy came right up to my window
as we were trying to pass some of the people who shouldn’t have been feeding them!
…as well as the random bison cruzin the road…
Then on to Mt. Rushmore. Stunning views before you even get to the park. Thank goodness the government hadn’t shut down prior to our visit.
Went back to Rushmore afterward to hike around the area a little closer, got some up close and personal shots of the inside of the presidents’ nostrils (which I will spare you from). Greg really liked the art deco lights they had at the viewing area:
The trees grow right out of the rocks around here:
Then we drove along Needles Hwy to enjoy some spectacular scenery along a challenging road with hairpin turns and tunnels! Would have been a blast in the Mini Cooper we just sold!!
This is called the eye of the Needle. Very popular with climbers 🙂
Some more great pics of Needles here from climbers.
On our last day (9/23) in Custer we took a picnic lunch to a beautiful spot called Horsetheif Lake
Sept 25 This morning we met a really nice couple, Virginia and Roger, with a beautiful 1992 Country Coach Concept ( which Greg zoomed in on quickly 🙂 ). They’re planning a trip to San Diego in the next couple of months and we hope to get together with them again. Roger is a professional speed skater and they travel around to his races. These people are in GREAT shape! 🙂
After a chat, we headed out from Badlands to Spearfish, SD to catch some changing of color! Along the route to Spearfish was the town of Wall, SD, which apparently is quite well known for a drug store which has become almost a block long in itself. Of course we had to stop and visit Wall Drug, it has a great story behind it, and was a fun stop.
Once at Spearfish, we set up at a very nice park called Elkhorn Ridge in Spearfish for a few days, and had a nice lightening/thunder and hailstorm that afternoon/evening!
Thurs, Sept 26 – On a recommendation from the campground office, we took the scenic drive loop through amazingly beautiful RoughLock Falls, around Spearfish, Deadwood, and Lead,
wih an excellent lunch at Lewie’s! Highly recommended it if you get the chance!
Fri, Sept 27 – A snowy, cold day – 34 degrees. Perfect for a visit to Devil’s Tower, WY
Sat, Sept 28 – Beautiful, clear day in Spearfish. We et out for the museum, didn’t find it, and wound up at a small street fair in old downtown Spearfish. Great little country block party with a band, lots of food, and nabbed some fresh, homegrown vegetables! 🙂
That afternoon, picked up Poppins and went back to RoughLock Falls for a picnic. This place is freakishly beautiful:
Mon. Sept 30 – Figued it was time to head south as a huge storm was coming in from the Pacific Northwest. Turns out the Spearfish/Rapid City South Dakota area was to get 4-5 feet of snow from this storm. Us Southern California wimps wouldn’t have made it!! 😉 Made our way to Cheyenne, WY today.
Tue. Oct 1 – Nice tour of the Cheyenne State Historical Museum, and afternoon around Holliday Park in the middle of town. Very pretty small town.
Wed, Oct 2 – Left Cheyenne, WY around 9:15am. Arrived at Tiger Run RV park in Breckenridge, CO around 1pm. This is our second visit to this park, we just love it, and the entire Breckenridge area.
right next to a teeny town called Alma, with a catchy name for the liquor store:
Fri, Oct 4 – It snowed last night! Not too much, just enough to make it pretty. Poppins’ first time in the snow, she really seemed to like it. 🙂
Sat, Oct 5 – It wasn’t expected, but we got more snow overnight here in Breckenridge. More than the previous night! So beautiful.
Put the PAWZ booties on Poppins to help with the cold. Still had ice stuck to the hair on her legs, but her pads were nice and dry. 🙂
Sun, Oct 6 – Got ready to head out of Breckenridge (reluctantly) by 8am. Started up the coach and the slides wouldn’t retract. The awnings wouldn’t roll in over the slides – they were frozen. We’d seen a couple of coaches the day before on walks around the park and noted their slides were retracted early in the day … being the well-worn nomads we are, we figured they weren’t staying in their coach that evening … come to find out that the *smart* travellers know to bring the slides in if cold/snow/frost is coming that night and you want to leave early the next morning because THEY’LL FREEZE! Chalk this up to a lesson well learned – – check with us on our planned Alaska trip next year to see if we remember! 😉
Caught some snow on my phone: https://www.dropbox.com/s/pxu3lv7jrdkqs52/SnowingBreckenridgeCO.MOV
After waiting for some sun to hit the awnings, Greg climbing on the dangerous, icy roof and scraping, wacking the awnings from below with a stick, and running my blow dryer on high on them for a couple of hours, we were able to get both slides in and secure and on the road at 11:30. On our way south to Moab, UT to avoid more of the storm coming in from the west.
Mon, Oct 7 – Arrived at Moab Rim Campground around 4:45 pm. Just gorgeous – surrounded by cliffs and red mountains.
We asked a couple of park rangers if we’d be ok taking our all wheel drive Honda CRV back down the to Moab along the dirt road past the Gemini Bridges. One said “it’s a little sandy in places so as long as you’re comfortable driving in sand”… and the other said “oh, yeah – no problem, rental cars go on that dirt road”. So, we went. Took pictures up to the point where WE ALMOST DIED, SLIDING OFF A CLIF, WHEN THE WHEELS SLID UPON BRAKING! We’ll rent a 4×4 next time…
This place has lots of history, from the couple who founded the place to the John Wayne movies filmed there. 🙂
We set up camp, and drove over to Gooseneck State Park. Wanted to check it out as apparently you can dry camp up there. We’re absolutely going to have to plan a short stay there sometime in the future!
Then took a drive thru the Valley of the Gods The pictures don’t do it justice…
Trying to get the echo – – it was all fun until a few rocks started falling, we were out of there pretty quickly after that! 😉
Then we took the rough drive thru Monument Valley on Navajo Tribal land.
Poppins was happy to get out of the bumpy ride for a bit at one of the view points along the road.
Thu, Oct 10 – Had an extremely windy, rainy night here at Gouldings. The campground is in a valley where the wind just funnels through. Talking with some other campers, they were worried they were going to be blown over a few times. We have red, clay colored dirt in every single possible crevice of the RV and car – – and it’s amazing how much of it made it inside! It’s just everywhere. Headed out around 9:15am, south toward Prescott, AZ via Flagstaff. Had some ice and snow along the way in Flagstaff:
Arrived at Point of Rocks camp in Prescott around 3pm. We like this little park.
Fri, Oct 11 – Our last full day before heading back to San Diego tomorrow. Hiking on the boulders and over to Watson Lake is so much fun here.
In the afternoon we headed into old downtown Prescott. The town has a beautiful central park and shops along historic Whiskey Row. Since we had Poppins with us, we decided to get pizza and salad to take back to camp this evening, and boy are we glad we did! Bill’s Pizza is seriously good eats! Can’t wait to go back here again.
Sat. Oct 12 – Set out from Point of Rocks Park at Prescott Lakes, AZ for San Diego via Congress, AZ to get the coach weighed, took a wrong turn thanks to an incorrect entry into the Garmin, and ended up on a very narrow, winding, mountainous road along Hwy’s 96 & 97 toward Bagdad, AZ which is right before Nowhere, AZ. Found our way back to 8 West, via 10 and 78, after looking at the hard copy atlas!
After almost 5 weeks on the road – this was the only time we had gotten lazy and didn’t cross reference the routes against the hardcopy Atlas. We learned a lot on this trip, and this was certainly one of the lessons we’ll keep in mind as we head out on the next journey tentatively planned for Alaska end of April 2014! 🙂
Deb, Greg, and Poppins