The Wild West
Just as in days of old we followed the Oregon Trail and the North Platte River from Nebraska to Glenrock, WY into the wild west. The landscape changed drastically as we climbed 2000 ft passing over the state border going up into the high plains. We took back roads, mostly two-lane state highways, passing huge ranches and going through small towns.
Also, just like in the old west we had trouble pop up unexpectedly, though not a broken wheel or an Indian raid. Longtime full-timers will tell you that you will have just as ma
ny problems on the road as you would have in your sticks and bricks house. Plumbing leak, call a plumber … car won’t start call a mechanic. But when you pull your RV off the road, turn off the engine and then it won’t start you have to hunt down a local mechanic that will do the warranty work. We were lucky in that we were able to get the coach started again and into our campground in Glenrock. Tiffin (maker of our coach) was able to direct us to a local Freightliner shop (our chassis) only a half hour away in Casper. They were able to get us in relatively quickly though they had to order a new ignition switch so we had to go back the next day for it to be installed. Now remember, we have to pack up our ENTIRE home twice then sit at the shop until the work is done. Another instance that is teaching us patience! (Oh and that is #6 on that list of Personality Traits) Great praises for Jack’s Truck and Equipment as they got everything done so fast.
If the starter wasn’t enough, we also blew out a valve in our water system …. we had water shooting out from behind our TV and fireplace … but again another call to Tiffin and they had a part number for us and gave us the name of a local RV dealer where we could get the part. Jon was able to diagnose this problem and he will be able to complete the repair … again, got be a DIYer! This just goes to show you that living full-time on the road isn’t all rainbows and lovely outings but we have to deal with all of the same day to day issues that arise just as when we were in a house. Fortunately, this time everything was relatively easy to fix.
The good side of RVing is really what will keep us on the road! Currently, we are sitting in a very quiet campground, Platte River Campground, in Glenrock awaiting the hordes of eclipse seekers. We are right on the Platte River out in the wilderness between Douglas and Casper. This campground is not as developed as some we have stayed at, no WiFi, no cable, no pool (who needs one with the river out your door?!?), but what it lacks in tech, it more than makes up for in beautiful skies and endless views. For this first week we have had to deal with the smoke from the Canadian wildfires as well as heavy winds and storms but it just makes the time outside a little more adventurous.
As we are expecting over 1000 campers to join us in our campground and Wyoming is expecting over a million visitors for the eclipse, we took advantage of our week prior to their arrival by getting out and seeing the sites. We spent a day in Douglas seeing the amazing collection at the Pioneer Museum, walking though history at the train museum, and learning what it was like to be a POW in Wyoming during WWII. Douglas takes great pride in being the home to the Jackalope. We saw many of them around town, statues, prints, on just about everything! We love wandering these small towns as we find all kinds of hidden treasures. We saw a very old store front and were curious as to how old it was so we stopped into City Shoe and Saddle Shop. This place came right out of the old west and is still a vibrant business. The staff was very friendly and told us all of the history of the store and the town.
We climbed up The Rock in the Glen which we can see right out our window as it is just up the road from the campground. The Oregon Trail passed just to the other side of the rock and many travelers would stop here to rest and many carved their names and the date they came by on the back of the rock. Try to find the RV in the banner picture at the top of this post … it was taken from the top of the rock toward the campground. (Hint: look for the red tanks)
One of our quirky bucket list items while we are traveling is to attend every state fair. First up was the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo. We did a lot of people watching and we learned so much about life on a ranch. It has given us a new appreciation for this lifestyle … they truly love the land, this country, and their families. This is not an easy life in an unforgiving land but one which gives them great satisfaction. The rodeo was fun though we still debate the treatment of the animals. Most of the roping and riding skills are necessary on the ranch and the cowboys have to learn these skills at an early age in order to handle their livestock.
We really wanted to get out into the back country so we booked a photography tour with Ron Hayes. We spent five hours driving around Casper Mountain, through the Black Hills, Red Hills, Esterbrook, over gullies, and on washboard dirt roads. We were on the hunt for wildlife in the area and we were not disappointed. We saw elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, golden eagles, rabbits, kestrels, turkeys, kingfishers, and a dingo (ok, Ron called it a dingo but it really wasn’t, we just met a ranch dog trotting up the road that really wanted to come with us!)
We have been watching our campground owners prepare for the influx of campers that start arriving today. We are got our grocery shopping done and now we will stay put as they expect the roads to be a mess and the stores to be empty of food! The eclipse is going to be quite the event!
Till next time …