2021 Spring Western Trip

Latest posts on top. Scroll down for earlier posts. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button and the new post notifications button below to follow along.

4/15/2021 Day 9: We left Bluewater SP at 8:30 this morning. Uneventful night, but cold and very windy all night. We stayed warm and cozy in the Montana though.

Drove the 50 or so miles to Gallup, NM and filled up with diesel, then we headed north on 491 up through the Navajo Nation (all the way to Colorado). Traffic wasn’t too bad this morning, but the wind was really bad all day. We stopped at the Colorado welcome sign and had sandwiches Jeri made.

In Ute country we stopped at a casino so Jeri could play for a bit.

250 miles today. We arrived at the Mountain View RV Park around 3:00 this afternoon and it was cold and very windy. We hooked up the electricity just in time—it started snowing! Temperature was 36°. The snow stopped pretty quickly and the sun came out, but a very dark cloud was rolling over the mountains headed our way.

The view from our window

A few minutes later it started snowing like crazy, blowing sideways. We could not even see the mountains.

Hard to see the snow blowing sideways.

Jeri made goulash for dinner and it really hit the spot. The temperature is now 31° at 9:00 PM, but it’s predicted to get down in the 20s tonight. We are both wishing we had brought our down jackets! Its pretty cold for us Floridians.

We started having erratic trailer brakes late yesterday and it was worse today. I think the problem is a loose wire inside the electric box on the king pin where the pigtail from the truck plugs in, so I will do some troubleshooting tomorrow and hopefully fix the problem.

4/14/2021 Day 8: Fairly chilly night last night, around 50°. Had the heat pump set to 66, but I don’t think it ever came on. We left the park around 10:00 AM after Jeri took a shower.

Our Sugar Belle started limping on her left front paw yesterday and was really licking it. I couldn’t find anything in it, but the skin between her pads was licked pretty raw. This morning, while Jeri held her I used a flashlight to look really well for anything stuck in there, but didn’t see anything. I worked some Triple Antibiotic Ointment into the areas between her pads and kept her from licking it off and later she seems to be walking better.

After leaving the park we headed into Roswell (nope, did not see any aliens) and I filled up with diesel at an Alsups station. Jeri went inside and came back with stuffed fried burritos for breakfast. We took US285 north up to Cline’s Corner at the junction of US285 and I-40, where we stopped so Jeri could shop a bit while I walked and watered the dogs. We’ve been through here several times in every direction, so we are very familiar with Cline’s Corner and always stop for a bit.

From here we took I-40 west. Getting low on diesel we stopped at a TA truck stop in Albuquerque and filled up with both diesel and DEF fluid.

West of Albuquerque we stopped at a place we discovered by accident on our 2019 Spring Trip, the Indian Arts Center in Pueblo Laguna. We didn’t stop for the art. We stopped for the stuffed tacos fry bread. The tacos have have a sublime flavor and we were really looking forward to eating them again.

Yeah, baby!!! Stuffed fry bread tacos!!

While good, they were not as sublime as we remembered. Maybe we had built them up in our minds or maybe because two years ago a man was making them, but now he works in Albuquerque and his Mother is making them. Oh well, as Jeri said, a trip bucket list item checked off. Worth the stop.

We rolled into Bluewater SP, about 50 miles east of Gallup, NM a little before 5:00 PM. I-40 had very heavy traffic and backups for road work. We found our campsite, but it is one of those that sits parallel with the road and it was on our wrong side (driver side), so we turned around and went the wrong way on a one way road a couple of hundred yards and pulled in. Very unleveled site! We are booked here for two nights, but Jeri immediately said she did not want to spend two nights here, so we left the trailer hooked to the truck and I leveled the trailer the best I could. It’s very windy! No hookups at all here. Supposed to get down into the mid-30s tonight. Other than the level issue I think this is a very pretty campsite. Great view of the canyon. Lots of spruce and evergreen trees.

View of the canyon
Our campsite (#25 Canyonside loop)

Jeri got on the phone and booked the next two nights at a FHU RV park in Monticello, UT, 243 miles from here, so fairly short drive tomorrow. On the plus side, it will allow us to get to Moab fairly early Saturday with empty waste tanks and full freshwater and find the boondocking spot Jimmy wants us to stay in, although they won’t arrive with their trailer until late Saturday night.

It’s a little after 9:00 PM as I write this update. After a dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup Jeri is watching her current favorite Netflix show (Good Girls) on her iPhone.

Oops, I put a little more Triple Antibiotic Ointment on Sugar’s paw about 45 minutes ago and she must have licked it because she just threw up! Yuck, but it was just liquid, so not that much of a mess. Poor baby!

Still very windy; outside temp down to 61°.

4/13/2021 Day 7: Rolled out of San Angelo SP around 9:30 AM after dumping all the waste tanks. Good drive to Bottomless Lake SP a few miles east of Roswell, NM. 330 miles. Arrived just before 4:00 PM. Very nice state park.

Our Montana is the upper most trailer in the center
Jeri made a delicious Southwest style chicken dinner

After the great dinner we watched some TV until pretty late before going to bed. We typically use a Roku device on our TV to stream programs using primarily a AT&T hotspot device or if no good AT&T signal we use our Verizon Mi-Fi device as the WiFi source via cellular.

4/12/2021 Day 6: This is our last day at San Angelo SP. We have really gotten to like San Angelo. This morning we toured Fort Concho, a fort that was active during the Indian wars and one of many forts located in Texas before and after the Civil War. The city of San Angelo owns the fort (approximately 40 acres) and have done a marvelous job of restoration. Several of the buildings can be toured and have interesting displays of life at the fort in the 1870s and 1880s.

One of the barracks for enlisted men
Officers Quarters
Inside a enlisted men barracks
Very interesting display of telephone history located in one of the officers quarters buildings
Five Medal Of Honor winners during the Indian wars

After visiting the (free today for some reason) fort we went to Eggemeyer’s General Store, kind of a throwback to the old time general stores. Interesting place. We made a few purchases.

Another shop Jeri went in with a soda fountain

Then we went to lunch at Miss Hattie’s Cafe and Saloon across the street. Pretty good.

Bill & Jeri at Miss Hattie’s

After lunch we stopped at a jewelry store so Jeri could see and maybe shop for a Concho pearl, a very rate freshwater pearl that naturally come in some different colors. Yes, she bought a very beautiful Concho pearl set in diamonds ring.

We found out last night that son Billy has been sick for a couple of weeks and was diagnosed (tested positive) with Covid, but the doctor told him he thought he was past the timeline for getting seriously ill.

After getting back to the trailer we planned our route up to Moab, UT and managed to score a couple of state parks in New Mexico. Tomorrow night we will be in Bottomless Lake SP just east of Roswell, NM and the next two nights we are booked at Bluewater SP just east of Gallup, NM. This could get chilly because the SP is at 7,600 feet elevation and Gallup is predicted to get temps in the 20s those two nights. Good thing our fiver is four season rated!

Found out a few minutes ago son Donnie is having hernia surgery Friday.

Okay, I need to get some things done so we can get a fairly early start in the morning.

4/11/2021 Day 5: I slept in until a bit after 7:00 this morning. It got down to 50° overnight. Prior to going to bed I set the front heat pump to come on if the bedroom got down to 65° and the heat pump did start cycling in the early wee hours, so good sleeping! We lounged around most of the morning watching a lot of other campers packing up and heading out. We now pretty much have this whole area to ourselves. Yea!!

Around 11:30 we headed into San Angelo; first stop was the beautiful visitor center where a gentleman working there told us quite a bit about how great San Angelo is and things to do and see here. I also found out the lake (O C Fisher, same name as my Granddad!) is only 6% full!!

Since this is Sunday in Texas many things are closed today. We did go see the International Lili Pad Display, the largest number of species on display in one place in the world.

Jeri overlooking the lily pad ponds
Many different species of water lillies
I felt sorry for this little guy all alone, so took its picture

At this point since it was so hot (93°) and since some of the places we want to visit are closed today we decided to go for lunch at one of the top rated Mexican restaurants in San Angelo, Armenta’s. Small and nothing fancy about this place, but the food and service, even though the place was very busy, were both excellent!

After lunch we picked up a few groceries and things and headed back to the trailer in the almost deserted campground. Boy is it WINDY!! Time for a short nap. More later.

4/10/2021 Day 4: Short travel day today from Llano, TX to San Angelo SP; around 130 miles. Got very low on diesel fuel, down to 30 miles left according to the truck’s computer, so finally found diesel fuel in Brady, TX. Took on 26 gallons (tank holds 34 gallons), so 8 gallons or roughly around 70-80 miles actually left. This Shell station had the slowest diesel pumps I have ever seen; took forever to pump that 26 gallons. And it especially seemed even slower after being used to the big nozzle, fast diesel pumps at the truck stops.

Beautiful drive, up and down the hills through the countryside. Arrived at San Angelo SP around 2:15 PM and dumped our two gray water waste tanks at the dump on the way in. We are in campsite 32, 7 sites down from where we were during our Spring 2019 Western trip. Wide open camping with few trees, but several hundred feet between campsites.

Campsite 32 at San Angelo SP
Our flags

We cooked a couple of cheeseburgers Jeri got at Billy’s Boudin Balls & Cracklins (I didn’t care for the Cracklins) on the Blackstone griddle for an early dinner. Spicy burgers, but very good!

Several deer across the road from our campsite

A couple of hours before sundown we explored all the roads in the park in the truck. We ran across a small group of Javelinas (or Peccaries) and later a sow and one tiny piglet ran across the road in front of us, too quick for a picture. Here’s a video of the Javelina.

Small group of Javelina

We got back to camp about dark. Beautiful clear sky and lots of stars. Tomorrow we will explore San Angelo. Jeri has found some places she wants to see and I want to visit old Fort Concho and we’ll probably have a Mexican dinner somewhere.

Is anybody reading this blog? If so, please leave a comment.

Bonus photo: Bill enjoying a Boudin Ball. Yummmm!

4/9/2021 Day 3: Left the previous campground around 10:00 AM and stopped for the night just outside Llano, TX at the the Riverway RV Park (nothing special, but since the temperature is in the upper 90s we needed electricity for the two A/Cs). Before leaving this morning I managed to book a campsite at the San Angelo State Park just outside San Angelo, TX (duh) for three nights starting Saturday night, so stopping here at Riverway leaves us about only 140 miles to San Angelo SP tomorrow. It will be nice to just relax for a few days. We traveled about 327 miles today because highway TX71 was closed at some point and we got routed around on a more circuitous route. Oh well, those things happen. Driving through the Texas Hill Country is always nice and the Blue Bells are blooming. Getting through Houston and Austin was a bear!! The traffic was terrible and you always have a few assholes that drive too fast and cut in and out of slow moving traffic. They have no clue how hard it is to stop 12 tons of truck and trailer quickly! Speaking of traffic!! Traffic has been horrendous on just about every road we’ve been on, especially I-10!

4/8/2021 Day 2: 9:15 PM: Another busy day driving, 338 miles. We left Boomtown around 9:30 AM this morning and stopped here for the night at the Gulf Coast RV park just south of Beaumont, TX just before 6:00 PM (so around eight and a half hours of traveling. The high point was the lunch of Boudin Balls as mentioned below.

This is a pretty nice RV park that Jeri found us. We may stay through the weekend because it gets much more difficult to find openings on the weekend. Jeri made a great dinner tonight.

Chicken dinner
Campsite 9 at Gulf Coast RV Park

I’m tired. Think I will hit the rack. More tomorrow.

1:45 PM: Filled up with diesel fuel at the TA in Lafayette, LA a few minutes ago. Now we are at Billy’s Boudin Balls and Cracklins’ in Scott, LA; Jeri is inside getting some Boudin balls for lunch and some for the freezer. Beautiful day; not a cloud in the sky, but in the low 80s, so warm. Billy’s is very busy again this time.

I-12 and I-10 through Baton Rouge are still really rough and a lot of road construction coming into Lafayette. Other than those I-10 and I-12 were very smooth from Biloxi to Lafayette.

8:00 AM: A powerful thunderstorm rolled through this morning around 4:30 AM CDT. Lots of rain, thunder and lightning.

We had both A/Cs on and Jeri heard the furnace come on. At first I thought it was the neighbor’s furnace in the big class A, but when I got up to use the bathroom I realized it was ours. We had a battle of heating and cooling systems going on. 🤪

The new digital thermostats I installed have automatic switching between cooling and heating and somehow the living room system had been switched from just cooling to auto.

Interesting thing about our neighbor: I talked to him briefly yesterday evening. He is from Decatur, IL and camps at Wolf Creek State Park. He said they grocery shop in Windsor at Pedro’s. Small world.

4/7/2021: Day 1: Left home at 8:00 AM (EDT) this morning and stopped for the night at 6:00 PM (CDT), so 11 hours on the road today, 533 miles. We are camped tonight at the Boomtown Casino RV park in Biloxi, MS. Jeri is at the casino now. $37 for the night, FHU (Full Hook Ups), but we are only using power. No need to hook up to water and sewer for one night. This will more than likely be our longest day traveling on this trip. As usual I did not unhook the trailer from the truck for a one-nighter. $170 for diesel fuel today (3 stops)

Campsite 23 at Boomtown in Biloxi

4/5/2021: I got my second Moderna Covid vaccine shot this morning and my cataract surgeries are healing nicely. It sure is nice to only have to uses glasses for reading and to get to wear regular sunglasses again! Yea!!

The truck has been serviced and new tires put on, so it’s ready. I brought the fifth wheel home yesterday and sanitized the freshwater system and today we are packing the food, some additional clothes, etc. I am running it 100% from the lithium batteries and solar as a test and it’s doing great (good sunshine).

It fills one whole side length of our driveway.

We plan to leave Wednesday morning (4/7/2021). We will head up I-95 to Jacksonville, FL, then the plan (always subject to change) is to take I-10 west all the way to San Antonio, TX. From there we will continue west on US90 to near the Mexican border at Del Rio, TX (hoping to avoid all the border jumpers), then north on US377 and US277 to San Angelo, TX, then various roads up to Quitaque, TX where we hope to get a campsite at Caprock Canyons State park. We were there a few years ago and bison have the complete run of the park, including the campground!

This big old bull slept under the tree about 20′ from our trailer.

Not exactly sure where we’re going from there, but we may head to Moab and hook up with son Jimmy and his wife Rachel for a couple of days. There is a Navajo Indian Arts Center west of Albuquerque, NM on I-40 that makes the best Fry Bread Tacos that Jeri wants to stop at again, so if we go to Moab we will stop there. 🤪😁 We will probably try to stop a night or two along the way at a casino so Jeri can scratch her gambling itch. 😁😁

Our six day reservation at Chatfield State Park in Colorado starts 4/22/2021, so we plan to be there on time.

More updates, hopefully about everyday will be coming.

3/5/2021: Well phooey! I somewhat inadvertently ended up getting my first Covid vaccine shot (Moderna vaccine) on 3/3 and they scheduled my second (final) dose for 4/5. This, plus I am still dealing with issues with my left eye after getting cataract surgery on it on 1/26. While my right eye is now clear as can be and 20/20 the left eye is still a bit blurry and the surgeon has me scheduled to see his partner who is a corneal specialist on 3/16. The result of all the preceding is that we will not be leaving for our western trip the middle of March. Depending on the eye issue recommendations the earliest we can leave is around 4/6 or 7.

This means we will have to pretty much head straight to Colorado for our 4/22 reservation at Chatfield SP, after which we will bum around the Southwest for a couple of weeks or so before heading home. It will be getting too hot in Death Valley so going there is out for this trip. We have been talking about going to DV sometime next Winter.

2/28/2021: I did some additional research on Death Valley camping this morning and it appears the national park is now open for camping and there are some other places that we can boondock (free) even if the NP is closed for camping, so the plan at this time is to go to Death Valley. YEA!!

2/26/2021: It is going to be great to be back on the road with our fifth wheel trailer after many months of sitting at home. Jeri is in the middle of getting her covid vaccines and I just recently had cataract surgeries on both eyes and am still in the recovery stage.

I had to replace some of the weather cracked vinyl trim screw covers on the trailer and I had the wheel bearings serviced, along with new brake liners, shoes, etc. I also had the outside of the trailer washed and wax several weeks ago.

I do need to do a couple of things before we leave: 1) check all the roof seams and reseal with Dicor self-leveling sealant if necessary and 2) sanitize the fresh water system (I do this once a year).

In case you do not remember or did not know we use a 2018 Ford Lariat F-350 4×4 Crew Cab SRW SB Powerstroke diesel truck to tow a 2019 Keystone Montana 3121RL fifth wheel trailer. Here are a couple of pictures.

We currently have reservations for six nights at Chatfield State Park just south of Littleton, Colorado starting April 22, 2021 and plan to leave home sometime around the middle of March, depending on how my cataract surgeries are doing.

We originally were planning to work our way to Death Valley National Park, then work our easy through Nevada and spend some time in Utah, but if California still has everything shut down, including campgrounds, we will spend quite a bit of time down in the Big Bend area of south Texas before working our way up to Colorado. New Mexico State parks are still closed for camping, so probably will avoid it as much as possible this trip.

The plan is to bring the trailer home from our storage facility three or four days before we leave to do final system checks, maintenance (to include fresh water tank sanitizing) cleaning and load the groceries, etc.

From the left: Sugar Belle and Faith

2019 Summer Western Trip

July 6, 2019: Yesterday evening we went out for very good Mexican dinners at “Felisa’s Mexican Food & Lounge” (good Margaritas) a mile or so from the KOA we are in. We were planning to go to the “El Azteca Mexican Restaurant” and we actually walked in, but even though it is highly rated Jeri was put off by the bars on the windows and doors and the general look of the place, so we left.

We had a bit of brief rain in the wee hours this morning and our newest rescue pup, sweet little Faith (or Fay Fay) was very restless and her stomach was making noises. Jeri took her outside a couple of times and Faith came and cuddled with me while I tickled her tummy and chest (Faith’s, not Jeri’s 🤪). She finally settled down and went to sleep and seems fine today.

Sugar and Faith (white)

Bent’s Old Fort: Around lunch time Jeri and I drove out to visit Bent’s Old Fort, a national historic site. We have been there a few times over the years. It was built in the 1830s of adobe bricks and heavy log beams and was used for a couple of decades as a fur and buffalo robe trading place and a stopover for those adventurers and business men traveling the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was privately built and owned and while once or twice the military did stop there briefly it was never a military fort. It initially was on the banks of the Arkansas River, but over time the river channel moved south away from the fort. I just simply love this place, everything about it, especially the way it is laid out. If I could afford it, I would love to build a smaller version of it (modernized, of course) to live in.

Some pictures.

The central courtyard.

The dining room.

The adjoining kitchen.

The store.

The main owners (Bent brothers and St. Vrain) had their own rooms. Here is one.

I bought a beautiful handmade coffee mug and a 130 minute video about the fort. I already have a book or two on it from previous visits.

If you want to learn a bit of very interesting Western history, Google it. I highly recommend you do so because it played it big part on the Santa Fe Trail and early Southwestern commerce.

After the visit to the fort we stopped at a excellent Mexican food take-out place, “Delicias Tamal House” and got a half dozen tamales and a burrito verde to take back to the trailer for lunch. The food was excellent, delicious as advertised (4 1/2 star rating on Yelp—I have it a 5).

After lunch a bit of a nap, then while Jeri and the pups finished napping I drove into the Loves gas station in town and filled the F-350 up with diesel fuel and added another 2 1/2 gallons of DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid—it prevents the black smelly smoke from the exhaust that diesels are infamous for. LOL).

La Junta is a small modern city with a touch of the old west and some decent restaurants. Also a Koshare museum that we visited several years ago.

Tomorrow morning I will dump all our tanks and we will head west on US-50 to dry camp for a couple of days right beside the Arkansas River in the Rincon Campground (we reserved the site for two nights yesterday). Rincon is just east of Salida, CO. Now that the July 4th holiday is open campsites are opening up.

2019 Summer Western Trip

This will be a very long post as I catch up the past few days.

July 5, 2019: Yesterday we moved from the KOA Lakeside Park in Fort Collins all the way down to the KOA in La Junta, Colorado. We could not stay in Fort Collins because they were booked solid. After hours of searching this was literally the only place in Colorado where we could camp until Sunday through the July 4th holiday weekend. We’ve never seen such full campgrounds out here this time of year.

This is a fairly decent KOA, although it appears they are still doing some improvements and there appear to be at least three to four permanent residents. The staff is friendly and helpful, but the office/store has been inconsistently open; maybe due to it being a holiday weekend. There are several nice rigs here. Very fast Wi-Fi here! This morning I ran some speed tests and was getting 24-30 mbps. About the best free Wi-Fi we have encountered anywhere.

Yesterday evening we met a couple in a huge, 43′ three axle toy hauler fiver with both a rear and side drop down decks.

We drove out north of La Junta and parked alongside the highway with lots of other folks and watched a very nice fireworks display.

Our campsite:

Some fireworks last night:

On the way down here we met one of our sons, Billy, for lunch at the Chili’s on south Kipling Avenue just a short distance from C470. It had a very large parking lot and easy in and out for our rig.

South of Colorado Springs we ran into a brief thunderstorm with some HAIL. It was making some noise hitting the truck, even at low speed, but when I checked later I didn’t find any dents. 😁

Did I mention how hot it is here in La Junta? No? Well, when we arrived here late yesterday afternoon it was 98 degrees. Sure glad we have two 15,000 btu air conditioners on our fiver! They cooled it down pretty well.

Okay, now I will try to get us caught up since my last post.

July 1, 2019: We went to the laser show at the Crazy Horse Memorial last night. It was a bit chilly, but didn’t rain. Small crowd. Good story to the show, but since the mountain is 3/4 mile away some of the pictures the laser displayed were kind of hard to make out detail. We probably would not bother to go again. I do want to stress that the memorial, though far from finished is worth seeing, the facility is beautiful and the food we had was good and reasonably priced. Did I mention the coffee is free?

A couple of pictures:

Today we took a picnic lunch in a cooler and spent most of the day touring Custer State Park. Beautiful place. The Needles road has a couple of very narrow one lane tunnels carved out of the rock. I had to close the outside towing mirrors (a touch of a button) on our big F-350 to fit through them. Beautiful drive though with lots of scenic overlooks.

A picture of one of the road tunnels.

Here is our picnic spot.

After lunch we drove all around what they call the Wildlife Loop Road. We saw a couple of bison, a couple of deer and antelope and Jeri said, “where are all the buffalo.” Then we got off the paved section and drove further in on the gravel Fishermens Flats road to the right of the Wildlife Station Visitor Center. We came upon two herds of 50-80 bison each and spent some time watching them, then turned around and headed back toward the Wildlife Loop road. Suddenly Jeri spotted this HUGE herd of bison up on a hill to our right and they were slowly feeding and moving down toward the gravel road we were on. We moved further along the road until we were stopped by other vehicles waiting for the bison to come down and pass through. Some of us wisely left a few car lengths of gap between our vehicles so the bison could pass through.

And pass through they did!! For the next hour we pretty much just sat there while bison passed through beside, in front of and behind us as they crossed the road and spread out. Lots and lots of mommas and their calves.

And some more.

In the upper part of the above picture a mother bison is nursing her calf right in the middle of the road.

We estimated there were probably somewhere around 1,000 bison that passed by. It was one of the most spectacular wildlife encounters we have ever had. We could only imagine what it was like 160 years ago when tens of thousands of bison would pass by!!! It was AWESOME!! Definitely a big highlight of this summer trip!

I have to leave this with this little video. LOL

July 2, 2019: Dumped tanks and topped up the freshwater tank and headed south and west to Wyoming today. We managed to snag a coveted campsite in the Reno Cove campground of Glendo State Park. While we did not get the really primo site #8 we did score the primo site #4 for one night and had a great view!

We had a 50 amp hookup. A bad thunderstorm moved through and there were tornado warnings for the area, but luckily none developed. We had a nice night, although it did rain a bit more during the night.

We are having trouble finding campsites with our apps and phones down in Colorado because of the impending July 4th holiday weekend. But we will figure something out; we always do. 🤪

July 3, 2019: We left this beautiful campsite around 10:30 this morning and headed on south on I-25 as Jeri frantically searched for someplace to camp. We stopped in Fort Collins, Colorado to try and find something and finally found one night (and one night only) at the KOA Lakeside on the northwest side of Fort Collins. This turned out to be a nice place with very friendly helpful staff. It was full. We spent most of the evening trying to find a campground for the long holiday weekend, with no success. We have been out here before over the 4th of July and have never seen it as hard to find a place than this year! We could stay at some friends’ 5 acre ranchette outside Parker where we have stayed a couple of times, but I am not sure we can maneuver our larger fiver into there driveway from the road.

July 4, 2019: Okay! This morning I found us a campground with openings through the holiday weekend. That’s the good thing. The bad thing: it’s clear down in La Junta, CO. But at this point we have no choice. After many phone calls and searching with our apps this the only thing we can find. Colorado is very busy this holiday! The KOA in La Junta is the only KOA in the entire state with openings!

2019 Summer Western Trip

June 30, 2019: This morning we broke camp at Fish ‘N Fry and made a leisurely trip 50 miles south to the Custer Crazy Horse Campground. Along the way we stopped at a visitor center by a pretty lake.

We checked in at the campground after they guided us back to it and assisted with guidance while I backed the trailer up and into the spot off a loose gravel road. The 4×4 capability of the F-350 came in very handy! Since the sites are so close together they have us two sites for the price of one.

After completing setup we went to the Crazy Horse Monument. $24 for the two of us to get in, but that includes a pass to come back in to the laser light show at night and one more entry over the next two days. This is what it is supposed to look like when finished (not in our lifetime).

This is what it looks like today after 71 years of carving the big granite mountain.

Here are the specs and a comparison to other similar items. When completed this thing will be the largest of its kind in the world.

We had a great lunch of salad and a Native American fry bread taco and were trapped inside the impressively beautiful facility while a heavy rainstorm rolled through.

After returning home (trailer) we napped briefly and finally added another state sticker to our RV camping map.

We now have RV camped in 30 states! Plus Alberta, British Columbia and The Yukon Territory.

Tonight we plan to go to the laser show.

2019 Summer Western Trip

June 29, 2019: Last night we went to the Medora Musical, along with around 2,500 other folks. The musical is a first class operation that is in its 55th season. It started out fantastic with two bull elk on the skyline of the hill behind the stage that we watched after getting into our seats.

The show itself tells the story of Medora in a musical and its many characters. It was pretty expensive, but very worth it. We highly recommend seeing it if you are ever up this way.

Mr. Roosevelt and me.

The show venue. All those empty seats were full by the time the show started. The buildings in the background were on tracks and went to the sides during parts of the show.

This morning we saddled up and left this beautiful National Park and headed south. We did some grocery shopping in Spearfish, SD and visited the new geographical center of the USA that includes Alaska and Hawaii in Belle Fourche.

We are camped tonight at the Fish ‘N Fry campground just a few miles south of Deadwood. After setting up we drove into Deadwood so Jeri could gamble a bit and we had a delicious dinner at the Buffalo Bodega on Main Street. This place is the oldest continuous restaurant in Deadwood. Would you believe over 170 years?!!

Tomorrow we will move about 50 miles south down to Custer, SD where we will spend at least two nights at the Custer Crazy Horse Campground, 4 miles south of the Crazy Horse Monument (still unfinished).

2019 Summer Western Trip

June 27, 2019; 8:15 PM: The sun is starting to set behind the bluffs in our beautiful campsite (#31 that we lucked into) in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Cottonwood Campground. Roosevelt has a ranch here back in the late 1800s.

Since have our National Senior Pass entry is free and our campsite is $7.00 a night. No hookups at all, so we are boondocking. Good test of the solar system I installed.

We traveled the Enchanted Highway in the way here. It was a beautiful drive, but not as many huge metal sculptures as we expected. Here is a sample.

We visited the Custer House this morning before leaving Fort Abraham Lincoln, but did not have the time to take the tour of the house. Here is a picture of the outside.

George Custer was the commander of the cavalry post before he rode out to infamous glory and death with the 7th Cavalry. Since the infantry post had several Indian attacks I asked a old time uniformed soldier how they kept the cavalry post from being attacked. I was told there were three Gatling Guns stationed on the hills behind the post to protect it.

Here are some pictures of our campsite.

After setting up camp (pretty easy with no hookups) we took a long drive back into the park. Here are a couple of pictures.

So far we have seen a couple of bison, several wild horses and a deer.

We are booked here for two nights. Tomorrow we will go into town and get tickets for the western musical tomorrow night.

Very poor cell signal, so that may have to wait to post this until in town (Medora) tomorrow.

2019 Summer Western Trip

June 27, 2019: We spent the night at the Fort Lincoln State Park near Bismarck, ND. Our campsite is less than stellar. A thunderstorm rolled through again in the wee hours and our campsite has lots of mud puddles. I am not sure why we seem to always get assigned to what seem to be some of the worst campsites, but we have decided that in the future we are not going to accept it. There are plenty of empty very nice campsites here that we could have had.

Our trailer is surrounded by mud puddles—breaking camp is going to be a mess.

Yesterday evening we visited the infantry post on top of the hill. The CCC several years ago rebuilt the blockhouses and foundation corners of many of the buildings. Several skirmishes with the Indians were fought here back in the 1870s.

The view from the infantry post of the cavalry post (Custer House) and Missouri River.

Our campsite

We plan to visit the Custer House this morning before departing for the Enchanted Highway and then spend a night or two at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park at Medora, ND. We have been on the road now for eight days and every stop has been one night. It’s time to spend at least a couple of nights in the same place.

Some more pictures:

Albino bison:

World’s largest gonads. Sorry, I couldn’t resist this. 🤪👀😜

2019 Summer Western Trip

June 26, 2019: Beautiful morning in the 70s so far (high of 86) here at this lovely park in Aberdeen, SD. We were woke up by a fairly brief thunderstorm in the wee hours. Didn’t rain all that much but a couple of strong wind gusts sure rattled the slide toppers.

We are about to break camp and head up US-281 to Jamestown, ND, 102 miles, to see the World’s Biggest Bison. The m pretty excited about it because I like seeing the “world’s largest” of anything. Jeri not so much. LOL. Pictures later.

Here is a picture of the “World’s Largest Bison.”

2019 Western Summer Trip

June 25, 2019: Before leaving the park we visited the keel boat display. It’s in the water and people can go aboard and check out what it was like for the Lewis & Clark folks. Pretty cool.

We traveled up I-29 to US-12 and went west to Aberdeen, SD and are camped at the Wylie Park campground. This is a multi-use Park and is very nice. The first campsite they gave us was sort of crammed in with a bunch of other campers and had a very large mud hole, so we went back to the office and the person working there moved us to another and much nicer campground with a pull thru. Very nice!

The country side coming north and west is rolling farms, pastures and many small lakes beside US-12. The lakes were carved out by glaciers I was told.

We covered around 330 miles today. We got a pretty late start this morning. During a fill up of diesel fuel at a Flying J I bought 5 gallons of Blue Def and put one 2 1/2 gallon container in the Def tank. Strong quartering headwind up I-29 and we were getting 7.5-8.5 mpg. Good thing diesel is relatively low priced right now. 🙂

Our rear roll down shade is messed up and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to adjust it to work properly. I may just buy a new, better quality one from our blind person at home.

Tomorrow we head north into North Dakota to see the World’s Largest Bison!! Stay tuned.

2019 Western Summer Trip

June 25, 2019: First, my apologies for not posting the past few days, but we have traveled over 1,500 miles since leaving home on the 20th and we have not always had good cell signal at some campgrounds. So this is to kind of get caught up. I will do better going forward.

We spent last night at the Lewis & Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa after driving about 320 miles from Long Branch State Park in Macon, Missouri via highways US-36 to St. Joseph, MO and north on I-29. I-29 skirts along the Missouri River and we saw MASSIVE flooding. Tens of thousands of acres are still underwater and many exits were closed because the roads they lead to are still underwater, even though the flood waters have receded several feet. Sad!

This is a very nice state park and we are parked beside a lake. A thunderstorm rolled through around 4:30 this morning. When we arrived at the park, with no reservation of course, the sign said the campground is full, but we saw lots of empty campsites with reserved signs dated from one to a few days in the future. We talked to another camper and he said the campground hosts here are too lazy to keep the sites updated as to vacancy, so they just put up the full sign even though it is currently half empty. So we just used a site that was marked reserved for a couple of days from now and paid our $16 for an electric only site.

Today we will continue north on I-29, then head off northwest to Jamestown, North Dakota to see the “World’s Largest Bison”, but it’s over 400 miles, so will get there tomorrow. And we will get to add another state sticker to our map! Yeay!!!!

June 23-24, 2019: After a short run of less than 200 miles we arrived in Macon, Missouri and set up camp in the Long Branch State Park. Monte and Kathy Ashmore (I went all through grade and high school with Monte) live in Macon and they took us on a tour of their home and Macon and took us out for a very good Mexican dinner. They visited with us at our trailer until after 10:00 PM and we had a very enjoyable evening with them.

Long Branch State Park is very nice, but I forgot to take a picture of our campsite. Before leaving the park we dumped our two gray water tanks at the campground’s dump and left the park at 9:45 AM.

June 22, 2019: We traveled several miles on highway MO-8, one of the hilliest and curviest roads we’ve ever been on and finally found a campsite at the Meramac Spring Country Store Campground. It was an okay place for $32 for a full hookup site that we only used electric. Earlier in the afternoon we sat out a bad rain storm in a church parking lot in the country. Our truck and trailer continue to do well with no problems, except for a minor issue with the rear roll down blind that some rough roads shook loose and the bathroom power vent that will not open.

June 21, 2019: Nice drive through the country today. We camped at the Lucky Lady Casino (Caruthersville, MO) right beside a very full, flood stage Mississippi River and the casino’s campground was on the river side of the levee!! A pretty nice campground with four campers using it. Jeri actually walked out of the casino around $30 ahead and that about covered the camping fee. She got “trapped” in the casino when she went to pay for our site by a big rainstorm. LOL

I took this picture out one of our trailer windows.

June 20, 2019: We hooked up and left the house a few minutes after 8:00 this morning. We stopped at the Flying J in St. Augustine to top up our diesel fuel and I finally hit the CAT Scales with our fully loaded rig to get our real weights. Simple, quick process with their app and all our weights are easily with max axle weights by several hundred pounds. Our total rig, truck and trailer came in a bit over 22,000 pounds. We traveled I-95, I-10 and I-75 to Tifton, Georgia before heading off on non-interstates to Albany and Columbus, Georgia, then into Alabama. Drove through some rain and after over 400 miles we camped at the Scenic Drive RV Campground just south of I-20 east of Birmingham, AL. One little mishap—we missed the kind of hidden entrance to the RV campground and I made a poorly executed u-turn at a wide spot in the road with our big rig. I knocked of one of the rear jack snap pads. I discovered it missing when we were setting up, so unhooked the truck and drove the short ways to find it. I put it back in the next morning as we were breaking camp.

It is GREAT to be on the road to more new RV adventures!!