Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Preparing for 2020 Road Trip

 We leave next Wednesday for our 2020 road trip.  This year’s itinerary takes us out west and will include:

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Deadhorse Point State Park

Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Capital Reef National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Zion National Park

Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim)

And other places as we go.....  sounds like a lot but we actually have enough time without killing ourselves.  We will be gone about six weeks.

We have spent a lot of time making the camper self sufficient to reduce our virus exposure.

We took the camper to Florida to a guy that renovates vintage Airstreams and he added a tank for wastewater, the new toilet and made some other repairs.  So, we will not have to use other restrooms if we don’t feel it is safe.

I took out the old heater..... it made me nervous and with the help of Paul W., added a modern heater.

We did a lot to the electrical system so we could camp off grid more or less indefinitely.  This included adding a battery, purchasing a small generator, installing a battery monitor system and a solar panel.  We can run everything but the air conditioner.
I spent a couple of weeks shining the exterior and we have been working to spruce up the interior with new curtains, a new mattress and kitchen stuff.

Last week, I took the camper to the local tire place to repack the bearings so I think we are just about there.

We have been working to pack up and fit everything into the camper and truck, this is a practice truck packing practice.

We have booked some fishing trips and excursions, printed maps and dehydrated a bunch of food.

I think our internet will be a bit more sporadic this time so I will publish updates as I can.  We can be reached in the regular ways.  So, wish us luck and we will see you in October.

Susan and Larry

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Needles Highway and on to Badlands National Park

We finished up our trip to Custer State Park with an early morning visit to some really cool rock formations.
There is a tunnel through the rocks.

The leaves are changing.

Saw these on the road.

Amazing to watch how humans interact with animals.

After we toured around, we went to Sylvan lake.  I put the kayak in and fished a bit but could not figure out how to catch anything.  When I got back, I threw my fly rod with a really small fly and caught enough trout for dinner!

The next morning, I figure I would outsmart the fish and be there really early..... Not one bite but some good pictures.

I heard a noise and there were deer feeding right at my back.

We left the next morning and drove to Badlands National Park, about two hours away.  Weird campground, right at the foot of the mountains.  I was finally able to get the TV to work. No obstructions for a hundred miles.

So far, we have hiked, driven around the Wildlife Loop - no wildlife.  Here are a few images.

Just about took Susan out on this hike, it was hot.

Went to a famous tourist trap, Wall Drug, and also to a missile silo site that is now part of the Park Service.  After the START treaty, both sides destroyed many sites but were allowed to keep one to display.

This was relatively early Sunday morning and it was packed.

Fake missile, obviously, but still pretty alarming.

We have one more day here and are going to drive to an Indian Reservation and see some more scenery.  Then two days to get to St. Louis to see my mother and brother/sister-in-law.

Looks like the hurricane will go north.  Susan and I really appreciate all the offers for help.

More later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Faith, SD, Cheyenne Sioux Reservation, Mt Rushmore and Buffalo and More Buffalo

We settled down at the Prairie Vista Inn, Faith SD, population 500 or so.  This was our base to go to the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation about 40 miles away.

The large T-Rex ever found was discovered near here and sold to the Fielding Museum in Chicago for 16 million dollars

Great burger!
The whole town of Faith

The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation is one of the largest in the country.  They have social issues up the wazoo including massive poverty, unemployment and chronic health issues such as diabetes.  They live on the reservation with their own laws, courts, tax base, schools, etc.

The Powwow is like the state fair and friends and families gather to see one another, eat fry bread ( a cultural universal, I guess) and celebrate their culture and language.  They have a rodeo and dance and drum competitions.

We spent a day and a half their and were two of a handful of outsiders.  People were nice, but distant.  I would ask a question about what was going on and I would get an answer but not much more.  Not sure if this is a cultural deal or they were not all that happy to have others there.  It was a bit uncomfortable but interesting and we learned a lot.

After dancing, the group presents themselves to the judges.

Very patriotic and honor veterans multiple times.

I learned that the clothing should be referred to a "regala", not costumes.  The modern colors  are meant to attract the judges.

 We went to the rodeo.  It was the circuit just for native american participants.  Like the minor leagues.  Fun, there were many more white people at the rodeo

We left the following morning and rode several hours to Custer State Park.

This is where we are now.

Yesterday morning, I fished a local trout stream with a guide.  Caught a few fish and learned what to do around here.  Went on my own today .... they have a "walk-in" fishery, basically a trail near a river where you can fish.  There are a series of dams to create pools that collect the fish.

Here are a few shots from the guide trip.
Brown trout

Nice fat rainbow, returned to swim another day

From today's self-guided trip.
Not that big

After I returned from fishing, we decided to be tourists and went to the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mt. Rushmore.

The Crazy Horse Memorial was started in the 1940's and is not nearly finished.  Susan and I think they are making a living saying they will finish it with no intention of really doing it.

Then off to Mt Rushmore, a bit underwhelming really.

A GREAT among the greats.

Today, we did the nature loop here at Custer and the buffalo were everywhere.  I am working on the perfect buffalo photo, not easy because the are so dark, here are a few.
Buffalo jam?

Not having a seizure, taking a dust bath.

Decent picture, was getting a bit nervous to be so close.

Tomorrow, we are driving the Needles Hwy, a rock formation and I may try to catch a bass in a lake around here.

Thanks for looking, take care, we are safe and so far not driving each other too crazy  :-)