trip report: Colorado, Montana - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-05-2011, 10:49 PM   #29
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How did you keep track of all the details of your trip? Did you journal every night? Maybe you could some how do a map that shows your route and stopovers marked. Cant wait to show your post/pix to Hubby!
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:39 AM   #30
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This year I decided to take it easy, poke along, and try to enjoy the entire journey. I spent several days looking online at boondock locations that would likely be near the end of a day's not-too-long drive, and thinking about what I could do to relax and enjoy the area once I got there. So each campsite became a mini-destination for me. I tried to find a way to enjoy the place with a short hike or a short little side trip to look for photogenic spots. Oh, and I had some novels to read, too, when I didn't feel like doing anything else.
Mike, that's my dream style of travel. Soaking in the wonders of the present as they present themselves.

I hate to sound gushy, but I was moved to tears by your sensitive portrayal of the beautiful places that you discovered.

Thanks so very much for sharing them.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:56 AM   #31
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Mike your photo's as others have said are fantastic!


Glad you enjoyed your time in CO.


Thank You so much for your pic's of Glacier! I miss it there and enjoyed seeing it's beauty thru your lens.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:37 PM   #32
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Thank you, thank you. Uh, Sharon, are you sure you don't have me confused with someone else? Melissa, I tracked the trip details in my onboard computer with graymatter CPU and cranial case ... and hopefully I didn't forget and leave out any of the good stuff!

US-2 is a pretty good road through Montana, except somewhere (I forget where) there was a 1 or 2 mile stretch of dirt to drive on where they were doing construction. With all the drought conditions this summer, it should have come as no surprise to see that in many places they had cut and baled the grass that grew along the highway and in the ditches.

Malta is a pretty small town, but there's a sign for a "rest area" pointing north of the highway. I turned and went there... it's just a hundred feet or so off US-2. No camping permitted there, but just beyond the rest area... another hundred feet or two... is the town's park. Camping encouraged for the princely sum of $3 per night! Park anywhere. I pulled in and found just one other camper, and no others showed up that night.

Adjacent to this park (and east of the "rest area") were some corrals. Some folks were having a calf roping contest there, so I ambled over and watched for a while.
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Unfortunately the pics I snapped here didn't turn out very sharp, but you can get the idea of what it was like.

The next day I continued east to Williston ND and then turned south on 85. This was an impromptu route change (planned to go back to Tetons, instead headed for Mt. Rushmore), so I had not looked for campsites along this route. And on this trip I had forgotten my big Trailer Life CG directory at home! I felt like knocking off kind of early this afternoon, so I stopped for gas in Bowman and asked a local fellow at the pump about campgrounds. He told me about the city CG just east of town, and I drove there. It looked ok but I think was $20 for electric only... no dump station, and I needed one... and then I heard a train go by and boy was it CLOSE and LOUD! No way Jose! Back to 83 southbound.

Just before the ND-SD state line, what should I see but a big sign about a "Bowman-Haley Recreation Area" 8 miles east off the highway! Headed over that way, and it turned out to be a diamond in the rough. A pretty lake. Dump station, a water spigot, and restrooms. The cost? If I wanted electric hookup, $12. Otherwise, Zip. Nada. Free camping!
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The weather was very pleasant so I didn't need electric. Park anywhere! I got a good level spot about 40-50 feet from water's edge. There were maybe 8 or 10 campers that I saw around the place, and oodles of space to spread out.

Next day was South Dakota, where I got onto US 385 south from Deadwood, heading toward Mt. Rushmore. Deadwood is a very interesting looking town, old-timey and very tourist-y. Looks like one could spend a lot of dough hanging out around here, not just in Deadwood but all through this region. I stopped at the visitor center by Pactola Reservoir...
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...and inquired about the national forest CGs. Just a bit farther south I found a nice campsite in the big trees at Sheridan Lake, and unhooked the Escape. From there I took a dirt-road shortcut south for a half dozen miles, then in another 4-5 miles of highway I was at Mount Rushmore.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:46 PM   #33
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After Mt. Rushmore, next was the Crazy Horse Monument. After paying $10 to get in, I felt like Crazy Coot. Not much to see here IMO. The mountain carving is only, oh, about 5% complete. They want another $4 to ride a hot bus an extra mile to the base of the mountain. There's a "museum" with some Native American art, which doesn't really interest me much, and a gift shop with prices higher than the mountain itself. $50 for a fleece throw? No thanks.

Then on to the Needles Highway through Custer State Park. This was definitely worth the state park admission fee.
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Slow going with all the twists and turns, like maybe 25-30 mph much of the way, but plenty of interesting sights. Several tunnels, too.
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Along the way I saw this fella in the field nearby; he seemed to be smiling at me as I took his picture. Not sure, is he an antelope?
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Near the end of this route, as one approaches the Rushmore area again from the south, this tunnel frames the presidents quite nicely. I came out here again the next morning, with the light on their faces, to shoot this pic. Unfortunately I see that I should have taken two or three shots at various exposures with a tripod, and used HDR software to combine them; the faces are way overexposed in my picture. Hmm, or maybe if I had just taken the shot that first evening instead!
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Oh well. Anyway, that evening I went back to the Sheridan Lake NF CG for supper, then rode my bike around the CG for a while. Spotted a 13' Scamp and introduced myself to the owners; turned out to be a nice couple from Minnesota. The man was a retired attorney. They had a deluxe and were eager to show off the interior, which had a front mini-dinette instead of the bench. They were glad to hear about the Bowman-Haley CG as they were going that direction on their way home in a few days.

When I came back for supper, I noticed that the campsite next to mine, plus the one behind it, had sprouted 9 tents during my absence. I thought, maybe some bicycle riders were out touring around. And I didn't think any more of it. Until about 10:45 pm, when suddenly I realized that I was hearing a roaring noise. It got louder, and I thought it must be a freight train. Then even louder, and I wondered if it was a tornado! Scared the $#&@ out of me, I wondered if the world was ending! I looked out the window... and saw about a dozen Harleys just yards from my trailer! Well, glad that's all it was, but doggone them anyway for coming in after quiet hours had begun.

The next day (Saturday) saw me reach Fort Collins, where I paid top dollar for a KOA with electric. Folks, never go into the metro Colorado area on a weekend without a campground reservation! Everyone is out camping on weekends. On Sunday I attended a bit of the National Stereoscopic Association (3D photo club) annual gathering, then headed to Westminster for the start of some business meetings. When they concluded on Tuesday, I headed for home. Down I-20 to Raton, then took a chance and explored an obscure route: NM hwy 72 to Folsom, then hwy 456 east to Kenton OK. This was a rather bumpy, little-used pavement plus about 16 miles of gravel in the middle, but I really enjoyed the scenery and felt like an explorer. The last night of camping was in the OK panhandle again, but this time it was too hot to do without A/C. So I camped at Black Mesa State Park... and other than the deer and other critters, I was the only one there.

I arrived home the next day, so I guess that concludes my trip report.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:28 PM   #34
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In all it was 8 nights of free camping, 9 nights of paid camping, and 2 nights in a fancy hotel (which the company pretty much covered). Excluding the meetings, that would have been an 18 day, 17 night trip.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:37 AM   #35
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Enjoyed the report Mike, can't wait for your next report.

Yes, the antelope is what has been call an antelope for years and years, but in fact is a Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) a species of artiodactyl mammal endemic to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the Prong Buck, Pronghorn Antelope, or simply Antelope. As far I know there are no real native Antelope in North/South America.

http://www.gpnc.org/pronghor.htm

Did you not see any Bison?

Or Wild Burros?
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:46 AM   #36
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Thanks for the nice report Mike. On your tunnel/Presidents face shot exposure problem, if you shot it in RAW format you could "process" two different exposures and layer them together. Erase the the dark layer except for the tunnel area. Again thanks for the nice trip photos!
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:32 PM   #37
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Thanks, Adrian, for the wildlife info. Nope, no buffalo or wild burros, but I did see some rabbits FWIW.

Brian-- THANK YOU for reminding me. I had totally forgotten that my DSLRs were set to store both RAW and jpeg! I'm just getting a new computer set up, but after all the software is reinstalled on it I will have to play with that RAW file. I feel like Homer Simpson with a *DOH!* moment; can you tell that I never have done much with RAW before? I forgot it was even there!
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:51 PM   #38
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Thank you for sharing your trip and your beautiful photos!
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:29 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by brian m. View Post
Thanks for the nice report Mike. On your tunnel/Presidents face shot exposure problem, if you shot it in RAW format you could "process" two different exposures and layer them together. Erase the the dark layer except for the tunnel area. Again thanks for the nice trip photos!
Great timing on that tip!! Have 3 weeks of photos I'm working on and this will come in very handy on a couple!
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:38 PM   #40
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Sweeet stuff Mike,
Next time through Denver area, I'll buy you a cold one. All ya gotta do is call.

EKW
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:34 PM   #41
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Thanks Keith.

Turns out that the view of Rushmore thru the tunnel was just too blown out. There's nothing there to bring back, even in RAW. Oh well.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:13 AM   #42
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That scene was a tough exposure no matter how you shot it Mike. I gave the screen capture a go in Photoshop ... it's okay, just don't look too closely!
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