I started this log on Friday, June 6 our second day out. My wife & I had a two good days of travel. Thursday, we had some wind later in the day. We drove to Pueblo, CO, spent the night at Wal-mart on the hill over looking a wash and train tracks. We drove from 8 am to about 7 pm. Today, we drove from 9:15 am to about 4 pm. I had gotten this info from a free campground site and wanted to try it out. Except for the directions, the description was right on:
"Wheatland City Park WY Lewis Park is the name. Take 7th SE of downtown about 6 blocks. Very nice park and 8(?)shaded sites with electric. Water and dump at park exit. Nice swimming pool within walking distance. Camping by donation. Water, Electric, Sewer, Dump Station, Restrooms. Nice city park, 18 electric sites and 7 tent sites. Big rig friendly, no sewer, dump station available just outside of park, potable water available in park. First come, first serve campsites. Free for three days."
These may be better directions: North Bound traffic, after getting off I-25 at the first exit to Wheatland, turn right at the first traffic light
follow this street to the second traffic light
and turn right, go one block turn right again follow this street to the park.
South Bound Traffic after getting off I-25 at first exit to Wheatland, keep on the road until you get to the first traffic light
, turn left, go one block, turn right following this street to the park.
As my wife was cooking supper, the gas went out. Both tanks were dry. I got busy and took the propane
tanks off the trailer and went out to hunt up a refill. One gas station/CS did not sell propane
, but the man called another station. He would fill my tanks if I had cash, he was closed. I did and he did. Happy ending. Note to self, always have the tanks filled before leaving home.
Saturday/Third day, we had good drive to Custer, SD where we waited for our son, granddaughter & daughter-in-law to arrive. We stopped at the Custer Black Hills Ranger station/visitor center parking lot. After an hour and a half (with a good nap & rest), they came around a curve. After hugs, etc, we all ended up staying at a Black Hills Natíl Forest Campground (Bismarck Lake) up the road from Custer (the town). This became our staging area for the next six days. To condense these six days down: we went sight seeing each day to some degree. We were all able to go in our sonís four door Dodge pick-up. We went on the animal view loop twice, not seeing any Bison the first time and only a few the second. However, at one of the entry ďgatesĒ a Custer State Park gate keeper told us where Bison had been reported that day. We did see many Bison/Buffalo after we got there. Slow going because of Army National Guard Exercieses in the area at the time. We spotted several Pronghorns, some deer, donkeys, and Prairie Dogs as well. In the campground, we kept hearing a sound much like a car alarm going off. My wife finally spotted a small bird not much larger than a humming bird making the sound. She could see the throat of the bird moving when the sound was being made, and the sound would stop when the bird was pecking the tree for food. It was so high up in the Ponderosa pine trees she could not get a good look at it. We could not ID it from bird books. My wife described to our daughter the basic colors she had seen, the size, a long pointed beak. From those Whitney was able to ID the bird using a web site Bird Field Guide which also has the bird calls. She came up with a list of birds, she would play the call over the cell phone. On the second or third call, we had found our mystery bird. Red-breasted Nuthatch, she could not see the red, until later when she spotted it with binoculars.
Later I spotted a White-breasted Nuthatch in T. Roosevelt Natíl Park.
My son had brought his motorcycle with him and went riding each day. I took it for a spin a few times myself. On one trip, he got it bogged down in mud and his wife and I had to take his pick-up to him to pull him out of it. It was in some stuff very close to if not quick sand. A small wet weather spring was coming out at a base of a hill forming the mud hole in the logging road. He had worked hour or more trying to get out. After getting it out and on the trailer, we took it to a car wash to clean it up.
We drove by Mount Rushmore having been to it several times and passed the Crazy Horse Memorial 3 or 4 times. Stopped in Hill City at a playground and for ice cream. Kayla loves to slide. She went on slides in several playgrounds (also Custer and at a campground in Custer State Park). We went into Rapid City one day to a very nice kidís park. Not yet two, she will tackle the tallest slide.
Friday, June 13 we drove up to Theodore Roosevelt Natíl Parkís South Unit in Western North Dakota. It was raining on the last leg of the trip and still sprinkling as we set up at the campground. Saturday, we went into Medora, ND to a playground for Kayla, a very nice wooden one. We stopped at the Cowboy Cafť. Not a good move, poor food, except the raisin sour cream pie with ice cream. Buffalo burgers not so good and the Bar-B-Queue sandwich was the pits, a poor Sloppy Joe. Drove the loop in Calebís Dodge on which we saw more Buffalo/Bison, Mule Deer, Wild Horses and Prairie Dogs and some very panoramic vista. I had ridden the motorcycle in the morning and did my son. In the early evening, my wife and I went for a short ride as well. My son decided on spending a second night. Sunday, we left, stopping at the rest area/visitor center off I-94 (Painted Canyon Visitor Cent). We drove by the North Unit but did not stop. We arrived in Minot that evening.
As I am finish writing this log, it is Monday morning, we spend a nice restful night ďcamped outĒ in front of our sonís home. We had a safe trip and a very happy and pleasant time camping with our son and his family. We will be here for an extented visit.
Gas has been high of course, but below $4 until we got some in a small town in ND yesterday @ $4.09. It was still $3.99 in Minot yesterday as we passed by. Mostly at $3.85 to 3.89 but we did get some for $3.72. The times we live in. MPG has been pretty good considering pulling the travel trailer the Ranger done well. We have tried to go about 55 mph. Following our son, we were up a little to 58 mpg mainly. He slowed down for us. Going 55 mph does not seem to help his mpg.
We got 17.3 mpg topping off at Alamogordo, NM, 16.76 mpg @ Las Vegas, NM, 17.73 mpg @ Pueblo, CO, 19.12 mpg @ Cheyenne, WY, 17.74 mpg @ Lusk, WY, 17.67 mpg @ Newcastle, WY, 16.41 mpg @ Spearfish, SD, 14.94 mpg @ Belfield, ND, 14.42 mpg @ Stanley, ND. The lower mpg as well as the higher mpg had a lot to do with high winds and the prevailing wind direction and our general direction of travel. High if we had the fortune of having a rear wind and misfortune of having to drive into a frontal wind. Winds have been blowing almost the whole way, having the strongest winds in SD and ND.
Seems like there were more tent campers now, but it could be the same. We saw a Scamp
parted as we entered Roosevelt campground. A Casita
pulled in the next day from BC Canada. I said hello to a lady from the Scamp
. I did not see the Casita
peole at home.
#1. Wheatland, WY free campground
#2. Black Hills Nat'l Forest Bismarck Lake Campground out of Custer, SD
#3. Our convoy stopped in western North Dakota
#4. Cottonwood Campground Theodore Roosevelt Natíl Parkís South Unit
#5. Street camp out in ND
#6 Vista T. Roosevelt Nat'l Park Scenic Loop Drive