July 31 A
Double post.. A day trip to the Crazy Mountains
another Fishing Access Site, this time south of Livingston, MT We are slowly heading
to the north entrance to Yellowtone park but that may take a couple more
weeks of just hanging out in the many fishing access points on this river.
We have lots to see and do in Livingston, MT over the next several days.
I'm having a new cell phone battery sent to the post office there And Terry
knows of three meseums to go to on his "days on his own, trips to town".
The county fair starts today here so the place is a hoppin. Main street
with link to the C of C
Yep... we found another great spot to set
up camp for a week. (7 day limit) for $7 a day with MT fishing lic. Otherwise
$12 a day. We are in the lower right, next to the blue float boat.
Taken from our site. As you can see
the bank is not as steap as it is in the one above.
As we were going to town we spotted
this. One of the low-lying tent campsites. It was empty when we came in
and now a guy sitting at the picnic table. This is one strange dude.
It was not hot out, so don't know waht he was trying to prove. There were
several open nice tent sites. Guess he just wanted to play in the mud puddles
like we all did as kids. You can see our 5 th wheel in the distance.
In town we stopped
at the visitors center asking where we could get water. Not a problem,
we filled up at their faucet. Close to the campground is a trash transfer
station so that's not a problem unlike sneaking it into the dumpsters at
gas stations. That's where we buy diesel and gas for our generator
don't ya know.
BTW it has cooled
down and is in the upper 70s to mid 80s and cold at night. We actually
put on sweat pants this morning. It rained late yesterday, but later the
sun came out for a nice sunset as we sat outside with a campfire.
As usual Terry is
at it again collecting his treasures that he finds on his walks. His eyes
are normally pointed dwon insteat of up, at the scenery.
now the second post of the day.
day trip to the Crazy Mountains back when we were
still at Big Timber
The Crazy Mountains,
often called the Crazies, are a mountain range in the northern Rocky Mountains
in the U.S. state of Montana. Just north of Big Timber, MT off HW 89. Spanning
a distance of 40 miles, the Crazy Mountains are located between the Musselshell
and Yellowstone rivers. The highest peak is Crazy Peak at 11,214 feet.
Rising over 7,000 feet above the Great plains to the east, the Crazies
dominate their surroundings and are plainly visible just north of Interstate
Since we just south
of them, camped on the Yellowstone river, why not a day trip to visit the
campground on the east side in the Big Timber Canyon.
Much of the land is provatly owned. At
one spot (below) we had to open a gate to cross their land.
You just know they wish they could keep
it all to themselves.
Halfmoon campground with bear boxes of
course. There is potable water. But not suitable for big rigs at all as
the road the last 4 miles is in terrible shape. Not much more than four
wheel drive. If you have ever been to Mirror Lake in central Colorado at
Tin Cup, you'll know what I'm taking about. It's that kind of road.
A final look back up the canyon. This a
good section of road.
It was a fun afternoon and a good time
was had by all.
July 23 Fishing
on the great Yellowstone River.
Left Bighorn Canyon
Nat. Rec. on the WY and MT border and went straight to Big Timber MT.
That is after a
stop at Walmart in Laurel, MT for supplies and a prescription placed on
their internet site for Terry.
It's a simple on,
off I-90 at Laurel. I didn't want to bother with the hassle of Billings.
So what's in Big
Timber, MT you might ask... Well first off all the Yellowstone River runs
throught it. And where it runs there is trout fishing. And in Montana that
means Fishing Access Sites (FAS) where you can camp and get access to the
river. We are at Otter Creek just a bit northeast of Big Timber.
I looked it up in
Google Earth to make sure we could get in and out of it OK. Since we have
been here we have gone to a couple of other FAS's an found them to quite
limited for access especially for a camping unit. At our site it is free
for seven days but those worse other sites were charging. How strange how
they came up with that.
As you can see by the sign this is a pick
it in and pack it out site. We don't travel with lots of fresh watr
in our tank as it adds too much weight and we don't want to be overloaded,
after all we had to do to get the trailer repaired. So off to find water.
Found at the city park with a nice spigot. We carry a couple of 20 gal
tubs just for this porpose.
We are positioned so as not to have afternoon
sun on us.
The view from our campsite.
Lots of firewood and sun for the solar
panels. What's not to like except the heat....
Please let it get cooler soon. It does
cool down at night in a big way.
Terry is about to go fishing so hoping
for good results.
UPDATE: Well he came back and had caught
several trout. I thought the river was a bit fast but not for this fisherman.
He was back to rest and went out again and caught more.
When he got back to camp he had the biggest
smile on his face and when asked, sez he will have to tie more flies tomorrow
as this fly fishing thing is looking good... and when the fisherman is
happy the stay at the campsite partner, back at the campfire is happy also.
I think this is going to be a great week
right here on the Yellowstone River at Big Timber which has a great town
with lots to go to town for. Unlike last week at The Bighorn Rec. area
at Forth Smith which had not much to make a camper happy. One cafe that
had not had their floors cleaned in years.
Anyway we are here and happy to be at
this spot for the next week.
We could move on but I have to not get
Hitch Iitch as we have the whole summer and fall and should not get ahead
of ourselves. Slow goes it, as Terry sez and I know he is right. So we
will be here and eat at the local cafes and just enjoy the time we are
here. Big Timber, MT is a very upscale town with most properties
well maintained all looking nice... but we are wondering what the people
do here for income.
the Black Hills
and landed in Montana.
Like I like to do
when I get behind the wheel I don't stop for much. So it was from Hot Springs,
to Fort Smith, MT.
Yep this is where
we landed. In a lively spot in the Afterbay campground. Water and dump
on the other side and sun in this new section for our dish and solar. What's
not to like FREE.
Right on the waters
edge. Turns out maybe not so gerat a spot after all... More later below.
We are trhe only
big rig in the campground. Have one tent camper. There are a couple more
across the holding lake where the camp host is.
We took a drive to see the dam, from the
bottom side and from the top side where there is boat access above the
dam. We were the only ones in the visitor center.
It's a 10 mile up and over the high hills
of the canyon.
The views are something to see from this
vantage point. The sign talks about the Crow
Medicine Quest. Right of passage to adulthood for a Crow
boy to be sent up here with no food or water and meditate. You can see
the wheat fields forever in the distance.
To the boat launch are above the dam.
Now back at the campground... we had some
visitors. Mama and her three cubs.
Hay slow poke hurry up or you'll be left
Mama checking out
Terry and the Ranger.
One of the main reasons we came here was
for the trophy trout fishing.
Now doesn't Terry look special in his
new waders and boots.
I'm catching hell for posting this shot
of him. But all's fair when doing a blog post.
Here he is just playing around to see if
he can catch a crap. He did go down below the diversion dam the day
before for the real thing. Still determining which flies to use.
The carp in the mouth of a small creek
right in back of us.
Now for the rest of the story.
This a 2011 Google Earth shot. There is
now a nice new outhouse in the middle and several tent sites in the upper
left. Also there are now only six RV sites here now well spaced. Nice place.
Oh and remember FREE
Now for the problem...
see where we are camped. There is a small stream flowing into the
Afterbay lake and this is where the carp are hanging out. The Mama
Bear and cubs go here to catch and eat the fish and then go up the creek
and cross through the campground to get to the marshy area to the lower
left in the picture. The area is full chokecherry bushes. So they are making
a loop around us, I don't know how many times a day. This is not just morning
and evening, but mid day also. Like Terry sez Mama bear has three cubs
to feed so ison busy Mama. From the left marshy area they follow the lake
edge right past us again. I can look out from the inside the RV at the
desk I am typing this from and look right down on the lake edge 20 ft away.
The carp fish area is about 50 ft. east.
The ranger stopped
by and watched them go thorugh the campground once already today. He had
never seen a Sow with three cubs and he used to work at Yellowstone. Very
rare, he said.
Me thinks we are
way up close to nature. Maybe WAY too close up.
Trip on Saturday to get up close and personal with the back roads of the
Hills (and its tourist traps).
The overall trip route starts below Hot
Springs up HW 79 to HW 40 west to Keystone. US 16a and US 16
to north of Hill City down to HW 244 east
past Mount Rushmore back to just below Keystone and HW 16a south to Playhouse
Road to HW87 and back up to US 16 and US 385 and on down to Custer. Following
US 385 to Pringle and US 385 back through Wind Cave to Hot Springs.
Whoo... did you stay up with all that.
We wanted to in one day take all the roads and go through the tunnels.
And we did. Not to say drive bys of all the trourist traps. Take a look
a the Tunnels chart below to see their size. Keep in mind we are touring
in dually truck and one or two of these was kind of tight. Like a couple
of inches on either side. The other day (see below) we did a loop through
Wind Cave, Custer Strate Park over to Custer and back to Hot Springs.
Hill City was getting over with a street
parade and below is Keystone, a real huge playground for the people who
love tourist traps. You could shop till you drop and eat till you are all
pigged out, that's for sure. I like to go thorough these places with
the doors locked ,so they can't get in, and I can't get out.
Would love to have one of these as a gate
entrance statement at our AZ property but can't haul it.
I suppect the price to buy and have it
shipped is not in our budget.
Guess I will have to have Terry try his
carving skills. Not sure he is up on this chain saw carving expertise.
We have a small electric chain saw for cutting wood when boondocking but
me thinks this is not the same skill need to produce these things.
More of Keystone. Wax museum, train rides,
trams up the hills and water slide down. Helicopter rides. Anything you
can think of you will find it here. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
To each their own.
Oh and by the way the drive through this
whole area is way too nice.
This is what they were all here to see.
But not for too long, as the hotel pools are a big hit for all the kids.
No words can decribe the splender of what
man can create.
Would you believe all these are drive
by shots. We didn't even stop.
Been there done that in years past. As
I've already got the T-shirt, coffee cup and who knows what else.
But doesn't the drive by pic Terry look
good. I told him it was the camera not the picture taker.
When on a drive by mission I stick to
it. Well a few potty breaks but that's nature calling.
Can't argue with that.
Taken from up on Needles Highway if I'm
correct. The large building is a parking and visitor center.
Now for the fun side of the drive. They
didn't have to make the many roads in the area narrow with tight tunnels
but they did. Adds to the feeling of being out in the wild west for you
easterners. I was wondering how many just make it to western South Dakota
and no farther west. I guess there is always another vacation down
You have heard of the bridges of Madison
County of Iowa.. Well these are the tunnels of the Black Hills.
Pennington and Custer County, in SD. Check out the tunnel chart
for their size. Not RV friendly to be sure.
And yes we did get some Windex and cleaned
our windshield AFTER we got back to the campsite.
We didn't get a shot of the 8' 4" tunnel
as we were yelling at each other as we only had a couple of inches on each
side. Terry yelled stop and I did. Moved a little to the left or we would
have had a not so wide dually.
A YouTube of that tunnel.
We drove in and we drove out. $10
a head and the nice lady at the gate, I think was used to saying...
Yes you can turn around at the bottom
of the hill without paying.
And at last back at our campsite in time
to watch all the weekend campers go nuts. The best part of Sundays
in a campground is watching all the locals pack up and move out. Now the
whole place is just
for us and the host.
Springs SD in the "Black Hills" (The
name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota Pahá Sápa.
The hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance,
as they were covered in trees.)
It's like if you
don't stop for that family picture when entering a new state it didn't
Or more likely get
your door taken off by a passing truck.
I seem to like to start with a pictrure
of our latest campsite. Angostura Rec Area (State of SD)
Right here for 8 nights with 50 Amp service
for the A/C. $18 a night. + entrance fee. More on that below.
On the map below we are just below Hot
We relaxed the first day and on Wednesday
went for a short drive to get acquainted with the area. North
of Hot Springs up US 385 to Wind Cave, Custer State Park. Over on US 16A
to Custer and back down and across US 18 to Hot Springs again. A nice afternoon
I had been to Wind Cave many years ago
so we just did a drive by. My way of touring. Besides the parking lot was
full. Link to their
web site. Lots of neat info on it. Besides I wasn't interested in going
down the 300 steps into the cave. Ok, Ok there's an elevator for
getting back out. But still.
State Park was in order. Got in Free, not quite, as we had to buy a
SD State Park entrance sticker for the truck when we checked into
the campground at Angostura Rec Area. It's $6 a day or $30 for a year.
Since we are staying for 8 days it made sense to get the yearly pass. Otherwise
this drive through park is $10 to enter. It was a nice drive but not close
to being worth $10 if not for our pass. Now that I have looked the
link to the park I see lots of thngs to do there. But compared to many
of the places we have been to... it's still a drive by event.
Ya, walk a mile for a buffalo... That's
what they were doing. Well not a mile but I had to zoom in to post this.
Me thinks not to worry, as looks from
our view the buffalo were fenced in. Terry sez they are managed just like
the cows they are.
Next off to Custer,
the city of.
I knew I was in
trouble as were approching the city limits Terry hinted that there was
a large rock shop in the city. I didn't take long as it was right on the
side next to the 'Welcome To' sign. Terry has an instinct to know
how to sniff out rock shops I think. Did you know rocks gave off an odor.
He has the same ability with Mexican and Chinese Restaurants. I do break
for Chinese Buffets, but do drive bys for the others unless he whines too
much and I have to stop. Our both must stop is for a Arbys.
And to think after all this he came back
out of the rock shop and declared they loved their rocks too much, as their
prices were high and he could get the same stuff in Quartzsite, AZ for
Custer is a tourist trap that's for sure.
But then every town in the Black Hills is a tourist trip... Get over it.
Some towns have cows or pigs on every corner
created by artests. Here of course it's Buffalo.
BTW Terry spotted this rock shop in Hot
Springs. He went back to town today while I was working on this and
had a great time chatting away with the owners. All about sliversmithing
and of course rocks.
On Friday we are off back to Hot Springs
for the reason we came here in the first place. I need to get my drivers
license renewed. I lucked out yesterday when I stoped at the post office
to get our mail forwarding and asked the clerk where the court house was.
She told me, and I said I was in town to get my lic. She informed
me in no uncertain terms they did not do drivers licenses at the
court house. I said, "yes they do on Fridays". No, she insisted,
Yes to Fridays, But they do that at the senior citizens center across the
street from ACE Hardware. Well that's good to know, as I thanked her. Ya,
she said "that would have been a wasted trip to the court house". Then
she said, "Ya know this is Wednesday and they don't do the licenses till
Friday." Like I was heading over there right then. And so it goes...
Taos NM to Sidney NE and Cabela's
It was along tavel day yesterday on Sunday
getting up and on the road by 6:30 AM. You heard me correct, as in the
morning. I didn't know the sun came up that early. Remember I retired in
2003 and never looked back unless in my dreams, which I am afraid I still
But this AM I was the one saying to Terry
get up and brew your hot tea and put in your travel thermos so we can get
going. He drinks that shit all day long. He claims it doesn't have
much caffeine, and is good for you. While I have my own kind of drink but
not till happy hour. I don't get to claim it's good for me, but it sure
makes me feel good.
The campground host came over to wish us
well as we had been in his little domain for 11 days.
It can get pretty boring driving up through
east central Colorado as we took all blue highways all the way from Taos
to Sidney, NE. But boring is good when not having to drive on any interstates
at all. HW 10 from Walsenburg to HW 71 which goes up from Rocky Ford through
Limon to Brush, CO. As I said we left at 6:30 AM and got to the RV
park at Cablela's in Sidney, NE at about 4:30 PM.
Terry has in past
pilgrimages to this holy of places has suggested we stop at the first sight
of Cabela's so he can get out and bow to the Master of Outfiters. Oh and
our first signs that we were close.
We got set up in
their full service RV Park. About $30. $20 or so for less amenities. No
WiFi except in teh office. Don't need that with our Datastorm satellite
which is working betttrer than ever. Knock on wood. Could have gotten the
second night free and $20 back if I signed up for their credit card. Thought
about it, but didn't go for it.
Thoughts of being back in the midwest were
flashed back to us when the weather radio went off with severe weather
warnings. The storms went just to the south with large hail. That
is not a situation to be in, in an RV. As I'm posting the NOAA radio
just went of with watches again for later today and evening.
This how it looked after the storm last
night passed over. Got clear with a nice sunset and cooled off. But it
is 95 now again today.
Well today was the big shopping day and
to wonder through the assortment of outdoor stuff of the highest quality.
And might I add not at Walmart prices. Which is good in this area of products,
you do get what you pay for.
As always the displays are so cool.
I had forgotten I had taken this shot.
When you gotta itch, ya gotta itch.
The next two are from their web site. They
wouldn't allow me up in the store rafters for overhead shots.
A parting shot of some of the stuff we
If you remember for part of Terrys birthday
present I gave him a fake card for a FREE shopping spree here.
He didn't want to, but I insisted, so
he picked out new fishing
waders and wading boots. The new waders are breathable so he doesn't
get so hot and bothered while fishing... like he sez even if you don't
fall in and get wet you might as well have with the old waders. You take
them off and you are soaking wet with sweat. Not these..
And a new pair of walking sneakers.
His old boots are
still good as he has resoled them three times. But their soles are
mafe of felt and that is now illegal in Montana and some places elsewhere
so after the very informed sales person Grace told him that, it was in
with the new hard soled ones. It seems felt sole boots can carry spores
that can cause whirling disease etc. from one stream to another. Just like
boats that need to be washed when moved to a different stream or lake due
to similar reasons.
I on the other hand
went for the clothes. Walking shorts, as if I don't have enough now. But
these are going to town shorts with all the pockets and of course the Calela's
name on them for the fashion conscious. Along with two more shirts and
a Cabela's baseball cap to wear while dressed to the max. in outdoor grub.
We drove around Sidney, looked for the
Old Fort Sidney. Never found it. Next went to Walmart for a few things
and had lunch at Perkins. Hadn'tbeen to one since i can't remember. Ya
just never know... is it normal to charge $2.39 for each iced tea? Otherwise
the food was good and plentiful. The best chicken fried steak I have had
in a long time.
After that a fast stop at the regional
visitor center for maps and flyers and now back at the RV recovering while
Terry (who else) is doing the laundry in the RV park facility.
Now time to start watching the incoming
storm systems. I have discovered a shelter across the street at a car dealer
that has a very large covered area for his cars with places you can just
drive right under. If hail is imminent that is where the truck is headed.
Tomorrow off across NE to our domicile
home state of SD. It should be a nice short drive straight north again
on back blue highways.
Update: Terry got the clothes done
and is headed back for one last tour of his favorite outfitters.
out in Taos for a week or so over the 4th.
Verde Area of the Rio Grande Gorge to be exact. Also see Río
Grande Wild and Scenic River $15.00 per night, includes water and electrical
hookups. No sewer. $7.50 with Golden Age Pass. 50 amp service. BUT
no dump station so you have to go to a RV park in Taos to dump. We use
the Taos Valley RV Park on the right side behind the big ACE Harware on
the south side as you are just getting into Taos.
We like to think we have the water usage
down to a sience so it will not be a problem for our 11 day stay here.
One thing we do is not connect to the site spigot as it has higher pressure
so we would use more each time we turn on a faucet. By only putting it
in our fresh water tank and using the onboard pump which has a much lower
flow rate we tend to use less. Take the dish washing water to the camp
dishwashing station or dump it down the toilet as we could never fill that
up in the time we are here and it helps it dump better later on. I can
never figure why they make the black tank so much bigger than the gray.
I my be full of it... but come on...
Like all fulltimers
when a holiday is upon them they find a campsite early to hide out in till
the holiday crowd goes back to their normal routines. So it is with
us .We got here last Thursday way ahead of time.
After here up the
front range of Colorado bypassing Colorado Springs and Denver by taking
HW 10 from Welsenburg to HW 71 and north to Sidney, NE where a shopping
spree at Cabela's is in order.
After that to South
Dakota for a week or so in the Black Hills area. We don't like to, but
we did make reservations at Angostura Rec Area close to Hot Springs, SD.
It's prime vacation time in that area, and as it may be HOT, wanted electric.
Will boondock later in Montana etc. Have a 3000 Honda gen so if we have
to can run the A/C. But can't imagine that would ever be needed.
Looking at the RV I should say we got the
flange bushing for the dish and Terry got on top and replaced it. Been
too chicken to show the dish and redeploy it as we are on signal for internet
and HD TV so don't want to mess with it till we get ready to leave. I'm
sure all is well..
Notice the nice supply of firewood on the
ground and in the truck we secured at the sawmill on the west side of Taos.
We get firewood from them each time we
pass this way. But we do need to try to use it up since anymore it is not
cool or legal to carry firewood across state lines. So we are looking forward
to many great campfires while here.
BTW the weather is hot west of here but
not so much here in Taos... We could not ask for better. Mid 80s and down
in the 50s at night. I know it is about 100 all the way to Canada more
to the west, so hope it cools down by the time we make it to Montana and
This is the same spot we stayed in last
year and next to us is the same people that were here at time also. Even
the campground hosts remembered us as they had to track down and find Terry
on the river after the Visitor Center had sole a him a hunting licensee
instead of one for fishing. They have been hosts here for 8 summers and
are thinking of traveling more next year instead of this gig.
We gave them our card with www.hitchitch.com
and the Resource
Section link so to help with information for their later travels.
With this being on a holiday we were surprised
when a MH next to us moved out midday on the 3rd.
A while later this RoadTripNation MH pulled
in to this last site available like they owned it. Whatever made them think
they could find a RV site here on the 3rd of July was beyond us. But they
did. And then pulled out mid morning on the 4th. Read all about them on
the below graphic link.
Now it's Terry's turn as he went exploring
Taos. As some of you might know I don't do tourist traps. Not that Taos is one mind you.
Ron decries Taos as being a tourist trap
which he is loathe to visit, but it is one of the towns where I am given
my bag of bread crumbs and sent off to explore and mingle with the tourists
Adobe style architecture is evident throughout
town, a good portion is modern fake adobe, wood framing with a stucco
exterior, An adobe Disney Land one of the locals said, but there
are a lot of buildings that are the real thing, some having been
built as early as the late 16th century. One of the style elements
of the adobe style buildings are the hidden courtyards concealed behind
the most ordinary looking doors, oftentimes several additional building
facades will open up on entering the courtyards.
See What I mean. Lure the tourists
in and entice them with your wares. One of the sad things I notice
in the main Plaza shops is the proliferation of fake south west craft items
often times from places like Pakistan (baskets), India (textiles), China,
Vietnam, and Thailand Beads and small trinket items, much of it cheaply
made and cheap looking - trinkets/souvenirs for the undiscerning and low
information buyers. There is also a lot of very high end art and
collectable items with which you can decorate your home.
One other thing to mention about Taos is
the ever present day long traffic snarl. the Main drag through town,
Paseo Del Pueblo Sur goes from two lanes to 4 lanes to two lanes with a
center turning lane, and is finally squeezed to two very narrow lanes in
the oldest part of Taos in the vicinity of the Taos Town Square.
Yesterday while wandering the Square I watched all traffic in the square
brought to a halt when a semi tractor rig pulled in the make a delivery
to one of the restaurants. The driver did not look all that excited
about being there, and I expect he was very happy to get out of town.
The Photo above is from one of the very
rare moments when there is no traffic, I think it is a very rare
I hope the gallery has some weight in the
pots on the roof to keep them from blowing off the roof when the thunderstorms
and gusty winds blow through town. The first day we arrived the Temps were
in the upper 90's, but we have now been getting rain every day which has
kept the day time temps to the low 80's with the night time temps going
into the 40's. We are not used to such pleasant weather after having
100 deg plus days every day in june in Tucson and later at Elephant Butte
State Park and very warm temps at Cochiti Lake.
We are hoping for many more 70 and 80 deg
days this summer as we go North, we might have to choose our route
with care and some parts of the Northwest have been very warm this last
week, we are hoping it is a temporary thing.
This is one of the surprising little courtyards
that open up behind doors. It is located the Ranchos De Taos Plaza
site to the St. Francis Adobe church. I have made the acquaintance
of one ot the shop owners on the plaza, Del Orr, who operates a trading
post in on of the real adobe buildings, one built in the 16th century.
It is great fun to drop in and see what he has for sale, along with all
of the projects he has going.