Travelling through Colorado and Wyoming
in the Spring/Summer of 1995
We have parked the Bird at Indian Campground in Buffalo, Wyoming for a week. Cottonwood trees shade every site; there is space to exercise the dogs, a clean laundry and the obligatory highway right next door. Buffalo is in Northern Wyoming less than 100 miles from the Montana border. It's right next to the Big Horn Mountains about mid-state going east and west. The population is just over three thousand; but there are 18 restaurants, 3 campgrounds and 19 motels so it is a thriving community. In Wyoming this is a metropolitan city.
Since June 15 we have moved between Canon City, Colorado Springs and Golden, Colorado and then across Wyoming. We have been to Pikes Peak and seen the "Front Range" of the Rockies.
As scheduled we have found 72 degrees for most of the time. Actually low fifties in the morning to low eighties by mid-afternoon. A cool breeze serves to moderate the temperature so there is no need for the A/C. For three days in Golden we had temperatures of 100 degrees with 60 degree nights; then a cool front passed through and daytime temperatures dropped to the low eighties. That is the heat wave that kept moving to the East and caused so many deaths in the Chicago area.
Rain and snow! This has been one of the wettest summers in recent memory in central Colorado and Wyoming. Where normally the grass lands would be brown by late June they are green as a golf course. The wild flowers are out in full force with the wild roses in great abundance; a reminder of Philmont. The Flint's (whom we visited in Golden) were skiing at Vail on 30 inches of new snow July 6.
Equipment and Housing Problems
TJ bought a Fantastic Fan (reduced price) at Camping World in Denver and by chance won free installation ($45) plus an additional 1O% off purchase. Replacing the antique fan in the ceiling of the living area; it is quiet and pulls air through the coach at over 900 cfm. This is particularly helpful when the nights start out at 65 degrees (too hot for FF) and at dawn the temperature is 50 (not sensible to run the A/C).
We experienced our first mechanical problems with the Bird when she lost an airbag on the left rear. We drove almost ninety miles listing to the left at about a thirty degree angle. It was like driving a car with a broken spring. It was an exhausting drive for Frankie and a frightening ride for TJ through the middle of Denver. Repairs were simple with the replacement of an air control valve. The difficult part was finding someone to do the work. RV repair shops have no experience with air bags and truck repair facilities are reluctant to work on RV's. Not until you explain that you have a 34,000 lb. unit with a Ridewell Air Suspension system, do they understand.
Domestic (house) problems have all involved the water supply system. In Colorado Springs we had a Sporlan solenoid valve malfunction and cut off all water delivery to the house. TJ could find no one to repair or replace it; but after 24 hours of stress... aluminum foil placed inside the valve to hold it closed works like a charm. The only downside is that you must now fill the fresh water tank through the overflow pipe located under the bed. It goes on the list for repair in December when we return to Houston.
In Casper, Wyoming the swivel connection that attaches the fresh water hose to the coach came off in T.J.'s hand. Once again no water in the coach and, once again God looks out after fools, Scoutmasters and RV'ers. Dean, the owner of the Antelope Run Campground, had a replacement unit on hand. He had ordered several for his trailer until he found the proper fit. One hour and $8.92 later we had water again.
We continue to meet interesting folks. In Casper we parked next to a new 38-foot motor coach. Mr. Wu, his wife and two children live in Houston; his two brothers and their spouses flew in from Chicago and South Korea. They are off on a tour of Yellowstone. Frankie was on the phone with Sylvia Coffman of Kroger's yesterday and Sylvia knows Mr. Wu (he owns a grocer's supply); she was amazed at our "small world".
At the same campground we met John Brooks who retired from a bank in Shepherd, Texas (close to the Nettles) where he was COB, President and "also did toilets". He graciously gave us a tour of his "bachelor quarters"; a 1964 bus conversion. He lives in Arizona during the winter and in the summer travels the country playing bluegrass and gospel music at various festivals.
Here in Buffalo, we have enjoyed the company of a couple from the Napa Valley, California. They are vacationing with two kids, her parents (in their own trailer) and a one-year-old Border Collie.
In Cheyenne we met a retired couple from Houston. Ralph grew up in Cheyenne and took us on a tour of the city (50,000 population). We saw residential areas (homes built between 1880 and 1920), the rodeo grounds (Frontier Days starts this week and is the biggest event in Cheyenne) and a rather intimate view of Warren Air Force Base. This air force base has no airfield. It originated as a calvary base in 1865 and the thirty stables are still in use; not housing 6,000 horses! We wandered the alleyways behind the officers' quarters, fascinating homes built in the late 1800's. The entire air field is a reminder of 40's and 50's western movies and many of the buildings have historical plaques. General Pershing's home is one of the more modest on the base. He married the daughter of a very wealthy rancher in the area and his wife and daughter were killed when their home in town burned to the ground. Ralph had lots of gossip about the Pershings and other Cheyenne notables. Very interesting tour and we finished with our first visit to a micro brewery and shared an assortment of beers and ales; home-made?
The young person who installed our "Fantastic" fan was in the Coast Guard in Galveston. He made the installation experience pass very quickly telling of his loan to DEA and later his discharge from the Coast Guard and joining the DEA. After being shot three times, he decided to try another line of work. He is currently working on his master's in Criminal Justice and hopes to join the Colorado Game Commission; "out of the line of fire".
The campgrounds in Colorado were all (with one exception) disappointing. Only the Royal View RV Park at Royal Gorge was worth a repeat visit. The campground at Golden was very new and clean but far too expensive at $170.00 per week. Campgrounds in Wyoming seem to be cleaner; maybe because of small-town locations?
At Antelope Run RV Park in Casper, Hilda thought she might run with the antelope in the adjacent fields. Antelope Run is actually in the city of Bar Nunn (pop 648), a community of "ranchettes" assembled on a defunct (1929) airfield. All Streets were originally runways; the churches, homes and city parks border these runways. The original airplane hanger is still in use for boat storage; exterior message reads "Wardwell Field, Elev. 5282".
Colorado is majestic; but Wyoming has a character that seems to draw you to her. The rolling grass lands are stunning and, with all the rain could not be more beautiful. The Big Horn Mountains are still snow-capped and much less crowded than the Colorado Rockies. Buffalo is home to many people of Basque origin who came here as shepherds for the huge sheep ranches. I wish we could be here in August for the Basque Festival; a rodeo that has events such as sheep dogging, sheep herding, sheep roping, sheep shearing, and best of all sheep hooking (contestant must hook a sheep and drag it into a pen).
The town of Buffalo is certainly one of the prettiest towns we have seen. Streets are clean with modest houses bordered by well-kept lawns. There are so many big beautiful trees ranging from towering cottonwoods, various types of pines and vibrant blue spruce. The downtown is old but well maintained with many thriving businesses. All in all it appears to be a good place to live but in the middle of January when it's below zero there may be room for argument.
While the dogs were at the vet being groomed, we hit the 2nd annual Story Art Trail in Story, Wyoming. This is the town we would like to live in; population 650 (winter), quiet, does in the yards, bear and elk in the woods and fish in the streams. TJ talks a lot about winning the lottery as we tour Wyoming.
From here we will make a turn to the east on I 90. Our next extended stay is near Mount Rushmore at The Hart Ranch Resort. We've been told that it's one of the premier RV resorts in the country. We were lucky to find six days open at this time of year and with our Coast to Coast membership will only have to pay $24.00 for the six days. After Hart Ranch we tentatively plan to continue east to Minnesota for three weeks and then to Wisconsin for the month of September.
Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in the Summer of 1995
Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Washington State - June through July, 1996
Washington state - July through September, 1996
Travelling along the California coast in the Winter of 1996
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are from the website whose hyperlink is near that graphic.
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more links, and more photos for that area.
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