Day 14: An Off Day

The day began with a crisis of confidence, or rather, failure of enthusiasm, this morning, despite having a very nice evening with (gasp) room service at the Ramada Inn. (Note to Mary: The Casper Ramada is very nice and only a few dollars more than the Super 8!)

We got going despite the crisis. We took a leisurely tool through Casper to find a post office (what an odd, spread-out town) and mailed the MANY birthday cards due this week (sorry for being late Pat, John, Randy, and Silvia, but we did remember to bring the darn cards with us!). Then did some shopping at a huge store called Sportsman’s Warehouse. A clue to the area: this store has a bridal registry. We ended up with some more SPF shirts, a water pressure regulator, and a baby Weber grill, which we’re trying tonight. Not sure where we’re going to put the darn dirty grill now that we have it…. Whoops.

Then we did a very exciting thing—we washed the exterior of the RV and vacuumed it out at a car wash. Whew—that felt good. Signaled a new start on the day.

But we proceeded to coat it in dead bugs again rather quickly as we drove from Casper up the eastern edge of Wyoming through cattle (and antelope) country. Notable sites today were few and far between—there is a whole lot of nothin’ out this way! Here’s a shot of one of the many 140+ car coal trains that heads out of this region daily, hauling coal to coal-fired electricity plants in the East and South:

If you’re interested in how things work, I highly recommend the book Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee. The author actually rides along and participates in all kinds of transportation—the kind that makes our country work. The chapter on the coal trains is just amazing (as is the chapter on FedEx, in particular).

The other notable site is the home of the jackalope, Douglas, WY. Here’s the town square. ‘Nuff said.

Once we turned east into South Dakota (Route 16), things started to pick up. The Black Hills are gorgeous, and there is so much to see around here. We have decided to skip the Flintstone’s Bedrock park (!), but do plan to see many of the other sites. Our wifi connection is very far from our campsite, but it is a lovely campsite—very spacious, very shaded. And $25 a night. What a deal! We’ll try to post daily.

We’re starting to think about modifying our trip a bit to stay out of the heat (we are in a lovely 75 degree spot here in the 5000’ Black Hills) and to make our return trip more doable in terms of miles/day than it currently is. Believe we may cut out Kansas City, focusing instead on Omaha, and cutting out southern Colorado to save for a future Southwest trip. We’d visit Boulder and then take I-80 home. Haven’t planned it all out in detail yet, but we’ll let folks know if we modify dates (after next week).


Keep learning new things about RV camping:

1. Learned how to turn the passenger seat around (while not in motion; doing it then sets off loud alarms) at night to make a more open seating area.

2. Learned how to switch fridge to ELECTRIC (you were right, Lee!) from propane when we’re on a slope, thus avoiding the refrigerator spoilage we experienced in Jackson. Another non-fatal, not-really-expensive Oops. (The kind I like.)

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