Monday 7/30 Sweetwater County Fairgrounds,
Rock Springs, WY
As I noted in the last post, sometimes changes on the fly work out well. We decided to bail on Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area on Friday and it turned out great. A nice place to stay, satellite hooked-up, a good dinner Saturday night, and an interesting visit to Crater’s of the Moon National Monument, something we might never have seem otherwise.
So again today we made some changes on the fly with good results. Yesterday I noticed something hanging underneath the truck. Investigation showed it was the rubber insulation from an air tank support strap that has broken loose! So I located Triple L Towing in Pocatello, called them this morning and a nice young man named Drew said they could look at it mid-morning. Perfect since we were about an hour and a half from Pocatello.
So instead of taking our time for a short drive to Heyburn we got going early. Left at 8:30 and got to Triple L just about 10 AM. Drew took a look at the air tanks. He determined there was nothing loose, they are still mounted solid and he thought we would be OK going on to Chicago where we can get the unique tank strap replaced. He also refused to take any payment for the inspection!
It was now 10:30 in the morning, we were only an hour or so from from our reservation in Heyburn - an hour back west! So … we called the Sweetwater Events Center in Rock Springs, WY, our planned stop for Tuesday to see if we could get in tonight, answer was yes. So we headed on south on I-15 to pick up I-80 and head east.
Stopped at a Fresh Market north of Salt Lake and bought sandwiches for lunch, ate in the trailer and back on the road.
Arrived in Rock Springs just a little after 5 PM. The campground at the fairgrounds is huge and only about half full! Lady at check in said it was fine to stay two nights, told us what section to go to and take any site we wanted! Sites are good sized, graveled, 50 amp with full hook-ups, and spotty WiFi! For $24 a night!
Added to that the County Fair - “Wyoming’s Big Show” - opens tomorrow afternoon, which we knew before, thinking it would be interesting for an evening. Now we can check things out earlier in the day. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!
In the evening we took a short walk around the fairgrounds, not much other than set-up going on. Appears that “Wyoming’s Big Show” is fairly small compared to the county fairs we have seen in the Midwest. Of course the population of Sweetwater County is only 44,000, a little more than half of the population of the tri-cites in Illinois and tiny compared to 530,000 in Kane County, IL! Looking a little deeper, Kane County is 520 square miles, while Sweetwater County is 10,491 square miles! So less that 10% of the people and they live a lot farther away! No wonder it seems small! We were also there the day before the and the morning before the show actually opened and a lot of the events and activity would not really get going until later in the week.
Tuesday 7/31 Sweetwater County Fairgrounds,
Rock Springs, WY
Lazy morning, quick run into town for a grocery stop. Back home Nancy did some cleaning while I relaxed. After lunch we took a walk around the fair again, still able to get in without paying. Looks like things will not really get going until later in the week. Looked at the 4H exhibits and small animals. Nowhere near the size of the Sandwich fair in Illinois. As we were leaving they were opening up the ticket booths, so we saved $9 apiece by going over before they opened!
Relaxing afternoon and evening, back on the road tomorrow.
Wednesday 8/1 Curt Gowdy State Park, WY
Not a long day today, but we got going a little earlier than normal anyway and were on the road by 8:30. Easy trip across Wyoming to Curt Gowdy State Park. Arrived about 1 PM - then the fun started!
No one one on duty at the entry gate, not unusual, we ran into that a few times in Oregon. We had our site number and a map, so we’re good, right? Wrong! The road layout on the map bears no relation to reality! Besides that there are no signs - none! There are 16 camping areas here! After studying the map, which shows three roads to the left and one straight, and the actual roads, one left, one straight. We decided to try straight. If we see “Silver Crown” on the right we went the wrong way. Sure enough, the first loop we see is “Silver Crown”, but it’s on the left! What?
So through that loop we go to turn around and try the road that went left from the entry gate, nope, that goes down to the boat ramp, might be a road to the right down there, but cannot see anything. Nancy gets out and walks down to the ramp, yes a road, but no signs. Then she walks back up the hill behind me to a little refreshment stand where the lady tells her that “Tumbleweeds”, the one we are looking for, is down the road by the stand. Good! So I turn around - again! - and go down the road and low and behold … a sign that identifies “Tumbleweed”! Home free, right? Wrong!
Turn into “Tumbleweeds” and the road splits, straight ahead over a sharp drop and I cannot see over it (and I sit high in my truck!). To the left is the camping loop and if I make the sharp turn left I will be going in the same direction as the RV’s already there. Great!
So I turn into the loop and start around. We are looking for T29 and at T24 the track curves around to the back side of the loop and all of a sudden all the utilities are on the wrong side! Our site is a back in and we are facing the wrong way! What?
So I go down to the end of the loop and turn around for the third time, come back into the loop in the opposite direction so I can back into the site with is plenty long enough with a nice concrete pad. Except! … half of the length of the pad is taken up with a concrete picnic table! By backing within inches of the table I was able to get my tires on the pad, but our steps are in still in the dirt.
Nice spot though, overlooking a lake. Of course about the only big tree in the place is right behind our site and while the satellite locked on we cannot get the locals which we wanted for the news. Oh well.
After we finally got parked we drove the truck on into Cheyenne looking for a place to eat. (We usually do not bother unloading the car when we are just stopping for a day or two) Settled on Wyoming Rib & Chop House, right downtown on the main drag - US 30! Can’t seem to get away from that road! We figured we would splurge on a good combo lunch and dinner. Nice place, food OK but nothing to write home about. In fact the French fries were particularly bad. Nancy had a nice rack of baby back ribs and I had a slightly above average steak.
Then we went on to the East side of town to Sierra Trading Post. We were a bit disappointed with the discontinued and thirds section, not as much stuff as the last time we were here, but we did manage to find a number of things for both of us on their clearance sale. When we came out it was pouring rain! First rain of any consequence we have seen since sometime last winter in Tucson!
Back home about 5:30 and settled in for the evening. Nice cool nights for sleeping. Last three nights we were high, Emigrant Springs was 3,800, Rock Springs was 6,750 and tonight we are at 7,430!
Thursday 8/2 Sunny Meadows, Elm Creek, NE
Long trip, but easy day, 322 uneventful miles to Sunny Meadows. A regular stop for us between Chicago and Denver, but a real misnomer, just an open gravel field with electric and water and quite a few semipermanent residents. Passport America, but they’ve started fudging the cost. When we first stopped here years ago it was $24/ night, so $12 for PA. A bargain. last few times it was $30/night, so $15 for PA. Still $30, but now they want $15 + $5 “for taxes & charges” Still cheap though. Only reason to stop here is location and east access. About the only spot we've found halfway between De Moines and Denver.
After parking the trailer I ran down to the Pilot down the road and topped up the tanks. Got a calculated 9.5 MPG since last fill-up! Pretty good! I think we had a tail wind most of the day. Good price as well, $3.159/gal versus $3.449 in Oregon.
We stopped for a late lunch at North Platte, picked out Whiskey Creek based on the parking lot and it turned out to be quite a good place for a light lunch. We’ll have to remember it. Last couple of trips we have not been going that way though, we have been taking state roads from Elm Creek to Denver and back.
Friday 8/3 Timberline Campground, Waukee, IA
Another uneventful day, good weather (it was a lovely morning in Elm Creek, in the 60’s with a light breeze) and light traffic most of the way. Stopped at a Cracker Barrel between Lincoln and Omaha for lunch. Traffic was crazy though Omaha and Council Bluff, lots of construction. Traffic was moving OK except for the overabundance of unconscious drivers who had no idea what they were doing! Slowing down and stepping on the brakes for no discernible reason. A good example was the idiot going 50 MPH in the left lane once we broke out of the construction zone east of Council Bluffs. I am thinking about dodging around Omaha on I-680/I-29 on the way back west in three weeks.
Arrived at Timberline Campground about 2:30. We looked for a place around Des Moines for several years, often ended up overnighting at Cracker Barrel the first night out from Geneva on the way to Denver. We like Timberline, not too far off the highway, nice folks and an open area where the satellite will connect. Temps in the high 90’s. Got parked and hooked up, relaxed for an hour or so and then drove east to West Des Moines to a Hy-Vee we had visited before to do some grocery shopping. Nancy says this one is an "awesome" grocery store - another reason to stop at Timberline! Back home and relaxed with pizza for dinner.
Sycamore, IL tomorrow and three weeks without moving! That will be a treat!
Saturday 8/4 Sycamore RV Resort, Sycamore, IL
Another good day with fairly light traffic, a light overcast so we didn’t have to deal with bright sunshine all day which makes the driving a little more pleasant. Stopped at the Culver’s in Rock Island, IL for lunch around one. After lunch we drove US 30 (again!) straight East to I-39 instead of getting on the toll road, and arrived in Sycamore RV Resort about three.
Settled into a spot we have had before, unloaded car; Nancy did some laundry; and after dinner I ran over to the nearby quarter car wash and cleaned off the smart.
Off to Joan’s house tomorrow for most of the week. We had a wonderful time in Oregon with glorious weather. Never even broke out the rain gear we were so careful to pack, We both want to go back again.