We­­ started our third Oliver trip on August 3, and will return by September 13.  Destinations include the Badlands in SD, and other unknown at this time. Travel along this journey with us. If you would like to follow our daily footsteps, visit this link (NO password needed):

https://us0-share.inreach.garmin.com/H495J

This blog is presented with the most current entry at the top of the chain. 

8/21/2019 – Big Horn Mountains National Forest, WY to Rock Springs, WY -297 miles

We hate to leave this beautiful place, but we are trying to make a schedule that will give us a place to sleep on Labor Day weekend.  The folks out here love their environment and campgrounds get really full on weekends and especially Labor Day weekend.  We will stay at the KOA in Rock Springs tonight and tomorrow night.  When we left this morning, it was 49 degrees.  As we were driving on US 16, we saw a sheepherder, his horse and 2 sheep dogs.  He had just  driven hundreds of sheep across the road!  Wyoming is a big sugar beet producer and the fields go on forever.  We stopped at a pull off at Wind River Canyon overlook and had lunch while we were there.  Then we stopped at the Red Canyon overlook and the valley view was amazing.  When we got to Rock Springs, it was 90 degrees.  What a change from this morning.  Tomorrow, we are going to drive up into the White Mountains to maybe spot some of the wild mustangs and then drive down into Flaming Gorge to scope out a camping place for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

8/20/2019 – Big Horns

There was a beautiful sunrise this morning.  Tom jumped up and ran outside with his camera.  The sun turned the mountains a golden color.  We took a ride down County Road 3 that we are camped near.  The ranches sit in rolling hills.  After we returned to camp, a storm started brewing with thunder, lightning and HAIL.  Some were mothball size and it lasted over 30 minutes.  We talked it over and will leave this place tomorrow and move on to Rock Springs, WY.. 

8/19/2019 – Big Horns

 We got up around 5:00, as usual and drank a whole pot of coffee before we made breakfast.  We drove around for about an hour or so, spotted a dump station for when we leave.  Also, we can fill up our water jug to make sure we don’t run out.  It got really windy again today but we sat outside for awhile looking at the puffy white clouds and, like we did as kids, pointed out a buzzard, seahorse, frog head, etc.  The view here is just so amazing.  Another amazing sunset tonight.  Wondrous!

8/18/2019 – Buffalo, WY to Big Horn Mountains National Forest, WY – 30 miles

We drove to the spot we picked yesterday, but looked around to see if we found anything better – and we did.  It was in a good position to get sun for our solar panels and had an amazing view of the Big Horn Mountains.  We had only one neighbor close by, but we couldn’t even see them nor hear them.  We were backed up along the edge of a pine forest.  We rested for awhile and after dinner, I made stovetop cornbread – YUK!  It wasn’t good at all but I am not giving up – I’ll get it  right one day.  We noticed that the clouds should make a good sunset, so set up and waited.  Not disappointed.  Tom wanted to shoot star trails, but it was too cloudy.  It got much cooler after the sun went down.  The elevation here is 8,080 feet.  Because we were going to be off the grid for a few days, I set the InReach (our tracking device) to accept text message in case one of our girls had an emergency.  They can look at the Tracking Page on internet and see where we are at any point in time.  By the way, there is a lot of 'open range' (farmers can graze their cattle on public land) in Wyoming.

8/17/2019 – Buffalo, WY

 This morning we drove up through the Big Horn Mountains looking for some BLM land (free camping) that we could move to tomorrow for 4 days.  I packed up a picnic lunch so we wouldn’t eat snack crackers all day!  It was very windy and cool and the elevation topped 9,000 feet.  We stopped at potential spot and ate our sandwiches sitting on a  couple of tree logs.  We picked out 2 Forest Roads that had good places.  They are remote, but not far off Highway 16 and there are other campers nearby.  On our way back, we made several stops:  IGA for a few provisions, Crazy Woman Liquors for wine (by the way, Tom is always calling me ‘crazy woman’) , topped off the gas and then returned to camp.  I did laundry again and we just ate a sandwich for dinner.  Tomorrow we head up the Big Horns.

8/16/2019 – Wind Cave National Park, SD to Buffalo, WY – 204 miles

We decided to stay in the KOA at Buffalo, WY for a couple of nights due to weekends being difficult to find a place in the national parks.  This is such a popular area for campers.   We hit the  road at 8:30 and when we were close enough to see the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, we saw that they were snow-capped.  We got in around 2, showered and rested up and then went into town to the Occidental Hotel and Saloon.  The Occidental Hotel  was founded in 1880 and quickly became one of the most renowned hotels in Wyoming. Located near the Bozeman Trail at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains, the hotel was visited by many famous people of the Old West as they traveled along the Trail. Early in its existence, the Occidental established a reputation for hospitality and fine food.  Among those who enjoyed the hospitality of the Occidental in the early days were Buffalo Bill Cody, Teddy Roosevelt   --- and Calamity Jane, who drove freight wagons on the Bozeman Trail.  The Saloon was added later.  Buffalo is the home of Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire books and Netflix series.  Although the series isn’t filmed in Buffalo, the cast comes to town every July to celebrate Longmire Days.  Robert Taylor, the star of the series, has been known to tend bar at the Occidental Saloon.  There is a storefront the depicts the Sheriff’s Office.          

8/15/2019 – Wind Cave National Park

We just piddled around this morning.  He downloaded some pics and we are going to drive up the hill where the signal is better to upload to the Oliver FB page.  We can use our WeBoost for text and calls.  But sometimes, we can’t get enough over the MyFi to upload pics or documents.  I made an omelet this morning in the Oliver since it is pretty windy outside.  Like I said yesterday, today is a rest day!

8/14/2019 – Wind Cave National Park

We woke up around 5 and agreed that it was COLD!  We had crawled under our extra warm blankets I had brought.  I would guess it was in the low 50’s.  After a hot cup of coffee and the sun began to shine on the Oliver.  We drove into Hot Springs to the ACE hardware store because the Lowes in Rapid City didn’t have what Tom needed.  When we got back, we had a great brunch of salmon cakes and Tom’s amazing scrambled eggs.  He talked with Jason at Oliver several times and he was amazing.  We had a great brunch of salmon cakes and Tom’s amazing scrambled eggs.  He went back to plumbing and I stayed busy washing Oliver’s windows and cleaning the bathroom really good.  Tom worked on a water leak all day.  While he drove back to the hardware store, I made some pickled jalapeno and poblano peppers.  Just a little while after he got the leak repaired, we saw the moon start to rise so he jumped up and got his camera with long lens.  We spotted a steak house in town that we may visit either tonight or tomorrow.

8/13/2019 – Interior, SD to Wind Cave National Park, Hot Springs, SD – 170 miles

We left around 9 and will make stops in Rapid City , , to WalMart (food), Scheels Sporting Goods (Yeti plus that we broke) and Lowes Home Improvement (part of minor repair).  The drive to Wind Cave was good, with just a few showers.  We got here around 3 and got a pretty good spot.  You cannot make reservations – all sites are first come-first served.  We were surprised we can make call and text with our WeBoost data booster.  We have even had enough signal to use our Verizon Jetpack hotspot occasionally – if the wind isn’t blowing and we cross our fingers.  Hot Springs is a lovely little town and was a mecca back in the day due to the many hotels with natural hot springs spas.  We have a cheap ‘hotel’ tonight.  With our senior pass to National Parks, we get camping for half price.  Here it is $9/night.  Not too bad and the campground sits in a valley of pine and greenery.  We are ‘boondocking’ for the first time this trip.  No electric or water hooks, but we are good.  We have water onboard and solar for power.

8/12/2019 – Interior, SD

Today we drove about 70 miles to the Wounded Knee Massacre site.  What a sad day in America’s history.  Around 200 Oglala Lakota Sioux were killed in a 5-mile area in the valley around what is now Wounded Knee, SD.

They are buried in a mass grave on a hill overlooking the massacre site.  We drove back through what was a town named Scenic, SD.  There are few old buildings remaining:  A Saloon named ‘The Longhorn Saloon’ (built in 1906), a jail and a mercantile.  This is a popular stop for motorcyclists and motorists, although the only open establishment is a service station/café across the street.   We have been bombarded with mosquitos our entire stay in Interior due to all the unusual rain they have had.  They were so bad, I had to fight off mosquitos in the shower which as full of the little buggers!

8/11/2019 – Interior, SD

The forecast for today was for severe thunderstorms, so we didn’t plan on leaving the Oliver early.  But, when we got up the sun was trying to peep through.  So, again, we made a quick to-go cup of coffee and headed into the park around 6:13 am.  The sky was beautiful with the clouds against the rock formations.  We drove around for about 3 hours, made a couple of phone calls, and then came back ‘home’.  After brunch, we downloaded our photos from this morning.  The lighting was so much better and we both got some pretty good shots.  We may go back late this afternoon if it doesn’t storm.

8/10/2019 – Interior, SD

This morning we work up around 4:45 am and jumped up, made a quick cup of coffee to go, and hit the road for sunrise.  It had rained last night and was a little foggy.  So, we didn’t see a sunrise, but the fog made interesting views.  Today, we saw a lot of big horn sheep and buffalo.  We spent another 6 hours just driving around and stopping at interesting spots.  We may go back for sunset, but not sure.

8/9/2019 – Interior, SD

We intended to get up early for sunrise in the Badlands, but just couldn’t crawl out in time.  We left here around 8 and drove into the Badlands for about 6 hours.  We drove to the other side of the park where we had seen sunflower fields several years ago, but no luck.  We took some landscape shots and hoped we would see buffalo and big horn sheep.  No buffalo, but we did spot  one big horn ram.  He was lying in the grass on a bluff. There is a lot of green in the Badlands, I guess due to a rainy spring.  It has rained both days we have been here so far.  When we were here a couple of times before, everything was dried up and brown.  Beautiful this trip.  Especially the ‘yellow mounds’.  When the black hills were formed in South Dakota the ancient sea drained away. Once exposed to air, the black ocean mud was weathered into a yellow soil known as the yellow mounds. Tropical plants began to grow. The yellow mounds are actually fossil soils that have weathered from the layers above them. The upper layers are comprised of fossil soils and volcanic ashes.  Today many fossils are found in the yellow mounds. 

8/8/2019 – Sioux Falls, SD to Interior, SD – 293 miles - Badlands/White Rover KOA

We left around 9:30 after our first Wal Mart stop of the trip!   We saw a couple of sunflower fields on the way, so we are hopeful we will see some of them around the Badlands.  We saw them there a couple of years ago, but with the crop rotation, it is a tossup.  We got in around 2:00, set up, rested a bit and I made spaghetti for dinner.

8/7/2019 – Clarks Ferry Recreation Area, Iowa – Sioux Falls, SD – 427 miles - Big Sioux Recreation Area

We left early this morning since we have a long day.  Again, we saw soybean field, corn fields and wind farms.   We drove into Minnesota from Iowa and then on to South Dakota.

8/6/2019 – Clarks Ferry Recreation Area

Today is a rest day.  We awoke to a tugboat pushing a barge up the river.  There were several today.  We love to just sit and watch them.  Tom had to go get ice for the cooler and when he returned, we had lunch.  Great bacon, eggs and hash browns.  This afternoon I worked on this blog and we downloaded a few pics we had taken.  These 2 were shot yesterday from my window going about 60 mph.  Surprised they look decent.  Anyway, we will rest for today and head to parts unknown tomorrow.  On Thursday we will be in the Badlands, SD. 

 

 

 

 

 


8/5/2019 – Crawfordsville, IN – Clarks Ferry Recreation Area (US Corps of Engineers) – 274 miles

Clarks Ferry Campground #10

We left this morning just after 9 EDT (8 CDT) and had a beautiful drive through cornfield, soybean fields and solar farms.  We got in around 3:15 enjoyed the beautiful view along the bank of the Mississippi.  We have stayed in this site before and were so happy we could get it again.  It backs right up to the River, where barges are moving products up and down the river.  Our 2nd prepared dinner was turkey kielbasa soup.  Hit the spot. 

8/4/2019 – Huntington, WV – Crawfordsville, IN – 327 miles    

Crawfordsville KOA #43

We always sleep so well in the Oliver.  This morning we had the best coffee – Oliver coffee, for some reason, tastes so much better than at home.  The, on the road again at 9:25. Today we traveled the rough WV, OH, KY, OH and back into IN o US 64, 52, and 23.  Boy did I get confused as to where we were at any point in time.  We will be in Indiana until tomorrow.

8/3/2019 – Walkertown, NC – Huntington, WV - 253 miles

Foxfire KOA #77

We left home around 11:25 after I went to the hospital to see my sister, Sandra, who has dementia.  It rained on us in the morning, but otherwise, the trip was uneventful.  We got to the campground around 4:00.  I had frozen several meals for our trip out and tonight we had ground turkey tacos.  YUMMY!  We were able to get our favorite travel channel – GRIT TV (old westerns).  We turned in around 9:30.

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