Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Paddle at Guernsey and a Stop in South Dakota

We actually got a sunny or mostly sunny day. Of course it was our last full day at Guernsey State Park. The original capacity of the resrvoir was 73,810 acre feet but has been greatly reduced due to silt deposits down to 46,000 acre feet. It is still a large and very beautiful reservoir. We had a nice paddle with tall rock formations and lovely yellow flowering trees. There were some dark looking clouds and so we didn't have a real long paddle. It ended up raining just as we got back from a walk later in the day.

We saw several deer walking through out campsite.

A couple more pictures below from one of our drive's including the Castle, which is an interesting rock building that has a fireplace and is a nice place for a picnic.

We absolutely loved this place and are hoping to come back here in a few years if our plans work out.
Our next stop was Rapid City in South Dakota. We stayed only two nights at a commercial campground just outside of town. We needed to renew our licenses. As our previous time getting our licenses for the first time 5 years ago, we had a short and sweet experience. We walked in without an appointment, filled out the form, then immediately were helped by a very nice gentleman. He entered info on the computer, took our receipt for our night's stay at the campground, had us do a vision test and get our picture taken. He then printed out our new plastic licenses and we were out the door. So simple. We then stopped at Walmart and then went to visit our financial advisor at Amerprise. They are a small family office that includes Thietje Hunt and his wife Donna, their daughter, Tiffany and Jody who they call their adopted daughter as it is a family business. They are great people. They had coffee and donuts when we got there and brought in sandwiches when our meeting was done.  It was nice to see them again. We got a little other business done that day and the next day we made our way to Billings, Montana where we stayed at a Cabela's Sporting Goods Store where they have free sites just for overnight rvers and truckers. We did do a little shopping there. I had to buy some new sunglasses as I forgot to put a leash on my other ones and they fell overboard when we were out kayaking at Guernsey. Luckily they were cheap sunglasses from Walmart and I had them for several years. Joe got a new rain jacket and we got back to our RV when it started raining. I think we will use our new rain jackets(I got one at REI in Denver recently). quite often on this trip. We are now at Dick's RV Park at Great Falls for a night. We did laundry and a trip to Walmart. Tomorrow we head over the border at Sweet Grass, Montana and on to our first stop in Canada at a place called Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park in Aden, Alberta. It looks like an interesting place. We won't have internet unless we find a place with WiFi but will post when we get a chance. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Guernsey State Park in Wyoming

I was looking at the map to find a good place between Denver and South Dakota. Guernsey State Park, which I had never hear of looked interesting and so that is where we headed. What a great find. It is on a large reservoir and the North Platte River. We knew that they have a number of first come first serve spots and as we were going to be there for the long Memorial Day weekend, thought this would be a good place. We got there on Thursday afternoon and came in the south entrance. We were told all the reservable spots were taken but we could find some spots at the north end. We could have gone back out and made our way to the north end entrance but decided to go through the park which was windy and narrow. Luckily no one else was on the road and we just went slow. The scenery is beautiful. The south end has the largest campground area. However, as you drive through the Park, you will see spots here and there on the side of the road on the banks of the lake. There are small areas that may only have one, two or three sites. We got to Long Canyon East that had a number of sites but were all reserved. We drove up the road to Long Canyon West. There were again spots along the river, with usually two or three sites. Some were tent only with parking for your car on the other side of the road. We found a great single spot. It was level and was the only one we saw in the area with a concrete pad. It looked like a handicap site but was not marked that way. We pulled in forward so as to have views of the water from there as well as both side windows. Holiday weekend and we have no neighbors. After the weekend we got one neighbor but with all the foliage could barely see any of their camper.
We have lots of trees around us but still got a good satellite signal to watch the Hockey games. We have had mostly cold, cloudy and rainy days but the views are great and that always makes a difference. We did go out a few times to check out the area. This Park is also an historic area. One day as we checked out the rest of the park, we stopped at a CCC Museum right in the Park.

As a historic district the park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997 for its Civilian Conservation Corps buildings and structures. It contains 60 contributing resources: 14 buildings, 3 sites, and 43 structures, as well as 46 non-contributing resources   per Wikipedia
We also checked out the Oregon Ruts.on another drizzly day.
Oregon Trail Ruts is a preserved site of wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail on the North Platte River, about .5 miles south of Guernsey, Wyoming. The Oregon Trail here was winding up towards South Pass. Wagon wheels, draft animals, and people wore down the trail about two to six feet into a sandstone ridge here, during its heavy usage from 1841-1869.[3] The half-mile stretch is "unsurpassed" and is the best-preserved set of Oregon Trail ruts anywhere along its former length.
We also went to Register Cliffs which is a large 100 foot high sandstone cliff. Pioneers stopped here to camp and left their names engraved on the rock. The first engraving was in 1829. You also see sections that have more current engravings from the 20th century done before the site became a historic site.
We spent another cloudy day at Fort Laramie National Historic Site which is less than a half hour drive from the Park. It is located at the confluence of Laramie River and the North Platte River. It was a 19th century trading post as well as a military base.

 A lot of the buildings are original while some have been restored. 

The sign below was at the entrance to the Visitor Center. Later on the drive home Joe got a tornado warning on his phone but it was for a different area. That was kind of weird. It was interesting though most of the building were closed. 

We had a few nights of rain. However, we do get some sunshine. Next blog will include a paddle on the lake. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rain and Wind in Colorado

We packed up early and headed for to Lathrop State Park. We were able to get our first choice of spots. There is a Lake in the Park but the campground is not right on it and so no views of the water. However, we won't complain as we have a great view of the snow covered mountains which are lovely.

The sites are spaced nicely and so even though there is someone in the spot across from us, the above picture is what we see from our passenger side windows. .
We spent three days here. Unfortunately the weather has still not been nice to us. We had rain, cold, and winds so bad we had to bring in one of our big slides. At least we had nice views while we hunker down in the MH.
Saturday we took another drive on the Highway of Legends from this end of the road. We wanted to find the Blue Lake we couldn't find previously. We saw the sign and it was the same road we went down our last outing. We had stopped just short of the entrance. However, when we got to the gate it was closed. Bummer, we weren't even able to check it out. There is a campground there and we would have liked to see it for a future trip. Right near the entrance was a pull out area with a nice stream and a little snow. We hung out there for a short while.

Below are a couple more pictures of our drive and then a few more from the campground and the lake.
We want to come back to this area again when it will hopefully be warmer. We would come to both of these State Park. Besides kayaking there are also some nice hiking and biking trails we would like to explire.

Our Back Yard

Sunday, of course, found us in front of the TV as we watched our Ducks win the first game against the Chicago Blackhawks 4 to 1. GO Ducks.
Monday we continued north to our last Colorado spot. We had read in several blogs about Cherry Creek State Park being a good place to stay. It is in Aurora which is a suburb of Denver and so a great spot to stay if you want to explore Denver.  We had made a reservation for 3 nights. It wasn't full but it seems most of the spots were taken even though it is the middle of the week and weather is still cold. The Park is actually right in town. There is a shopping area right across the street from the park. However, there is enough of a drive through the park to the campground area that you feel like you are away from the city. It reminds me of Catalina State Park in Tucson. We have a nice spot with lots of trees and green grass that Savannah loves.

There was actually a group of deer but I didn't get my camera out in time to get a picture of all of them. Weather has continued to be cold. We did go into Denver as we need to go to a B of A to do some banking. It is the last state we are going to be in on our way to Alaska that has one. We were going to go to a Vietnamese restaurant right in Denver but we were running late and the lunch hour would be over by the time we got there. One of the reasons was finding the B of A. There is a bank and a few blocks away an ATM only in a Department Store. As we missed a turn, the GPS wanted us to turn right when we were in the left lane and being in the middle of the city with lots of traffic, we couldn't do. It kept switching directions between the ATM and Bank. Joe stopped and put in the actual address and we finally found it. Then we had to circle the block a few times to find a parking spot. Yikes. Anyway, we do our banking and decided to go to another Vietnamese restaurant Joe had read about online. It was in the nearby city of Centennial. Pho 95 is a noodle house and also has other south Asia dishes. We had three appetizers which were pretty good. We had shriimp egg rolls, spring rols with peanut sauce and shredded pork buns. The buns were a little dry. They would usually be soft if they came right out of the steamer. It seemed like they might have been reheated in the microwave. However, everything was tasty. I put the peanut sauce on everything as I love peanut sauce. We made another stop at Trader Joe's as it will be the last one we see for awhile. I didn't buy as much as usual. Too full from lunch I guess.
Again we are by a lake but weather still is too cold. They also have nice bike/walk paths. Oh well next time will definitely be in the summer or early fall.
We did watch the second game of the Western Conference Finals. Sadly the Ducks lost. What a game though. It went to 3 overtimes, 5 hours of playtime. Both teams did great, especially the goal tenders.
The Ducks hit the goal post at least three times but the pucks didn't go in. It was just luck who would get it in and unfortunately it was Chicago. Both this series and the Eastern Conference Final series are gong to be close I think. We might even see one or both go to 7 games to decide the outcome.
Our next stop is Guernsey State Park in Wyoming. Stay tuned.