We continued our rv adventures, journeying into Wyoming, and arriving at Devils Tower on September 11 for a 4-night stay. As we walked around the tower one morning we could see some climbers about halfway up - sure looked scary.
I’d never been in this part of WY before and it’s gorgeous – lots of red rock, fields of golden winter wheat, and that incredible tower rising 865’ out of nothing, with the Belle Fourche River winding around below it. There were lots of deer around - we stalked a herd of them one evening, getting some great photos. I especially enjoyed the prairie dogs – they are delightfully funny fellows.
The night of 9/15 was spent in Buffalo, WY, and the following day we took the Powder River Pass through the Bighorn Mt. Range, elevation 9666 feet, a beautiful drive with only two hairpin turns.
In Cody, we stopped at a Wal-Mart to replace my house batteries which hadn’t been holding a charge very well. Turned out the old ones were Wal-Mart’s brand, under warranty, so I actually got $4.33 back!
Robert did all the work – great to have a man in your life who knows how to fix things. We got a bunch of groceries and left Wal-Mart for the final 18 miles to Wapiti – an amazing drive through a narrow gorge along the Shoshone River, past the Cody Dam and a huge lake – arriving at the Yellowstone Valley Inn in the Absaroka Mt. Range.
The next morning, our rv adventures took us through another canyon, along the North Fork of the Shoshone River, a drive so absolutely beautiful I had tears in my eyes half the time (this seems to happen to me a lot in WY). The drive into Yellowstone is steep, many miles of going up, up, up at 25-30 miles an hour, with the engine sounding like it was gasping for oxygen, which it probably was at elevations of 7000-8000.
We stayed four nights at Grant Village on Yellowstone Lake – watched Old Faithful erupt, and did lots of walking to see the various geysers and pools. One morning we did the 2.8 mile walk to Morning Glory Pool which I had last seen 53 years ago. It is now labeled Fading Glory Pool. The colors have changed as the water temperature cooled - the result of all the trash people have thrown in it over the years.
There were lots of buffalo, a few small herds of elk, and three coyotes which were walking right alongside the road with not a care in the world. NO BEARS! People can’t feed them anymore and all the trash is in bear-proof bins, so bears are not in evidence the way they were when I was a kid. There are warnings everywhere against leaving anything out (food, cosmetics, etc.) when you leave camp for awhile and/or at night.
The Yellowstone rv adventure was a little tough - we found the altitude difficult to deal with. It takes a few weeks to get acclimated, and we didn't stay long enough to adapt. As we moved down to Colter Bay Village, right on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton Nat’l Park we were able to breathe a little easier. At 6800 ft. we were about 1000 ft. lower.
In both parks, the aspens were turning gold; the undergrowth in the woods was full of brilliant golds, reds and oranges; the rivers were crystal clear & sparkling blue-green; the air was clean and smelled wonderful. You couldn't ask for a more magnificent part of the world, but it was getting colder...
Leaving the Jackson Hole area on 9/25, we drove through Hoback Canyon, through southern WY to Evanston, where we intended to spend just one night. As we were checking into Phillips RV Park, a woman came in and asked if one of us was towing the trailer with the Highlander.
“I hope you know you’re missing a tire,” she said to Robert. Out we went to look and, sure enough, one tire had shredded completely off the rim. Luckily a Goodyear dealer was next door and quickly replaced it, but it turned out all 4 tires were checked & weathered, the valve stems cracked – on a 2-month old trailer! So we ended up staying several days until UPS delivered new tires from the tire company. Just another rv adventure!
On September 30, we made a beautiful drive down, down, down into Utah, through mountains (no snow) with lovely yellow/orange aspens and rosy, burgundy and olive shrubbery, like a multi-colored carpet thrown into the folds of the hills. We spent that night in Provo and the next day made the long drive to Bryce Canyon, a most spectacular place with spires and hoodoos of red, gold, white, and orange rock in strange shapes.
We hiked the Queens Walk, which has the least elevation change – only 320’ down. Of course you then have to go up again.
Luckily, the sun was playing hide & seek during our walk, so it wasn’t too hot, but it was a real challenge coming back up. After lunch, I totally conked out for a 2-hour nap, which is rare for me.
We stayed three nights at Bryce, leaving the morning of Oct. 4, as a bad storm was predicted for the weekend. Dealing with a snowstorm is one rv adventure we'd just as soon miss, so we drove down to Flagstaff through steep red cliffs, then through pink sand dunes and the Vermillion Cliffs which were lavender and gray, as it rained throughout the day, and the colors were dulled. Despite the rain, it was lovely.
That night we stayed at the Glen Canyon NRA in Lake Powell, AZ. The lake was very low, surrounded by a weird landscape with cliffs, a Devils Tower look-a-like, and a power plant in the distance.
On 10/5 we stayed at a Wal-Mart in Winslow, AZ, where we discovered that we needed to set our clocks back an hour. Did we go back on Standard time? On 10/6 we made a very long drive through eastern AZ, into NM, and through the Gila Wilderness to a park in Silver City, NM, where we found we needed to reset our clocks forward an hour again. What was this all about? I was totally mystified until I Googled “daylight savings time” and discovered that AZ doesn’t participate.
The next morning, we traveled the last 62 miles to Deming, where we met almost 11 months ago. We've enjoyed all the traveling and the rv adventures this past summer, but it was nice to be back here, seeing some old friends. Tuesday, we’ll be off to the Pink Store for lunch and our free margarita – the first in a long time!
We were still in two RVs – Robert had taken the “for sale” sign out of the Tioga back at Hart Ranch, deciding that he wasn’t quite ready to part with it. He has talked about getting a bigger one for the two of us, but having two seems to work pretty well, in spite of the drawbacks (mostly financial).
An artist I spoke with in Silver City mentioned seeing an article about folks turning their RVs into traveling art studios. I might like to keep Mehitabel and do just that. Robert and I have done amazingly well with our rv adventures over the past several months. Most of the time we live in mine, (about 250 sq. ft.) though his is always nearby with most of his belongings, and I must admit I enjoy having a night alone from time to time! I’m getting ready to start painting again – have so many beautiful photos! Once I start, I hate to put everything away, and then have to set it all up again, so this might be a great solution.
Early Morning on Colter Bay
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