After lots of false starts with the truck we were determined to leave today. We finally got everything packed up and pulled out of the driveway in Friendswood at 9pm. Needless to say we didn’t make it far. We are staying the night at mom and dad’s house in La Porte, even though they are still in Eureka.
We finally made it out of Houston!
The first stop was Chappel Hill, TX because the throttle got stuck open for the first time. Scott got it unstuck and tried to figure out the problem. This happened at least 4 more times before it was all over and we ended up driving on just 2 of the carbs 4 barrels. \240At some point it got very hot inside the truck, we figured that the heat, which is separate from the AC in this truck, was stuck on and the AC just wasn’t keeping up because of the 105 degree weather. We stopped and got a valve to turn off the heat completely Once we made it to the campsite we decided drive into town and buy a brand new carburetor after dinner. Scott got it installed just as it got dark. I guess he will tune it in the morning before we leave.
PS. The young guy at the auto parts store asked us what we were buying. Then said no really what is that. I’ve never heard of that part before. What does that do?
This was a nice little park in the middle of the desert.
When we arrived at 7pm someone’s tent, grill, and other belongings were in our reserved spot but they were not around. We spoke to the camp host and he suggested we set up in a better spot. I don’t think those people ever returned. They just abandoned there stuff.
Once we got set up I discovered this little disaster. A full bottle of ground ginger spilling out of the spice cabinet. The lid had come off.
Before we left this morning Scott put the valve in to shut off the heater completely. By the time we stopped for lunch the hose he put the valve on had melted to the exhaust manifold. When trying to fix it the valve completely broke into 2 pieces. Luckily we were next door to a hardware store so he bought a new valve to install tomorrow. All in all not too bad a day For the truck, only 1 breakdown.
Today’s stop is a recommendation from my dad, Las Vegas, New Mexico KOA. It was a good choice.
There are lots of trees, shade and cooler temperatures so we actually are spending more time outside than we have so far.
I set up camp all by myself today since Scott disappeared as soon as we parked. I even put out the awning for the first time.
I drove most of the day. It was the first time I pulled the trailer with the Jeep. It wasn’t bad until we got just outside of Las Vegas, NM and we got into the hills. The truck was struggling to get up the hills with the Casita in tow. At one point I had it in 3rd gear going about 35 trying to get up a hill. I don’t know how we’re going to climb the mountains in Colorado. Scott took over driving and has been trying to figure things out. We have gone up about 6,000 feet in elevation so the carburetor probably needs to be adjusted and he suspects the trailer breaks are dragging. So the truck saga continues.
We got a bit of a late start. We went shopping headed out and it started raining a little. \240We only saw a little rain but we went through a town where every house and business was sandbagged but only 2 sandbags high, in anticipation of flash floods.
All in all it was a good day for the Jeep. We learned it had no problems with the mountains it just like to climb them at 35 mph.
We stopped and made lunch at Hermit’s Peak.
Stopped to take pictures of the views as we let cars pass us.
Then we came across the Rio Grande Gorge. It was a pretty cool stop.
We walked out on the bridge to see the view.
It’s a long way down.
This was our adventure for the day. Google took us down a dirt road that had a big mud hole in it. The road was too narrow to turn around so we unhooked the camper and drug it with a tow rope to turn it around.
We started the morning driving dirt roads without the camper at Heron Lake State Park.
After we finally got off the dirt road we passed this animal bridge they were building.
Tonight we are sitting listening to the water flowing below and watching the boats on the Navajo Lake.
Today was a really awesome drive.
We drove the Million Dollar Highway from Durango to Ouray.
We we’re pulling the Casita, so we were only doing 35 mph on the steep grades.
That made for plenty of time to enjoy the views.
As we came into Ouray we say 10 full size jeeps headed out to ride trails.
We got to the campground early. They wanted $30 to check in an hour and a half early so we found a pull off next to the river to hang out in until check in time.
Mom and Dad met us hanging out at the river so after we dropped the camper off they took us to lunch on Ouray.
When the Full Size Jeep Ouray Re-invasion group got back from wheelin for the day we met a few them and they recognized us as the Black Jeep pulling the camper from the road and Scott finally got to sit around a campfire. \240
We are going to meet up with some FSJ peeps tomorrow and ride some trails with them.
Thursday July 14.
We started the day by driving the Million Dollar Highway back to Silverton where we watched the steam engine arrive.
Then we took a trail ride in the Jeep.
There were some beautiful views.
We stopped at Animas Pass to check out the old town.
The Jeep made it to the top, no problems.
It was cold up there at 12,000 feet.
We went across Engineer Pass to the other side of the mountain.
There was snow next to the road.
The area is considered an alpine tundra. There were lakes and flowers all around.
There was a herd of sheep.
And sheep herding dogs.
About 6:30 we realized if we kept going we wouldn’t make it off the mountain before dark so we turned around and went back the way we came. We made it off off the mountain about 8:30 just as it was starting to get dark. But it wasn’t over yet. I had to drive the Million Dollar Highway back to Ouray in the dark. There are lots of cliff sides without guardrails and we kept seeing deer and even a herd of elk. I don’t mind saying I did that drive averaging about 20 mph.
Friday, July 15th
Today was the Ouray Full Size Jeep Re-Invasion. There was a big group picture (35 Full Size Jeeps), car show, pot luck dinner, and raffle with all proceeds going to Ouray Mountain Rescue. \240Here is a link to a video of all the FSJs at the car show if your interested.
We didn’t win any prizes in the car show.
But it was fun getting to meet and talk to everyone.
We met people from Colorado, Missouri, South Dakota, Indiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Arizona.
And they raised around $2,800 for Ouray Mountain Rescue!
Saturday, July 16th
Today was a slow day. I did laundry and Scott installed a new power steering pump(the other one had gotten really loud) and cleaned up the campsite. After all that excitement we drove around and explored Ouray. Then we drove to Montrose to get to a lower elevation for a little while. While we were there we grabbed dinner at Crash Burger. It was in an old gas Conoco station. We ordered at the walk up window and sat on the patio to eat. If you’re ever in Montrose, Colorado and just want a good casual burger this is the place to go it was excellent.
Sunday, July 17th
Today was a driving day. We drove from Colorado to Utah. We took a scenic byway through the dinosaur national monument area. Lots of the towns had dinosaurs.
We stayed in a little state park that had 20 campsites, a boat dock and a beach for swimming. After dinner Scott and I went to the beach and hung out in the water for a while.
On the way to the beach \240the power window on the passenger side of the truck broke, so when we got back to the campsite Scott took the door apart and tried to fix it. He figured out we are going to have to order a part so while he had the door apart he installed one of the new speakers we bought for the truck before we left.
Monday, July 18
Today we drove to the Grande Teton. We drove through some beautiful mountains in Wyoming. We crossed this bridge as we approached Flaming Gorge.
There was this dam that created a lake.
This looks like an awesome area to camp.
We drove across a prairie.
We climbed some crazy mountains where we learned never to stop on the ride up to make lunch. Always make it to the peak first. Otherwise you have to climb the mountain in low range in the Jeep.
And then we arrived at Grand Teton National Park. The first National Park on our trip.
We didn’t break anything on the truck today, but our campsite is too small for our truck and trailer. \240We got the trailer level, but the truck is hanging off the parking pad. The site itself away from the parking is great, shaded, lots of room, and a fire pit. This is our first campsite without any hookups at all. We will see how that goes. It’s supposed to get down to 45 degrees tonight.
Scott finally got to make a campfire of his own. \240The neighbor asked if her son could make s’mores on our fire and they made me one too.
Tuesday, July 19th
Our first adventure in Grand Teton National Park was down a dirt road.
Turns out it was a road to the Bar BC Dude Ranch that was long abandoned. We had lunch at the trail head then hiked down to look at the old buildings.
Then there were lots of stops to look at the Teton Mountains a new read about glaciers.
We did a semicolon drive by Jenny Lake because the Jenny Lake Visitor Center was packed. Turns out that was one of the smaller lakes.
Another trip down a dirt road brought us to 2 remote campsites, a boat ramp, and a chance to get into the clear lake water in the larger lake, Jackson Lake. \240Scott never passes up a chance to put his feet in the water.
We drove to the top of Signal Mountain and found geological survey marker.
Here is a pretty good view of the snake river. Lots of people fly fish here.
Water in a “pothole” or kettle formed by glaciers. Some potholes had little forests growing in them.
We came around a corner and found a bunch of cars pulled off the road looking at bison. Most seemed at a reasonable distance, but there were a few people who could be the main character in a bison attack story.
Tonight Scott Had to climb onto the tailgate of the truck to fix the bathroom fan because we noticed this morning that the seal was missing and the fan was dislodged. That fan has never shut right and it must of come open while we were driving. He also fixed the window on the passenger side of the truck with things he had in the truck. Hopefully it lasts a while.
Wednesday, July 20th
We traveled to Yellowstone through the Grand Teton National Park. So basically we toured part of both parks today. Getting into Yellowstone was not a problem but there were 3 places where the road was \240one lane because of construction. \240So we had a little wait.
We crossed the continental divide 3 times.
We missed the 3rd sign because of the construction.
We made it in just time to read about glaciers and watch Old Faithful erupt.
We got to camp and set everything thing up. It looked good at first, we were even on a lake and then the mosquitoes came out.
Scott says that this lake was colder than the one in the Grand Teton that he waded into.
Thursday, July 21st
Yellowstone is so big. We only managed to do the lower loop. We will have to come back and do the upper loop. \240We skipped a bunch of geysers when we first got into the park today because the line for parking was out in the road. Instead we opted for a scenic drive.
With a river for Scott.
There were some really nice views of the river.
We did eventually stop to look at some hot springs.
On the way out of the parking lot we saw a truck older than ours.
We went back to the old faithful area to watch another predictable geyser, Daisy.
Here is a video.
Up until this afternoon we were starting to think Yellowstone didn’t have any animals.
Watch this video. I was afraid for the truck.
After the wildlife experience we found some mud pots.
And steam vents.
We hunted down some more falls.
Along the way traffic stopped and everyone jumped out of there cars to get a picture of this big elk.
On the way back to camp we remembered to get pictures with the sign.
Friday, July 22nd,
We drove most of the day leaving Yellowstone behind. We made our way to a park at Georgetown Lake, MT. It worked for staying the night but there were no hookups at all. No power, no water, no dump station, no showers. Nothing. I take that back, you could fill a bucket from a hand pump well and there were pit toilets.
The highlight was this cute animal.
And the lake of course.
We left early and had a nice drive. We found a free dump station behind a gas station. We went to the store in Whitefish, MT. Then we arrived at the campground. Scott will not stop complaining. But I guess he is right. Basically we are sharing a campsite with strangers because our sites are so close together. Scott says he could have hit there popup camper with the car door.
There is so much traffic around the blind corner at the boat ramp 20 yards from our campsite they have a person stationed there to direct traffic. They advertised showers but you have to pay 3 tokens for 6 minutes. Scott said what am I a trucker. And did I mention the train that comes by at least every hour. Watch the video. Scott says he hopes it doesn’t derail because we will all be dead, it’s that close.
But there is a lake…
And they had 1 water hose hookup for the whole park. So we did get to fill up our tank. But still no electricity or dump station.
We started the day trying to visit the Apgar Visitor Center on our side of Glacier National Park. We found out that was not going to happen without a reservation for the”going to the sun road”.
So we drove to the east side of the park to Two Medicine Lake.
We did a hike where we saw a moose.
Lots of little animals.
And a waterfall.
We are planning to come back in a few days to do a boat tour of the lake.
On the way back to camp we found this fresh water spring. The historic marker said I t was at the first rest area in Montana.
We got up earlier than planned thanks to a train that sounded like it was going to derail and fall onto our campsite. We had planned to get up early to find some wifi and get a reservation for the ”going to the sun road”. While we were online we also found a new camp ground. \240There was no good sleep to be had with the train going by every hour.
The reservation for the park is for tomorrow so we spent the day moving campgrounds, doing laundry, and washing the truck.
We finally made it into the main entrance to the park the takes you to the “Going to the Sun Road”. First stop Lake Mc Donald and then lunch.
We kept seeing these \240“Red Bus” tours that were the original busses they used in the park. They are so cool.
The roof was open and there were like 6 doors in one side.
There was lots of snow melt running down the mountains.
Glaciers everywhere you look.
The old glaciers that are gone now dug out the valleys into u shapes like this one.
There was so much snow melt in this location it was called the weeping \240wall. It went on for about a tenth of a mile.
This was next to the road. This must have been the place they were still having to plow in June.
We went on a short hike to Baring Falls.
Just past that on the trail was a little beach on Lake McDonald.
The hike was so nice we continued on the trail to St Marie’s Falls. Here people we jumping off the cliff in the stream from the falls. They said the water was so cold it took your breath away.
This ended up being our longest hike yet at about 6 miles.
We headed back to the park today to doa hike at Logan Pass.
While waiting to get in we saw this guy panic and finally decide to cross in front of us.
The “Going to the Sun Road” did not disappoint on views for a second day.
At Logan Pass Visitor Center I got to see my first mountain goat.
We also got to hike across a snowfield.
Once we got across the snow we saw some real mountain goats.
There were lots of squirrels too.
On the way back across the snowfield we got to see big horn sheep cross the snow.
This was a pretty good hike. There was a hidden lake at the end but apparently I was so excited about goats I didn’t even get a picture of the lake.
We started the day by finally driving to the far end of the “Going to the Sun Road”. We made it to Saint Mary Lake and went to the visitor center.
On the way back we visited with some mountain goats.
Looked at a waterfall.
And took in the views on the way back.
We tried looking for a boondocking site in the national forest nearby. We decided the dirt road was too rough to drag the Casita down so we extended our stay at our current campground through the weekend. Scott says this is his favorite campsite because he can walk to the farm store next door.
Today we drove the going to the sun road through the park to get to Two Medicine lake. After the end of the park road we drove through a crazy construction zone on dirt, around workers, and for several miles.
We took a boat ride across the lake and hiked back around.
The boat driver told us the story of the names of the mountains. It is called two medicine lake because two different medicine women choose the location of there swet lodges in this area and they Blackfeet people thought that was significant enough to name the river, lake and valley after that event.
We did a short hike to twin falls.
After we left the falls we came around the corner and stumbled across a moose.
Click the image below to see a video of the moose.
The hike back was about 5 miles. It was almost all through trees. It was much more pleasant than the last long hike we did. \240We even got to cross a stream.
Today we visited the North Fork area of Glacier National Park.
We drove to Bowman Lake and hiked along the shore for a while. On the way back this bird crossed our path.
Scott says it’s a chicken. I don’t think so.
Then on the way back from that lake we saw a bear eating huckleberries.
This is as close as Scott got to getting into the water today because…
On our way to see Kintla Lake the truck sputtered to a stop and refused to keep going.
Scott figured out it was the fuel pump and he had a spare one in the back of the truck so he hooked it up and had us back on the road.
On the way home we saw another bear eating huckleberries by a much bigger road. Scott’s been saying he didn’t believe the bears existed and now we’ve seen 2 in one day!
Click the image below to see a video of the second bear.
We spent the day checking out the small town of Hungry Horse.
Scott had to have a picture with the town mascot.
We visited the Hungry Horse Dam. It was pretty cool, but they no longer do tours.
The we had dinner at The BackRoom. The broasted chicken, Chicken fried in a pressure cooker, was good. The ribs were ok.
We also had huckleberry pie a la mode, with huckleberry ice cream, at The Huckleberry Patch.
It was delicious!!!
The truck has been making a funny noise for a few days so we got up early this morning, 5am, to head towards Colorado. Scott has a friend there and he was going to try and fix the problem there since the campground here won’t let you work on cars.
Well we only made it about 100 feet from the campground when the rear differential broke and we came to a screeching stop. \240Scott put it in 4 wheel drive and managed to get us back in our spot at the campground.
We spent all day trying to find a mechanic to fix it. Every place had at least a 3 week wait. We tried to rent a car, but there were no cars to be had anywhere. Last resort, we are flying home to Houston to get the white truck and car trailer to take the Jeep to Colorado so he can work on it.
Scott took a look under the truck and the picture shows what fell out of the differential once he opened it up so we plan to put the Jeep and Casita in a storage unit tomorrow morning and then take an Uber to the airport to catch our 5:45pm flight to Houston.
So far so good. We packed up everything this morning. Dumped the trailer tanks in a campsite nearby(ours didn’t have a sewer connection), limped the truck and trailer half a mile down the road to a storage unit, and got an Uber to the airport around 1pm.
We got there just as all 7 of the gates they have were preparing flights to leave. Our flight however was still 5 hours away. Once that first set of flights left there was probably less than 100 people in the airport with us the rest of the day.
We have a little less than an hour in Salt Lake City and mom and dad will be picking us up a little before 1am.
We are back at home. Scott spent the day getting the white truck and car trailer ready to travel while I went and hung out with Granny.
The white truck had a gas leak that Scott fixed in about 30 minutes, but it and the trailer both had expired registrations. So he had to get them both inspected and visit the tax office to get the registration stickers. He also changed the oil on the truck and mowed the back yard.
It’s my birthday today.
Since it’s my birthday and there were a few things around here to do we decided to stay home one more day. Scott finished up with the weed trimmer and mowing in the back yard. I went to Academy for some long sleeve sun shirts, I couldn’t find them for less than $50 out of town. I also did laundry and then we had dinner with Mom, Dad, Terry, and Rufus. Susi didn’t get to come because everyone in her house except her has Covid.
We are hitting the road early tomorrow.
We are on our way back to Montana to pick up the Jeep and take somewhere Scott can work on it.
We didn’t get out the door as early as we wanted. A few hours on the road and the tread started coming off one of the trailer tires causing the trailer to shake really bad. Scott put on the spare and we drove to Corsicana to get a new tire. The place we ended up at was called Warren’s Tires. If you are ever in Corsicana and need a tire check it out they had the new tire on the rim and installed on the trailer within 10 minutes of us driving up. Then we had lunch at a cute little diner in the old downtown area of Corsicana.
After the tire business we stopped at the Casita factory to get a new seal for the Casita’s bathroom fan. They also showed Scott how to fix the fan so that it will close properly and we won’t lose the seal again.
We did a lot of driving and called it a day just before Amarillo because hotel rooms were cheaper here. We walked next door and bought frozen dinners and frozen vegetables to make in the room. We will be at it again early in the morning.
We continued the J10 rescue mission. We started the morning in Texas. We drove through New Mexico, Colorado, and stayed the night in Wyoming.
We stopped at a grocery store to pick up something for lunch and found the last coal powered train in Colorado and 50 state flags in order of when they joined the US.
We tried to make it the rest of the way to the storage unit before they closed to get the J10 but didn’t make it because 80mph with the trailer just didn’t seem like a good idea. We got a room in Montana’s state capital, Helena. Once we decided to stop for the night we stopped for dinner at Bridger Brewing. I had a really good chicken pesto sandwich made with local chicken. The beer was pretty good too.
We started the day by driving by the Montana state capital building and then driving the rest of the way back to Columbia Falls to rescue the Jeep.
We found the Jeep and the Casita just where we left them.
We loaded up the Jeep onto the trailer and got some stuff out of the Casita.
We left the Casita all alone, but we will hopefully be back in about a week to get it.
We had lunch at The Night Owl, sister restaurant to The Backroom we ate before we left this town last week.
On the way from Columbia Falls to Great Falls the brakes on the truck started dragging and smoking. We pulled over to check things out and the cows all just stared at us.
Couldn’t fix the brakes so we drove slower and used the trailer brakes for stopping. We ordered some parts from the auto parts store. They will arrive before noon tomorrow so looks like we will be getting a late start tomorrow.
While we waited for the parts to arrive Scott went down to look at the brakes again and the front tire on the truck was completely flat. Turns out it was a tire he had plugged a long time ago and the plug came out, so he fixed that and then he pulled the brakes apart and put them back together. Things seem to be working better today than yesterday. Then we went to see the hydroelectric dam in Great Falls.
And the falls.
We finally got on the road and about 20 miles out of town a trailer tire blew. Scott put on the spare, but it was super old so we went back to town and got a new tire. The ride with a new tire is much smoother, but Scott thinks the truck brakes are still dragging. We didn’t get to leave the second time until almost 4pm and we already have a room for tonight in Sydney so it looks like we will get there about 10pm.
We are hoping to make it to Big Fork today to Scott’s aunt and uncle’s house.
We happened upon the geographic center of North America.
A rock with Native American drawings. A hand print.
And a foot.
The same town also had this sculpture of the northern lights.
We noticed the white truck was getting really bad gas mileage so Scott finally changed the oxygen sensor that has been causing the check engine light to come on.
Shortly after we changed the sensor the light came on again but this time the code said it was the other oxygen sensor. We will have to get another one and change that one too.
We made it to Scott’s aunt and uncle’s house late last night. This morning Scott took the brakes apart on the white truck and says it is now perfect.
Then he took apart the Jeep and determined that only the ring and pinion inside the differential broke.
This was an all day event. This evening Scott looked up parts that we need and we are going to order them to be delivered here in Bigfork in a few days.
Today we hung out at the house with Scott’s family. Bill showed me some his treasures.
A Buick for Scott.
A pole barn, Scott wishes he had this kind of space at home.
Today we toured Turtle Lake.
We got to see and hear loons, the Minnesota state bird.
And Scott’s cousin Janet taught us to paddle board.
We headed back towards Glacier to pick up the Casita. We figured since we had to wait for parts we might as well go get the camper and see some more sights.
The ride started off a little questionable since I wasn’t paying attention and we missed our turn, but Scott decided since my mistake got us so close we had to go visit Kelliher, Home of Paul Bunyan’s Grave.
After that little detour Scott wanted to get in Lower Red Lake but once we stopped there was a sign sayingit was only for tribal members, all others were trespassing. So I took a quick picture and we kept moving.
We ended up back at the same hotel in Sidney, MT thanks to Priceline’s express deal.
Today was driving the rest of the way back to get the Casita.
The highlights of the day were this giant tractor on the road and…
Visiting the town off Shelby.
One the way back to Columbia Falls where the Casita was we finally got phone signal in Hungry Horse so I was able to order broasted chicken from The BackRoom 10 minutes before they closed. Scott was so happy. \240We picked up the chicken, then got the Casita and got a spot in an RV park for the night so we could plug in to charge the battery.
The RV park had lots of long term residents. We could tell because they had everything set up for winter time with the water lines insulated had heat traced.
We went to town today to restock on food and supplies. Harbor Freight didn’t have the press we needed to fix the Jeep. We are headed to the National Forest around Hungry Horse Reservoir to find a free campsite.
Update: \240we found a great spot. Only bat thing is it was 37 miles down a bumpy dirt road. Two windows on the casita came open and let a bunch of dust in, one of the window shades fell down, screws worked there way out of the bench and the door under the sink which fell off. We also had 2 rivets break off in the wall between the kitchen and bathroom. We had previously replaced those once before.
But this view was worth it.
Scott went swimming but it was too cold for me once the sun went down.
We decided to just take it easy today and stay here another night.
The water is so clear.
We went swimming.
Also we need a boat.
We packed up, tightened all the screws, and tried to get the Casita ready for the bumpy ride back to town. Scott wired up the white truck to charge the Casita battery, but we need an app to complete the setup for the charger and we don’t have phone signal here so we still can’t charge the battery from the truck. Before we left Scott got in the lake again and I went down a trail to find the creek we could hear.
We couldn’t see it from the lake because it comes out directly into this log jam.
We are having broasted chicken at The BackRoom again. I think Scott is addicted.
Today we visited the Many Glacier portion of Glacier National Park. \240Just passed the park entrance we saw a black bear.
Click the image below to see a video of the bear.
The views were amazing.
This was from the the porch of the Many Glacier Lodge.
From the lodge we hiked around Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. In the steam connecting the two lakes we saw a moose.
Click the image below to see a video of the moose.
This is. grinned Glacier from the shore of Lake Josephine.
From the same shore we spotted these two wacky ducks. Click to see the video and what I mean by wacky.
Here is a closeup of Grinnel glacier and the falls created by its snow melt.
This is the view of the Many Glacier Lodge. From across Swiftcurrent Lake. It is the largest historical lodge still in use in the park.
At the end of the hike we’re these little falls.
By this point (5.5miles) Scott was done.
PS: \240The shirt he is wearing says “I’ve been to Duluth” and 6 people passing us on the hike commented on it and this happens every time he wears it. Thanks for buying him the shirt Chelsea. No one every really recognizes it from the movie but they all love it.
Yesterday we drove all day and last night we stayed the night at a fishing access campground. It took 3 tries to find one but it turned out good. The first one was full and the police was there so we moved on. The second one was closed due to flooding damage, but the third one was just right. I have been seeing these fishing access signs along all the rivers in Montana and HS no idea you could camp at some of them.
A few hours into our drive we came across the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and made the quick decision that we had to see it. There was interpretive drive with an audio tour. It was pretty interesting explaining the battle and seeing all the locations where everything happened.
We happened to see these wild horses along the tour. \240This picture almost looks like one of the paintings they have depicting the battlefield.
This is set us up for getting to our campground in the dark again but it’s small with just a few people so it was no problem.
Drive through Wind Cave National Park. Turned around at Custer State Park. Located Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Did laundry in Keystone, SD. \240We saw lots of prairie dogs. They are so cute.
Drove through Hot Springs, SD and took some gravel roads through Red Canyon. Took a backroad to Custer, SD. We saw lots of homesteads and ranches. Lots of them had the same family name on them. Then we spent the rest of the day visiting Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.
On the way back to camp Scott had to have broasted chicken from Dakota Broasters and it was better than The BackRoom in Montana.before heading back to camp we got a beer at a local Brewery. Scott was not impressed, but mine was good.
Today we drove gravel roads through WInd Cave National Park into the southern part of Custer State park. We drove around Custer. It rained so we decided not to hike. We drove drove out of the park on 87 and saw a lot of bison, I mean A LOT, like 500 bison. \240We also saw pronghorn antelope and friendly donkeys. We came back to the campground and walked through the wildlife viewing area and saw Several deer.
We drove through the park to see the bison and prairie dogs again.
Then we drove the Needles Highway to do a hike to the Cathedral Spires.
We went through some stone tunnels. Then we drove the Iron Mountain Highway and went through some more tunnels but these were made to frame Mount Rushmore as you went through them. It was really cool.
We did a small hike around Sylvan Lake and headed back to the campground at Cold Brook Resevior.
On the way back through Keystone we saw this guy doing chainsaw sculptures.
Press play on this one. It’s pretty amazing.
Today we moved from the Black Hills to the Badlands. We are staying in a campground that is built in a prairie dog town. It is so cool!!
There were also 3 rabbits that we saw in camp.
Twice the prairie dogs went on high alert and started barking.
When we looked around there was a coyote walking around the edge of the campground. I didn’t get a great picture because he stayed too far away.
We moved to the Cedar Pass Campground in the Badlands National Park and spent the rest of the day driving the scenic drive.
There are not near the number of bison here as in Custer State park or Wind Cave National Park but we have seen a few.
The views are amazing.
It looks like you are on another planet.
We saw mule deer a few times today.
Today we did 4 short hikes.
We hiked to ”the window” for this view.
Then we hiked to ”the door” where we could go down into the badland formations.
After those two short easy hikes we did a more strenuous short hike straight up to Saddle Pass.
You can see our white truck way down there in the parking lot.
The last hike we did was the fossil trail where the signs told you about all the fossils they find in the park.
Done with hiking we made the short drive to Wall to see Wall Drug. It was interesting. They had all kinds of little shops an ice cream parlor, a restaurant and fun stuff.
These were animatronic, they sang and moved.
Scott had to get his free ice water.
Scott made a new friend.
This guy was in the edge of town.
On the way back to camp we drove the Pinnacle’s ridge in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. Lots of people camp here for free every night. They had a pretty good view.
On the way back through the park to our campground we saw some of the oldest formations they were yellow \240
And lots of bighorn sheep.
Here is a video of one.
Here is Scott following all the trail markers on “the door” hike.
We got back to Bigfork and instead of immediately fixing the Jeep we went fishing with Scott’s uncle Bill, cousin Janet, and Teddy.
I reeled them in and Scott did all the work of getting them off the hook.
Everyone else caught a few also.
We had our fish for dinner!
We went fishing again today.
More fishing. Today we caught more than just bass.
I caught a perch.
And Scott caught a northern.
And some more bass.
We saw this bald eagle circling this afternoon while Scott was finishing the differential install on the Jeep.
Then we went on a short 5 mile test drive. Looks good so far. Scott said it was hot to the touch. I asked is that bad and he said “It’s supposed to be hot”
So we went driving around to put some easy miles on the new differential before we can tow the Casita with it. We found a state park with a hand pump.
Scott thinks he needs to get in every lane. This could take a while here in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes.
Here he is in Long Lake.
And here he is in Pughole Lake.
We need to put in 500 miles before we can tow so we went to see what experiments they were doing at the Marcell Experimental Forest today.
To learn how to manage a “fen”, a kind of marshy area they cut down all the trees, burned the area and then seeded the area to study how it would grow.
Here they cleared and burned the area and then grazed cattle here to see if it would control the Aspen tree growth and help the white pine and red pine grow back easier.
Here they did the same thing except they used herbacide to control the Aspen growth instead of cows.
Here is Scott in Cedar Lake.
We had a Bigfoot sighting on the road.
We decided to visit International Falls today to get in the rest of our 500 miles before we can tow.
Along the way we saw Paul Bunion.
When we got to International Falls we went to Smokey the Bear Park.
Visited the Bronko Nagurski Museum which was also the Koochinching county museum. Both were very interesting.
On the way back we found this Voyagier. These were people who were legendary for how much they could carry and row around for the traders all while being singing and being merry.
And we met Bill and Denyse at Timberwolf Inn for Scott’s favorite… Broasted Chcken.
Today we made an unexpected trip to Deer River looking for a repair kit for a bolt hole that Scott found when changing the thermostat housing.
It was a slow day besides that and eating at The Effie Cafe for the second time in two days. If you are ever in Effie check it out. The stuffed hash browns were fantastic.
Aggravating day. Earlier in the week we drove to Grand Rapids and Scott ordered a gasket for the Jeep so he could change the gear oil after we broke in the differential. \240He paid for it and they said it should be here today. We called before we headed to pick it up and the guy said the truck for today isn’t here yet but it should have been there already so we decided to go ahead and drive to Grand Rapids because we needed to go to the grocery store too anyway.
When we get there the delivery guy is just pulling in but Scott finds out they never ordered the part even though they already charged him for it. To make things even better the manager doesn’t know how to refund him without a return. He calls the morning manager and he doesn’t know how to do it either.
Now we have no gasket to change the gear oil and no refund.
We did some more fishing today.
We did a little more driving around today. Scott needed to get in a lake. Here he is
There are all these lodges and resorts in this area because of all the lakes. They seem pretty neat especially if you like boating or fishing.
We saw some mailboxes today that spin to keep from being destroyed by the snowplow. I would never have thought you had to worry about that.
And some interesting tactics to stop invasive species in the lakes. The wire box is to dispose of your dead bait and the brown box had clean water for you to refill you bait container after you poured out the water from wherever you brought the bait from.
When we got back there was this huge dragonfly on the deck behind the house.
I started the day with deer looking at me through the basement window.
We hit the road early and did a hike to Joyce Estates.
Which was a retreat for a very wealthy family from Chicago during prohibition.
It is now part of the Chippewa National Forest. You can get to it by boat or a 2 mile hike.
Afterwards we went back to the Marcell Experimental Forest.
We missed one experiment Scott really wanted to see. They enclosed different parts of a Spruce bog and heated the air and soil in some enclosures and added CO2 and CH4(methane) to see how climate change will affect the bogs.
Then we finally got to visit the Lost 40. It is a small old growth forest that never got harvested by lumber companies because of an incorrect survey. It is now part of the Chippewa National Forest.
The red pine and white pine in this area were huge.
With the the Jeep fixed we spent the day packing and setting the camper back up for travel.
When we thought we were finished I was rolling up the windows to go in the house and the driver side window broke. \240Scott had to fix one more thing before we could leave. Fortunately he knew exactly what to do since he fixed the passenger side one when it broke back in New Mexico.
He took the opportunity to put in the other new speaker since he had the door panel off. Now we have an all new radio and two new speakers.
First day towing with the new differential so we are stopping every 15 miles to let the differential cool off.
First stop a cemetery. While we waited we walked around and looked at headstones. The oldest we saw was 1911.
Here was an old county garage that Scott could find a job.
We are going to stay in Scott’s cousins driveway for a few days on the north shore \240of Lake Superior. \240We turned on to Jason’s road and it was the nicest minimum maintenance road I’ve ever been on. Later he told us his neighbors want to have it redone😄
I am so impressed with Jason, not only does he make beautiful pottery, he also built this house on his own to be completely off the grid. The weather has been pretty rainy and I just realized I never took a picnic this great house. We will have to come back😉 for a picture.
Today we drove up the north shore.
Scott said Lake Superior wasn’t that cold.
We drove the Gunflint Trail in the rain and had lunch at a resort near the end of the trail.
This trail took us to the edge of the Boundry Waters canoe wilderness. It was so beautiful even with the rain.
We are headed to the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan.
Along the North Shore there were some cool tunnels.
We stopped at Betty’s Pies for broasted chicken…
And pie of course.
We went across a cool bridge in Duluth and ended up on a peninsula in the lake.
We ended up staying at a city park with RV hookups in Iron River, Wisconsin.
We made through Wisconsin today…
And into Pure Michigan.
I got us a site at a state park and then when we got there learned that along with paying for the site we also had to pay for a recreation pass to enter the state parks in Michigan.
We will have to stay at more state parks here in Michigan to get our money’s worth out of this 2022 recreation pass.
Haven’t really seen many mosquitoes.
We visited the town where Scott’s Grandpa Mentink was from.
They had a really cool courthouse and the hills were impossibly steep. I would never be able to drive the Jeep here in the wintertime 🥶.
We stopped at Suomi Restaurant for Paties.
Just outside of town we drove the Covered Road. It was awesome.
We visited a steel dam in Redridge.
Then we visited the Freda Mine Ruins on Lake Superior. .
This is our view from our campsite in Twin Lakes State Park.
He just can’t help himself.