SD and More..

 

Made it to South Dakota and we are now officially residence and have SD drivers licenses.  Registering the “new” jeep was not trouble at all.  Of course when things go to smooth something much happen it is simply how life works.  The coach has been harder to get registered, but at least we are not driving it around.  We will need to take it to get it weighed before registering.  All paperwork/emblems on the bus have maximum allowed weight not weight empty.  This matters because our annual renewal price will be based on the empty weight.  We cant find this information and although it is not empty by far we will weigh as is and use for registration purposes.  Tanks will be empty.

Thank goodness the Jeep went easy, we had really not used it since Silt, CO because no registration = no insurance = don’t drive.  At least we are able to explore and will register the coach before we move it again.

Driving up the eastern side of Wyoming was uneventful, we saw many more cows than we did people.  It was really interesting how we have been surrounded (or at least in view) of sizable mountains ever since west TX and as soon as we crossed the Rocky Mountains, we are in the plains.  Open land as far as you can see to the east.  There are trees, but the rolling hills are so large that the trees look like toys or the land is just plain flat.

Another strange thing, they/we  (we are S. Dakotans now) have National Grass Lands more than SD really there are a lot of Grass Lands look it up….  Never really knew that or would have thought of that, but there are millions of acres of grass land.  There is grass under the pine trees in the forest.  There is grass, that I would have gladly paid for to grow under my oak trees on Friendly Lane, every where.  It is soooo green it is amazing.  Every where looks like a golf course and it is cow pastures.

We are currently in Hermosa, SD just south of Rapid City and east of the Black Hills of SD.  We’re near Mt Rushmore and the campground has some of the rejects from that project in the front yard.  They are really quite good, not sure why or where they came from, but nice yard ornaments for the week.

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Grass lands…  we are so glad that Hailey has the John Deere and that we don’t have to mow any part of this.

Black Hills, you are in the fields and hills and all of a sudden there is this.  Much better for me driving and walking around with trees around.  Although there are drops it is not STRAIGHT DOWN for 1,500 ft, it is sloped with trees and some underbrush that may break your fall??   So long as your are not mountain climbing which we are not.

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Home in SD for now, Peach and Love!!!

 

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Good News and Bad News…

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Good News is we quit smoking on April 14!!! Now over three weeks and it has not been as bad as it could have been. The Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking was right on and has worked. Basically, we are happy to be non-smokers and that is kind of what it takes.   Smoking adds nothing and takes a lot away… Yippee!!!

Bad News is that on April 21st the faithful Jeep that I just praised in a recent post, that we had purchased and equipped specifically to be towed, that should have lasted forever, that only had 115,000 miles on it, DIED??? With much ado we ended up purchasing the same vehicle a 2005 Jeep Liberty with 10Kmore miles than the old one, that is gas not diesel but very much the same vehicle we lost. We choose the same vehicle so that we could reuse the tow, breaking, lights, kayak racks, etc equipment that we already had. So we stripped the old one of everything that was useful to us and donated the rest to public radio. At lease we hope it is donated, we left town on Saturday and they wouldn’t come pick up until the following Wed??? Hopefully we will not hear anything about that vehicle again if we do Hmmmmm

This made our 3 day stay turn into over 2 week stay. Anyway here we go again, a little lighter on funds but on the road none the less.

Crossing the Rockies

From Silt we traveled on Interstate 70 over the Rocky Mountains. Silt was about 5,400 ft above sea level and on the way over the mountains we reached altitudes of over 11,000 ft. We were a little scared of this leg of our trip as climbing that high in the bus or any vehicle could be a challenge. We were prepared to stay to in the right lane and go slow with the trucks. It was a tough trip across, slow going, but we made it safe and sound.

Going up there was lots of varied scenery…

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check out the contrast of green trees and red rocks,

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and the evergreens vs. the new spring green of the trees kind of looks like a map??

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then there is the snow… you can see where they have plowed the bike path,

We stopped just past the Vail Summit at 10,600 ft. it was 68 degrees, I was in shorts and tank top, but others were going snowmobiling.  Crazy…

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I thought that the Vail Summit was the top, but a little later at the Eisenhower Tunnel we were over 11,000 ft. Inside the tunnel we crossed the continental divide.  What a beautiful drive.

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Peace and Love…

 

 

Top of the Rockies

Since the weather was cold and blustery what better to do that go to the top of the Rockies.  It was a long day, but beautiful.  We took the Top of the Rockies National Scenic Byway drive.  We were unable to take the entire drive because part of the section from Leadville to Aspen had not been plowed yet from the winter weather.  But we did a nice little loop that crossed the continental divide twice.

Leaving Interstate 70 on CO Hwy 24 to Leadville and back up CO Hwy 91 to Interstate 70.  On the by-way the altitude seldom dips below 9,000 ft and mountain peaks exceed 14,000 ft.  Talk about Rocky Mountain High…  Pictures below show some of the peaks and how they exceed the tree line.   I wonder if the snow ever completely melts on the top??

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I was amazed that there are actually a lot of valleys at this altitude.  On many parts of the drive you were literally in a 9,000 ft high valley??

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We were about as high as you can go in the US crossing the Continental Divide twice, first at the Tennessee Pass at 10,424 ft and again at Fremont Pass at 11,318 ft.  This whole area is also one of the best ski areas in the US with Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge all within about 50 mile radius.  What a beautiful place!!  Would love to see the mountain peaks with a brilliant blue sky behind, but we can’t control the weather maybe another day.

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Peace and Love!!

Rifle, CO

Rifle is a small town on Interstate 70 about 180 miles west of Denver.  Its highlight for me was a real grocery store.  Green River had a very small grocery the Melon Vine that we had been relying on for the last month.  Although we are staying in Silt, Rifle is only 7 miles away and has a full size grocery store City Market and a Walmart.

Besides the shopping, we had a wonderful day at Rifle Falls Co State Park.  There was an entrance fee of $7.oo, but the falls were beautiful with a nice short hike around and behind the falls.  There were also caves in the rock face on either side of the falls some with built-in benches.  We imagined the caves would be very popular in the summer when it was hot outside.

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Just a couple of miles above these falls were great cascading falls.   The trail in the state park follows the river above the falls as an optional extension to the shorter hike.  The cascading falls were in my opinion prettier than the taller falls, but I love all waterfalls!!

Peace and Love!!

 

 

The Wedge or Utah’s Little Grand Canyon

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I was a little hesitant to make this trip because the directions were to drive over 40 miles into never never land on dirt roads. If you look at a road map of Utah there are a lot of dirt roads and we have been on several but never for 40 miles and on some we have decided to turnaround because it was more than we or the Jeep wanted to do. But always the adventures we went for it. The drive was thru BLM land and they actually do a pretty good job of maintaining their roads. It had even been wetted that day to keep the dust down!! Although they maintain the road pretty well, their signs leave a lot to be desired.

We had seen no reference to the Wedge or the Little Grand Canyon since we first turned off the interstate and had been traveling for 30 + miles. The map (general road map) made it look like our destination was not where we appeared to be heading. None the less and to make a long story short, we saw a lonely and very rare road sign that said “overlook” on a turnoff. The problem was that that road dead ended and which way exactly was the “overlook” and was it the one we were looking for??   Low and behold we had internet service out in the middle of nowhere and were able to find our destination and get home a shorter way than we had come!!

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This was truly a beautiful spot and we understand that it is expected to be one of the next National Parks. They have the road structure in place and a lot of rock art and other attractions to make a nice park, just need to increase the signs for directions.  Other sights on the journey.

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I do have one complaint I would like to register with the BLM. We hiked around the rim of this magnificent canyon for a while, and I did not have to get too close to an edge to see the sights. But when we came upon the “Little Grand Canyon” view point with the only informative signage, you had to go way out on a point to see the signs. I could imagine an excited child tripping on the uneven surface and plunging into the canyon. Luckily that did not happen, but I think the signage should have an easier access, just saying!!!

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Peace and Love!!

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef encompasses the Waterpocket fold a warp in the earth’s crust. This type of formation is also called a monocline, where part of the earth’s crust up rises exposing the many layers beneath. Although this fold is over 65 million years old it is obvious that what was once a flat valley is now risen to an approximate 30 degree angle exposing layer upon layer of various rock formations. This particular monocline or up thrust is over 100 miles long!! It was probably formed as continental plates collided and broke forcing one to uplift and shift so that it lay on top of what it was originally connected to. I am sure that is crystal clear. Hopefully the pictures will demonstrate better.

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Notice how many different types of rock layers you can see in that last picture.

After the initial impact (65 million years ago) there has been much weathering and erosion causing washes, canyons, buttes and other beautiful formations. Most of these are from a hike down Capitol Gorge.

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Also, the canyon formed by the Sulphur Creek from Goosenecks Overlook. Named for the gooseneck in the river (creek) below.

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A special shout out to our most trustworthy traveling companion, Mr. Jeep.

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The most unexpected part of our journey was the drive from Hanksville into the park. The park was not accessible via automobile until 1962 when they build UT Hwy 24. The landscape changed around every curve and was magnificent. This part of the drive alone was worth the 2 hour one way trip to Capitol Reef.

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Peace and Love!!