Campground Review – Encampment WY City Park Campground

Free campsites.net told us this was a low cost city park with no frills and it was correct. We really appreciate the city having this RV park for the weary travelers on their way south from Montana.

When we were there (mid-October) the water was shut off and the restrooms were closed, but that was ok as we always carry ample water to get us by for at least a couple days “just in case”.

The sites are sand/grass and mostly level. There are 8 sites total, some with full hook-up and some with electric only. There were only 3 picnic tables for 8 sites when we were there.

The Senior Center and the Thrift Store are both right there within a hundred feet however we didn’t go into either. The library is about 300 feet away and has free wifi we were able to connect to so that we could watch TV at night and be able to check email, etc.

There is NOTHING to do or see in town. Oh … I take that back – there is a museum that I think would be cool to see but it was closed on the Friday we were there and is always closed on weekends. Here’s a link to the GEM (Grand Encampment Museum) filled with artifacts representing the timber, mining, and agricultural history of the Encampment valley.

Otherwise if you want gas or bread or a gallon of milk you have to drive to the next town, but not to worry it’s only a mile down the road and it has two restaurants, a charming grocery/hardware/video store, and car repair shop.

You might refer to this park as “rough” but the four of us were fine with it. It was quiet, the few folks we met were friendly, we were allowed to connect to the wifi, and the lack of available water hook-up was not an inconvenience for us. Each site identification post had a locked donation box on it and the police came by the park a couple times each day waived hello while we were there just to make sure everything was o.k.

We enjoyed our quiet stay there. Next time we are in the area we will have to make sure the Grand Encampment Museum is going to be open the day(s) we visit.

Thanks for riding along with us once again. We look forward to seeing you on down the road.

Herb and Kathy

Tourist Review – Dead Horse Point State Park – SE Utah

When we stayed a couple weeks at Angostura Recreation Area (Hot Springs SD) you’ll remember that we had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with our neighbors Clark & Anita.

Clark and Anita (and their Oliver Travel Trailer)

They told us that as we traveled south from South Dakota through Wyoming and Utah, we just HAD to stop (and camp if we could) at Dead Horse Point State Park just northwest of Moab, Utah.

He told us if we didn’t make it to any of the other popular parks in that area of Utah (Arches, Canyonlands, Canyon de Chelly, Grand Staircase Escalante, Capital Reef) we’d just HAVE to visit Dead Horse.

As it turned out, our travels back to Rover’s Roost at Casa Grande Arizona found us traveling west along southern Wyoming and the east side of Utah and traveling down U.S. 191 instead of using the interstate highway system – and we’re so glad we did!

This way we stayed out of Colorado and the I-25 / I-70 yet we still got to see a LOT of beautiful scenery and ecosystems as we traveled up and down the hills and valleys, sometimes as high as 9000 feet!

But the Creme de la creme – has been Dead Horse Point State Park. The Colorado River runs through the park. The main (only) paved road through the park is Utah State Route 313 and it’s one way in and the same one way out. The $20 (non-resident) entrance fee is per vehicle so we parked our rigs in a gravel parking area just outside the park entrance and then we climbed into David and Susan’s car to visit the park.

As we all realize, photographs just never represent fully the depth and beauty of the subject. But I just had to share some with you here.

If you click on any of the thumbnails below, a larger picture will open. If you have a slower internet connection it might take a second (or a few) to sharpen up the image. Just be patient and you should be able to see and appreciate the beauty in the detail.

Here’s a short (1-1/2 minutes) video of some of the beauty we took in.

And a special thanks to Clark and Anita for putting us on to this gem. Next time we are going to be in the area, we’ll need to make campground reservations ahead of time!

Thanks once again for riding along on the journey of our lifetimes. It’s been five years now that we’ve traveled full-time and worked (volunteered) part-time along the way and it’s still fun – how about that!

Until we meet again, take care of yourselves and each other. You’re all you’ve got. Be good. And stay safe in this crazy world of ours.

Herb and Kathy

Tourist Review – Harvest Host Stay@Pine Bluffs Distilling, Pine Bluffs, WY

We found Pine Bluffs Distilling on the Harvest Hosts web site and procured our reservation.

Normally HH stays are one night only, but we were going to be coming through Pine Bluffs Wyoming on Monday and that is the one day of the week they are closed. We asked if we could stay both Monday and Tuesday and they replied “Absolutely, c’mon ahead”.

We pulled in late Monday afternoon, enjoyed an early evening dinner “on the veranda” with David and Susan, and let the hum of the fast moving every-thrity-minutes trains lull us to sleep.

On Tuesday – after our trip into Cheyenne to visit Messenger’s Old West Museum, we came back to the distillery to enjoy some product samples and take a tour of the operation.

KeeLee our Mixologist/Bartender was fantastic. She is so talented and loves to share her knowledge with the customers. Their whiskeys are all made from grain that’s grown ONLY on local farms by local farmers – they are truly a Farm to Table operation. They have seven different whiskeys and one vodka and they use; wheat, rye, barley, oat, (and I can’t remember the fifth grain!). Click this link to see all seven beautiful bottles.

KeeLee gave us all samples of their different whiskeys as she explained the differences and what we would notice about them and then took our orders. Kathy and I both had cocktails and we have to say they were “the best we’ve ever had” although if you know us at all you know we are not big drinkers. But indeed they were good!

Then Aaron took us on a tour of the operation and explained how everything worked.

They’ve been in business about 3 years. The owner (Chad) was a conservation officer in Nevada, newly married and ready to start a family. He knew that he didn’t want to stay in that career line. He moved to Wyoming to work with his cousin farming the land.

Although he had no experience as a distiller or brewmaster, he knew what he wanted to do. He did his research, developed agreements with local farmers for the grain as well as suppliers of other needed materials and equipment, developed a business and marketing plan, procured a few investors, bought the land, had the building built and started production. It was about a $3 million dollar investment.

We said goodnight to our hosts and retired to our rigs for the evening. Even though there is a Union Pacific train going through town every 30 minutes, (seriously!) we still managed to have a great night.

Thanks again for riding along. Stay safe and be good to yourselves and each other.

Herb and Kathy

Campground Review – Cabela’s Sidney Nebraska

After spending two wonderful cool fall days and nights at Historic Fort Robinson State Park we made our way down U.S. 385 to our next stop at Sidney Nebraska.

This location is the World Headquarters for Cabela’s and has two very large multi-story office buildings behind the store, loads of customer parking out front and lots of free truck and RV parking along with free dump station and fresh water fill for the RV’ers. Thank you Cabela’s!

This Cabela’s also has a full hook-up campground (for a fee of course) but if you can get by with out needing hook-ups and you can sleep to the constant hum of diesel truck engines and their refrigerator trailers running all night … well then – free is good!

We arrived mid-afternoon, the four of us grocery shopped across the street at Walmart, ate dinner at a nice little Mexican joint just down the street, and then settled in for the night. We really were not bothered by the trucks and we have ample fresh water/waste water capacity along with plenty of solar and batteries to run the TV in the evening and the furnace in the morning to take off the chill.

We did just fine, but it is fall and the temp got down to 49 degrees last night so all our windows were closed and the hum of the motors was dampened somewhat. If it was summer, the noise might be too loud.

As always, you can click on any of the thumbnails below to see a larger image

In the morning we went on into Cabela’s and did a little shopping (mostly looking). They have SO MUCH STUFF! It’s fun to look at all their offerings from knives, to tents, clothing, shoes/boots, camping supplies, guns, and more. It’s always great to look at their wild game displays too.

After Cabela’s we decided it was time for a late breakfast and Kathy found this great little place that serves breakfast until 10am, then closes until they open for dinner at 5pm. It’s family owned and operated by the same family since the beginning. We enjoyed great atmosphere, super service and outstandingly tasty food!

Campground Review – Historic Fort Robinson State Park, Crawford Nebraska

Fort Robinson State Park and it’s two main campgrounds Soldier Creek and Red Cloud are located just west of the small town of Crawford, Nebraska on U.S. 20 and west of U.S. 385 in the extreme northwest corner of Nebraska.

The interactive map below shows everywhere we’ve camped overnight since we’ve been on the road. See if you can zero in on Fort Robinson. You can zoom the map in and out and move it about. When you click your mouse (or finger on a tablet) on any red balloon, the name and location of the park will be highlighted. Let me know if you find Fort Robinson! (you can click on “Accept All Cookies” to get rid of that annoying text box that covers part of the map.)

When we stayed (early October) the full hook-up campground (31 sites) at Red Cloud was closed for the season but the Soldier Creek campground has 80 electric only sites, clean pit toilets, and a shower house. Water hydrants and dumpsters are located on the main loop and there’s a dump station at the entrance/exit to the campground.

It’s about a 50/50 split of those sites that are reservable on ReserveAmerica and those that are held for walk-up only. I thought we were lucky to get a reservation a few days earlier given that we needed to stay on Friday and Saturday night. When we arrived about 3p.m. the campground was pretty empty, but they were still rolling in well after dark. By Sunday morning, about 80% of the campground was once again empty. The crowds there on Friday night and Saturday were local folks just trying to enjoy an end of season campout with family and friends. It was entertaining to see all the little kids playing soccer, football, or riding their bikes all around the campground — Kids just being kids .. it was great.

Our site at Fort Robinson Soldier Creek Campground

Here are pictures of some of the landscape surrounding the fort. The road (U.S. Route 20) is called the “Bridges to Buttes Highway” and the tall buttes adjacent to the park are impressive.

We took a short drive north of the parade ground up toward the Wilderness Camp area and found a small fishing lake. This is on the park grounds, so access is included in your daily entrance fee.

These guys are awfully curious

Many buildings still stand today and are used by the park as guest quarters. These include the main multi-story brick barracks that serves as the main guest reception and registration building and also has guest rooms and a full service restaurant.

Other buildings on the grounds include officers quarters, horse stables, commanders quarters, the post headquarters building, the veterinary hospital, and more. Unfortunately most of the buildings and tours were not open to visitors since we were there after the summer season.

Walking around the perimeter of the parade ground and seeing all the buildings … one can almost see the men walking to their assigned duties of the day or in drill on the parade ground.

The following text is taken from the back of the campground site map that they gave us when we checked in at the office.

“Fort Robinson was built in 1874 as a temporary encampment during the Indian Wars and used by the U.S. Army to beyond World War II.

One of the most tragic events in the life of Fort Robinson .. the Cheyenne Outbreak, occurred where the Soldier Creek Campground now sits.

Indians were being rounded up by the U.S. Army and forcibly sent to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. A band of Northern Cheyenne escaped and fled across the plains of Kansas and Nebraska, pursued by thousands of soldiers.

Captured by troops from Fort Robinson, the 149 men, women, and children, wo had survived the ordeal, were imprisoned in a log barracks.

The barracks the Indians were imprisoned in (before the breakout)

Told they would have to return to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, their Chief Dull Knife said they would rather die here in their old hunting grounds.

The army attempted to starve them into submission, and on the bitter cold night of January 9, 1879, they tried to escape. With the few guns they had managed to hide, the braves opened fire on the guards.

As the women and children ran toward the White River, the men fought a running battle with the hastily awakened garrison. Many Cheyenne fell between the parade ground and the river, where the campground is located today. It was one of the last battles of the Indian War.”

You can learn more about the history of Fort Robinson by following this link.

All in all, it was a great place to camp. We couldn’t have asked for better weather … warm sunny dry days and cool evenings allowed us to leave the windows open and listen to the breeze rustle the leaves on the trees.

Everybody in the campground behaved themselves and the ability to walk the grounds was an added benefit. We only wish we were here before Labor Day so that we could take advantage of the open buildings and the tours.

Once again, thanks for riding along. We hope you’ll consider scrolling down the page here and leaving a comment.

Until we meet again, take care of each other.

Herb and Kathy

Tourist Review – Hot Springs SD

Our stay at Angostura gave us the opportunity to spend some time in Hot Springs visiting the local grocery store, the post office, one of the local barbers, the Pioneer Museum, the ACE hardware store, and at least three of the local restaurants more than once each during our stay.

We enjoyed visiting with the locals while we patronized their businesses and sought out opportunities to visit with other “travelers” along the way.

Fall River (also the name of the county) runs right down through downtown from north to south along the main drag. There are very few “new” buildings in town with most having been built in the early 1900’s and many including City Hall, the County Courthouse, the old Evans Hotel, the town school, the old hospital and a host of others were built in the late 1800’s.

These buildings are not only old, but beautiful as well for they are made of the brown-pink colored sandstone mined from one of the local quarries back in the day.

As always, click on any of the thumbnails below to see a larger picture.

Here below are some pictures of the inside of the former Hot Springs School (used until 1963). It is now the home of the Fall River Pioneer History Museum. It’s three stories of classrooms plus a fourth floor attic that they are currently working to rehab into an art studio and gallery for community use. This school is up on the hill overlooking the town and the students had to climb up a couple hundreds steps (I’m guessing) to make it to class.

And today we see Moms and Dads all over the country driving their kids down a hundred foot driveway to sit in temperature controlled comfort while waiting for a school bus to come and pick them up! Remember when our parents would say “Quit complaining, when I was your age we had to walk 5 miles uphill both ways to and from school!” We were led to believe that we had it lucky, but now these kids today got it lucky even more so!

There are a lot more buildings to marvel at in Hot Springs as well as some nice neighborhoods to drive through as well.

With regard to any of the springs in town, we did not take advantage of a visit personally. The Evans Plunge is the largest, oldest, and most popular boasting a 70′ x 200′ indoor hot mineral spring fed pool that is tempered by cool fresh water from the Fall River. Another newer spring and Spa called Moccasin Spring caters to those that desire spa type treatments in addition to their outdoor multi-level soaking pools.

The following paragraph is taken from https://hs-sd.org/history (history of Hot Springs web site)

The biggest development in baths was the Plunge, built by Fred Evans in 1891. The building was constructed of wood, iron, and glass, and covered a pool approximately seventy by two hundred feet. Various slides, diving boards, rafts, and other accessories were provided for the enjoyment of the guests. Evans Plunge is still operating at the same site. In 1893, our sandstone City Hall (still used today), and an impressive sandstone public school building (now the Fall River County Museum) were built. By the end of 1893 the population of Hot Springs was estimated at 3350, and the city had laid more than five miles of sidewalk and graded more than three miles of streets in the preceding three years.”

And what’s traveling across the country without experiencing the local “Mom’n Pop” diners and cafes? I mean “Ya Gotta Eat” right?

We ate breakfast or lunch at; Morning Sunshine Cafe, Upper Crust Diner, Winners Circle Bar and Casino (at the bowling alley), Taco John’s, and the (new) Chicago Street Cafe that’s inside WillieJax Antiques and Pawn Shop.

We enjoyed our stay at Angostura Recreation Area and our frequent visits into Hot Springs (only about 4 miles away) but it’s time to move on down the road and meet up with our friends David and Susan. We will be traveling tandem for about the next month as we make our way back to Arizona for the winter.

So long for now, thanks for riding along and please feel free to leave a comment down below. If you’re not already getting automatic email notification of our new posts, you can look over in the right margin (sidebar) and enter your email address. Then you’ll get a brief email anytime we post an update.

Be good, take care of each other and if you’re on the road … safe travels to you. See you next time.

Herb and Kathy

Campground Review – Angostura Lake Recreation Area SD

We knew that after Spearfish SD, we wanted to work our way down by Custer State Park. This was so we could meet up with our friends David and Sue once they finished their volunteer gig there on October 1st.

Our plan was to hook up with them and we’d mini-caravan together on our trip back to Rover’s Roost by November 1st. David and Sue are leaseholders there as well.

We had considered staying in Custer State Park, but we were reminded that during the time we would be there, the annual Buffalo Roundup would be taking place and the park would be mobbed with about 25,000 EXTRA visitors, all coming to see the excitement of the roundup.

If you’d like to see and learn more about the Buffalo Roundup, follow this link.

We really wanted to avoid the crowds and the noise of a busy state park, so we looked for another opportunity south of there since that’s the direction we’d all ultimately be heading.

I use a number of apps and web sites when looking for a place to camp. We have found that there are some nice city or county parks in little towns off the main interstates. We also like state parks and Army Corp of Engineers campgrounds as they are less “commercial” like RV parks and more like campgrounds were meant to be.

This time, I used allstays.com to search an area south of Rapid City somewhere between Rapid and the Nebraska state line. I found Angostura Lake (resevoir) Recreation Area.

We’re now completing 2 weeks here at the park and we’ll be here a couple more days, leaving for Nebraska on Friday.

The park has four campgrounds within it’s boundaries and we just lucked out that we were able to get one of the Camp Host sites with full hookups because it’s the end of the busy season and the hosts have left for the year. All of the other sites have electric only so you have to go to the dump station to empty your waste tanks and take on fresh water.

We’re in the Cheyenne Campground at the top of the hill overlooking the lake. I guess if it was mid-summer we might have preferred one of the other campgrounds down by the lake but then we’d be putting up with more crowded conditions too.

The fact that it’s fall and we are up and away from the lake has afforded us the luxury of having an otherwise vacant campground around us most days.

Here are some pictures of the Cheyenne Campground in Angostura Recreation Area

If we’re sitting outside and see someone walking by we’ll always wave and say hello and sometimes they’ll come on over for a short chat. Sometimes we’ll meet other campers as we take our daily walks and we’ll strike up a conversation. Sometimes the folks we meet and talk with are full-timers like us and often-times they are Weekend Warriors or on an extended vacation from their Sticks-N-Bricks home.

New friends Clark and Anita that camped next to us at Angostura for a few days (their great Oliver trailer in the background)

Today, we had something unusual and unexpected happen. It was about 8:30 am or so and Kathy and I were sitting here having our morning coffee and watching the news on TV. A knock on the door. Who would be knocking on our door?

As Kathy went to the door to open it she looked out the window and remarked “I know this lady”.

Kathy opened the door and the lady apologized for knocking so early, but explained that they were leaving the campground and heading to Cody Wyoming but she just HAD to come over and say hello before they left.

Turns out that the folks that pulled in to the site next to us last night were actually from Ohio. Not just Ohio, but the same county where we used to live. Further, she (Janet) used to do Kathy’s mother’s hair when Lois lived in the local nursing home!

Not only that, but Janet and Homer’s daughter (Staci) and her son (Sammy) were traveling with them and I had sold Staci her home in Cardington back when I was a Realtor in Morrow County. What a hoot!

Janet, grandson Sammy, daughter Staci, and Homer all from Cardington Ohio

We had a nice conversation (although short because they were anxious to get on the road) with them and wished them well on their trip over to Yellowstone and eventually down to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

As we’ve said before … this mobile lifestyle has afforded us the opportunity to see so many places and things that we would never see if we still had our Sticks-N-Bricks home. But far more meaningful to us has been all the people we’ve had the opportunity to meet along the way. Some of these folks are “passing through” like Janet and her family so our visits are short. But there are others who we get to spend more time with through our Workamping and volunteering gigs, so more meaningful relationships develop in those situations. We are so thankful to be able to be exposed to these situations and to meet so many wonderful people. Who knows how long this lifestyle will continue for us? But in the meantime, we’ll make the most of it.

Thanks again for riding along – we look forward to connecting with you again in our next post when I’ll share with you a little about the City of Hot Springs South Dakota.

Herb and Kathy