A Crazy Month!

Brakes repaired and back on the road

I was finally able to get the brakes repaired and am now back on the road.  The caliper on the right front brake had seized causing all kinds of damage to my rotor.  I had to have that replaced as well as both front brakes replaced.  I then headed to Laramie, WY where I had to have my drug test performed for my Amazon stint this winter.

I spent one night outside of Laramie at the Curt Gowdy State Park.  It was nice but hard to get level and they charge $17 a night for no hook-ups.  If you have a boat it would be a great place to go.


I spent a couple of nights in Laramie at a KOA thanks to the advice of Steve.  It was nice but too expensive for my taste.  I would much prefer boondocking down a lonely country road.

I then headed back to Saratoga, WY to pick up my mail.  I was only going to stay there a couple of days before meeting my friends in Colorado, but wound up being there for a week.  This was when all the rain began and the major flooding in Colorado.  I didn’t want to even drive into any problems due to weather.  Besides I had an electric site for only $10 per day.  It rained and was overcast almost every day so I was glad to have the electricity.

Meeting friends in Salida, CO?

I was going to drive to Salida, CO where I was going to meet up with friends and then travel further south.  This is where the fun began.  I got to the 40/70 junction in Colorado and my brakes started getting REALLY mushy.  I had been going down a long grade behind a truck hauling timber.  There were many turns where you had to slow down to 20 mph.  Not very fun!

Then I noticed my brakes smelling and pulled over for about an hour to let them cool down.  Obviously it wasn’t enough time and it scared the crap out of me further down the road just past Empire, CO.  I located a Minton Park using my Ultimate Campgrounds app on my IPhone.  I unhooked and drove back there to check it out.  Fortunately Empire was only a mile from where I had pulled over.

The park sign said you needed permission to camp there, but no one was around.  I then drove past their Police Station so decided to check with them.  They gave me permission so I figured that was good enough.

I then used the Allstays Camp and RV app on my IPhone to check the grades of the roads leading out of Empire.  I did not want to go west as I originally planned since there were several long grades so I decided I would go east to Denver and have my brakes checked there.  But after looking at the map I determined that was not the best idea either since there were two truck runaways at the bottom of 70.

I still didn’t feel comfortable driving so I contacted Coach Net and had them tow my rig to a Ford dealer in Denver.  When I got there in my Sami the dealer told me they could not work on my rig because of the length.  Doesn’t this sound familiar?

I test drove it around a bit and didn’t notice a problem with the brakes so I hooked up the Sami and decided to head on down to Abiquiu Lake to meet up with many friends who were camping there.  I knew I25 was flat with no major grades and the brakes were performing as they should.

To make a long story short I believe getting new brakes and immediately heading into the mountains with major downhill grades is not the thing to do.  They heated up on me and I was very lucky nothing major happened.

Made it to Abiquiu

I drove the 448 miles to Abiquiu Lake, NM without any problems.  There are many of us parked here for a week prior to moving on to the Albuquerque, NM Balloon Fiesta starting at the end of the month.

Got my hands slapped big time!

I was also notified by my Internet provider that I have exceeded their monthly limit big time.  While still in Wyoming while boondocking on the Wild Horse Canyon road I may have mentioned that I was about a mile from the towers.  I had great 4G reception and nobody to talk to way out in nowhere land.  So what do I do.  Watch free movies from my Amazon Prime account and several Angels baseball games as well.

Well that caught up with me and they cut off my usage until the beginning of next month.  That is why I have not blogged since 9/5.  Jeannie of On the Road with Riley fame is parked next to me and was very gracious in allowing me to use her Internet connection to make this post.  Thanks Jeannie!!!

Crazy month for me

Yes it has been a crazy month and glad everything has settled down.  Now I am doing what I enjoy.  Camping in a beautiful spot with great friends.

This was a sunset pic taken the other night.  As always the sunsets in NM are spectacular.


Thanks all for being so patient.

Old Wrecked Car and Wildfire

Truck parts came in

I got a call from Jacks Truck and Equipment that the parts they ordered had arrived.  I am scheduled to go in early tomorrow.  I can’t wait to get back on the road.

I am still planning on going East to Saratoga, WY,  but I will also have to go a bit further East to Laramie, WY to take the drug screening test for working at Amazon this winter.  That was the closest town to my present location.  So after repairs I will head to Saratoga, WY and pick up my mail and then on to Laramie, WY for the drug screening test.  

Today I decided to learn more about the camera in my IPhone and what it is capable of doing.  I learned how to turn off the flash, zoom in or out, take a video, etc. etc.  I took the following panoramic of the area I am presently in.  It is not quite as good as my Nikon D5100, but it is still fairly good. 

Panorama taken with IPhone of area I am presently in

Panorama taken with IPhone of area I am presently in

I had also took this pic last week but am just now showing it.  Just over the edge of the plateau where I am camped is this car that looks like it has been there for some time.  I am surprised it did not go all the way down the hill.  That would have been quite a ride.


It was quite a ways down the plateau and I really didn’t want to climb down there, but what if there was bones or a body in it?  I grabbed the camera and headed down to see what mystery was down there.

The car had no engine, hood, seats or anything else that goes inside a car.  Also no tires and that is probably what kept it from rolling all the way down.  It looks like someone just came out here and shoved it off the plateau.  There were also a million bullet holes in it. 





Great WiFi

Ever since I got here I have had great 4G cell service and WiFi.  I am about 1/2 mile from the nearest tower.  I don’t even have to use my Sleek booster.  You can barely seen the tower in the center.


Wildfire in the distance

I have been watching the smoke from this fire ever since I got here.  It is northwest towards the Pinedale where I came from.  There were two separate fires but hopefully they got one of them out.  A few minutes ago it had black smoke billowing upward.  It may have burned a car or something.


Not too much else to tell you.  Hopefully tomorrow will go OK and I will be back on the road.





Chica takes a walk

Chica takes me for a walk

I have been on the lookout for raptors or any large birds.  I have seen a raven once and a couple of grouse but that is it.  I would expect to see more hawks in this area, but apparently they are elsewhere.  I did this so that Chica could go off her leash and run.  She loves to run and hike.  Most of the time she will stay right at my side, but there are occasions when she will want to run ahead.

Let's hit the trail

Let’s hit the trail


What's taking you so long Dad?

What’s taking you so long Dad?



Heading for home

Heading for home

Huge thunder cloud

Shortly after we got home I started seeing a huge thundercloud off in the distance.  Soon it was almost overhead and coming our way.



Then there was rain and a lot of it.  That cloud just emptied on us.


It didn’t last too long, but it sure soaked everything including the road we had just walked down.


Then it stopped as fast as it started.


Another beautiful sunset

Then we had another beautiful sunset.


Life is good!

No traveling for this guy

Thanks Ford for the great service?

I packed everything up and left my campground and headed to Rock Springs to have my rig serviced.  I also wanted them to check my brakes and a few other things as well.  I went to a lube shop and they couldn’t do it.  So then I headed to the local Ford dealer where I figured they could surely do it.  NOPE!  They said the rig was too big and they didn’t have the proper equipment to work on it.

There is only one Ford dealer I have ever taken my rig to that really knows what they are doing.  Unfortunately they are located in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA and a bit of a drive from here.  Some of you might remember an instance I had with the Dallas Ford Dealer some time ago when I needed a fuel pump and they had no idea where to get it.

This is a friggen Ford truck for crying out loud!  There are a million of them on the road.  Anyway they gave me the name of an RV service guy who they said could do the work I was asking about.  OK, I will go to him.  Drove all over hell finding him and when I got there he said he couldn’t do the work as well.  He gave me the name of a heavy equipment repair outfit and I went to him.

By this time most of the day had been used up and he could do it but not today.  So I headed on up to the same spot I was in when I started the day and parked for the weekend.  I wasn’t really excited about traveling on Labor Day weekend anyway so I guess it worked out OK.


At least I will be saving some money as I don’t have to pay for either campgrounds or gasoline.

Great sunset views

I did happen to get some great sunset pics.





Chica loves to run

The next day I let Chica off her leash to just run.  I know she would rather run on a nice green lawn but this will have to do.  Before I let her out without a leash I made sure their were no big raptors around to grab her.  I have seen only a few very small birds one morning and the horses and that is all the wildlife around here.



And she always runs home!


Exciting Day!!!

Today started out as normal.  There were many cars and ATV’s driving on the road.  Then I looked up an saw the Sheriff drive past with all their lights blaring.  Then it was the Fire Department.



Then I saw a couple of ambulances.  Finally everyone returned and then I saw a large wrecker go past.  A while later the wrecker returned with a damaged jeep.  The pics aren’t that great, but it shows the damage.



I am not sure what happened but apparently that jeep went someplace it shouldn’t.  Maybe he/she was drinking too much.  It just reminded me that even though I have a 4-wheeler I cannot go everywhere and you still have to be cautious.  Fortunately the police and fire services came out to this area to help them.

I have had high winds all day and now it is sprinkling.  One way to wash my rig and Sami.

Wild Horses on White Mountain

Picked up prescription at Walmart

I made it into Rock Springs and located the Walmart via my GPS where I picked up my prescription.  I also want to get my RV serviced as well, but the place was closed.  I didn’t want to spend the night in the Walmart parking lot as there were many big trucks and RV’s already parked there.

I checked my GPS and found a BLM area about 15 miles west of town.  I recently downloaded the complete list of campgrounds located throughout the US.  You can purchase and download the complete list for only $6.95 at Ultimate campgrounds.  I downloaded it and added it to my POI’s in my GPS.  Now it will show me everything in a given area.

It sure comes in handy while you are driving and need to know where a nearby campground is located and how to get to it.  I have also added the rest stops, Walmarts, and Diners and Drive-ins to my GPS as well.  I would highly recommend doing this as it makes it very convenient.

Anyway I decided to camp in the White Mountain BLM area so followed I80 west a few miles then took 53 north.  You are soon on a good gravel road that continues up and up.  I finally reached a plateau where I was nice and level so made it my home.


The next morning I got up and took a hike around the area.  I didn’t realize how high I had climbed but this next pic shows the railroad and I80 in the distance.  You can’t even see the cars.


The next pic was taken with my telephoto lens.


Here are a couple of pics showing the surrounding scenery.





Wild Horses

There are wild horses in the area and I was lucky to get these shots of them.  Most were taken with my telephoto lens.





Fantastic clouds and sunsets

In the afternoon the huge clouds would roll in.  A couple times I got big raindrops but never any measurable rain.




The sunsets were also spectacular.


I spent five days up here on the White Mountain BLM area and would have stayed longer had it not been for my running low on water and the grey tank almost full.

I saw many cars pass through and some even stopped near where I was parked to take pics of the scenery.  One family even had a flat tire on the road right in front of me and I helped them change the tire.  They were from Luxemburg, Germany and had already been through Yellowstone and the Tetons.

I will be leaving here to head back to Rock Springs to get my RV serviced and then head on over to Saratoga, WY where I have my mail being sent.

Mountain Man Museum – Pinedale, WY

Short drive down to Pinedale, WY

I finally decided that one night of dancing was enough for this guy so I headed out the next day to Pinedale, WY.  It was only 72 miles and a short drive was just what I needed.  My destination was Half Moon Lake Campground just north of town.  Their is also Fremont Lake campground, but it was closed for reconstruction.

The drive up to Half Moon Lake took me through a construction area where they are putting in a new road.  After that you drive on a very rough paved road for a couple of miles then a mile down a very narrow washboard gravel road to the campground.  At times I wondered if I would regret driving down to this campground.  Once I got there I had to locate a site.  There are only 18 sites in the campground and there is no water or electric.  I drove around twice and finally found a back-in spot.  I unhitched the Sami and got settled in.

Visit to the Mountain Man Museum

While camped in Pinedale, I decided to check out the Mountain Man Museum.  I was really glad I did.  The museum is dedicated to those brave mountain men who spent their lives trapping furs.  I hadn’t realized it until now that the mountain men really got their start because the rich men in the eastern portion of the country had to have hats bad of beaver pelts.  There was a huge demand for the beaver pelts thus the need for someone to supply them.

One of the most famous mountain men was Jim Bridger.  This is a pic of his rifle that was on display.


This is a display of all the various animals that the mountain men would confront.


They had a very interesting movie and explained how they trapped the beavers and other animals that they would trade for needed supplies.

Many of them made their homes in these teepees.


The cost of admission to the museum is $5 and $4 for seniors.  I would highly recommend visiting it.

After visiting the museum I drove past the campground and decided to take a drive through the Bridger Teton National Forest.  The paved road is narrow but good in most spots.  It just keeps going up and up.  I passed the White Pine Ski Area, but did not stop there.

I took these pics with my IPhone so they are not the greatest.  I pulled off the road and took this pic of Half Moon Lake where I am camping on the far right edge of the lake.


Took the road to Wind River Range

Further up the road I took this pic of Fremont Lake.


I finally stopped at the Wild River Range and took these pics.  It was really beautiful up there.






I believe the lake was still part of the Fremont Lake.

Then it was back to my home at Half Moon Lake.  The campground is very small with only 18 sites.  There were a couple of pull through sites but they were already occupied.  I was able to find a back-in site that was very narrow, but did give me some solar.  The campground is right on the lake and there was a beach where you could swim.  They also had a boat ramp and a lodge, but I didn’t get to either while I was there.

The main problem was getting there.  At first you are driving on a rough road although paved.  Then it turns into a gravel washboard road for about 2 miles.  Not the easiest access but it is doable if you want to camp on the lake.

I would suggest coming in here on a Thursday and you might be able to get a good spot.  There is also a lodge up the road where you can dine, but I am not one to eat out very often.

Now I am on my way to Rock Springs to pick up a prescription at Walmart and other supplies as well.



Dancing at the Cowboy Bar

Changed departure date

I had made plans to leave Gros Ventre on Wed 8/21.  But as any RV’er will attest to, plans are made in Jello.  Jane had just returned from a hike with Dave and Celeste and mentioned they had run into Shannon on the trail.  They invited me to go with them to Dornan’s to meet up with Shannon for dinner.  I couldn’t turn them down so went with them.

I had a good time at Dornan’s and the food was good as usual.  Then when we were leaving I mentioned to Shannon that I was going to be leaving the next morning and probably wouldn’t see her until the Amazon stint.  She mentioned that she wanted to invite me to go dancing with her and Tony and his wife Susan at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Let me reassure you – I am not a dancer by any means.  I can’t even remember the last time I went dancing.

But I couldn’t turn Shannon down since I never did get over to see her campground where she is hosting.  So I agreed and she told me to meet her at the Merry Piglets restaurant in town.  The Merry Piglets is a Mexican Grille.  It doesn’t sound like Mexican to me but it was good.

Then off to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.  My old ski partner years ago had told me about this place and said I had to go to it while I was in Jackson.  I couldn’t turn both Shannon and Randy (my ski partner) down.  Besides the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is world famous.

I found out once we got there that Thursday night is dance lessons night and if you get there before the crowds you don’t have to pay an admission fee.  Sounds good to me.  So after dinner we headed to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

Back in the saddle again

The bar stools are actual saddles that you sit on.  Very cool.  I got the following pics of us sitting in the saddles.



It was fun sitting at the bar, but then all four of us sat at a table near the dance floor.  Then the instructions started.  The first dance was the swing.  The instructors were very good dancers and very patient with all of us, especially the ones with two left feet like me.  We learned quite a few moves and surprised ourselves that we could actually dance although not the most fluent.

Then took a break for some adult refreshment and came back to the dance floor to learn the two step. Slow slow fast fast fast.  Holy cow what are they doing to me.  After practicing our newly learned steps they introduced the band.  They said that we could dance either the swing or the two step to any of the music they played.  That’s what they think!!!  HA!

Once the band starts all of the people who really know how to dance well hit the dance floor.  I felt like a real clod!  It was all I could do to not stay out of their way.  We didn’t do too badly though.  It was a lot of fun.

I would not have even gotten out on the dance floor for the lessons had it not been for the encouragement of Shannon and also the beers and wine I had before even attempting such a feat.

I will not bore you with any pics of us dancing as I don’t have any.  Thank God!  It was a very fun time and I even mentioned to Shannon that we must find a cowboy bar in Fernly, NV while we are working for Amazon to perfect our steps that we learned.  HA!

I had a good time even though it is against my better judgement to ever go dancing.  We said our goodbyes and down the road back to the campground.  I was really glad I went and didn’t feel too badly in the morning despite my wine and multiple beers.  I was all packed and ready to go so it was just a matter of hooking up the car.  Thanks Shannon for a GREAT time!


Floating down the Snake River

It took three cars!

After hiking we decided to take a kayak float down the Snake River.  Jane and Ron each had their own kayak and John and I were going in John’s kayak.  We were all getting in a the Dam at Jackson Lake.  The plan was for John and I to float down to Pacific Creek and get out there.  Jane and Ron who are more experienced kayakers would then continue on down to Deadman’s and exit the river there.

That’s where the confusion starts.  Jane and Ron drove their car with their kayaks down to the dam where they unloaded them.  Ron stayed there to watch the kayaks.  John and I both drove our cars to Dead Man’s.  Then Jane drove from the dam to Dead Man’s where she left her car.  She hopped in John’s car and I followed him to Pacific Creek where I left my car.  Then off in John’s car to the dam where we started our float.

Here we are at the dam.



All these pics were taken by Jane as she has a waterproof camera.  I didn’t want to take the chance of ruining mine.  I guess a waterproof camera is on my wish list when I get to Amazon this winter.

You hardly have to paddle at all since the current carries you downstream.  You don’t even realize how fast you are going until you look at the bank.  Very cool!


Spotted a bald eagle!

We were really fortunate to spot a bald eagle.  It caught a fish and took it back to it’s nest just next to the river.  Then it proceeded to feed it’s young.  We couldn’t see the babies but we could tell it was feeding them.  That was really an amazing experience.


This is a pic of John and I watching the bald eagle in it’s nest.


Ron brought his fishing pole with him and did some fishing while floating downstream.  He did catch a small fish but threw it back in.




We estimated we floated about 5 miles and then got out at Pacific Creek.  What a great time we had.  Jane and Ron floated further down to Dead Man’s which took another 2 hours.  It was a perfect day to float down this beautiful river.

On the way back to the campground we took the inner road through Grand Teton NP.  It had spectacular views of the mountains.


Hiking to Inspiration Point

Took the ferry across Jenny Lake

Jane suggested we hike up to Inspiration Point, so Jane, Linda, Tony and myself left early to head on over to Jenny Lake.  We hopped on the ferry there which took us to the trailhead.  It is a steep trail for the first .7 of a mile as it has an elevation gain of 417 feet.

We saw this waterfall going up the trail.



We stopped for a break before hitting the top where I took this pic of my hiking companions Jane, Linda and Tony.


No wildlife but lots of beautiful scenery

This next pic shows the trail we have come up thus far.  However we are still not at Inspiration Point.


In this next pic you can see the ferry landing at the boat dock.  We will end the trail at the same boat dock to go back across the lake.


Now we are on the Cascade Canyon trail that leads way back into a canyon between the beautiful mountains.



This is a pic of the trail.  It was mostly flat and not difficult at this point.


We ran across a large pond and were hopping to see some moose drinking.  There were a lot of people on the trail at different times and it must have scared all the wildlife away.  Luckily we did not come upon a bear, but we were all equipped with bear spray just in case.


Jane and Tony are much faster hikers so they decided to go ahead down the trail while Linda and I set our own pace.  We did run into several hikers with large backpacks that had spent the night way up on the mountain.  We could see many different waterfalls all along the trail.


There were also several pics of the creek that we followed.



This was a great experience.  Of course we had to hike back and down the same elevation gain that we came up.  It was almost more difficult climbing done then it was going up as there were many people making the climb up.  We then got on the ferry for the ride back across Jenny Lake.  Then Linda and I went to Dornans at Moose Junction for a much needed pitcher of water and a pizza and sandwich.  It turned out to be a great day.  We hiked 8.6 miles over hill and dale (HA!) and saw some great scenery.  Not too shabby for an old fart like me.



Slide Lake and beyond + Chica

Off to Slide Lake

A few of us decided to drive up to Slide Lake and do some kayaking.  The road to it starts about 2 miles past Kelly, WY.  The road gets rather rough the last couple of miles although it is paved.  Slide Lake is past the Gros Ventre Slide where there was a huge mountain slide.  It is very beautiful back there.  All the pics taken today seem rather dark but it was because we were getting the smoke from the Idaho fire.


When we got their the weather was very cold and the wind was blowing hard.  We all decided it would not be a good day to go out on the lake.  Here is a pic of John trying to stay warm and Linda discussing our plans.


This pic is of a beautiful farm located right on the lake.


Down the gravel road to further campgrounds

Everyone headed back to the campgrounds, but I wanted to drive on to see the next campground about 5 miles down a gravel road.  John wanted to go as well so we headed on down that road.  It was washboard road most of the way and very bumpy.  We made it to the campground, which was very small.  It would be great for tent camping and fishermen as it was right on the river.



Driving back we passed this beautiful rock formation.  This is the actual color of the rock although the sky was different because we were getting the smoke form the fire in Idaho for the first time.


There were several large farms located in these canyons with lots of horses and cattle.  We also passed a ranch that did trail rides through the area.




The river was really nice back there. 


Chica in the spotlight

Many of you have asked for more Chica pics and how she is adapting to Wyoming.  Chica is doing very well.  She likes to sit up in the window and watch all the doggies pass by during their walks through the campground.  She is not accustomed to that many dogs all the time.  She and I have been working on her barking each time a dog passes near our rig.  She is getting very good at not barking and of course she is rewarded with cookies for being such a good girl.



Here she is playing with her favorite toy ducky.  She loves her ducky and loves to make it squeak.


We had a “Happy Hour” and invited Shannon who works as a camp host at the Jenny Lake campground.  Chica was a bit wiggly so it turned out a bit blurry.


Life is Good!