Category Archives: Trip WEST

How the West Was Done

Well, it’s finally October and it’s been about three weeks since we returned from our Big Western Adventure, so I just wanted to wrap it up with a few pictures. It was one helluva ride, and Brad and I would retrace it all if we could. (But we can’t because Colorado flooded and the government just shut down.)

All alone on the Poudre River down at The Narrows
All alone on the Poudre River down at The Narrows

This campsite will forever remain as one of our favorites because nobody else was there. We were only a few yards from the Cache La Poudre River and we watched a lightning storm that silhouetted the pine trees against the hill. But what we REALLY got a kick out of was how dark it got that night. Because of clouds and no moon, it was pitch black. We put a bandaid over the tiny light on the refridgerator just to test the darkness and it was so black inside our camper we couldn’t see each other across the table, or our hands held in front of our faces. Total sensory deprivation, except for the sound of the river running. For the first time in my life I felt the powerful blackness of being blind. It’s oppressive. Something I will never forget.

Grand TetonXX Camped two nights at Grand Teton National Park at Jackson Lake. Not that impressed with the campgrounds. Tiny sites, narrow road, no showers. On the way out though, ya gotta love the view. I did learn something interesting: the Tetons are the youngest range of the Rockies, which formed only 6 to 9 million years ago. This explains their sharp edges because they haven’t had time to be worn down like the Rocky Mountains that formed 80 to 55 million years ago. Apparently age does matter. I’m certainly more rounded than I was many years ago.

The Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
The Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

And now I know why it was called Yellowstone. Duh. Beautiful/stunning/eye-popping beauty. ‘Nuff said.

View & Lariat Motel

Just liked the old sign to the Lariat Motel in Hardin, MT.  Definitely recommend La Chalupa Mexican Restaurant in Hardin.  Call for directions because they are on Center Street, which isn’t what is posted online. (406) 665-1175

Tiny View biggerXXJust an idea of what we drove through in Montana. We started on Beartooth Hwy, but ended up doing this route. (I can’t remember the name.) It was a fabulous drive that required lots of concentration and down-shifting. That’s our little RV making its way along. Do you smell burning brakes?

Horse buttsXX

Well, time to mosey along. I couldn’t possibly cover everything and every place we did on this trip, but it was a dream vacation and incredible journey. (BTW, I hate the word “journey” because it is overused for every life experience now, but I can’t seem to come up with a better one.) Let’s just say it was the best acid-less trip Brad has ever been on.


All Roads Lead to Wall

While working our way home through South Dakota, we had to stop at Wall Drug Store. I had never heard of it, but apparently there are signs all over the world promoting the place. It was started during the depression and the one thing that got people stopping were billboards promoting free ice water, which it still offers to this day.

Free waterI’m sure when the roads weren’t paved and the dusty roadsters came in they were quite happy to get free ice water back in the day. Personally, free shots of Tito’s Vodka would be a bigger draw.

WALL drug bldgXXX

That being said, there were plenty of other attractions to make this stop worthwhile.

Rabbit kissXXSome billboards hawked their six-foot rabbit. (There happened to be more than one, but this one caught our eye first.)

Jackalope rideXXThey could put this on a billboard…”Ride our jackalope with a bigger ass than Amy Sherman’s!”  So proud.

But nothing could top their newest addition. I actually waited 12 agonizing minutes to capture this amazing show. Walgreen’s and CVS need to up their game for sure.

T Rex (click on that, but lower your volume)

This guy made us hungry so we finished up with some homemade donuts. Note: They do offer a free donut to vets, but without frosting. I guess risking your life doesn’t quite qualify you for the only reason to eat a donut. Here, have a tiny cup of free ice-water to choke down your frostingless donut. The frosted ones are worth the money though.


Wall donutsXX


Skinnie Winnie Minnie Rally

Okay, so there is a whole subculture of Winnebago View and Navion owners. Brad belonged to the Skinnie Winnie forum long before we bought ours and it has proven to be invaluable. Anytime we see or pass another View, we have to call it out and try to get their attention with a wave. It’s rather cult-like. Usually the ones we pass are newer models, but right after parking at Mt. Rushmore, another 2006 View pulled in to park right next to us. What were the odds? The excitement was palpable.  You. Have. No. Idea.

Twin ViewsXXWe spent the first half-hour talking about our Views and trading notes. Theirs was identical to ours except for being a different floor plan. (Ours in an H, theirs is a J for those who know what we’re talking about.) They currently live in Florida, but Steve had a Dixon, IL connection. After slobbering all over each other, we finally broke away to go see what we came there for. Rushmore would have to be pretty impressive to top this little love fest.

Steve Vicky Brad rushXX


It happened to be September 11th when we were there and besides the American Flags being at half mast, there were yellow ribbons around Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. Each state is represented in the columns leading up to the Monument.

NY columnXXVicky and Steve made the whole experience tons of fun. We reluctantly said goodbye to our new best friends and headed east.                      OH, BUT THERE’s MORE!

It just so happens we ran into each other on the road again, despite leaving at different times and making different stops. This could possibly be the first View drag race in the history of drag racing. Totally safe. I’m sure we didn’t even break the 75 mph speed limit.

Rear ViewXX

“Rear View”




“Laughing View”
Steve driving laughingXX

Grazing Grizzly

This guy was so popular a ranger had to control traffic and make sure everybody stayed on the far side of the road. This was right outside of Yellowstone Park, which reminded Brad of a man he met the last time we were in this area.Grizzly head up

The man and his family were enjoying Jenny Lake. His two-year-old was playing at the water’s edge. Unbeknownst to them, a black bear had been napping in the brush. He popped up, walked right next to the man’s little girl and continued on into the water. Heart attack with a happy ending. The man was still shaking when Brad talked to him.  If I had scripted that chance meeting, the kid would have been eaten, somebody would have been slapped, and I’d have a best-selling book out called “CLAWS.”

Jeepers Creepers

vintage jeep01THIS is the vehicle I would have stolen while on the lam from prison. Nobody would suspect a killer to be driving an old woody Jeep. This beauty made it up to the top stop in Rocky Mountain National Park.

And I’ll bet if this guy had one, his clean water holding-tank wouldn’t have leaked out the pressure-release-hole because he filled it to the brim right before driving up here, and the altitude made the water expand so much it had to escape. Live and learn. Note to self: Do not drink soda while slowly weaving up a mountain road to 11,796 feet above sea level.  I already leak enough without any added pressure.

Loveland Letdown

deadheadmural03This is the mural at ONE LOVE’S head shop in Loveland, where we found out the new Colorado marijuana laws do not take effect until the new year. The clerk told us some people were stupid enough to sell their homes and move to CO immediately. Color us premature, but rational. Anybody looking for a four-bedroom tudor-style home not too far from Chicago and all it has to offer? (Except that.)

Estes Park’s Spruce Lake RV campground

Dat'd be the butt, Bob.

                                                   What are you lookin’ at?

Unfortunately these guys have to graze elsewhere because Estes Park flooded a couple of weeks after we stayed there. This campground was right next to a branch of the Thompson River. It’s unimaginable what the flooding has done to Colorado. We were so lucky to be there when we were. I hope this herd got their flashy butts to higher ground.


Wild, Wild, West

escapee01We knew we were in the Wild, Wild, West when we saw THIS sign driving through Wyoming. The next digital message warned drivers not to pick up any hitchhikers. We could have used that tip before we offered some lonely guy in an orange jumpsuit  a ride and the use of our toilet. He said he just wanted to lay low for a while on our couch. I corrected him of course…”Actually, it’s ‘lie-low.’ Chickens lay eggs, people lie low.” He thanked me and said he should know better because he knows people lie all the time.

Seriously, for the next fifty miles Brad and I had our eyes peeled, hoping to see someone running through the sagebrush with choppers in hot pursuit. Personally, I would have tried to make it to a nearby housing division beyond all the open desert.  At least you could get into a home and steal a gun. Everyone in Wyoming has a minimum of one gun. Per drawer. THEN you could hitch a ride for sure.