Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Unknown Territory

Snow on Barry's new truck. You can see us ahead.
We spent the first night of our trip along the top of the Continental Divide at Homestake, east of Butte.  Our campsite was a big parking lot used by dirt bikers, four-wheelers and boondockers. It served its purpose and we got a good night’s rest. We had high clouds and the temps were in the high forties; good sleeping temps.

The next morning we were on the road heading to meet Jill and Barry in Hardin, Montana. The closer we drove to our KOA camp, the colder the weather got. When we pulled into our spot the temps were in the mid-thirties and dropping.  Snowflakes were in the air as we sat in Jill and Berry’s trailer playing dice. It looked to be a cold night so we got everything tucked in and we went to bed.

Group hug at the tower.
When we woke up there was about an inch of snow on the ground and more falling. We had breakfast, packed up and met as a group to decide what we should do. Barry and I were OK with driving and the weather report said that things should change as we drove south, so we decided to give it a try, much to Linda’s protests. When we hit the road there was about four inches of snow on things, but the highway was not super bad and as we went the snow lessened and the road cleared. (It was horrible! – Linda)

We made our way into Wyoming through Sheridan, Buffalo, and Gillette, ending our day’s drive at another KOA at Devil’s Tower. It was cold and cloudy as we set up the rigs. Undaunted by the weather, we loaded into Barry’s new truck and drove into the park to sightsee. We marveled at America’s first national monument, took photos and did an impromptu two-mile hike. From many of the vistas, you could look over the valleys below and watch the snow showers in progress. It was a very interesting adventure and we had great hopes that tomorrow might bring a morning of sun, so we could get better pictures.
Snow coming in.

Back at the campground, I battled a few electrical problems. Our main surge protector was shutting down randomly. We unplugged and re-plugged into the 20 amp circuit hoping that would help.  During the night all went well, but it did shut down a couple times.  We were on propane for our heat due to the projected cold temperatures. This allowed less possibility of current fluctuation and that sort of solved the problems.

When we awoke it was 17 degrees out with the brightest sun that you could imagine. Linda went running and I took Kobi for a walk to take some pictures. It was amazing!

Ceremonial ribbons.
We packed up and I went down to the restroom to, well rest. When I was there I noticed the lights in the building were pulsing randomly. If this pulsing was happening through the power to our camper then the surge protector would definitely shut down. We paid quite a bit to get the best power protection we could find when we traveled to Mexico and this type of surge was exactly what we found down south. I figured it was their power system that caused our outages and as we went along on our trip that theory proved to be correct. We have had no problems since. I do not recommend anyone staying at the Devil’s Tower KOA, for this reason and a few other things that occurred.
We drove southeast into South Dakota through Spearfish, Deadwood, and Custer arriving at Bluebell Campground in Custer State Park. It was a beautiful drive through some very interesting country.

Snow on our hike around Devil's Tower.

Sun is out on Devil's Tower.
America's first national monument.

Buck and Doe.
Can you see the seven deer in the photo?
Linda went for a run in the morning freeze.
Big horn sheep!

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