Categories
Wyoming

Encampment, WY

Here are a few photos of downtown Saratoga:

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And the panoramic view on the way to our last campsite at Foote Access. The river is at that line of trees.

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We moved to Encampment yesterday. There’s a nice little town campground (8 sites). It’s not free, but has no set price; they take donations. Some sites have full hookups and all have electricity and water. There are flush toilets but no showers. That’s OK,  I had a good long soak in the hot springs a few days ago. There are some trees for shade and it’s right behind the library with a pretty good wifi signal!!  I’m SO happy to have access to the internet at my campsite! It doesn’t work inside the camper but still, way better than having to get in the car and drive 5 miles to town. There’s no Verizon service here either. In all my travels I’ve never had Verizon fail so miserably! I admit it, I’m an Internet Addict and am not at all interested in breaking the habit.  I’m the only camper here but I have seen a few people come by and use the dump station & fill up with water.

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While everyone else was staring up at the eclipse today, I went to the Encampment Museum. It wasn’t open but there are a bunch of old cabins to see. It was pretty interesting!

This is part of the transportation system for the copper they mined here back in the early 1900’s.

DSCN7281DSCN7287I don’t know WHAT these things were used for; they look like big water jugs to me!

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OLD SLEIGH
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ONE OF 16 SALOONS BACK IN THE DAY!
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OLD SCHOOLHOUSE. I feel sorry for the poor kid who had to sit so close to the stove!
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MILLINARY SHOP
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ENCAMPMENT’S FAMOUS TWO-STORY OUTHOUSE!!

Funny thing, I just spent over three weeks in nice wooded places where there should have been all kinds of animals, but all I saw were a few deer.  But I saw beautiful 6 and 8 pt. bucks right in the city of Saratoga, and since I’ve been here 2 blocks from the main road, I’ve seen elk, mule deer and pronghorns!! Go figure.

I did not see the eclipse. Frankly I don’t see what all the fuss is about, and I read that even if you used special glasses to watch it, if they were inferior free or cheap glasses that were not 100% UV protected, you could seriously damage your eyes. Since I didn’t have any glasses at all, I just didn’t look.  I wonder how many people will wake up tomorrow with blurry vision!

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Uncategorized Wyoming

Saratoga, WY

We have been at Saratoga, WY for the past few days. Nice little town; MUCH larger than Centennial! I was able to do laundry and stock up on groceries. The IGA grocery here cuts all their own meats and their pork chops are to die for….best I’ve ever had, I believe!  They even have Prime beef, which of course I can’t afford, but I bet it’s good.

We are camped at Foote Access on the N. Platte River. It’s a nice little Wyoming Fish & Game site with boat ramps and a few campsites, only about 5 miles from town.  You can camp free for up to five days.  (GPS Coordinates:  41.50886 -106.84110)

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I think it has rained all but two days in the past 2 weeks! Sometimes just a few drops but we’ve also had some real deluges. The day after I got here we had a big rain that made the camper a little island in a big pond! When I stepped out the door I was in ankle-deep water for a couple days. But the temps have been great; mid-70’s daytime and high 40’s, low 50’s at night so I don’t need to use the heater.  This is a grassland area but there are plenty of shady trees near the river. I can’t see the river from here but we are only about 50’ away, with a little path that goes down to the gravel beach and river.

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Yesterday I went to the Saratoga Hot Springs (also known as the Hobo Hot Springs). It’s free and open 24/7! With free showers too, but the showers have no doors so I certainly would not use them. The changing room is all open and the bathroom stalls didn’t have doors either…..not my kind of place. A little privacy, please!! I had checked it out the day before so I knew to come with my bathing suit already on. The springs were great! There are 3 pools. A Not-So-Not pool, the regular 106᷾༠ pool, and The Lobster Pot, a bone-melting 120 degrees! I went early in the morning and there were just a few locals there. I was told that the indians thought the hot springs could cure anything until the Smallpox epidemic, then they lost faith in it. They gave the springs to the white settlers, with the caveat that the springs always be open and free to everyone.  I guess this is one of the few instances where the white man kept his promises!

There are some mule deer that drink at the river in the early mornings, then pass through camp. I’ve tried to get photos with not much luck, though I did get one of a fawn the other day. Then yesterday when I went to the hot springs (without my camera) there were two magnificent 6- and 8-point bucks just casually munching the bushes at someone’s house in town!  Figures.

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I’ve had some problems with mice getting into my car again so I set a trap and caught one. I reset the trip and haven’t caught anything so maybe that was the only one. I hope so! My car is so crammed full of stuff, it would be really hard to find a nest, if there is one.

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Categories
Uncategorized Wyoming

Snowy Range – Centennial, WY 8/10/17

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Here are some photos of “downtown” Centennial, Population 270.

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It’s been a week of blustery cool and wet weather…..sometimes just a shower and sometimes off & on all day torrential rains. Almost every time it rains we also get some small hail, and when I went back to Mirror Lake (10,500’), it snowed for a little while! The mending I did on my skylight leaks worked!! But now there are two new leaks, one from the other end of the skylight and one from the vent fan. Ugh! I can’t do much about it until the roof is down.

Night temperatures have been as low as 36, and as high as 45. I actually like the colder temps because the heater is just right with the door window cracked about ½”.  If it’s over 40, then I have to open windows wider and/or the ceiling vent so it doesn’t get too warm.

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I mentioned last time that the neighbors had invited me to a fish fry. Oh my! There were 9 of us there and there had to have been at least 40 Cutthroat and Brook Trout! Everyone had at least 3 or 4, and there were some left over. The neighbors were three couples (one has since gone home), all farmers from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Big-time farmers…one told me he had over 2,000 acres! I find it hard to picture retired farmers gadding about the county in giant expensive 5th wheels and Class A motor homes. One of them tows the 5th wheel with a huge semi tractor, complete with tanks for fresh and blackwater so they don’t have to move the 5-er to dump or get fresh water…..what a good idea! Plus they tow a Jeep.  The other couple tow their 5th wheel with a big gnarly diesel Dodge Ram flatbed.  The Class A folks towed a small enclosed utility trailer that housed their 3-wheel motorcycle. I guess there must be some good money in farming!  They’ve been very nice to me and invited me for several meals but you know I’m so socially backward, I am not comfortable in big groups. So I mostly stay to myself, but I do feel safer with friendly neighbors here.

Yesterday Roxie and I drove to Saratoga to scope out the campsites on the N. Platte River. We’ll be moving there early next week. It’s a larger town than Centennial, with a real grocery store and laundromat, plus free hot springs and showers 24/7 at the “Hobo Hot Springs”. But just like here, zero Verizon signal, even in the heart of the town! This area must be a black hole for Verizon.  

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Today we have to go back to Laramie to pick up a new porta-potty that I ordered. My Thetford has some awful problem with the latch that holds the two sections together, and it doesn’t look fixable. Suffice to say that when the two sections don’t hold together tightly, ugly things happen. I don’t wanna talk about it.

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Categories
Uncategorized Wyoming

Snowy Range 8/1

I’m loving the daytime weather here (low 70’s) but I wouldn’t mind if it was a little bit warmer at night. We’ve had lows of 40 every night. Without heat, the camper stays ten degrees above the outside temp, and 50 degrees is OK but I certainly prefer warmer! Last night I broke down and got out the little Wave 3 heater….love that thing! So it was a nice cozy 65 all night, with windows generously cracked. I’m glad, I got it out,  as it went down to 39 last night!!  Crazy, huh? Hottest part of the summer and it’s that cold at night. I think I was mistaken about the elevation here though; I read that the national forest campground right up the road is at 9200’ so I’m guessing I’m pretty close to that here.

I seem to be still operating under Eastern Daylight Savings Time. I can hardly stay awake past 10:00 and I wake up at 6:00! (midnight and 8 am Eastern). And that’s fine with me; I’m sure my times will get adjust with time. This morning I leapt out of bed at 6:00 (Ok that’s a lie, I did get up but there was no leaping involved) and we were in the car by 6:30, on the road!  I know that the best light for photography is in the early morning and late afternoon, so I thought I’d try this early morning thing. We drove about 20 miles up the Snowy Range Scenic Byway. I intended to go all the way to Saratoga, about 60 miles, but it’s so beautiful I kept stopping to take photos and  by the time we’d gone the 20 miles, two hours had passed. I was starving and had to go back home for sourdough pancakes and bacon.  

This has GOT to be the one of the most beautiful places on earth. I had so many great photos, it was hard to decide what to leave out. (But I hate it when people post 30+ photos at a time; nobody wants to look at that many of anything!)

It seemed as though that early morning light was working against me. Every time I wanted to take a photo, I was facing into the sun!  The photos turned out OK though.  There are lots of little lakes along the way so of course I was checking for moose and other wildlife. I went 4 miles down a little tiny dirt road to Babson Lake which was a total waste of time; it was tiny and perfectly round, with really steep sides and only a tiny bit of water in the bottom.  It looked more like a round gravel pit. I decided not to take any more detours off the main road.  The next lake I came to I saw some ripples in the water so I parked and walked back a ways. I thought it was a lady moose! But now that I see the photos, I think it was a mule deer. I don’t think moose have ears that large.  I never could get a really good shot at it. I’ll pay attention next time I go past that place. Can you get a glimpse of it? It’s really tiny, down in the far right bottom corner.

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Here it is, much closer:

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On up the road is a big waterfall that flows into a pretty pond, with hiking trails all around and a wooden bridge across the narrow end of the pond. They had really interesting rocks as part of the steps down to the waterfall view. A little too big for collecting, I’m afraid, but I loved the different textures.  

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Near there was this really cute stone cottage…..I could live in this! I wonder what it was used for, there in the middle of the national forest?

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And then there’s Mirror Lake, very aptly named!

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I wonder why more people don’t know about the Snowy Range? It does not seem to be heavily visited at all. Maybe I should be keeping it a secret! 

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Medicine Bow Peak (12,000+ ft.)

The “neighbors” have invited me to a fish fry tonight! They went fishing yesterday and caught a bunch of cutthroat and rainbow trout….can’t wait!

 

Categories
Uncategorized Wyoming

Is This Heaven? No, it’s Wyoming.

IS THIS HEAVEN? No, it’s Wyoming.  But it IS heavenly! First we went to Lake Hattie Recreation Area, a free BLM area west of Laramie. It had a boat launch and very pretty lake but there was no shade at all, and it was a little too warm.  I think I saw white pelicans on the lake!! Seems very wrong to see pelicans in Wyoming….maybe that’s not what they are? Anyone know?   And check out those snowy peaks in the distance!

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I also got all excited because I saw a critter swimming….I thought it might be a beaver, or muskrat. Turned out to be an old Golden Retriever, swimming around chasing rocks that a girl was throwing. Later I saw the dog resting in the water while the girl sat on shore. So sweet!

 

I was fairly content to stay in one spot for awhile, after 6 days of hard driving! But this grassland area was not the Wyoming I came to see, so I packed up at headed for the Snowy Range Scenic Highway 130, which runs between Laramie and Saratoga.  I noticed along the way to Hwy. 130 that hardly any of the homes I passed had any trees. That’s the first thing I’d do if I had land there; plant some trees! And NONE of them had any flowers!  Haven’t they ever heard of Curb Appeal?!

Frankly the highway between Laramie and Centennial is not very scenic unless you really like grasslands and cows. Finally right before Centennial it starts to climb into the mountains and pretty pine forests appear. I headed into the Medicine Bow Nat. Forest and stopped at the ranger station to check on the Keystone Fire situation. I couldn’t figure out exactly where it is from here, but there’s no smoke here at all and I think it’s miles and miles away. We’ve been getting some pretty good rains so I hope that’s helped.

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We are about 5 miles west of Centennial, (Sand Lake Road) at a large clearing in the pines. There are 4 massive 5th wheels here, and little ol’ me. It is beautiful, and the elevation is around 8200’ so it’s nice and cool. It’s been in the low 70’s during the day and 40 at night. I think it’s time to dig out the heater….when it’s 40 out, it’s 50 inside and that’s a tad bit chilly for me. It just seems to wrong to be using heat in July, but I’m loving it! And it smells like Christmas here! There’s not much shade here either but I managed to wedge the camper in between two smallish trees, so I do have shade at least part of the day. Roxie LOVES it here and wants to be outside all the time. The only downside is that there’s no cell or wifi signal at all, which might make me crazy after a day or two. I will send this out when I go to town.

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I have to relearn high altitude cooking. This is about the same altitude as where I lived in Ecuador, and I remember now that just because something is boiling, it doesn’t mean it’s hot! Crazy, huh?

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