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Uncategorized Wyoming

Clean!

We had another really pretty sunrise this morning, not that I ever want to be awake early enough to see them!

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This morning I drove 50 miles to Saratoga to visit the Hobo Hot Springs! There are two cement ponds with sand & slimy rock bottoms. One is the regular hot pool @ 106º and the other is the “Not-So-Hot” pool @ 100 º. Then there’s part of the regular pool that’s rocked off and it’s the “Lobster Pot” pool at a scalding 119º! I just use the regular pool. There are also hot pools in the Platte River, a few yards away but someone said the rocks there are really slippery.

Their changing rooms are kind of awful for anyone who’s modest, and I am the MOST modest person ever! They have hot showers but they’re just on the wall in the changing room, they don’t even have enclosures. The toilets don’t have doors either. After I soaked for about 30 minutes I was ready to go and there was a woman in the changing room with a 3 year old boy so I didn’t even change out of my swimsuit. I’d hate for the poor kid to be traumatized for life at the sight of my decrepit old body! Nobody needs THAT burned into their retinas. So I just left and put a towel down on the car seat, and drove about 5 miles to a river access area that has a vault toilet, and I changed in there.Feels so good to be clean….I came out of there all pink like a big fat newborn baby! I think it’s been about 8 months since I had a real shower.

The pools are open 24/7/365, and they’re free! The backstory is that the indians thought the hot springs could cure anything, but when so many died in the smallpox epidemic, they decided they’d lost their power and they gave the pools to the white men, with the caveat that they always be available to whoever wanted to use them. And so they are! I think that may be the ONLY promise the white men kept!

On the way home I stopped at the IGA market in Saratoga, that has the best meat! They have Prime beef, and their pork chops are the best I’ve ever eaten. And not expensive…I bought 2 pork chops, 4 pieces of cube steak, a pound of their store-made breakfast sausage, and several plums and my total was only $11.  I would have loved one of their Prime T-bone steaks but they were $8+.

I also stopped at the ranger station and they told me I could stay here in the forest indefinitely, as long as I keep moving at least 3 miles away every 16 days! So maybe I’ll stay awhile longer. I have until Thursday to decide whether to stay here or head back to Leadville, CO.

Tomorrow I go back to Laramie to get two new tires installed. (I had to order them; nobody in town had my size last week!)

Here’s my campsite. This was taken about halfway to the road.  I have a nice little row of young pines to screen the camper from the road.

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Categories
Uncategorized Wyoming

Runaway!

We had the MOST traumatic experience the other day! The sky got dark and it started to thunder. Roxie was in her little exercise pen outside and she’s terrified of thunder, so I got her and put her in the camper while I went to close the car windows. Just as I opened the camper door again, there was another big thunder and she shot out the door like a rocket and started running up the track to the road! I’ve seen her do this before; she goes into a blind panic and pays no attention to me. I tried to run her down but she’s MUCH faster than I am (especially since I can really only trot, not run). I followed her up to the road to see which way she went, then “ran” back to get the car. I had to spend time getting it turned around and then I have to go very slow on the track because it’s really rocky. By the time I got to the road, she was out of sight but I kept going and pretty soon saw her trotting along. I drove past her a little bit and got out and said “You wanna go in the car?” She came to me then and I put her in the car and drove back. Phew! We both shook and panted for a long time. That much exertion at 10,000′ elevation is really exhausting, plus we were both terrified, if for different reasons. If she had gone off the road into the woods, I would never have found her!  That’s what I kept thinking as I was chasing her; “Well, that’s the last time I’ll ever see her”.

She has also been waking me up at night every two hours or so. OH it’s so hard to have to get up, get dressed, and take her out every two hours! (Though the stars here are amazing) I thought maybe she had a urinary tract infection except that she’s just fine during the day! She can go 5-6 hours in the daytime. So I don’t know; it’s a mystery. Last night she was almost back to normal; she woke me at 12:45 to go out but then was fine until I woke up at 6:45. Boy it’s nice to be able to sleep; hope her two-hour intervals are a thing of the past.

This was one of the sunrises I got to see, thanks to Roxie waking me at 5:15.

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This is a better photo of my long-range view from the campsite.  Some days are clearer than others.DSCN7873

Boy I’m just noticing that my poor arthritic fingers are pain-free! I attribute it to being a year in this nice dry climate. I even have stopped taking Cat’s Claw, which really did help a lot. I’ll put a link below for what I was taking; if you have arthritis, it might be worth a try.

Sometimes I just leave the camper door open since there aren’t many bugs here, and almost every time I do, I get a tiny visitor….a Roufous Hummingbird comes buzzing in, makes a few laps around the inside of the camper, then buzzes back out! I’ve never seen a  brown hummingbird before. Here’s a picture (from the internet)

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We got a good rain the other day and I have a new leak. Water was dripping out from the light fixture in the roof! Yikes, that doesn’t seem safe, though I think shocks from 12V are not nearly as bad as shocks from 110V. Still….I just can’t figure out where the leaks are coming from.

There are some really nice rocks around here; lots of quartz. I’m tempted to start collecting again, though the ones I REALLY like are the huge ones.

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Uncategorized Wyoming

Snowy Range, WY (still)

I’m still camped near Centennial, WY. I had to move at least 3 miles away so I can stay an additional 16 days. I found a nice spot up one of the side roads, and it’s higher in elevation (9780′!) so it’s cooler. It’s right on the edge of an escarpment and I can see forever! Well…..I can see teeny tiny cars on I-80, and that’s around 30 miles away! So far there’s been a nice breeze that keeps everything nice and cool. I really like it here! 

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Long-range views over the escarpment

A few days ago I drove all over the forest looking for a new campsite. I thought I found a good one with a nice tree for afternoon shade (rare around here, even though it’s a forest). I backed in close to the tree but when I got out of the car, I was instantly covered in mosquitoes. So much for that good campsite; I hate mosquitoes.  Hardly any at this new site I found! 

Last week I drove up the Snowy Range Scenic Byway for the first time this year. It’s such a beautiful drive…27 miles from start to finish. It goes over a 12,500’ mountain pass and through forests, lakes, and meadows full of wildflowers. Still plenty of snow in the heights! 

I saw a mama and baby moose!! The baby was having a ball tearing around the meadow while mama just stood and watched. I got a couple photos that are kind of blurry, since they were so far away, I had to use both optical and digital zoom settings. I try not to post bad photos but hey, like I’ve said before, they’re MOOSE and blurry photos are OK!  Same goes for bear photos, though I’m glad I haven’t seen any here. I know they are around, because all of the trash containers are have bear-proof tops.

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There are wildflowers everywhere here! I guess it’s the best time for them. So pretty…all different colors, like someone took a handful of mixed seeds and cast them out.

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I need identification on these last two flower photos please!!DSCN7870DSCN7841

We’ve been getting afternoon thundershowers almost every day. Sometimes it’s just a few drops but there have been several hailstorms, which really make me nervous for my 14 year old plastic skylights, but so far, so good; no new leaks. The ones I hate are the “100 drop rains”….it rains just long enough for me to get everything closed up and put away, then stops.

I’ve been studying on which direction to head towards home in September. I was thinking of going over into Utah and down through Moab, but I think instead I’ll save my gas money and just go back pretty much the way I came, but dip down into Northern New Mexico. There are some high elevation campsites that sound interesting, and then I can hop onto I-40 and be home in a jiffy, once the hot weather breaks. I’m hoping for sooner rather than later…..I’m already tired of having to move around all the time and I’m itching to get back to work on my tiny house. Well really I don’t want to do the work, I just want it to magically build itself so I can move in. Hah. It’ll be mid-September at the earliest though. I have to find nice cool places to camp for another two months! 

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Outdoor Birdbath

 

 

 

 

 

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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