Day 1 – 6/20/2012
Leaving Houston at 8:30am to get out of the heat seems to have been a pipe dream at best, after driving all day we have found our selves at Copper Breaks State park in Quanah, Texas where the heat is almost as bad as Houston, we arrived at about 6:30pm. The Grass Hoppers are so large it is easy to see why the birds are so fat! I am thinking I may have found fishing bait! Well if the lake and pond were not so low they would be, so for now rest easy grass hoppers, but next year you are BAIT! This park is nice it is in the flat lands so there is a nice breeze each camp area has a large Tee-Pee, there is not much shade as all the trees are small, bush like, and there is a fruiting peach tree that has several peaches that look about ripe Yummy!. We have our Two doggies with us, as always and we quickly found out that there are stickers and cactus all over even in the areas that are groomed so be careful!
Another thing to keep in mind if you are traveling with you pooches is that there are cotton tail rabbits running around so be sure to keep them on leashes or timeouts .. would not be good if they got rapped up in one of those cactus
Latter in the evening we set out to take our showers and get ready to turn in for the night, the sound of the wind whisking threw the trees was soothing, and the night sky was exploding with stars, just sitting under the tee-pee listening to the crickets and staring up and that enormous sky packed with bright shining stars sure makes you feel like you think about the possibility of other worlds, well it makes we think that anyway?
The weather gave way about 8:30pm although it was a little humid to have the windows open so we slept with the air conditioner tonight. Neasa slept with me on the top bunk and Lorcan with Craig on the bottom bunk as usual Make sure to bring mosquito repellent! They will drag you away kicking and screaming if you don’t !
Day Two 6/21/2012
Leaving Copper Breaks State Park headed to North Sterling State Park
Our day begins at 7:00am with walking the dogs Neasa and Lorcan, packing up the Sports mobile and heading into town to eat, we made good time yesterday traveling 480 miles. Today we are hopping to get to Sterling, Colorado to North Sterling State Park which is 580 miles from Copper Breaks. It will be another day of Pandora on the cell phone and typing on the computer about the trip. Our ultimate destination is Glacier National Park in Montana. I am hopping for fishing! Should have taken some grasshoppers captive from copper breaks!
8:15am – 8:50 We arrived in Childress, Texas and stopped at Dawson’s Family restaurant, I ordered the Belgian Waffle and a cup of coffee, the coffee was good but the Waffle had no flavor and seemed to be under cooked, Craig ordered and egg white omelet with bacon cheese and sausage, sliced tomatoes and rye toast, he reports it was good eaten. This is a small town diner with that small town hospitality atmosphere, over all it was ok.
It is now 3:50pm we have gained an hour as we are now in Colorado, there has been absolutely nothing to look at as it is all plains and man is it PLAIN! We have tried to play I-Spy to pass the time but after about 5 rounds there was nothing left to spy. Neasa and Lorcan are riding so well, Neasa kicked back in my lap and we both took a nap, Lorcan was sprawled out on the couch passing the occasional gas, he could choke a buzzard off a gut wagon. GPS has us arriving at North Sterling State Park at 6:30 but the long days of driving will be over until we head back home
Well 6:45 and we have arrived in North Sterling State Park, we are still in the plains so there is a nice dry breeze. The park is clean and well kept, however there are no trees around the camp sights and again the grass is full of stickers, Neasa refuses to step in the grass, I am still trying to figure out how we are going to get her to use the restroom before bed. As the sun sinks in the sky the tempter is lowering with it don’t think well be using the A/C tonight. The Grasshoppers have shrunk back to a normal size here, and I yet to see one mosquito! Woohoo!
9:15 We are getting ready to take our showers when we realize that the shower house is up toward the front of the park, they are not located in the camp area! WOW this is not good, so we would have to pack up everything, drive up to the shower house and come back and set up in the dark. COME ON COLORADO PARKS!!! So I guess showers will have to wait till morning ? We are headed to Custer state park located in Custer, South Dakota this will be about 260 miles from out current location. So until morning night night !
Day Three 6/22/2012
After a wonderful nights sleep in the cold breeze we woke up at 5;35am and the sun was up already, the sky is as clear and light blue, after a quick walk with Neasa and Lorcan where Neasa worked up the courage to do her jobs in the sticker infested grass everyone is ready for some breakfast and we will be back on the road for Custer, South Dakota.
9:25 am Well we are back on the road and have crossed into Nebraska, the cool weather and clear skies sure does make one want to move out here away from all the traffic and noise of Houston, but alas I would hate the long cold winters.
2:00pm We have arrived at Custer State Park and this is a must see beautiful park and NO STICKERS Neasa is so happy . The camp sights are a little small but you will want to spend your time at the lake for sure. The path around the lake is wonderful Neasa and Lorcan loved the hike and Lorcan loves to take quick swims to cool off. People around here seem to be very nice and the park is clean and well kept. The bathrooms have showers. This is far from the plains we were in with wonderful mountain terrain. We are camping by Sylvan Lake word to the wise if you are going to walk around the lake don’t wear flip flops there is a little climbing involved but worth it. We will be at this location for two days and I am ready for the break from the road\! Also if you are booking a trip to this park they only sell temp passes by the week even if you are only staying a night your park pass will be one week. It is only $15.00, however good information to have
It is about 6:30pm and we are both ready for bed, it has been a long drive and after our little stroll around the lake, there is thunder and lightning headed our way and you can feel the tempeture lower minuet my minute. After about twenty minuets no rain yet just a lot of thunder and lightning. I was able to take a quick shower and now it is off to bed with my cover steeling Neasa.
Day Four 6/23/2012
Another cold night of fighting for covers, Neasa is a small dog but man can she take up some room and steal the covers I about froze to death, we did not run the heater last night. It is about 2:45pm now we packed up and took a trip over to Mount Rushmore National Monument, it is about 15 miles from Sylvan lake park. I have seen pictures of Mount Rushmore all my life but seeing it in living color really makes you appreciate the work that went into this wonder, and to think when work started on it there was no a/c and tools were still primitive to our standard now, definitely worth the trip. We ate breakfast at the dinner at Mount Rushmore it was nothing to write home about but for the price 5.50 a plate came with biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and a choice of bacon or sausage. The Coffee was an extra $2.50 each and to tell you the truth the truck stop coffee is better. We headed into town (Hill City) to see about getting a couple bathing suites so we could go swimming with Neasa and Lorcan the one place we stopped was Granite Sports where a simple pair of nylon swimming shorts was $50.00 we took a pass on that, and decided to just wear the cloth shorts we had with us.. it was great Neasa starting paddling before she hit the water, and Lorcan just loves to swim. After a nice hike around the lake again we indulged in an ice cream cone and headed back up to the camp sight to take a nap as all of us are warn out.
After a quick bite to eat at the general store that again was nothing to write home about we headed to bed
Day 5 6/24/2012
We are now headed to Sundance Wyoming to see Devils Tower National Monument it is about 9:30 we were able to sleep in a little today however the sun was up at 4:30am we had a nice breakfast and walked the dogs around. We are starting with clean cloths as we washed then yesterday while we had lour burgers. The drive is so nice lots of hiss and pine trees I an so ready to move up here for the summer only, I hear the winters can be unforgiving.
It is now 6:45pm we have decided not to camp at the KOA at Devils tower as it was pretty much a parking lot in the middle of a desert, there were no trees and it would not have been any fun for Neasa and Lorcan. So we are heading to Theodor Roosevelt State Park they do not have showers or electricity at the sight so we will be staying at one of the local camp sights, this has turned into another long day on the road and we are still working toward Glacier National Park. We have not really seen a lot of wild life other than prairie dogs and that is about as exciting as seeing a squirrel. I am sure Neasa and Lorcan would love to chase a few of them down some holes.
Stay Tuned for more .....
Ok so here is more.. please excuse the typos and such, as well I am glad to hear that your 8 YO made it out ok.. that would freak me out !
Day 6 6/25/2012
I woke up to the sound of a woodpecker tapping on a cotton wood tree just outside the camper and Neasa cuddled up close to me as it was just a touch cool, the morning was so still and quite other than the robins and woodpeckers that again I am contemplating the move back to nature, now I just need to figure out how to talk Craig into it. We had breakfast and now we are off to Hell Canyon it is 200 miles from here and that will leave about 400 to Glacier so we will have to see where the road takes us today. Still trying to find a place to get the oil changed, seems in these little towns everyone does it them selves. We will see
Well it is 2:10pm and the heat is rising we are trying to outrun it to the next camping area but having little success so far, we think that Lorcan got bit by a horse fly as he just went crazy trying to get on the dash while we were driving 60 miles an hour. He is ok and we can not find any bite area so who knows he may just bestir crazy as we are all starting to get being cooped up on the long driving days
Well the camp ground we were headed to turned out not to be a camp ground at all but a hiking trail with no camping it was called Sluice Box, so we headed to another near by camping area that again turned out to be a hiking trail, it is nearing 8:00 now and after driving all day we are all getting a little cranky and ready for a hot meal cool shower and bed. I looked up camping areas on the GPS and found a KOA in Great Falls, MT, now as a rule we do not like the commercial camp grounds as they most often resemble a trailer park or just a parking lot. Not this time! We are so pleasantly surprised this KOA is by far the best nice large private bathrooms, yes you read correctly the Shower and flushing toilet are all in a private room that locks, there is a pool and hot tub as well as a small water park for kids to play in. They do offer free firewood. Each sight is like a little private piece of serenity, Neasa and Lorcan had a large area to play in on there leads. The little cotton tails were everywhere and very cute. After we had a wonderful nights sleep we decided to give there dining room a try. Breakfast was wonderful, but be warned ONE PANCAKE IS ENOUGH FOR A SMALL VILLAGE. All the Staff was very friendly. This by far exceeded our expectations so my rating is 5 stars out of a possible 5. I even took the time to email the manager and let them know that we LOVE it!
Day 7 6/26/2012
It is now about 9:15 we are packing up and planning on making it to Glacier today I am so excited after seeing pictures on the internet, OH the KOA mentioned above has great internet service too. So for now I will sign off so I can help pack up and head to “wonder land”.
About 2:00pm we made it to Glacier National Park it is beautiful! The drive was a long one and we are both ready to get out of the sports-mobile for awhile. Driving up to Saint Mary’s camp ground none of them seem to be very dog friendly the sights a very small and have little to no grassy areas for the dogs, and no power or water at the sight, and with the weather looking as it does (cold and rainey, with high winds) I decided to see if I could find a KOA, and I did about 2 miles from the park. As we were trying to set up and get level we tried several sights before we were able to get level as there are no pads down just grass for most of the sights that have only electric or just electric and water, but alas the one sight we found that we could get somewhat level on the power outlet is broken and we can not use it, After trying several sights we finally we were ready to move to a full hook up sight that had a pad, not just a grassy area to park on. The Staff at the KOA was great they could see that we were willing to try to make one of the other sights work so they did not charge us for moving to a full hookup sight! We ordered a pizza as they will deliver it to the sight it was OK .. the crust was not pizza crust, more like Bisquick, but we were hungry and that was quick and easy. So after all the sight swapping and getting set up eating and taking the doggies out for a min it is time for bed, we have a high wind warning out for tonight and it is already kicking up pretty hard and the rain comes and goes, MAN IS IT COLD !
Day 8 6/27/2012
What a night, the wind was so fierce that we had to lower the top and all four of us try to fit on the lower bunk, the doggies did not seem to mind it at all, however Craig and I were not getting any sleep as there was no room and no way to get comfortable, would seem that kicking the dogs off the bed would be the solution, but that was just not going to happen, they would have pitched a fit till they were able to get back on the bed. So I got up and took Lorcan and Neasa out at about 5:00am as the sun was already up, while I did that Craig was able to raise the top again because the wind has slowed, we got another couple hours of much needed sleep, I am still tired but well see if tonight I can get good rest. We headed out to the visitors center in the park to see what areas they recommended to view They recommended the Saint Mary’s wrought we took that yesterday when we were looking for a camp spot so we decided to head up to going to the sun highway up to gun sight pass, all I can say is WOW! It is so beautiful, the wind is still kicking and it is cold but when you are looking at the wonder around you that seems to melt away and you don’t even notice. Along the road we saw a cub he was brown and looked so cute and cuddly, but I am sure that momma bears was using him for bait LOL. No fishing as of now the Rivers are all raging as the rain passed threw yesterday. At the top of Gun Sight Pass there was snow on the ground so we let Neasa and Lorcan get out and play in it. Lorcan was having a blast! Jumping and thrashing his head about, several people stood and giggled at his goofy play. Neasa had found where the snow had melted a hole in the snow and all she wanted to do was see that could be in that hole, she just new there was a bagger in there LOL. The back to the KOA was just a wonderful. I was looking forward to getting on my Netflix account and watching a little TV with a warm cup of coco but alas there internet service here is horrible I can barley get my email..
7:45pm we had a nice dinner that Craig put together spaghetti with noodles and he fried up a little extra hamburger meet to put in it. The sun stays up till 10:30pm here o I am gong to play my game, take a hot shower, and get ready for bed. We are both still reeling from last nights little fiasco, but there is hope for a better night a large bus style camper is now occupying the sight in front of us so hopefully they will shield us from some of the wind tonight and Craig can stay on the top bunk with Neasa and I can sleep on the bottom bunk with Lorcan.
Day 9 6/28/2012
After a wonderful nights sleep we decided to head over to Fish Lake camp ground to see how that was looking it is located on the other side of the park, the drive is wonderful views that a picture will not quite capture and the smell of the fresh clean air is just wonderful, The snow capped mountains and rushing river make for a peaceful drive, about half way threw the park we encountered a small problem the drivers side break is locking up and has started to smoke, we are trying to ease it down the mountain as there is no cell service to call a two truck and even if there were cell service we would not know who to call. After about an hour of driving from pull out to pull out we decided that we needed to get some help. We raised the hood and within five minuets someone stopped, she was a slender girl dark hair she said that she was working with a conservation crew tracking ducks with a radio receiver and she had a radio and could call for help. She was not able to raise anyone on the radio so she drove down the mountain a little, while we were waiting a few more people stopped to assist us, then a ranger arrived he was a tall man, looked to be of native American decent, he was very helpful called a tow truck for us and let us know it would be about an hour. About an hour and a half latter a young man from American Towing arrived in a large four door dodge tow truck, he was not well built but tone, the first thing I noticed is that there was a huge rip in his jeans from above the knee to mid chin, always takes me back to the trailer park when I see that. He was very nice so we all loaded up in the tow truck Lorcan and Neasa rode in the back with Craig and I it was about 45 minuet drive and all together the brake freezing up was about 5 hours of the day. American Towing in Columbia Falls did a great job they were honest and worked as quick as they could the price was lower than expected and they had to replace the Disk Brake Caliber, we stopped at A&W for a hotdog and root beer float Neasa and Lorcan also got a plain hot dog that they enjoyed. The ones Craig and I had were very salty
9:00pm we are now at the park camping ground at Fish Lake, we took Neasa and Lorcan for a walk and I decided to take my shower, when you arrive you get one token per person that is good for five minuets in the shower, well I hope you do not like hot showers because this is lukewarm at best and the shower area is not heated, the windows are open, so you only think that you are frozen in the shower just wait till you step out into the COLD air … I do not think we will spend another night in the park we will be staying at a local commercial camp ground. They are not always the best but they do have electric and water as well your shower is not limited to a five minuet cold shower.
Day 10 6/29/2012
Well we found ourselves back at Great Falls to enjoy another two days this time but quickly found out that they are a firework friendly campground, Neasa and Lorcan are not happy about this the Fireworks lasted till right up to 11:00pm and then another 30 minuets for them to calm down and quit shaking, we decided that we would not be staying there another night, it would have been nice for the camp ground to let us know about this. I email the KOA management and have yet to get a response as I think it is a very hazardous practice as you have people camping in nylon tents and people drinking and shooting off explosives less then 50 feet from peoples tents, not to mention the effect that this has on peoples dogs. So Great Falls KOA is still a great place to stay just be sure you are willing to deal with the fireworks !!
Day 11 6/30/2012 Today we are in Missouri headwater state park, it is primitive camping and there are SNAKES I saw 4 of them crossing the river they were rattle snakes so I was a little over protective of the dogs but they did not get bitten ! We had steak for dinner and Neasa and Lorcan got one too they were very happy dogs, I did a little fishing with no luck as the wather is very warm and fast moving.
Day 12 7/01/2012 We are headed into Livingston MO to the Yellowstone river, there is a KOA right on the river so we are going to check it to see if it is worth it, I was glad to leave the other place I need a shower something bad and having ac or heat is nice too. Also need to charge my computer up so I can keep this log going LOL .. OK well we made it to the KOA and the river access was not so good was more like boat ramps and the river was moving very fast, there were a lot of rabbits for the kids to bark at and the campers to the rear of us just loved the dogs, they seemed to be a nice couple.
Day 13 7/2/2012 Ok well today we started the day off with showers and a dog walk we are headed to Little Big Horn battle field, where Custer was killed for ****ing with the Indians, there were markers everywhere and even a few Indian markers which Craig found odd as he read that the bodies of Custer’s men were found several days latter and the Indians had already removed all there dead. It seemed a little morbid, however the battle was 1876 so about 136 years ago now that does help to distance ourselves from the carnage that took place. There were two monuments there one for Custer’s men and one for Lakota Indians (which are a division of the Sioux) and the Cheyenne as they were aprt of the battle, there was a nice cell phone audio tour however it was a little hard to hear what the people were saying but still very informative., we arriver at KOA in Sheridan WY it was nothing special, no breakfast at this one, however the grounds were nice and the pool looked refreshing, sure wish I would have bought some trunks (sad face) we Are at a little dinner called Country Kitchen it was like a Kettle but the food was better. While we were eating an Indian man or maybe Pakistani man came in to order he was obviously new to our country or had just yet to learn enough English to communicate, the young girl that was trying to take his order was pointing out pictures of items on the menu and he would simply say yes or no, as she walked by our take she mentioned that her manager would not let her offer him fried chicken. Craig and I looked at one another trying to connect the dots, come to find out she thought he was African American, as we left the restraint I tried to explain that he was Indian she thought I was talking about native American I had to further explain that India and Pakistan also have people that are called Indian but not like Native American Indian, I don’t thing that she understood at all so we left. After another hot shower we are off to bed I got Lorcan again tonight
Day 14 7/3/2012 Well we are up and going to try to get out of Sheridan before the 101 temperature today Craig has a little place in mind that he would lake to stay in the bighorn mountains again there are no showers and no electricity but it is nice and cool up there and even some snow in some places on the ground. OK we made it to bald Mountain Campground and wow it is beautiful, we took the kids out for a little off leash adventure up one of the slopes of bald mountain and in one of the draws there was a large patch of snow still on the ground, Neasa and Lorcan both had a blast, while I was gasping for air as it was about up there mostly uphill all the way and there and we are at 9277 feet above sea level, did not seem to slow Neasa and Lorcan at all they had a BLAST playing in the snow and running up and down the hills, there are several holes in the ground some kind of ground varmint and Neasa was running from hole to hole to see if anyone was home. I am starting to feel the effects of the sun and need to start wearing sun screen but I hate to when there is no shower, just can not sleep feeling sticky and oily from sunscreen. I am also starting to really miss my comfy Queen sized memory foam mattress, and Neasa told me she was too.
There are still 5 more days of the trip to come, and if I ever figdure out how to post the pictures I will do that as well !