Casper, WY to Belvidere, SD
Jul 28, 2010
|Left Casper ~7:25 AM (MT)- it is mostly overcast & cool, but feels like it will get pretty hot today. The campground wasn't too bad, just wanted something a little "friendlier" I guess. Grass is a good start!
Right next to the RV Park is the museum & re-created Fort Casper. It was still closed of course, but we walked around the grounds of the Fort & took a few photos & scared up a couple of rabbits. A lot of history here, Oregon Trail & Mormon Trail both went thru this area - on the banks of the N. Platte River. I am always in awe of what those early pioneers did - leaving their families & way of life for the great unknown. When I think of all that goes into preparing one of our trips, it is hard to believe that they just walked off - praying for the best.
We got gas in Casper: $2.66/gal - still using the higher grade for the mountains = $43.57. Casper is a very large town, mostly in a big valley - but spilling out over the top. Plan to take Hwy 25 N to Buffalo, WY. The road is great & there is almost no traffic. Ron is thrilled - x-ways all the way to Wisconsin: me -- not so much! Only seeing a few range cattle, rolling pretty bland hills - lots of oil & gas production in the area.
Nearing Buffalo, we can see snow on some tall mountain peaks to our left (Big Horn Mtn. Range) Crossed the South Fork, the Middle Fork & after Buffalo, the main branches of the Crazy Woman River. I just have to shake my head each time I see that - just imagine the husband telling his wife to start packing everything they own into a small wagon (if they were lucky) - leaving her family & friends (probably never to see them again) - walking several thousand miles over absolutly the worst country you can imagine - raising her children in very hazardous conditions - dealing w/lack of food & water, some not so friendly Indians, rattle snakes, etc., etc.! I know that I would be a screaming basket case - how anyone, man - woman or child survived that trip is a real testament to their to their resoursefulness & sheere willpower.
At Buffalo, we took I-90 E - we are leaving the mountains behind. Stopped in Gillette, WY for gas: $2.82/gal (still the higher grade) = $56.54. It is very windy and a cold 73 degrees. The wind is catching us ocassionally & pushing us from the side until Ron gets the buggy back where it should be - a little scary! Passed a huge strip coal mine on the left - processing area on the right, the coal is transported under the highway thru a big tunnel/tube - it's a big mine. There are many train tracks where the coal is loaded onto RR cars - there is a lot of oil & gas productin in the area too.
Into S. Dakota about 12;30 PM (MT) & soon thru Rapid City - cannot believe we are just driving past the Black Hills & the Badlands without seeing any of it. Rapid City has acres & acres of good looking corn, alfalfa & lots of cattle.
About 3 PM (MT) we stopped at Wall Drug - it was high on Ron's list of things to do/see. We stopped several years ago & I wasn't impressed, would much rather see the Badlands! Were only there about an hour - didn't buy anything! It is sunny & very hot! Stopped again for gas before leaving town: $2.84/gal. (plain old reg. this time) = $65.27 - that wind really did a number on our gas milage!
Passed the exit to Midland - only 14 miles to the N!
Stopped at Belvidere, SD KOA Campground for the night. It is an older park, but very nice - large GRASSY sites, a restaurant at the office, several recreation things to do - inc. a small swimming pool. The restrooms need to be updated, but they were clean. Showers are free! They have free cable & internet connection - we are sitting pretty! Even ate dinner (Ron had an Indian Taco & I had a Buffalo burger) we were both very pleased w/our choices. The park isn't busy, is very quiet & after the sun went down the wind has picked up a little & it's cooling off nicely - feel another good sleep coming on. Only got a couple of hours last nite, so am looking forward to getting to bed early. The hwy is a long ways off & they advertise no trains or planes - sounds good to us! The best part is that they only charge $28 ($1 more than our gravel pit last nite) - we are both very happy! We were even blessed by a beautiful sunset a couple of hours ago
I tried to be good today & didn't ask to stop anywhere - we had a couple of road construction delays, but nothing serious. I do know the routine now: sit back & hang on - Ron is heading home - he wanted to make Sioux Falls, but we stopped pretty short of that goal - only 442 miles today!!!
Critter count was pretty poor - a few Pronghorn Antelope & a dead skunk on the road - don't laugh, Alaska doesn't have any skunks & we haven't smelled that distinctive odor for about 2 months! Have seen lots of beautiful horses & cattle - last time thru here they were having their 4th year of drought - nothing looked good! Like to see anmimals belly-deep in grasses w/water in little ponds along the way!
So time to clean up - good-nite. Hope to see you soon family!