Summer in Montana

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be blogging about the Escapade....but other than the photos I snapped last night around sunset, not much to blog right now. (Oh, I did snap photos of all the riders heading out on their motorcycle HOP yesterday....if anyone reads this and is one of them, let me know and I'll send you the original.)

My update is about my spending the summer in Montana. Well, it finally happened. I have secured my first real workamping job. [I was actually considered a workamper when I became an independent rep for SkyMed but that is something I can do anytime, anywhere.]

Anyway, I will be spending the summer in White Sulfur Springs, MT (about halfway between Yellowstone & Glacier). The work is part-time, four half days a week and mostly office work (bathroom cleaning is rotated along with 4 other folks). I'll also help out at campfires & ice cream socials.

The campground is small, 41 pull-through sites in a small town of about 900. Yes, I'll be over an hour from major shopping but everything I need is available in town (albeit at higher prices). I figure I'll stock up on non-perishables on the way there. They do have doctors in town as well as a small hospital...hopefully not something I will need. My Verizon cell should work but not the aircard but that will be okay since they provide Wi-Fi.

Oh, the campground is Conestoga Camground. I arrive by 7/15 and depart a week after Labor Day. Anyway, if anyone is going to be in the area...they are a Passport America park as well as RPI & C2C. Love to see ya visit what looks to be a great location for summer (average highs in the 80's, lows in the 40's) although I'm sure there will be days in the 90's.

This will give me a chance to get caught up on a lot of personal organization and paperwork, not have to pay for a campsite for 2 months and thus save a little. When I leave I will head to Denver for a LONG overdue visit with family.

I'm psyched!!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Checking in from Gillette, WY

Friday, June 27, 2008

I know I haven't blogged in a while...been busy with life & other 'stuff'....LOL! Here are a few photos of the Bighorn Mountains Campground. I enjoyed my three days there and will go back. They have about 6 mules who help keep the grass mowed...the large building contains the bathrooms/showers and laundry on the lower level with the office & owners quarters on the upper.

I did a little sightseeing but not as much as I had hoped for....I did snag a pretty good photo of a Prong Horned Antelope.

On Wednesday morning I headed East to Gillette. Nice sunny day, a little windy and some decent scenery along the way. I arrived at the Cam-Plex in Gillette, got checked in easily. HUGE complex but perfect for this type of gathering. That evening I became a member of the Gillette Elks Lodge #2825.

Today was the HOP for Devils Tower...what an amazing experience. So much history, such a sacred place for many Native American tribes. June is their most sacred month and we saw many prayer bundles in evidence. Here is a great page to learn more about Devils Tower. I took a ton of photos and had a hard time choosing which ones to are a few of my favorites but there are many more here.

We had plenty of time to take the 1.3 mile hike around Devils Tower. In fact we could have done it twice since there was a mix-up at the caterers about lunch. They thought we were coming on Friday so nothing was ready. We made the best of it...not much else we could do. LOL!

After our Devils Tower visit followed by our very late lunch at a picnic area, we made a quick stop at the prairie dog town before heading back to Gillette for a tour of the Eagle Butte Mine owned by Foundation Coal. By this time I was pretty exhausted and opted to stay in the bus so no photos. Sorry...hee-hee!

Tomorrow is a day of rest and socializing with others here. Will snap some photos of the campground & complex. This weekend I hope to attend at least some of the Wyoming Celtic Festival activities that will be held here in the Cam-Plex as well as checking out the Escapade vendors on Sunday. Blogging will be sporadic....lots going on!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Stu: The Escapees, Gillette "Escapade"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Escapees, Gillette "Escapade"
June 26, 2008

The first days at the Escapade were filled with motorcycle rides. 12 bikes rode out to Devils Tower and around the area. We ate at the small town of Alladin, population 11. The waitress said the population was down to 8, 2 died and 1 moved out since the last count. 2nd day we went to Spearfish Canyon, a beautiful ride through a part of South Dakota and Wyoming. The views were nothing like back east. The canyon side were very steep and covered with evergreens. None of the pictures I took could do it justice. Both days were great rides, I will be back to do them again.


Stu: Arrived at Gillette

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Arrived at Gillette
Jun 25, 2008

After a somewhat short but visually uneventful trip from Wheatland WY, I arrived early in Gillette WY. Wind and open spaces dominated the trip. The parking crew from the Escapees guided me into the narrow pull-thru and I set-up quickly, all the awnings, unloaded the bike etc. Just in time to go to the first meeting about the Motorcycle trips on the 27th and 28th. 5 minutes after the meeting almost got started, local authorities informed us of a storm coming our way, 2 inch hail and high winds. End of meeting and everyone scrambled back to secure the rigs. The awnings won't go out again while I'm here. Motorcycle HOPS next.


Stu: On the road north

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On the road north
Jun 24, 2008

Spent the night in a small town in Wheatland Wyoming. Seemed like the windiest spot in the State, until I found out the "W" in Wyoming stands for wind. Aimed the rig into the headwinds and slept the night away. Nice ride coming out of Denver. The plains to my right and the Rocky Mountains to the left. Denver appeared like any other big city, I am sure it has some redeeming value, just didn't see it from the interstate. Not enough time for anything else by a drive-through.


A full day....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Even thought I went to bed late, I woke early and got ready to move on to Buffalo, WY where I will spend the next three nights. I ended up chatting with the folks on one side of me. They were also heading to the Escapade but planned on two nights in Casper before moving to Buffalo. I mentioned where I was going to be staying, we exchanged cards and I headed on my way.

I had JUST hit the road out of the campground when I ran out of windshield fluid. With the bugs being so bad, I knew I needed to stop and refill (I had half a bottle in one of the storage bays). I saw a closed gas station, swung in, filled up, decided to check the oil, added a quart and then was REALLY on my way at 10am.

I was amazed at the ever changing is a sampling of what I saw. Great drive, didn't get windy until about 50 miles out of Buffalo, comfortable temperatures and good roads.

As I exited off I-25 to head to the campground, I saw an accident right in front of the ramp. Not a pretty sight. It must have just happened since while I sat there waiting for the okay to turn right (my only choice, even though I needed to turn left), the ambulance, fire department and police arrived. As I pulled out I saw the car on the other side of the looked like the car might have not stopped at the end of the ramp or possibly their brakes failed. They obviously hit the RV with a lot of force to tear the front off so completely. Anyway, I pulled into a gas station a few miles down the road and went in to tell the clerks that I might be parked outside for an hour or so while I waited for it to clear.

I called my friends, Paul & Connie, to let them know I was running a little late due to the accident. Paul helped me re-route myself and finally get headed to the campground. Buffalo looks to be a neat little town where I hope I can spend a little roaming time. I got checked in, Big Horn Mountains Campground, and moved into my site (once removed from my friends site).

They came over to welcome me and I discovered that the folks I met this morning in Rawlins had evidently changed their minds since they were here! Small world....LOL! After getting settled, I headed over for some chatting and dinner. The company and the food were WONDERFUL....homemade meatloaf, one of my two favorite foods (the other is lasagna). We watched the deer start to arrive in the field across from us. They leave in the morning but I'll see them again on Wednesday at the Escapade...they're on the parking crew.

It's raining a little tonight, some thunder, my car will be a disaster what else is new?

Till next time - keep on rollin',

NOTE: For more photos from today, visit my SmugMug gallery.

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