The Pearl Button Capitol Of The World!

Shady Creek Campground

Near Muscatine, Iowa

 

Today was a beautiful day here on the Mississippi. This morning, we drove about 10-miles into Muscatine to explore their downtown Riverfront Park. The Riverfront includes 3 or 4 green areas that are connected by a long and winding biking/hiking walkway that runs about 5-miles along the Mississippi River.   Walking shoes on….ready to explore….we set out heading south. We were treated to the sights and sounds of the river which include barges, trains and wonderful smells.

Muscatine, Iowa Riverfront Park

Muscatine, Iowa Riverfront Park

The walkway is clean and well maintained with plenty of benches where you can sit and quietly contemplate the River. This was one of Mark Twain’s favorite places, he lived here for a time and even wrote about Muscatine’s stunning riverfront sunsets. “I remember Muscatine for its sunsets.  I have never seen any on either side of the ocean that equaled them.”

Along the walkway there are fountains and several bronze statues that help to tell the story of Muscatine’s founding and growth.

Mississippi Harvest Bronze on Muscatine's Riverwalk

“Mississippi Harvest” Bronze on Muscatine’s Riverwalk

This is Muscatine’s famous “Mississippi Harvest” bronze by Erik Blome. It is dedicated to the men and women of Muscatine who made this city the Pearl Button capital of the world! Look close and you can see the mussels and clams at the feet of this clamdigger.

The inside of the shells have a pearlized layer that reflects many colors of natural oyster pearls. Back in the late 1800’s a German immigrant moved here to establish a better life. In Germany, he had been a successful button maker so, he looked around Muscatine to find some natural material that he could use to produce buttons here in the states…..he found the perfect, beautiful material inside Mississippi River mussel shells and began harvesting the shells to make buttons…I can only imagine the amount of mussels that man’s poor family must have had to eat! The production and sale of his “Pearl” buttons soon become one of the biggest booms the city has ever seen.

By 1905 Muscatine produced 1.5 billion pearl buttons annually. With nearly 37% of the worlds buttons coming from Muscatine, the town became the undisputed Pearl Button Capital of the World.

Here’s a close-up of the bronze from below.

"Mississippi Harvest"

“Mississippi Harvest”

We walked about 3-miles along the the trail. On the way we met a very knowlegable local man who told us all about Muscatine and the many responsible corporate citizens who help to make the city a great place to live and raise a family.   There is a lot more for us to see her in Muscatine.

By noon we were back at our campground and ready for lunch. Today was pasta day with homemade sauce chock full of veggies and chunky ground beef with just enough heat to make it interesting!

The campground is starting to fill-up for the weekend. They say it is filled every weekend of the summer till it closes for the season in October. Guess we were lucky to get a site.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

Stinking Fish

Yankton to Muscatine via Anamosa Iowa

Shady Creek Campground

 

We had a very relaxing week at the Army Corp campground in Yankton, South Dakota.  All was quiet and peaceful….except that they “poisoned” the lake while we were there.

Yankton Lake, South Dakota after controlled poisoning of invasive carp.

Yankton Lake, South Dakota after controlled poisoning of invasive carp.

It seems that in 2011 after a flood hit this area, the lake was taken over by an invasive species of carp.  Things got so bad that the carp multiplied and multiplied till there was no room for other fish.  Normally, Yankton Lake is home to bass and even sturgeon but, after the carp invasion, fishermen weren’t catching anything but the inedible carp.  So, the officials determined that the only way to get rid of the carp and restore the lake to its former natural state was to kill everything in it and start over. On Monday, we watched as they began to drain the lake. Next day, we saw them placing barrells of a chemical poisen at every inlet and low spot around the lake.  We were told that the chemical would not harm birds or poodles and other air breathing creatures. The chemical actually took the oxygen out of the lake water thereby causing all of the water creatures to die……99% invasive carp.

Invasive carp in Yankton Lake, South Dakota....after poisoning.

Invasive carp in Yankton Lake, South Dakota….after poisoning.

By day three, the lake water was very low and the dead fish were uncountable. The smell was not pleasant.  Lucky for us, our campsite was not right on the water, we could smell it all right but it was not unbearable….not so nice for many of our camping neighbors.

The plan for the lake is to let the fish rot naturally over the winter and, in the spring, re-fill the water from the nearby Lewis and Clark Lake.

On Monday we checked out of Yankton and headed for Anamosa, Iowa where we had an appointment on Tuesday to have our steps fixed at a Newmar dealer.  We overnighted at a Sam’s Club in Waterloo and pulled into Lasso RV on Tuesday around 1 pm.  They took us right in and an hour later we were fixed (it was a big bolt in the step thing-a-ma-gig that broke) and ready to go.  We decided to spend the night there ….why not….since they had a really quiet spot for us on their back country lane.

Near Amber, Iowa.

Near Amber, Iowa.

This morning, we waved good-by and headed toward the Mississippi.  Tonight, and for the next 5-days, we’ll be soaking up the sights and sounds of Old Man River.  We are camped just outside Muscatine, Iowa at another Army Corps Campground: Shady Creek ($8 a night for seniors).  Our campsite backs up to the Mississippi and an active train line runs on the other side of the campground. Ted is in heaven with his two loves: The Mississippi and Freight Trains.  More later.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

Blame it on that Cigar Smoking Alice!

Cottonwood Campground

Army Corps of Engineers

Yankton, South Dakota

 

You’d never know that we are full-time Motor home people because, for the last month or so, Ted and I have been “touring” like vacationers and, it is exhausting! It started back in mid-August with the Wyoming State Fair in Douglass; then on to Cody where Ol’ Buffalo Bill settled a cowboy town; next Yellowstone for 8-days of hiking and buffalo hunting; back to Cody for a couple of days to see what we missed the first time; then, on to Devil’s Tower (love that place); next we made Custer, South Dakota our tour base and we visited the Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore, and the Jewel Cave and Custer State Park; Whew…..just thinking about all of the Visitor Centers and Gift Shops we been in makes me dizzy (I have 2-new baseball caps!).

Custer Slept here and so did we.

Custer Slept here and so did we.

We left Custer on September 3rd. Our first stop, just 40-miles down Interstate-90 was in Rapid City to shop at the first Sam’s Club we’ve been near since Casper, Wyoming. We stocked up on freezer food, paper goods and stuff that is affordable only at a big box store: walnuts, craisins, coffee and granola bars.

Next stop was at a gas station not too far from Rapid City. That’s where we met Rover. This poor guy pulled up beside us at the pumps. It seems that his family is moving to Alaska and they just loaded him in the truck – house and all. He wasn’t very happy but he was comfortable.

Alaska or Bust!

Alaska or Bust!

Back on the road, we started seeing signs for Wall Drugs….Wall South Dakota. There were signs along I-90 every couple of miles….. “Free Coffee and Donut for Honeymooners”…… “Best Western Steaks You’ve Ever Eaten”….. “Doesn’t Matter What it is – We have it!” Well of course we had to stop!

Wall, South Dakota

Wall, South Dakota

The way the story goes….the original owner of a small drug store in the cowboy town of Wall wanted to attract customers to the store so they put up a series of signs on all of the roads leading to and from the Drug Store….wasn’t long before the place became famous!  I didn’t see anything that looked like a Drug Store.

Wall Drugs in Wall South Dakota

Wall Drugs in Wall South Dakota

The whole place was a little overwhelming. I sat down beside this old gal, Alice, to take it all in.

This is cigar smoking, card play'n Alice.

This is cigar smoking, card play’n Alice.

Much to Ted’s horror, we were there an hour before he could get me back in the coach….blame it on Alice and her stupid card games! I couldn’t wait to post a picture of Wall Drugs on Facebook and it’s lucky I did, because one of my FB friends told me about the Corn Palace that we’d be passing along the way! Late in the afternoon we stopped for the night in Chamberlain, SD at a private campground on the Missouri River – but, not before we visited “Al’s Oasis” where you can pet plastic Buffalo and buy Indian jewelry and western wear like the cowboys used to sport! We liked Chamberlain so much we stayed two nights.

Leaving Chamberlain, we left I-90 and headed south on secondary roads so I never did make it to the famous Corn Place in Mitchell. Instead, we had an enjoyable drive through very rural farmland and small towns till we reached the South Dakota/Nebraska boarder where we knew there was an Army Corp of Engineers Campground.

It’s a great spot right on the Missouri River at Yankton, South Dakota… we can see Nebraska just across the water. And, best of all, the campground is quiet, inexpensive ($8 a night for seniors) and there isn’t a Visitor’s Center in sight. We are treating ourselves to another vacation….this one will be full of rest and relaxation – we’ll be here a week.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

 

Camp Here! Custer Did!

Wheels West Campground

Custer, South Dakota

 

Wheels West Campground, Custer, South Dakota....where George Custer and the 7th Calvary camped.

Wheels West Campground, Custer, South Dakota….where George Custer and the 7th Calvary camped.

For the last couple of nights we have been happily camped at Wheels West Campground.  It is a small, very neat and clean, private campground that sits right on the same spot where General George A. Custer and his 7th Calvary camped way back in 1874.  This was the longest stop they made during their Black Hills Expedition. His expedition party included 1000 men; 1900 horses; 300 beef cattle and 110 wagons! He also had 100 Indian scouts and 2 newspaper correspondents.  It was while they were camped here that one of his men, Horatio Ross discovered gold in the little French Creek that runs just behind our motorhome.  That discovery started the stampede of “get rich quickers” from all over the country which forced the entry into the forbidden Black Hills. Forbidden because these hill were the sacred home of the Lakota Sioux Indians and…..as always happened….they were soon forced out of their homeland.  Many went to Canada and many were forced down into the Okalohoma territory.

But today, this is a beautiful spot just outside the gates of the Custer State Park.  This is actually the 2nd time we have camped here – we found this gem 4-years ago on our first trip to these parts.  $35.00 a night/full hook-up….a good deal in this tourist rich area.

Mount Rushmore's Grand Entrance

Mount Rushmore’s Grand Entrance

Yesterday we visited Mount Rushmore – just 20-miles from Custer. An amazing place that includes two parking garages built right into the mountain! It is the only way to accommodate so many tourists at such a remote place. This is a photo of the iconic carvings from the Grand Entryway. This will give you an idea of the size of this National Monument Park. On site are restaurants, gift shops, museums and a wonderful boardwalk trail that takes you close to the carvings and provides many different views.

Following the Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore

Following the Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore

Along the way we got a good picture of a couple of Rushmore Residents: a momma mountain goat and her baby. Love this photo! Doesn’t it look like she is smiling?

Mama Mountain Goat and baby at Mount Rushmore.

Mama Mountain Goat and baby at Mount Rushmore.

We took lots of photos of the presidents but one of my favorites is this one of just George that we took as we were driving back down the mountain.

 

George from the road. At Mount Rushmore

George from the road. At Mount Rushmore

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

Devil’s Tower….Aliens?

Devil’s Tower National Monument

Devils Tower, Wyoming

 

Devil’s Tower is one of the most recognizable landscape oddities in the world. I remember looking at it through my View-Master Gold  that I got for Christmas one year as a kid. It was on the National Parks Slide and every time I clicked through that slide I stared at that Tower it in wonder…..mainly because it was called The Devil’s Tower…. ”is that where he lives?”

The Devil's Tower National Monument - Wyoming.  Note the Prairie Dogs staring up at the Tower in awe.

The Devil’s Tower National Monument – Wyoming. Note the Prairie Dogs staring up at the Tower in awe.

Today, as a fairly intelligent and practical older woman; I’m more concerned about the reports of Alien Beings visiting this site (Close Encounters….).   Now that’s just nonsense – isn’t it?

The Devil's Tower taken from the Pine Forest section of the Red Bed Trail.

The Devil’s Tower taken from the Pine Forest section of the Red Bed Trail.

Interesting, many American Indian people have long considered the Tower a place of spiritual worship. Northern Plains Indians honor the towering rock formation and consider it a sacred place; in fact, over 20 American Indian Tribes have a cultural connection with The Tower. Today, many ceremonies are still held here including pipe ceremonies, the tying of prayer cloths and vision quests. Group rituals include sweat lodge gatherings and sun dance ceremonies.   All of the sacred items associated with these ceremonies are left undisturbed on the trees, rocks and trails that surround The Devil’s Tower.

But today we were on a quest of our own: To hike the Red Beds Trail that circles the Tower….surly if alien beings landed here we would see evidence of it on the surrounding landscape.   Our campsite sits in the shadow of The Tower so it was an easy hike up the mountain side to the Red Beds Trailhead.

Red Bed Trail Info:  2.8 mile loop, moderate to difficult, very steep in places.  Mostly a foot-path trail.

Red Bed Trail Info: 2.8 mile loop, moderate to difficult, very steep in places. Mostly a foot-path trail.

This trail is described as moderate-difficult. It is a 2.8 mile loop that takes you from the Visitor’s Center, down to the Fourche River, and then back up a rugged climb to the Tower. It is well-marked and for the most part you are following a well-worn foot path that winds up and down the volcano mountain. I could imagine Indian Tribes following these grassy trails single file going to The Tower.  No matter where you are on that trail, The Devil looms above.

The Devil's Tower taken from the Red Beds Trail Grassland area.

The Devil’s Tower taken from the Red Beds Trail Grassland area.

At one point, the trail enters an ancient erosion area that was formed eons ago. The views were spectacular!

The Red Beds Trail at Devil's Tower.  This is the ancient erosion section near the Fourche River.

The Red Beds Trail at Devil’s Tower. This is the ancient erosion section near the Fourche River.

Trail completed and back at the Visitor’s Center we started watching some of the Rock Climbers on the Devil….Unbelievable!   We decided to walk the 1.5 mile Tower Trail to get a better look. Zoom in on these photos of The Tower and you’ll see as many as 6-climbers on the rock face.   They climb in pairs.

Devil's Tower Wyoming. Zoom in on this photo and you'll see at least 6-rock climbers scaling those columns.

Devil’s Tower Wyoming. Zoom in on this photo and you’ll see at least 6-rock climbers scaling those columns.

Devil's Tower.  Zoom in to find the rock climbers.

Devil’s Tower. Zoom in to find the rock climbers.

As you can see by all of the photos of The Devil’s Tower, it never really looks the same way twice……odd…. it is almost as if it is (somehow) living…..always changing its face…..never the same size or color….Alien in Fact!

Thanks for Riding Along,

Coll

Yellowstone: Climbing Mt. Washburn

Peter D’s RV Park

Sheridan, Wyoming

 

We left Yellowstone on Friday and spent another enjoyable weekend in Cody, Wyoming at the Buffalo Bill State Park. There is so much to see in Cody…..you could easily spend a week there. This is a photo of the Buffalo Bill (all things are Buffalo Bill in Wyoming) Dam. The Dam has been designated a National Historic Landmark because, at the time it was built, it was the tallest dam in the world.  So, while there, I was able to get another “stamp” for my National Parks Pass-Port Book…Yippee!

The Buffalo Bill Reservoir Dam, Cody, Wyoming.

The Buffalo Bill Reservoir Dam, Cody, Wyoming.

On Sunday, we  visited the site of Buffalo Bill Cody’s original town – today it is called Old Town and it includes buildings dating back to the mid to late 1800’s including the tavern where Butch and Sundance’s Hole-In-The Wall gang reportedly hung out. Also on this property is the grave of “Jeremiah Johnson” the mountain man that Robert Redford made famous.

The original site of Buffalo Bill's planned town, "Cody".  It has been recreated with period structures from all over Wyoming.

The original site of Buffalo Bill’s planned town, “Cody”. It has been recreated with period structures from all over Wyoming.

Now, back to Yellowstone Adventures:  One of our best days there was the day we climbed Mount Washburn. If you can only take one hike while you’re at Yellowstone – Mount Washburn Trail has to be it! It is located in the Canyon Section of Yellowstone and no other trail gives you the breathtaking views and majestic climb that you will experience on this trail.  But be warned – it is not for beginners. The trail head is located at Dunraven Pass – 4.75 miles north of Canyon Junction.

The Washburn Trail Info.

The Washburn Trail Info.  FYI: We had bear spray!

The elevation at the trailhead is 8,750 feet. Your goal is the ranger station at the very top of Mount Washburn. This photo was taken from the trail about ¼ mile into the hike.

I circled our goal: the Ranger station more than 10,000 feet high; over 1400 feet above us at that point.

I circled our goal: the Ranger station more than 10,000 feet high; over 1400 feet above us at that point.

It is a 3-mile one-way climb up to an elevation of 10,243 feet with unbelivable views along the way.

The trail itself is fairly well maintained. At some places there is a lot of loose stone and gravel where you have to be careful – especially coming down. As you climb you pass through mountain meadows; then thick pine forests where you expect to see grizzly’s around every corner; and then high cliffs where you can see big horn sheep at home on nearly vertical outcroppings. And all the while the feeling that you are “actually doing this” is incredible!

Those little white spots on the ridge are long horn sheep.

Those little white spots on the ridge are long horn sheep.

Coll climbing Washburn Trail at Yellowstone

Coll climbing Washburn Trail at Yellowstone

This is a good photo of Washburn Trail.

This is a good photo of Washburn Trail at a pretty level spot….most of the time it is straight up.

There were not many on the trail the day we climbed….maybe 15 in all, so for the most part you are alone on the mountainside. This is another photo of our goal as we approached the tree line- it still seemed a long way away.

Mount Washburn Ranger Station from below...almost there!

Mount Washburn Ranger Station from below…almost there!

The final switchback trail to the top was brutal and the feeling when we made it was euphoric.

Ted triumphant at the top!

Ted triumphant at the top!

We hung around up there for a while. There is a ranger who mans this post 24/7 during fire season. He watches after the weather station and tolerates the giddy climbers who make it up to his domain. He is a man of few words but did tell us, when we asked how often he was relieved up here, that he has no reason to “go down”. They bring him food and whatever else he needs. I don’t think he wanted to go down….and who can blame him….it is a peaceful world unto itself up there. Although, I don’t think I’d want to be up there in winter. In fact, the day after our climb they recorded snow at the ranger station!

Thanks For Riding Along,

Colleen

Yellowstone National Park

Buffalo Bill State Park

Cody, Wyoming

 

For the last week we have been camped in Yellowstone National Park. Internet was really poor (hey you’re 8,000 feet plus up in the middle of wilderness!) so we didn’t post while we were there. So glad we went….If you’ve never been, make sure you put it on your bucket list.

Yellowstone was the World’s first National Park and has served as a land preservation model for many other nations. All of my life I have heard about Yellowstone but never realized that it is actually a huge Volcano!   The last major eruption was more than 640,000 years ago….it was huge and spewed debris that formed the 45-mile volcanic basin that is Yellowstone today. In fact, the massive heat that powered that eruption still lingers within the park’s geysers, hot springs and mudpots. Nowhere in the world are there more active geysers than right here at Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Norris Area Geyser Baisin

Yellowstone Norris Area Geyser Baisin

There are seven main areas within the park that are setup to cater to the visitor. Each has a campground, lodge, cabins and restaurant(s). We stayed in the Fishing Bridge region where the only RV Campground with hook-ups is located.   At first, the campground was a disappointment. It has over 400 campsites that are very small and very close together. There are no fire pits and no picnic tables in the campground because of the bears….yes, grizzly bears. They don’t want any food outside that could tempt a bear. You can cook on a gas or charcoal grill but you cannot leave it unattended and you must put the grill away when you’re done. But, after the initial disappointment, you realize that very little time is actually spent in the campground because there is so much to see!

Bison watering in the Yellowstone River near a picnic area.

Bison watering in the Yellowstone River near a picnic area.

The Canyon Area was one of our favorite spots.  There you can hike to massive waterfalls or around the Yellowstone Grand Canyon rim.   Unbelievable!

Yellowstone Grand Canyon near Canyon Village.

Yellowstone Grand Canyon near Canyon Village.

Ted hiking the Canyon Trail.

Ted hiking the Canyon Trail.

 

Yellowstone Upper Falls at the Canyon.

Yellowstone Upper Falls at the Canyon.

And of course, the main feature of the Old Faithful Area is….Old Faithful! This geyser erupts every 45 to 65 minutes….just like clockwork.  This is one of the most visited geysers in the park because of it’s dependable reputation.  There had to be at least 500 people there that day.

Old Faithful: Before and After

Old Faithful: Before and After

At the West Thumb Area and also at the Mud Volcano you can follow wooden boardwalks through the geyser fields.

West Thumb Geyser Field

West Thumb Geyser Field

Yellowstone Mud Volcano.

Yellowstone Mud Volcano.

The Sulfur Cauldron

The Sulfur Cauldron

 

And of course there is plenty of wildlife. We didn’t see any grizzly bears but we did see big horn sheep, mule deer and lots and lots of bison.

A herd of bison strolling through our picnic area.

A herd of bison strolling through our picnic area.

Massive Bison just feet from our jeep!

Massive Bison just feet from our jeep!

As you can imagine, we have a file full of photos, and a couple of really neat videos. Hope you are up for seeing more because I’m going to do a couple of more posts about our adventures at Yellowstone.

Thanks for riding along,

Coll

 

Buffalo Bill Cody Really Got Around!

 

Buffalo Bill State Park

Cody, Wyoming,

 

This is our 2nd night at Wyoming’s  Buffalo Bill State Park, just 6-miles “up” from Cody, Wyoming.  That’s right!  Cody, Wyoming was founded by Buffalo Bill “Cody”!   When we were in Nebraska, Buffalo Bill was the number one most famous person there ….especially in North Platte where his “Scouts Rest” Ranch is located.  But they have nothing on Wyoming!   It seems that Buffalo Bill spent even more time here in the Yellowstone area….even founding the town of Cody.   I never realized what a positive influence Bill Cody had on the West.

 Bill Cody statue in front of the Buffalo Bill Center which houses 5 separate museums.

Bill Cody statue in front of the Buffalo Bill Center which houses 5 separate museums.

The town of Cody is a real tourist Meca.  It is the last town  before you start the 50-mile drive up  to Yellowstone National Park’s East Gate.  Here you can buy anything Western….boots, hats, shirts, guns; and anything you may need for outdoor activities…. hiking gear; clothing; tents; bear spray….you name it.

You can also visit one of the many western hotel/bars including the famous Silver Dollar where gun slingers still hang out, and, the renown Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel. There is a Rodeo here every night during the season at the Buffalo Bill Stadium.  It is a fun place and if you are ever anywhere near Yellowstone, you have to come to Cody.

The scenery here is truly breathtaking and hard describe – so I won’t….. in this case, pictures are truly worth 1000 “foolish” words.

 

The Campground at Buffalo Bill State Park, Cody, Wyoming

The Campground at Buffalo Bill State Park, Cody, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill State Park at the Campground.

Buffalo Bill State Park at the Campground.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir Lake

Buffalo Bill Reservoir Lake

8-14 Buffalo Bill St Pk Wy

Buffalo Bill State Park

Ted at Shoshone Canyon enjoying his favorite DQ!

Ted at Shoshone Canyon enjoying his favorite DQ!

Thanks for Riding Along!

Coll

Wyoming State Fair – Mud-Wrestling Pigs

Fairgrounds Campground

Douglas, Wyoming

 

A couple of days ago, on our way here to Douglas, Wyoming, we stopped at Fort Laramie – a restored US Army Fort that protected settlers and thru wagon trains from the local Indian Tribes. Actually, Fort Laramie was never under attack but their presence out there on the Oregon Trail was a comfort to travelers. Today it is a fun stop that is not too far off Route 26 as you head west into Wyoming. Park Service Role-Players demonstrate cannon fire and other frontier skills like fire building and campfire cooking. There is even a completely restored saloon on the Fort property that sells sarsaparilla – just like they drank back in the mid-1800’s.

Fort Laramie, Wyoming. This guy looked a little like Kenny Rogers.

Fort Laramie, Wyoming. This guy looked a little like Kenny Rogers.

8-10 Fort Laramie Wyoming9

Enlisted men's barraks

Enlisted men’s barracks

We spent a couple of hours at the Fort and then, back on Route 26, we headed to Douglas and the Wyoming State Fairgrounds Campground.

A few of weeks ago when we realized that the Wyoming State Fair was in August….and, we could get there….I went online to check out campgrounds. The Fair Website stated that the fairgrounds had a first-come-first-serve 400-plus site campground with full-hook ups. That cost was only $25 a night and that includes your entry into the fair. Sounded really good so we decided to go. Today is Sunday (the fair started on the previous Friday) so we figured that the weekend fair goers would be leaving and we shouldn’t have a problem getting a site. Well turns out we were really lucky! We arrived late Sunday afternoon and the campground was just about full….in fact, the veterinarian at the check-in gate (Andy had to be checked out before we could enter) told us that we’d better hurry because people had been streaming in there all day and all of the sites were just about gone.   Hurry we did.

We got one of the last sites that would fit an RV our size! Picture a large gravel parking lot with campers lined up row after row with about 20-feet between. Actually it’s not bad because the whole “Cowboy State Fair” is going on right beside us and everyone is just as excited as we are to be here. It is a real party atmosphere.

8-11 WY State Fair

We quickly got settled and headed over to see what was doin! First stop dinner. This is me enjoying a Wyoming Size Turkey Leg….Unbelievable!

The corn hanging there is fake but the Turkey Leg ...the biggest on I've ever seen...is not!

The corn hanging there is fake but the Turkey Leg …the biggest on I’ve ever seen…is not!

As far as other fair food, this is a pretty healthy place. You can get huge racks of ribs and big big steaks hot off the coals.   Ted had fried cheesecake for dessert.

Strolling around the grounds we were amazed (as only east-coasters can be) by the fact that everyone was wearing cowboy boots, cowboy hats, sparkly fitted shirts and big belt buckles…and they weren’t just dressing the part, they were in their comfortable clothes.

Last Night, we attended a Pig Mud Wrestling Event in the big arena. The place was packed. The way it worked was teams of 4-teens stood in front of the crowd and the “team” was put up for auction. You could bid to buy the team and, if your team won– you won a big purse. The teams were “sold” for anywhere from $50 to $150.00!

The Pig Mud Wrestling Competition in the Grand Stands.

The Pig Mud Wrestling Competition in the Grand Stands.

The Team has 1-minute to catch a slippery mud covered pig and put it in a barrel, butt first, in the middle of the mud-ring. They can’t grab the pig by his ears or tail. For the first time I actually heard a pig squealing for all it was worth. I started rooting for the pigs! The winning team caught the pig in about 18-seconds and the crowd went wild!

Tonight (Tuesday) Trace Adkins with Chancey Williams are preforming in this same arena. It will probably be standing room only. I don’t think we’ll go to the actual concert because everyone says you’ll be able to hear it no matter where you are on the fairgrounds.   Should be a great time.

Thanks For Riding Along,

Coll

America’s First RV

Riverside Campground

Scottsbluff, Nebraska

 

No matter where you go in Scottsbluff or any of the surrounding towns, the Scotts Bluff National Monument towers over you. It is beautiful and eerie at the same time – it is always there in the background. We have a perfect view of it from our campsite which sits at the base of the national park.

America's First RV!  Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scottsbluff, Nebraska

America’s First RV! Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scottsbluff, Nebraska

This photo shows one of America’s first RV’s heading west on the original Oregon Trail where it runs passed the Scotts Bluff. Covered Wagons used Scotts Bluff as a trail marker and often stopped in its shadow for the night because there was a clear clean spring running at its base.

So today, we headed over to do some hiking. By-the-way…..we got in free of charge because we have the American The Beautiful Senior Pass (yeah!). The benefits of age just keep piling up!

We decided to hike up the side of the bluff on the Saddle Rock Trail.

Saddle Rock Trail at Scotts Bluff National Monument

Saddle Rock Trail at Scotts Bluff National Monument

We hiked the trail round trip – total of about 3.5 miles. It is a switch-back trail that starts at the Visitor’s Center and takes up about 450-feet to the top of the 800 ft. bluff. It’s pretty steep and narrow at some spots, and if you’re afraid of heights I don’t recommend it.

We really enjoyed our day because the weather was perfect. I am happy to report that Andy kept right up with us. Here are the photos of our climb; none of them do the elevation justice.

At the bottom.

At the bottom.

Andy was a trooper!

Andy was a trooper!

A little scary here!

A little scary here!

Almost there!

Almost there!

At the top! None of our photos did this justice....but, I'm not going back for a redo!

At the top! None of our photos did this justice….but, I’m not going back for a redo!

The round trip with a rest break at the top, took us just under 3-hours, two bottles of water, 3 nature valley bars, gallons of sweat and lots of spunk!

Tomorrow we’re heading into Wyoming….

Thanks For Riding Along,

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