Camping in the Snowies

Camping in the Snowies

Thursday, July 30, 2015

On the Loose in Luci Part II: Camping in Wyoming

July 30, 2015
The last blog post ended with the bluegrass festival in Buffalo, WY two weeks ago on July 13th.  The silver Toyota and Luci have put on the miles since then.  We traveled over the Big Horn Mountains, camping at Sitting Bull campground. Then down the Ten Sleep canyon to Ten Sleep WY, through the Nowood Valley then northeast up Medicine Lodge Valley to Medicine Lodge Archeological Area and a wonderful campsite covered with lush grass next to a clear stream. I saw more birds at that campsite than I have ever seen in one place. On to Lovell in the Big Horn basin to camp in their city campground, replenishing supplies and doing laundry. Lovell's Main Street is festooned with baskets of petunias hanging from each lamppost. We took a side trip up the Big Horn Canyon beside the Pryor Mountains where a herd of wild horses lives without intervention from humans. The Big Horn River is dammed in Montana making a long reservoir. There are fishing and camping areas and three historic ranch sites. We were interested to see the L/Heart ranch after reading about Caroline Lockhart who was a newspaperwoman, novelist and ranch owner. A friend of Buffalo Bill Cody, she had a home in Cody WY as well as the ranch. Her ranch was so isolated. We marveled at the frontier ranch fortitude of the first cow and sheep men and women. 
Then on to Deaver WY to visit Kelly Wells. We passed fields of barley, sugar beets and alfalfa, all irrigated from the Buffalo Bill Reservoir near Cody. We camped in her yard and took advantage of her electricity. A swing set behind the trailer was a new camping feature. Dave and Kelly played more fiddle tunes than you could shake a stick at, practicing up for the fiddle contest in Riverton on the weekend. I read four books and even played the guitar a little bit. Kelly's son, Tanner, worked every day but checked in with us. A junior in high school, he looked grown up since the last time we saw him. 
Off to Riverton and a commercial campground. Electricity and coin operated showers and on site waste dump were the amenities. Slow wi-fi and non working cable TV hookups were negatives. 
We got to Riverton in time to set up camp, get lunch at the Depot (good Mexican food), and make it down to South Pass City for a tour of the Carissa gold mine. The mine was rescued from dilapidation and is being restored to a functioning state. The docent knew her stuff and was good at explaining how the mine functioned in its prime. The Carissa is a "must see" as is the restored South Pass City if you are ever in the area. 
Saturday the fiddle contest was held at the Fremont County fairgrounds in Riverton. The contest is a one day affair held the day before the county fair begins. It was held under an open air tent with the usual configuration of small fry, juniors, novice, seniors and open divisions. Two rounds were held in the adult divisions. A No Holds Barred contest and a band scramble completed the day. Belt buckles and cash prizes were given to the winners. Dave placed first in the Senior division and Kelly finished in third place with stiff competition in that division. We got to reacquaint ourselves with many fiddlers from the north central part of Wyoming who don't always make it to the state contest in Douglas. 
From Riverton we headed south and east, stopping at Sweetwater Station Rest Area, south through Muddy Gap and stopping again at Split Rock for a climb on the rocks. Split Rock was the area the settlers in wagon trains hoped to pass around July 4th. We tried to imagine what that would have been like as they followed the Sweetwater River west.
South to Rawlins and onto the interstate highway east to Laramie. We picked up two weeks worth of mail at our box in the Post Office and checked into the Holiday Inn for two days of R and R. We touched base with our Laramie friends, did laundry, used the free wi-fi, did some shopping, etc. 
To finish out the month of July, we are camped at Vedauwoo Campground. Site 10 is our spot this time with a back in site long enough for a big rig. It looks onto the pink granite rocks that the Turtle Rock trail circles which is down the canyon to the north. Our Senior Pass lets us camp for $5 a night. Such a deal!
             The view from Sitting Bull Campground 

                                       Some of the pretty flowers at Sitting Bull

                                               Moose along the creek

       Our campsite along Medicine Lodge Creek near Hyattville WY

              A tractor show was held while we were at the Medicine Lodge Campground 

                                    Dave along Medicine Lodge Creek

                         Petroglyphs at Medicine Lodge Archeological Site

              A horse on the Pryor Mountain wild horse range in Big Horn Canyon
                                                       Big Horn Reservoir 

      The spring house at Caroline Lockhart's L/Heart ranch in Big Horn Canyon

                                   A restored cabin on the Lockhart ranch

                          Dave and Kelly Wells at her place near Deaver WY

            A set just for me. The Airstream parked in Kelly's yard. 

The ore car trestle from the mine to the mill at the Carissa Mine at South Pass City WY
         Inside the mine where the miners outfitted themselves for a day of work. 
                       Inside the mill where the ore was extracted from rock. 
             Dave brought home first prize in the Senior Category. 

                               Vedauwoo rocks where we are camped. 

Our next trips will be to fiddle contests in Greeley CO and the Wyoming state fiddle contest in Douglas. See you on the next installment of "On the Loose"!

Monday, July 13, 2015

On the Loose in Bambi Luci: Part I, June 1 to July 13, 2013

Dave and I are on the loose and living for the summer in Luci the Airstream Bambi. Our Laramie house sold within a week after we listed it and we had a month to sell everything and get out. 

Meanwhile, Dave, Matt and Daniel went to NYC so Daniel could experience the Big Apple. They had a great time. 


After Dave returned to Laramie we went to work donating books, donating clothes, filling garbage bins and recycling bins and sorting out the things we had to save. Fortunately for us, Ross and Matt took some things that were special to us but we're not appropriate for the condo in Sun Village. Everything else went to the garage to wait for a big garage sale. The boxes of saved items went into our second car and into storage until the end of summer.  Lots of house cleaning, a garage sale, a little donation to Goodwill and the paperwork of closing and we said goodbye to #507. We now have a Laramie post office box and wherever we camp for the night is home. 

Luci has been parked at Vedauwoo in two sites. 

Wild flowers were everywhere in the campground and on the trails.

I was on the lookout for birds and was not disappointed. I saw: Townsend's solitaire, robin, chickadee, nuthatch, raven, turkey buzzards, mountain bluebird, green tailed towhee, broad tailed and rufous hummingbirds, hermit thrush and swallows. 

In between stays at Vedauwoo, we camped at Marilyn and Tom Bryan's new property. 
We camped beside Tom's big red shop for their Fourth of July celebration of food, music, visiting and fireworks. It was a fun time. Tom found a bird nest with two babies and two unmatched eggs. He took his grandkids and me to see them. Momma bird was not happy but we didn't touch. What a treat. 

Dave played a gig at the VeeBar Dude Ranch where we we were able to camp near the fast flowing Little Laramie River. There was lush green grass and in addition to songbirds, there were free range chickens and goats, horses in the corral, a hay wagon pulled by work horses and a matched pair of small donkeys. Dave had fun playing the fiddle and singing with Bill McKay for the dudes on the hayride and in the saloon after dinner. 

This week we have travelled to Casper WY for lunch and some tunes with Al Kalbfleisch. Then we went to Buffalo WY to camp at Deer Park Campground for one night. We had a shady spot near some water and more birds were spotted. Here I saw: yellow warblers, western wood pewees, robins, goldfinch and catbirds. 

Our next stop was the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Buffalo for the Big Horn Bluegrass Festival. The beautiful Big Horn Mountains are spectacular and just west of town. It was a great backdrop for camping, making and listening to music with our friends. Lon and Joann Mitchell pulled in soon after we did with their Jo-Bawb's Barbecue rig.

Janet and Jamie MeGehee Suzanne and Molly arrived next with Maggie the black Lab dog. Jill Flickema, Brian Peel, Vern Billingsly and Tom and Marilyn Bryan followed them. All got to work setting up camp, making it homey.

 Reed Buckley and girlfriend Kayla pulled in and eventually Fred and Jeannie Buckley. 

                       Jeannie, Fred and Dave

Last but not least, the Means Machine with Warrie, Sheri, Shelby and Jacob. 

              Warrie and Sheri

  Our camp was increased by a few with the arrival of Ryan from Great Falls MT and Doug Ezell and his son, brother and friend from Billings MT.

Warrie's mom, Elsie, and Jeannie's mom, Granny, drove down from Billings and stayed in a motel. They joined us for meals and visiting and festival events. It was so good to see them!

Jamie MeGehee, Granny (Jennie Buckley's mom), Janet McGehee, Sheri and Elsie Means. 

                        Statehood day July 10th. Wyoming is 125 years old. 

We enjoyed the festival with non bluegrass headliners, John Anderson and Marty Stuart.  

                                Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives 

                             Front Country

Front Country Bluegrass put on some great sets as did Kenny and Amanda Smith with her great voice, his clean guitar picking and their beautiful harmony. They came to our camp for barbecue and stayed to pick and sing. Nice folks. 

                  Fred, Jacob and Warrie with Amanda and Kenny

                     Shelby Means playing with Kenny and Amanda Smith

                   Jacob Means won the mandolin contest. 

Suzanne McGehee won the banjo contest and Dave and Jill accompanied her when she performed on the main stage as the winner.

On Sunday after some of Lon's yummy cheesy grits, a little picking and visiting, everyone but us packed up and left. Dave and I could still hear the music in our ears as we sat in the quiet campground.