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
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.
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.
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"!