Monday, June 11, 2012

Mammoth in new states of mind

Saturday, June 9th

Today, we got up early and hit the road by 8am. Our destination was Hill City, South Dakota, about a 6.5 hour drive. We headed out and made good time going through Denver, and then crossed into Wyoming. This was the first time for us and the Mammoth to enter this state, so we took a pic of the welcome sign.

Entering Wyoming for the first time!

We stopped in Cheyenne, WY to get fuel and eat some sandwiches, then continued on our treck. This part of the state is rolling prairieland, and not very exciting to look at, so mostly we listened to music and tried to entertain our minds as the miles passed by. There is not much evidence of civilization, either!

Wyoming landscape

After we stopped at a few small towns (Lingle and Lusk) to make sure we were good on fuel, we followed the GPS as she headed us towards the black hills of South Dakota, another state we'd never been to. The terrain definitely changes! We were began seeing the elevation change and soon we were in forestland and among rocky outcroppings of the Black Hills National Forest.

South Dakota landscape

We passed through the town of Custer, and then arrived at Rafter J bar Ranch, just before the town of Hill City. We got set up and enjoyed our dinner, then decided to explore the park. It's very large and spread out, with everything from tent camping and cabins, to pull throughs and secluded back-ins. 

Our site in the "Island" Section

Here's a little history of the park:

We also discovered another couple with a Landmark, that were also headed to the Gillette Rally. We stopped and visited with them for a few minutes, then headed back to home. 

Storm clouds rolling in

Not long after we got back to the rig, it started Thundering! it rained very hard at times, and the we had some brief hail, but overall, it wasn't anything more than we'd experienced in Texas. About 10:30pm the weather finally calmed down and we went to bed, exhausted from the day.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Going to Rally! Mammoth heads to Wyoming

Thursday, June 7th

Today was the day we'd been planning since last fall. We decided we'd attend the Heartland National Rally in Gillette, Wyoming. We worked very hard to get Mammoth prepped for the trip, including adding edging around the bed platform, replacing the bathroom fan/vent with a new Fantastic Fan, adding a tire-pressure-monitor system, and probably the most labor-intensive, washing and waxing the Mammoth!

after wash and wax

We headed out Thursday at 8am to Amarillo. We left home in pouring rain, which meant our nice wash job suddenly looked non-existent. Oh well, the wax did make the water roll right off, though! We decided to try out the new section of the George Bush Toll Road, which loops around east and north of the Dallas area. We purchased a toll-tag a few months back, which should help with the cost of the FOUR axles. It was a much less stressful drive than venturing through the heart of downtown, or taking 635, which is under massive construction. We had a pleasant trip, not too much traffic and no issues. The temperature was really unseasonable, in the 70s most of the way, and cloudy. An NO HEADWIND! We actually made it to Amarillo with less fuel stops. We arrived around 5, visited relatives, ate dinner and stayed the night. I did a little Hairball Creative work as well.

on the road

Friday, June 8th

We ate a wonderful breakfast with my relatives, and hit the road again by 8am. We stopped in Raton, NM to eat lunch, and arrived at the KOA near Colorado Springs at about 2:45pm. We got settled in pretty quick, and rested for a bit. Then we decided to head over to the Camping World, that is just a half-mile down the road. This Camping World does not sell Heartland Products, like some of the others. The store was well-stocked, but the arrangement of the parking area was in disarray. There is very little area for customers to park, as they had many repair candidates and/or used rigs filling up what should have been visitor parking. Oh well, we still didn't buy much since we'd been to the one near Ft. Worth just 2 weeks ago. We ended up coming back and having a quick bite before settling in. After a bit I decided we needed to take a walk to see the new rigs that pulled in after us, (including a Landmark!) and to go see about the Red Velvet Bluebell ice cream that was calling my name from the KOA camp store. We went for a walk, but the Landmark owners were busy getting set up... they didn't appear to be Owner's Club members, so we didn't interrupt. The temperature was a little warm when we got here, but has cooled off quite nicely as the sun sets. A little breeze also. It's supposed to be in the 50's overnight. We head to Hill City, South Dakota, tomorrow.

our site at the Colorado Springs KOA

Eileen at the Colorado Springs KOA