Monday, August 27, 2007

Wyoming and South Dakota



Well it’s time for this trip’s first installment of Gassaway’s Adventures. So far the trip has been pretty tame, with no real adventures to report. It's different from last year because so far we haven’t spent anytime at the Ford dealership, nor have we had to buy any new tires. (Knock on wood).

We left home early Saturday morning, heading north on I-15. Opting not to stop and enjoy the 110 degree temperature in Mesquite, NV, we spent our first night in Beaver, Utah. The next day we continued north arriving in Evanston, Wyoming in the early afternoon. Evanston owes its existence to the railroad. The first transcontinental railroad came through Evanston on the way west. Trains continue to roll through at all hours of the day and night. The surrounding area primarily consists of rolling ranch land supporting cattle.

After settling in at the local RV park, we drove 25 miles east and visited Fort Bridger. Many of the original buildings still exist, but the vast majority have disappeared, most destroyed by fire.

The next day we took a leisurely drive south along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. It traverses a wide farming valley along the Bear River before climbing up over a 10,000 foot pass.

After two nights in Evanston we headed east. We got off the interstate and stuck to the secondary roads crossing the continental divide at South Pass. Many of the settlers heading west in wagon trains used this pass because of its gradually sloping hills and the lack of any mountains. We also stopped at Independence Rock, which the same settlers carved their names as they passed on the way west carved. There are hundreds if not thousands of names and dates all over the rock, which is several hundred feet high and about one mile around. Yesterday’s graffiti is now protected. I hope it’s not is sign of what will happen to today’s graffiti.

After an overnight stop near Casper, we continued east to Badlands National Park in southeastern South Dakota. The Dakota Badlands are similar to the one we have in Borrego, with the exception of prairie grasslands which surround the area and the wildlife. This is truly, as the song goes, “where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play.”

Also in the area are many cold war era minuteman missile silos and launch control facilities. One near the park has been taken over by the National Park Service and tours our offered. We did not get to see the control center because the tour was booked up, but did manage to view one of the missiles in a silo. An interesting missile fact: The minuteman ICBM missile carries a 1.2 megaton warhead which is about 60% of the power of all the bombs dropped in World War II.

Our next stop on the journey east was Yankton, South Dakota. We stayed in the nicest state park we’ve ever seen. The park is situated along the shore of Lewis and Clark Lake which is formed behind the Gavin’s Point Dam on the Missouri River. The park runs several miles along the lakeshore and consists of over 300 campsites situated within mature trees and surrounded by acres and acres of lawn. There are miles of bike trails, which we have taken advantage of, playgrounds for the kids, and beaches for swimming. This is by far the most beautiful campground/park we’ve ever seen.

We are now in Minneapolis, having arrived in the early afternoon. The state fair is in full swing and we will visit it tomorrow or the next day. The RV park we are in has a storm shelter, which is comforting because there are tornado watches in effect in the area. Perhaps we’ll have an adventure to report in the next installment.

1 comment:

Erin said...

What beautiful pictures! Hope you are having fun!