Sunday, June 6, 2021

Zoey's First Travel Adventure!

Although Zoey had been on a road trip to and from North Dakota in April, this week she had her first road trip as a part time RV traveler. Our first day only took us 130 or so miles to Devil’s Tower Wyoming. As much as we have been in this area this is one sight we had yet to see. We were impressed by a few things. First was the amount of traffic there was to get into the park. The line to get in had to be about ¾ of a mile long taking us a good 30 minutes of inching our truck up to the pay station. This is where we had our first opportunity to use Barb’s newly acquired Lifetime Senior National Park Pass! No more $80 each year for the annual pass, as long as we don’t lose this one we are set for life!

The second thing that impressed us was the reason we came here. We had seen numerous pictures of Devil’s Tower over the years but none of them matched the beauty of the real thing.



You may wonder if Dakota was even with us. She was but she really does not like being posed for pictures and gets a little stressed out if we try. The key to taking a picture of her is to pose her without letting her know. Zoey on the other hand does not seem to mind being posed for pictures, I think she is going to be quite the camera hog!

We stayed right in the park, only $10 with the pass. As busy as the roads were, we were surprised to see that the campground was only about 1/2 full. By the time the sunset however, the park was full. 

The next day we were on the road by 7 and continued our journey west where we went through some beautiful country. 

North Cove in the Bighorn National Forest
 
Our destination for the day was Cody Wyoming and the Buffalo Bill Museum. This museum has a huge gun collection and has been on our bucket list for several years. 

My main interest is early frontier rifles like the flintlocks up through the lever actions that won the west.
Some early muzzleloaders from the late 1800's

A flintlock firing mechanism
They had rifles, pistols and shotguns from every era.....
After leaving the museum we drove about 40 minutes we the North Fork Campground in Buffalo Bill State Park where we spent the night. The sign said camping was $18/night but when we checked in they added a $12 day use fee bringing the total to $30. 

It was a nice park with great views but certainly not worth $30. 

This young elk made an appearance at our campground

We were off and driving early the next morning again driving west. We entered Yellowstone National Park through the East entrance. We entered the park about 7am with little of no traffic.
Although Yellowstone was just a drive through for us this trip we did stop and take a look at a few attractions. Such as Zoey at an overlook viewing Yellowstone Lake.....


She was not a fan of the sulfur smell at the Mud Volcano...

And she was a little more than curious at the sight of her first buffalo...




By the time we were leaving the park at West Yellowstone traffic had picked up. In fact there was a line of cars 8 1/2 miles long in stop and go traffic just inside the park entrance! 

We had a long day driving just over 500 miles but we had reason for it. We made it just west of Boise where we stayed at Caldwell Campground and RV Park at $37 with FHU. The hook ups were necessary that night as it was 95 when we arrived and the air conditioning was much appreciated. It was an okay park; crowded with lots of long term residents. 

Continuing west we ended the next day in Redmond Oregon where we checked into the Deschutes County Expo Center RV Park. The reason for our long day the day before? We had a hot dinner date with our FT friends Dale and Ruth! It had been a couple of years since we have seen them and by speeding up a little we could be there a day early and spend some time with them. 

We went to dinner then back to our place for more visiting and playing with the dogs. It was nice to catch up with them!

Our last day of travel (for a while) took us south to our attraction for the day.... The Newberry National Volcanic Monument. There are several sections to this monument spanning over about 30 miles. Our first stop was the Lava Lands Visitors Center where we drove up to the top of Lava Butte.
This cinder cone is a result of an eruption several thousand years ago. It is cool to see how the lava flowed for a mile or so from the cone where there is nothing but a lava field then the trees start again. 
Lava field meeting the trees in the distance
Next, we traveled about 20 minutes down the road to the Lava River Cave. At over a mile in length this lava tube offers self guided tours after a short orientation. After the orientation they offer lanterns for rent at $5, "That's how they get you" I tell Barb and we head off to the cave with our trusty flashlight in hand. 
Barb heading into the abyss. 

The temperature in the cave is a constant 42 degrees and once you are in the cave it is dark. I mean can't see the hand in front of your face dark. We headed off down the path taking in the sights of the lava tube. Once we got about 3/4 of the way to the end. I asked Barb "Is it my imagination or is the flashlight getting dimmer?" "Definitely getting dimmer she said". With that we started hightailing it back to the entrance. We did not want to be the poor saps too cheap to rent a lantern and needing to be guided out. We made it out without the flashlight dying but we were both sweating from double timing it out of the cave. How does one sweat when it is 42 degrees?!?!?

 Next up was Paulina Lake, one of two crater lakes in the area. If we are ever in this area again, we are camping there!


Adventures done, it was time to complete our journey to Forrest's house in Klamath Falls. Since we were here last year Forrest and Somer had a garage constructed that included a level spot for our camper, water and power! 


So we are all set for the next few weeks of visiting, adventures and a couple of projects!

25 comments:

  1. It was great to see you guys again and meet Zoey, thanks for changing your plans to make it possible!!

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    1. Next time lets not make it so long! Hope Dale had a great birthday!

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  2. Wow, you guys move fast. I would guess much easier with the smaller rig?

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    1. A lot easier. No more picking just the right gas stations and we can fit into any campsite we can find! So far we have not missed the extra room but knowing it is just for a few weeks at a time makes it easier.

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    2. That's what I was thinking also....

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  3. Bend Oregon area is one place we just have not got to yet...it is usually too hot or too smoky, and we are not up in Oregon in the spring time. Skruffy loved to pose in our pictures, I hope Indy does too. Bubba, not so much so.

    Could you even imagine having only a flintlock to hunt with and for protection back in those days??? Of course, if California had its way even flintlocks would be illegal. It will be interesting to see if that Federal Judge's ruling the other holds up making AR-15s legal to own in California.

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    1. I was thinking about that when we were looking at the flintlocks. I know some people still hunt with them for the challenge. I am told there is a definite delay between pulling the trigger and it actually firing.

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  4. That looks like a great trip! Looks like Zoey is going to be a good sport posing for pictures just like Daisy was. Nice that you got to see Dale and Ruth. Funny...a couple of days ago a guy in our ATV group was just telling us about the Buffalo Bill Museum gun display. Enjoy your family time!

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    1. You would like all the military weapons. You could plan a visit on your way to Arizona sometime. Come down through Glacier, hit Cody, Yellowstone and carry on south.

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  5. Zoey definitely won the parents lottery! Looks like a great trip.

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  6. That was a quick trip but you saw lots. Nice to have a break from "house stuff". lol Enjoy your time with your family. Zoey sure is a cutie.

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    1. It was hard to leave with so much to do but a break should remotivate us for when we get back.

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  7. Sounds like you had a great trip. I love Cody area and isn't the museum great. I spent a lot of fall days in Cody area hunting with buddies of mind over the years. Zoey seams to be a great dog 🐕

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    1. She is turning out to be a great little dog, can't wait to take her on more adventures!

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  8. You just visited many of our favorite spots. Devil's Tower is amazing. A great hike around it to see it up close and personal. We made several trips to Paulina Lake while spending a month in Bend. That Lava Cave IS dark! We were the only ones there when we visited. Didn't go far, too scary even with a flashlight. Of course, Yellowstone is one unique park of wonder. My favorite. Love Zoey. She is doing a great job as a model. Enjoy your time with Forrest and family.

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    1. We did not take the hike around the base, we will have to try that next time. If I remember correctly it is not too long or too grueling. We would love to spend an extended period at Yellowstone really exploring the back country and rivers.

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  9. If you head back through Bend, feel free to give us a shout. We are on 10 acres west of town. Will be rafting on the Grande Ronde for the next week or so, but then around.

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    1. We might be passing through Bend on our way back east. Maybe we could meet up for a beer or something on our way through. What is the best way to get a hold of you? You could message us on our FB page (JimandBarb Nelson) and we could exchange information.

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  10. Zoey is fitting right in to her new family. I love that trip you just took. One of my favorites. We didn't rent the lantern either, just used our phone flashlights. No, they did not last near long enough. Pretty cool cave though. Surprising how much there is to see in that area.

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    1. We could easily spend a week in that area exploring, camping and fishing and not see everything!

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  11. What an awesome trip...and you put some serious miles on! I envy your ability to camp anywhere and move quickly. Devils Towers remains high on our list and we could spend months in Yellowstone and never get bored. Such an amazing park. Glad you guys had fun!!

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    1. So many places, so little time! We would love to get back to both of those places and spend more time.

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  12. We were just at Devils Tower and Yellowstone. Loved them both. I would have loved to meet you both in person.

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    1. Let us know next time you are in our area, we are always open to have a beer somewhere!

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