3 More States Added to my Destinations

With the whirlwind of just getting back from Vegas, then leaving immediately for North Dakota, functioning on two hours sleep Sunday, my internal clock lost a day. All day Sunday I thought it was Saturday. When U2 came on the radio I thought to myself that Sherry was probably seeing them live at that moment. I forgot that it was Jay’s birthday and didn’t even wish him a good one until the day was nearly done. I wondered why some shops were closed. I wondered why there wasn’t more traffic on some highways. I was just all screwed up timewise from the minute I got up at 3am on Sunday morning.

We left Grand Junction in darkness and I regretted that I hadn’t thought to take some pictures of our camper in the spot during daylight on Saturday. Jay had gotten up & drove across town to pick up Darrin before we hooked up the camper. They got back around 4am and I already had most of the travelling stuff taken care of inside the camper. At about 4:50 we pulled onto the now familiar I-70 route over the mountains toward Denver, only this time we wouldn’t be going all the way, just as far as Rifle where we’d veer off and start heading north toward Wyoming.

I’d never been to Wyoming and I was looking forward to seeing it. I pictured scenes from “A River Runs Through It” and as we got into northern Colorado there were many places that looked like something from that movie. Unfortunately they must have filmed it in northwestern Wyoming (which Jay insists is gorgeous) because I didn’t see it anywhere on our route! I wish now that I had taken more pictures in Colorado, but I was saving them for the even more beautiful Wyoming that I anticipated. Oh well, live and learn … here a few early morning shots from crossing the mountains a new way in Colorado. Click on any of the pics to make them bigger.

The sun hasn't even emerged from behind the mountains yet, but there's blue sky in the distance.
whizzing by ranches and farmland
Another gorgeous Colorado morning ... they happen daily šŸ™‚
Wyoming state line.

I cannot even describe to you the excitement I felt as we climbed that hill toward the Wyoming state line and I thought we’d reach the top and something even more beautiful than everything I’d already seen would stretch out before me and take my breath away … I was psyched!

And then there was a whole day of pretty much nothing but this.

Here’s the brutal truth about Wyoming … they have NO trees! I mean like NONE! Maybe I’d been thinking of the wrong Robert Redford movie, but I didn’t remember “A River Runs Through It” like this. Unless somebody planted them, they are fairly treeless. What they do have a lot of is ghost towns and oil wells … not together obviously, but scattered throughout. If Al had not told us which towns were still towns where you could still buy fuel, we might have been in trouble on this trip. I have never seen so many falling down boarded up ramshackle stores, restaurants and motels in all my life. This is the America that’s hurting, big time. You can see where they must have been bustling at one time, but no more. You can see where the land has been drilled to death and then abandoned. It’s really sad. And then the further north you go you come across hundreds of acres that are currently being drilled, where the towers would light up the fields like thousands of Christmas trees at night as far as the eye can see.

The best thing I saw the whole way!

Yes, it’s blurry but it was the best thing I saw on the whole trip by far. Shot using the zoom through a bug gut stained windshield, but it still makes me smile and I’ll tell you why. That is a flat bed truck with a dog on the back. We’re driving along this never freaking ending field and this truck passes us with this crazy ass dog lounging on the tool box, one leg leisurely hanging over the side, his head hooked in under the rollbar like he’s wearing it like it a seatbelt, rested on the cab so he can see where he’s going, ears and tongue flapping the wind, just having a great old time. Everyone busted out laughing, it was the most comical thing ever! By the time I grabbed the camera he had strolled to the back to get a different view, but I’m sharing the pic anyway, just so I never forget this crazy moment.

It was pretty much "No passing" all the way, except for a passing lane here & there.
Early on, the monotony of rolling fields was occasionally broken up by small or large mountains.
Some of it was really pretty.
Not Colorado pretty, but ...
All along the road there were snow fences, to make sure they don't get so much snow blown on the highway during the winter that the plows can't get through.
The wind is brutal out here, you can see the way it has shaped the rocks.
There's fence here but a lot of it is "open range" meaning you may round a turn to find a hundred head of cattle, wild horses, deer, elk, etc. crossing the road.
I kept thinking the person who wrote Home on the Range must've lived here.
Impossible to get photos of the antelope, but they were EVERYWHERE! Thousands and thousands of them.
Is that a river running through it?!
Is it?!
It is!
It is!
A bridge & everything!
Farewell river!
Hello clouds.
And that's it for Wyoming ... South Dakota state line.

So literally I took a pic of anything that rose up out of the fields in all of Wyoming. Well, except for the occasional town, ghost town or bunches of oil rigs. And I thought the drive to Nebraska was boring! Aye yi yi! At least 3/4 and maybe even more of this trip was spent in Wyoming. I was very excited to leave it behind us. You really can only get so excited for antelope and magpies (though they are a very pretty bird). I purposely did not take any pictures of the cows, horses or donkeys to traumatize Stacy. They were there though, wild and roaming free.

So I was super-excited to see what South Dakota might hold that would be different from the treeless fields of Wyoming!

And then there was this ...
Totally the same landscape as Wyoming, minus a few big hills, small mountains.
Onward to North Dakota state line

Mind you, there were things to see in South Dakota, like Mount Rushmore and Deadwood, which we were really close to but we had to turn north and it was all a little south of us. Still, it’s not that far away from where we’ve landed, a couple hours drive, so maybe should there ever be time off or just time in general we’ll go visit. Jay has already seen Mount Rushmore, of course, he’s been through all these states before, but I don’t think he’s ever visited Deadwood and I think he’d enjoy that as much as I would. It would make a nice little vacation for us sometime.

We drove north to the interstate and then started heading east toward Dickinson. Darren called someone here to find out exactly where they had the campers at. We were told to take the 3rd Dickinson exit, drive north about 5 miles and we wouldn’t be able to miss them as they’re the only campers out here. It’s actually closer to 6 miles, so we did get a little concerned that somehow in the nothingness we had managed to miss them, but they really were impossible to miss. This is not a real campground. It’s a place where the company has set up places for RVs.

These are our two trees & further down the lane is a farmhouse owned by the guy whose renting the company the space.
Those telephone poles are running along the main road.
A couple of campers & trucks & a kind of amazing sky.
Our new home, backed up against one of the shops, parked too close to the Mexicans behind us taking up all their front yard, but they've since left to another job.
The owners kids dirtbike and sky.
And more sky, standing in front of the camper looking back the lane to the main road.

I don’t know why they call Montana Big Sky Country, cause there’s some freaking big sky going on here … but I haven’t been to Montana (yet) so maybe it can get bigger.

And that’s all the pics I have for now. As trips go, this one was pretty boring, not a lot to see. The verdict is still out on my thoughts about this place, it’s too soon. Dickinson is definitely booming though, help wanted signs in every window. The supermarket is charging $7 for a pound of bacon and $16 for a tin of coffee. I WILL be returning to my couponing ways for sure, though they don’t have any of the chains here that do the double coupon thing, so deals are never gonna be great. Even using coupons I’ll be lucky to get costs down to Grand Junction prices. And I’ve learned when you see something you want to buy, buy it! Because no matter if they have two aisles of it in stock you can go back in an hour and they’ll be sold out if the boys come in from the fields & decide to buy.

On the bright side of things, they do have an airport here and I’m pretty darn close to the Canadian border šŸ™‚

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