Madison, Home Sweet Home

We arrive in Madison September 10th , a Sunday, and locate a campsite with electricity at Walker’s Point Recreation Area.  DMV is only open one day a week, on Tuesdays, so we have another two days to relax and make plans for where we will go once the residency and registration issue is taken care of.  The cicadas are singing and it’s very, very windy.

Come Tuesday morning we head into town and find that vehicle registration is in the assessor’s office and they advise me to get my driver’s license then come back.  

The photos do not do this justice. Both sides of the street have hanging baskets of pink flowers lining the sidewalks.  It’s just beautiful!

The DMV is located in one of the 4-H buildings in a different part of town, but it was fairly easy to find. The three gals come from Sioux Falls (or is it Pierre?) once a week and set up all the equipment ready for photos, faxing, and everything else. The place is packed. 

After a two hour wait it’s my turn and there is a problem regarding the judgement I sought from the court when I asked to take back my sons’ father’s last name. That legal paper wasn’t good enough, I also needed to prove I had been married in the first place.  Consequently I did not get the actual driver’s license, but did get my photo taken, instructions on what to send to the state capitol to complete the process, and a permit good for six months.

Vehicle registration went a bit smoother but not without a hiccup. She couldn’t find the correct category for Freedom, a Ford e150 Econoline conversion van.  The clerk ended up just choosing the lightest category in weight, printed out the registration papers, handed me the plates and we were done. I asked what I should do with the old license plates and the clerk said, “Whatever you want. They’re California plates and we don’t want ’em.”  All righty then … 

We stay another night, this time at Lake Herman so we can get a notary signature on the marriage license application.  This state park encompasses land settled by Herman Luce  in the late 1800s. This is what the park web site says:
History
Lake Herman has been a popular campsite for hundreds of years. Before white settlers entered the region, it was popular among Native Americans traveling to nearby Pipestone quarries.
The first settlers at Lake Herman were Herman Luce and his son, William. They settled the timberland on the east side of the lake and assumed squatters’ rights on June 17, 1870. The log cabin in the park was built for Herman Luce in the summer of 1871. The cabin is made of sturdy oak logs hand hewn to fit snugly and chinked to keep out the cold.
Luce’s cabin briefly served as a U. S. Land Office, with Herman Luce in charge. In 1977, the Herman Luce Cabin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

I want to stay longer in Madison, but camping fees are just too expensive. Before we head to Nebraska, though, I get my library card from a very sweet young lady working in Madison’s library.  Goodbye Madison, South Dakota.  See you in five years.

Hugs, Shawna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big and Bad

I was excited to see Wall Drug Store, but was sorely disappointed. You know how you have in your mind how something will look? I thought this would be one gigantic drug store. It wasn’t. It did take up practically a whole block, but it was divided into individual stores and was a complete tourist trap. I snapped a photo, mailed a card at the post office across the street and we left.

DSC_0001They must do a brisk business because I swear there was a billboard about every half mile along the highway.

It’s a hot day and a nice time to take in The Badlands when you can sit in the car with the air conditioning on. So we do.

Before we even get to the views these guys are backing up traffic and they aren’t moving. DSC_0004

The Badlands are a 244,000 acre National Park and the following photographs are of just the northwestern loop. Click on the photos to enlarge.

DSC_0032
Fries says, “Wake up, Burger!!! You’re going to miss seeing the old goats, you old goat!”

I do not know where we will lay our heads tonight, but anywhere will do. I am so tired.

As it turns out it’s a rest area and I ignore the three hour South Dakota rest area limit as others are doing. Interstate 90 is peppered with many small towns along it’s corridor: Kadoka, Murdo, Presho, Kennebec, Reliance, Chamberlain, Kimball.

The next morning we drive to Mitchell, one of the larger South Dakota towns and spend two nights in Walmart’s parking lot.  Not the best place to be but there are no boondocking opportunities on the eastern side of the state close to where we need to be, and really all I want to do is rest up a bit before we hit Madison. I did get a few chores done during the two days: Washing Freedom’s windows, taping some Reflectix to the cube cooler, changing out the PVC curtain rod pipe for the real deal, and using double-sided tape to adhere the dash cover to the dash. Goat dog likes to crawl onto the dash to bask in the sun when we’re stopped and it was forever askew.

to the dash when we’re stopped to lay in the sun and it was always out of place.

Thanks for following 2Dogs!  We’re so glad you’re along for the ride. Hugs, Shawna

Country Roads

 

September 4th  With Labor Day behind us we head out. Coming down out of the Big Horns we hit a 12 mile stretch of 8% grade. Geez, Wyoming’s steep grades keep getting steeper, but I am getting used to them and they don’t bother me. Much. 

Today’s travel takes us through Sheridan and Buffalo. Finding no place to stop for the night, it’s another rest area.  Not ideal, but you do what you have to do.

September 5th finds us in Gillette where we find a nice dog park and the boys play for a couple of hours. In Moorcroft the laundry gets done and we buy ice.  We plan to stay here tonight, but the last two rest areas have said no overnight parking. Later I find out that not too many people take that seriously.  Would they really ticket you if you said you were too tired to drive on?  I didn’t want to find out so we spent the night on a side street behind a motel with what looked like one guest.  Before we left the rest area I got this shot of the moon.

DSC_0003 (1)

I slept fitfully at first, worried that the law would come knocking on my door and telling me to leave.  I must have fallen into a pretty good sleep; after midnight not even the trains going by about a block away bothered me.  No one came knocking asking us to leave so I consider this first night of ‘stealth’ camping a success.

September 6th Today we will be in western South Dakota!  Almost there, but first we take in the Devil’s Tower.  Such an odd looking mountain; it was the perfect backdrop for the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind

DSC_0018

DSC_0020 (1)
The Backside of the tower that few photograph

On we go along Hwy 14 to Hwy 24 through some cute little towns along the way, drinking in the scenery and just taking our time.  It’s been a bit of a struggle “taking our time”, but I am getting used to it.  Hard to fathom there won’t be  many deadlines to meet or a schedule to keep anymore, but. I think I’ll get used to it!

We cross over into South Dakota at Belle Fourche where 24 turns to 34 that ends at Interstate 90. After fueling up we motor on into Mt. Rushmore National Park where I screw up and pass by the only turnout where all four presidents’ sculpted heads can been seen. The pay parking lot is full. I have to settle for a profile of Washington and let it go..

DSC_0025 (1)DSC_0027

DSC_0028
This was a rock formation near where we parked to get Washington’s profile. I call it The Eye of the Dragon

 

On tap for tomorrow is Wall Drugs and The Badlands.

Thanks for coming along!  Hugs, Shawna

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Stopping Moment

September 1st continues … After seeing Mom Moose and the little one, we head ever eastward searching for a camp.  Many miles up the road—or it could have been as few as ten—we come across the beginning of a construction zone and off to the right is a large pull out with another road taking off south up into forest.  A large sign alongside the road says “heavy truck traffic”. I see off in the distance what looks like large equipment.

I feed the boys and take them for their evening walk. I am prepared to call this pullout home for the nigh when a dark blue pickup truck comes down that road to the south, and when I flag them over to ask if there is camping up there their cautious answer is, “Yes, but there’s just parking areas and a fire ring.”  Hmmm, I’m thinking, “Perfect”. I thank them, gather the boys into the vome and off we go.  It’s not even a mile off the main highway and we are in dense lodge pole forest; camping spots everywhere, but far, far apart.  IDEAL!!

I am too tired to make a proper camp. I just want to go to bed,  We’re staying put for the entire Labor Day Weekend, so I leave most of that for tomorrow. I do want to get the dogs staked out and be ready for early morning when they need will need to be outside.

No sooner than I am ready for bed and the dogs go berserk. The kind of berserk barking that means something is going on.  I hurry out of the van and look in the direction they are looking and I see this:

I dash back inside and grab the camera and I am sure from these shots it wasn’t on the correct setting, but oh well. I follow his progress with my camera until he is beyond sight.  I go back inside.

It isn’t long before the dogs once again begin that insane barking. I look out to see Mr. Moose trotting toward the dogs.  Without thinking I am out the door, heart in my throat and feeling sick to my stomach, and attempt to get the leashes off  The Chiweenie Brothers’ stake.  They are a tangled mess. In my terror I grab the stake out of the ground, swoop the boys up in my arms and turn to Burger. He’s staked by himself so there’s no problem getting the leash off.  Burger being Burger he doesn’t want to lead and I end up dragging him to the van, which, by the way, isn’t very far.

They all get tossed in the van with me falling in right behind them heart pounding and sick with fear.  I dare to look behind me and Bullwinkle has veered off to the right and trots out of sight. I think I would have dropped to the floor had I not already been there.

In hind sight I think he was just trying to get away from people. There is a large group of about six or seven camp trailers in the camp next to me, the construction area with all it’s equipment and gravel mounds across the road … Yes, I think he had been rousted from his own area and he just wanted some peace and to be left alone, but at the moment all I could think of was he was going to trample the dogs and fling me to the wind with those antlers.

 

DSC_0032
Our Morning View in The Big Horn Mountains Camp

 

We had a good three day rest at this camp, but it’s time to move on.

Thanks for reading 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

Shell Canyon, Wyoming

September 1, 2017   We stop for fuel in Greybull and pick up some ice before heading out. We travel for a while before starting to climb, yet again, in elevation, and we come to Shell Canyon. What can I say about Shell Canyon other than WOW! Decently wide two-lane road gives way to a narrow two-lane road that slithers like a snake through this beautiful rock canyon … with no place to stop and take a picture until we burst out at the end of this short drive where there is a large dirt viewing area. I take a few photos of mountains, but that canyon. Wow.
DSC_0001
DSC_0002

The boys get a bit of walkabout and I feed them their evening meal before we tackle climbing the switch-backs to the top where there are plenty of places to pull over.
DSC_0007 - Copy
It’s getting late and we must find a place to park for the night at least, but a few days would be even better. Not only are we weary of driving, it’s Labor Day Weekend and I don’t want to be on the road.
Our first attempt is a campground a mile and half off the main road back down into a canyon. It’s full. On the way back to Highway I decide to check out the picnic area we passed coming in. Maybe, if no one is around we could sneak in a night here. Not a soul is around, but I catch movement out of the corner of my eye and it’s a moose! A little to the left is more movement and it’s her calf! I get some shots of them from inside the vehicle and decide we will move on and not disturb them.


We travel on to find a place to camp for the night. The day is getting old, but adventure isn’t through with us yet. To be continued …

Thank you for following 2Dogs’ adventures!  Hugs, Shawna

Eagle Creek Campground

After three days of driving pretty much all day long, all of us look forward to a couple of down days and Eagle Creek Campground provides it.

I motor in and find a lovely camp with table and fire ring right along the creek.  Also provided is a a bear box for food and smelly items as we are still in grizzly/black bear territory. . Even lotion will attract bear!

To make things even sweeter there is a mixed hedgerow of bushes and small trees that provide a bit of privacy from the main camp loop road.

With the boys on leash we walk back to the kiosk and fill out the envelope form and pay for our site. Half off with senior pass, $7.50 a night.

DSC_0064 (1)

Our view right outside our side doors

DSC_0040 (1)

Not much accomplished the first afternoon, but the next day, September 1st we explore a little bit. The boys have fun along the creek.

DSC_0062 (1)
The view behind us

DSC_0050 (2)

DSC_0051 (2)
The view in front of us

Before we leave on Saturday we have a visitor to the campground.

DSC_0039 (2)

The flora …

DSC_0061 (1)

We are pretty far behind date-wise due to being without internet from about Fontanelle  Creek Campground until we get to Gillette, Wyoming.  Working on catching up and being a bit more current!

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!  Hugs, Shawna

 

Yellowstone Part Two

 

The decision made to forego Mammoth—a huge disappointment, but the best decision for us I think—means we head out of the park toward the east entrance. This is the last leg of the big loop through Yellowstone and ends up being my favorite of it all. From the Fishing Bridge, over the Yellowstone River, begins the descent out of forest and into more grassland topography.


The drive along the Yellowstone is spectacular; the wide river, the islands within the river, the tall lodge pole pines. So beautiful, so peaceful.
The landscape slowly gives way to rolling hills and herds of bison.

You don’t realize how high in elevation you really are until you come to an observation parking area where you can look out over the valley.


The road leads us out of the high rolling grasslands and toward the last Yellowstone “Village”. The narrow, two-lane road isn’t particularly congested at this time and it’s a great thing! I notice traffic stopping in the westbound lane and I slow down. No one is behind me and what a blessing that turns out to be. On the west bound side, right along the road, RIGHT ALONG THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, is this big ol’ guy
DSC_0034 (1)
I instinctively grab the camera and get the shot! I wish I had gotten a shot of the look on the guy’s face in the car going west as his wife took photos; eyes wide, mouth open … and my face was the same! Incredible reaction, incredible shot. WOW!!!
As we leave this part of the park we climb in elevation a little bit. Fire raged through this end of the park a few years back.

DSC_0038 (2)

We travel along Yellowstone Lake for several miles and a thunderstorm gathers.

DSC_0035 (3)DSC_0037 (3)

We get to Sylvan Pass,  8530 feet, and begin a descent of 7% grade for five miles. It’s narrow, twisting two-lane road that hugs the mountain on the westbound side with a sheer drop into the canyon on the eastbound side. Heart in my mouth we gear down and take it slow enough to cause cussing I’m sure in the vehicles behind us but that’s okay. I spy one too many holes broken through the guard rail to care what they might think.
As we level out and leave Yellowstone behind us we find a national forest campground and get our spot for the night.

Thanks for reading our blog! Hugs, Shawna, The Chiweenie Brothers, and ol’ Burger the nomad goat dog.