As much as we enjoyed our stay in Rapid City, it was time to move on. On July 5th, we packed up, and as Bev was retracting the jacks, I noticed a big oil leak. We just had an oil change in Colorado so we weren’t expecting that. We called a couple of places but could not get an appointment to have it checked out. We decided to change the oil filter and see if that fixed the problem. (The oil was dripping off the filter). Lo and behold, after taking an oil bath, the new Fram filter worked perfectly. The one the shop used was bigger than the original equipment and I believe that is a problem with this engine. We will just have to remember to insist on OEM oil filters when having a shop do an oil change.
We were a little late, but made it out of the campground by 11am. Our destination was Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in Utah, but first we had to get there. The majority of the drive was on secondary roads. Steep, 9% downgrade roads with lots of switchbacks. Bev just loved driving them in low gear and staring off into the abyss…not. In addition, there are not many travel centers to choose from. The one we stopped at was not very good. Beau was sticking out on the road while I was filling up. Plus, it was not only shorter, but it was tighter than it looked on the satellite image. Oh, well, doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. We finally made it to Casper, Wyoming for the night.
The next morning, we left at 7:30am from Walmart and headed south. We decided to stop at the Independence Rock State Historic Site (and also a rest area) for a hike and breakfast. Independence Rock was yet another landmark for the Westward Expansion. The emigrants had to try to make it here by Independence Day to ensure they could get through the mountains before the snow started. It turned out to be a large lumpy granite extrusion. There is a nice trail all the way around. You can also scramble up it but we chose not to since we had the dogs with us. The dogs got a nice walk and when we returned to the RV, we all had breakfast.
The rest of the day was fine, until we pulled off I-80 to head south to the campground. Bev had developed a really bad migraine from the altitude (Yes, only 20 months have passed since we left Colorado but it appears it didn’t take her long to lose her acclimation to high places!), so she was really feeling awful while driving the last hour. When we finally pulled into the campground, we just went to our site and waited for Bev to feel better. I disconnected the Jeep while waiting. After an hour or so, she was back to being somewhat better, so we really took stock of our hideous campsite. It was a pull through, but with a tight curve and trees that were close in and needed trimming. We had to really maneuver the RV to get it where we could open the slides and not hit anything. Then leveling was horrible. The back end had to be jacked up over a foot. I used all our jack pads to get it supported. Not a thrill! In the pic below you’ll see me standing under one of the slide outs. No folks, that is not supposed to be that high. After 2 hours, we got Beau parked and level. Then we had to do the rest of the setup. Ugh.
The park itself is wonderful. It is a large reservoir with several boat ramps, however, swimming was not as easy. If you can get to the water, you can swim. Most of the shoreline is two feet or higher, so not exactly good candidates. We drove around a little and saw bighorn sheep, deer, some kind of horned toad, and a badger. It was very pretty and relaxing for us.
The only thing we really had on the schedule we wanted to do was down the road in the town of Vernal, Utah. When we were here last year, visiting Dinosaur National Monument, we had fun finding little dinosaur features. Something about being a dinosaur fossil haven makes them identify with dinosaurs here. Go figure (tongue in cheek humor). We wanted to get some pictures of the dinos. And here they are.
That last pic is obviously not a dinosaur. It’s a Polyphemus moth. Huge in size with a 4-6 inch wing span. We stumbled across him while giving the car a bath. All in all we had a real relaxing stay. The only problem, besides the hideous site, was the lack of internet service. Cell phones worked, but no internet. We were back to driving 10 miles down the road to get a signal strong enough to do anything. We were glad to get back on the road again July 12, where we pointed the RV in the direction of Idaho. Stay tuned for our next traveling adventure.