07.04.15 God bless America! Fourth of July BBQ and Rodeo in Big Piney, Wyoming

Patriotic_Fireworks_ClipartSaturday, July 4, 2015 -America is living strong and well in Wyoming.  From the local BBQ open free to everyone, to the All American Rodeo today we saw a lot of America’s best in these welcoming and warm people.  We sang the National Anthem while a young lady on horseback carried the American flag around the arena.

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This was followed by a real prayer!  How sad that we live in a country now where prayer is not always said before every public event.  Today felt so wholesome and American, I was delighted to be a part of it.

At least a thousand people ate at the Big Piney Chuckwagon BBQ today.  It was held at the Sublette County Fairgrounds in a beautifully set up building.  Whole families – grandparents, children and grandchildren – came to the event in droves!

20150704_110155 20150704_113440 20150704_113547We enjoyed BBQ beef on bun, baked beans, potato salad, tomato wedges and pink lemonade.

20150704_111004The building where the food was served filled up quickly and we joined others outside under a covered structure to enjoy our food.

20150704_112645Between the BBQ and the Rodeo we had about an hour so we drove down the road  to an amazing huge country style store that offered anything you could want.  From plumbing, electrical, school supplies, sewing supplies, party decorations, children and adult clothing and bathroom supplies and a lot more.  It’s not a Walmart or anything like that but we enjoyed seeing everything and spending some time there. There must have been a thousand antlers out front – for sale!!20150704_122207 20150704_120704The Rodeo was at the same Sublette County Fairgrounds and featured mostly high schoolers and a few kids.  There was Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Saddle Broncing, Break Away Roping, Team Roping, Open Barrels and Youth Barrels plus a Calf Scramble with the children.

20150704_124833 20150704_125753We sat in the stands for about half the rodeo and after baking to a golden red (even with our Saints umbrella!) decided to get in the truck and drive up on the hillside where we could sit in the a/c or in the nice breeze up there.  Roy took out a folding chair, laid back and watched the rodeo from there!

20150704_125031 20150704_125103 20150704_125326 20150704_131803 20150704_133401 20150704_142245 20150704_144123 20150704_144251While it wasn’t professional rodeo people, it was great fun to watch and be part of the Wyoming culture.  Today was absolutely the best I’ve felt about America in a long time.  My heart breaks that it is this way.

After the rodeo we headed back to our RV but took a side trip through the backroads up, down and around the mountains.  I’ll share that adventure with ya’ll tomorrow!

Ya’ll come back, ya’ hear!

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07.03.15 Thoughts about Colorado and a beautiful drive through Wyoming!

colorado_ref_2001 Friday, July 3, 2015

Some parting thoughts I want to share about Colorado

The mountains and rock formations are astonishingly beautiful

The roadside grass does not seem to get cut – just lots of wildflowers and bushes growing all around!

The people in Colorado aren’t especially friendly. We are from the south and in the south everyone smiles, waves to each other and at least acknowledge when someone talks to you. In Colorado no one look at us, smiled, acknowledged when we said excuse me passing by them in the aisle. The extremely friendly folks we met at Diamond Campground were from southern parts of the country so it made the difference seem even larger between Colorado residents and the southerners.

There is more to see and do in the part of Colorado we were in, than any other place we’ve been to.

The Christmas tree like pine trees are just as beautiful as those in Minnesota but they are abundantly more plentiful in Colorado.

Most all the buildings we saw after leaving Seibert, CO were designed to fit into the naturally beautiful scenery.

Alongside almost every major road was a creek with water running over rocks which was a very calming affect.

Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado we never saw anyone smoking. They also have very strict laws about where you can and can’t smoke it. It’s also illegal to drive under the influence.

It is such a beautiful natural peaceful setting in Colorado that I can’t imagine why anyone would need to smoke marijuana except for maybe medical reasons.

Colorado is vastly different in scenery from it’s east side to it’s west side.

Colorado can be vastly different in temperature depending on how near you are to mountains. We went from high 80s at one park to high 60s at a park just 10 miles away. We obviously preferred the high 60s!

I think it is because we are at such a high elevation, but there is hail in the rain almost every time it rains. It doesn’t rain long but it’s quite powerful when it does.

This happened last night in Wyoming too. Dora’s okay but other folks in our park had varying damage to their RVs. divider hot pink butterfliesHere are some pictures of Dora, Boots and the Explorer’s journey from Colorado to Wyoming. It was a beautiful trip going from the mountains, rocks, red rocks and pine trees in Colorado to the mountains, different looking rocks, not nearly as many pine trees ad just a very different scene in Wyoming.

20150630_143957We first stopped at the Southeast Wyoming Visitors Center where I discovered a beautiful place with lots of scenes depicting Wyoming life. Here are a few of them.

20150630_144754southeast-wyoming-welcome20150630_144914 20150630_144941 20150630_145247These are from our drive leaving Colorado going to Wyoming.

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Sunset our first night in Wyoming – way much more beautiful than this picture shows. The following night there was one very similar. 20150630_210047Another visitor center we stopped at in Wyoming. Lots of people were climbing Independence Rock there. It was part of the Oregon Trail! 20150701_093355 20150701_093405This is a panoramic picture showing all around the visitors center. Click on it to see it in panoramic view. 20150701_093508 20150701_093647 20150701_093652 20150701_093808 20150701_093947 20150701_094012 20150701_094034

More of our drive – they bale their hay in rectangular box form. Really different than the round bails we are use to seeing. 20150701_101601 20150701_101653 20150701_111218It is wonderful being able to look out our big windows in the RV where the land is so open and seeing all the way from west to east at the same time. Driving in Louisiana can be pretty but the sights we are seeing in the West are exceptional! Can’t wait to get closer to Yellowstone tomorrow where we’ll be for two weeks! One week in a park and one week boondocking!

A little Wyoming fact. Wyoming is the least populated state in the mainland US. We’re driving through it right now and after hours of driving I think we’ve seen 10 people/houses.

wyomingYa’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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07.02.15 Hello Wyoming!! and the Cripple Creek & Victor Mining Tour

11011841_471660799649559_1369358185463382144_nThursday, July 2, 2015 – We arrived in Wyoming Tuesday evening, making our way to the Rawlins, WY Walmart for a overnight stay. We were given permission to stay overnight and went sound asleep very quickly.  A beautiful cool breeze came through the windows and I slept like a rock!   We drove much longer than we usually do in one day so that the drive today would not be overly rough.

We left Rawlins, WY in the morning and headed for Glenrock, WY where we are now staying for two night at Platte River RV Park. We’ve driven 1568 miles since we left Louisiana.  We plan to do nothing today and tomorrow but I want to share with you the adventure we had at the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine.  It was the highlight of our day on Monday.

Okay, if you have watched the television show, Gold Rush you probably know who Parker Schnabel is (other than having read about him yesterday!).  You can understand my comment when half way through the tour I said to Roy “This must be what it’s like to live Parker’s life.”  We were in the middle of an active mining site with bigger than ginormous dump trucks all around!  If you don’t get it, then watch the show!!!

victor signAfter leaving the Heritage Center, we headed over to the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum where the mine tour starts.  It is only $7.50 per person for this tour which was quite different from the other tour but this mine could have charged double what they charged and it would have been worth it.

This tour takes 13 people in a nice air conditioned bus from downtown Victor, CO to the active mining site.  The tour guide was exceptional and we had three young boys with us which made it even more interesting with all their questions!  We all watched a brief safety video and then put on our bright yellow and orange safety vest, safety glasses and bright yellow hard hat. We were all so cute!!

Here’s me waiting for the tour to start in pretty little downtown Victor, CO.

20150629_122738Here’s a little information about the company that does the mining we saw. Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company (CC&V) has been mining gold in the Cripple Creek Mining District since 1976, followed by large-scale surface mining, which grew with the start of production at their current mining operation, called the Cresson Project.

Engineering for the modern Cresson Mine began in 1993.  CC&V is a low-grade, surface mining operation. The majority of Barry Staver ©2012 www.barrystaver.comore is treated using a valley-type, heap-leach process to recover the gold. According to the internet, hea p leachig is an industrial mining process to extract precious metals, copper, uranium, and other compounds from ore via a series of chemical reactions that absorb specific minerals and then re-separates them after their division from other earth materials.  To learn more about heap leaching you can go here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heap_leaching

CC&V conducts over 3000 tours each year.  Last year the mine produced over 200,000 ounces of gold and over 100,000 ounces of silver.  It is a massive operation and we went all through it!!!

Our tour took us all around, stopping first where we could look down into the mining pit.  We also saw up close one of the massive hauling trucks that are used.  We got to climb up in it (lots of steps) play around and take pictures of and from the truck and from the fence overlooking the mine it.  Here are some of the pictures!

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Talk about a Monster Truck! This thing was unbelievable!
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Everyone climbing and walking around the giant rock hauler. It is way bigger than this picture can capture.
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A zoomed in picture of the active mining site. Those tiny looking trucks you see in the picture are just like the giant truck in a previous picture.
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Another zoomed in picture from a different view.
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Looking down into the mine from the crushing area
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Looking down into this enormous mine from above. You can see the various levels of ground they dug through to get to where they are mining today.
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Roy, looking very official, in front of the beautiful mountains and the pit in the distance.
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Looking down at the pit from way up on top of the monster hauling truck. That was cool!
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Roger, our tour guide in the white hard hat!
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Our nifty little tour bus waiting for us while we explored the mine!
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The company sign that greets you when arriving at the crushing area.
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The board in the crusher control room where they write their goals and how they actually did.
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Looking down inside the crusher where some of the rocks are now powdery and some still need to be crushed.
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Another picture of the crusher area that shows how far most of the way to the top is from the bottom where they are working.
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Rosalyn, me, checking out the mining site from high up on the crushing station.
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The big machine that carries the rocks along from where they are dumped to where they are crushed.
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Roy listening to the tour guide while standing in front of the portion of the mine working area where they crush the rocks.

Then we headed down to where all the action was taking place.

20150629_141150 20150629_141144 20150629_141043That ends our tour of this massive, impressive and totally cool gold mining site.  Both of the tours we took were very different but gave a great overall view of mining in the past and present day.

Tomorrow I’ll share our observations about Colorado and a bunch of pictures Roy and I took of our trip from Colorado into Wyoming.  Totally different states scenic wise. We are inching towards the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.  If anyone knows of a great boondocking location near or inside Yellowstone we’d love to hear from you!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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