Saturday, 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.
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!
We enjoyed BBQ beef on bun, baked beans, potato salad, tomato wedges and pink lemonade.
The building where the food was served filled up quickly and we joined others outside under a covered structure to enjoy our food.
Between 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!!The 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.
We 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!
While 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!
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. Here 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.
We 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.
These are from our drive leaving Colorado going to Wyoming.
Sunset our first night in Wyoming – way much more beautiful than this picture shows. The following night there was one very similar. Another visitor center we stopped at in Wyoming. Lots of people were climbing Independence Rock there. It was part of the Oregon Trail! This is a panoramic picture showing all around the visitors center. Click on it to see it in panoramic view.
More of our drive – they bale their hay in rectangular box form. Really different than the round bails we are use to seeing. It 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.
Thursday, 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!!!
After 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.
Here’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 ore 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!
Then we headed down to where all the action was taking place.
That 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!
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 – Roy absolutely loves the gold mining television shows. Whether its gold mining from the ocean or on land, he watches it! He got me interested in the show Gold Rush a couple of seasons ago. One of the mining company owners on the show is Parker Schnabel, a young man who inherited the business from his precious grandpa.
They mine pure gold in Alaska. In Colorado they mine gold ore and use a long process of crushing and then using chemicals on it, but what we saw at the second mine tour of the day looks a lot like what we see on the TV show.
The first mine we went to today was the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.
After purchasing our tickets in the Country Store we had time to look around a bit and we did. All around the surrounding areas are still standing, though deteriorating, abandoned mines. Those are pretty interesting to see! They have on display old mining relics which were very cool as you can see from the pictures below.
This was one of the other visitor’s car which was very neat!The tour cost was $20 per adult and lasts about an hour. Mollie was the first woman in the United States to own a gold mine. This was a non-active mine. Hasn’t been producing since 1961. The tour took us 1000 feet under the ground in a small (4’x4′ is stretching the size) metal elevator at 5 miles per hour. 6 full sized adults with jackets and hard hats on squeezed, rather difficulty, into the tiny elevator for the ride down. There are two elevator cages connected to each other, one orange and one yellow.
I thought the sign in front of the elevator at the surface was quite funny so I got Roy to pose in front of it!
We had a wonderful guide, Alicia, who is a fourth generation miner. She knew everything and share so much with us. We went through the chronological advancing of mining techniques at various stations along the tour route. She demonstrated each of them and as the technology advanced so did the loudness of the tools!
The tool storage area. Pretty sure they have one on each level and there are ten levels within this mine.
The first tools used in the mine were hammers and chisels and dynamite. The next two pictures below is of the next stage. The green stuff is copper on the walls and ceilings through part of the mine. This is the path we walked for over an hour learning about underground mining operations
The pile of rocks e were able to pick through as our take away souvenir. We got an extra one for Madisyn. They had quartz, iron, and gold in our pieces.. This is very important in the operation of the a mine. A universally used set of bell rings is used in all mines to communicate. This is posted next to the bell and a light is also there in case someone can’t hear the bell, hopefully they can see the light bulb light up! This was the little tram we took for part of the tour, sure was nice to rest our feet for a bit!! The type of mining uses chemicals to remove everything from the gold unlike the Alaskan mining where they get pure gold. This was a very interesting tour yet I felt it was overpriced compared to the tour we got a the next stop. I’m glad we went though and would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about the type of mining they did there.
When we left Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine we drove over to the area’s Heritage Center to check it out. A beautiful building with lots of information about the history of gold mining in the area. There were over 500 gold mines in that area at one time in the past.
I think I’ll stop here before moving on to our next stop which was my favorite of the day. Next we went to the Cripple Creek & Victor Mining company which is still in operation and which we got to tour from lots of different levels. It was a great experience and I look forward to sharing it with ya’ll tomorrow!
Monday, June 29, 2015 – Saturday evening we were invited to join the circle of folks under Larry’s tent Larry is our neighbor across the way who is from Natchitoches, Louisiana. Lots of nice people here from all over the country. They brought some neat snacks I’d never eaten before and were kind enough to share with us. One unusual one was a smoked salmon dip and another was a sausage made from lamb. Both quite delicious. Larry brought out his portable campfire, so cool! We all moved up a bit and got nice and warm by the fire.
The pictures following this are of the wonderful folks we visited with, and of Larry’s portable campfire which did the trick! The first is a panoramic picture so click on it and it will open in a new window.
The night before Larry lit up his laser light which throws tiny green dots (that’s his laser color) all over the trees, ground and even on Roy and Larry standing in front of it. PJ lives nearby and she had the green laser light shining on her 5th wheel! Both very cool looking. Of course Roy now wants to get one for us. Actually he wants one green, one red and one blue……… We may even use it on our house in Amite at Christmas time. Three of the pictures are of the green laser lights.
One of the things they recommended we see, which we haven’t seen before, are the area gold mines. This area has a deep history of gold mining so that’s what we did today and what I’ll share with you on Tuesday and Wednesday.
We’ll be leaving Diamond Campground in Woodland Park, Colorado Tuesday morning headed north. We will probably stay at a Walmart Tuesday night and then head to Glenrock, Wyoming Wednesday morning.
Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Roy and I may have found our favorite campground so far – Diamond Campground! It is so comfortable here in a naturally beautiful setting. We are parked amongst several seasonal residents who are all friendly and welcoming.
Several of their lawns are decorated with flowers, flags and other decorations I mentioned in my last post. I could really imagine coming here every year and staying a while. The temperature here is way below what it was in Monument even though that is only a few miles away. High yesterday was low 60s and low was high 40s!!! Very weird for being so close to where it was in the high 80s but we like it. Roy obviously enjoyed it here today!
Below are some pictures I took while out for a walk today. I got to visit with the three ladies in one of the pictures who are living across the street from us while we are here. These pictures are from some of the same spots after the solar lights start shining in the evening.
During the day on Saturday we drove into town, Woodland Park, Colorado. It is a lovely town with beautiful views of the mountains. Here’s some pictures we took today. We bought some over sized donuts at the Donut Mill which is one of the pictures below.
We stopped at a Safeway Grocery to get stocked up on fresh fruits, vegetables and a little meat. I’ve started cooking fresh vegetables (instead of canned or frozen) with our meat and picked up some good ones today! Tonight we’re having BBQ ribs and fresh brocolli!! Yum!
We left Colorado Heights RV Resort in Monument, Colorado Thursday morning. We headed over to Diamond Campground in Woodland Park, Colorado. This was a 38 mile trip. It was that far because you can’t go over the mountain to get there you have to go around it which makes it much further. We never have mountains to go around in Louisiana so this is a new driving consideration.
We were only able to stay at Colorado Heights 12 days out of our usual 14 days at a Deluxe park in the Coast to Coast System. The reason is that most Coast to Coast parks reserve several days before and after a holiday (July 4th) for their home park visitors. Our home park with Coast to Coast is TLC RV Resort on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. Between Tuesday and Wednesday we saw at least half of the RVs parked here leave. The locals will start coming in and stay until after July 4th.
The drive to Diamond Campground as beautiful. We are now more “in the mountains” as opposed to being “near the mountains” like we were at Colorado Heights.
Diamond Campground is a Passport America park in Woodland Park, Colorado where we will stay for five days. We pay half their normal charge through our Passport America membership. Our daily rate at this park is $18 per day. I would highly recommend joining if you haven’t. Their membership and annual renewal is somewhere around $50 and you’ll save that the first couple of days you use the membership.
Diamond Campground is a lovely park. Several people live here all Summer and have attractively decorated their yards with flowers, rocks, flags, solar lights. At night their yards come to life with all sorts of solar decorations. We saw a deer (possibly a moose) hanging around the area across the street from us for a few hours in the evening. We will only be here 5 days but I’m liking it a lot already. Oddly enough, as close as we are now to where we were at Colorado Heights it is much cooler here. I love it!
Our most recent travel plan was to head towards Gunnison, CO when we leave Woodland Park, CO. We had reservations there but have since cancelled them. We’ve been in Colorado for almost 4 weeks and now we feel it’s time to head north to Wyoming and Montana. We have until early October to see the northern US before snow starts in that area. So that’s the new plan – always subject to change! Part of this new plan includes a week of boondocking somewhere in Yellowstone Park! If anyone has stayed in Yellowstone Park I welcome any suggestions for great places to boondock.
My heart goes out to the families of the nine church members killed last week in South Carolina. I am more than greatly impressed with the way their fellow church members and towns folk have handled this horrible tragedy. The love in their hearts could only come from God. Their faith in God, along with people just using their brains for a change, made this a tragedy that I hope other towns will learn from on how to handle it. God is the only source of strength that can get you through times like this. Just knowing that all nine of the deceased were at a Wednesday night Bible Studies tells me that they were probably all Christians. The moment they died they are blessed to get to live with God FOREVER. WOW is the best word I can use to express that!
We’ve begun Skypeing with Madisyn and Chip and it works out really well. We’d love to Skpe with any of ya’ll that can and want to. Skype is free. You can see us and we can see you when we talk. Download it and learn about it. Then let us know!! I don’t know enough about it to walk you through it but if you can figure it out we’d love to visit!
Ya’ll have a great weekend! I’ll be doing my 6 hours of work for RVillage and we’ll be checking out the new area we are in. RVillage has over 25,000 members. If you RV please join – it’s free! We found a great church in Monument (Monument Hill SBC Church) so we may go back there this Sunday. The sermon topic will be a Christian’s faith vs the World’s faith. Sounds very interesting and the pastor was really good last week. We also loved the small church feel and the fact they sang hymns we knew!