I guess I should know by now that lines on a map don’t reflect reality when it comes to elevation and terrain. US 14 from Ranchester, WY to Cody, WY doesn’t look too bad on the page; in fact the road surface and width are great. However, this is a steep grade up and down the Big Horn Mountains. It reminded me of Highway 12 in Idaho; miles and miles of trees, granite and wondering if we would ever get to the top. I was carefully monitoring the temperature gauges for the engine and transmission on the Chevy. I guess the recent oil change and complete transmission service paid off. Temperatures did rise slightly, but nowhere near as high as they have in past experiences. We ran into a fellow “Alpenliter” at a pullout viewpoint about 3/4 of the way up the hill. He and his wife have been full timing in their 2001 Alpenlite for about 3 years and love every day of it. He has installed a solar panel system that works very well for him. I picked up a lot of great information from him that will be useful when we enter our full time phase.
The KOA in Cody is pretty ordinary. For some reason unknown to me, we got a free upgrade to a “deluxe” site, meaning we had a patio slab with a patio table and four swivel chairs. However, we were only in Cody because I had some work assignments in the area. It took me a whole day to visit 3 remote natural gas processing stations. My final assignment was in town and I did that one on the way out of town in the morning.
We pulled into the East Entrance of Yellowstone Park about 11:00 am. By the time we could see Yellowstone Lake the air was heavy with smoke from a fire many miles to the south of our position. We pulled over for lunch near Fishing Bridge. Gave the pooches a chance to walk in the woods and check out the good smells that dogs seem to relish in. About 30 minutes down the road from our lunch break, traffic came to a complete halt and we couldn’t see why. After a few minutes traffic started moving ever so slowly and then we got the first glimpse of the cause. It was a “bison jam” on the highway. Buffalo were on the road just sauntering along; seemingly oblivious to the cars and RVs all around them.
A little further down the road, Rosie got this great shot of buffalo cooling off in the Yellowstone River.
We arrived at Henry’s Lake in Idaho about 3:30 pm. Rosie loves Henry’s Lake because of the extensive hiking trails nearby. I like it because it is a popular fishing destination. This is an Idaho State Park which means the sites are large and the fee is low; $19.08 for 50 amp electrical service. I threw a couple of lines in the water, but (as seems to be normal) no fish were interested in my offerings. Rosie was on a hike with the dogs when she noticed a Moose Crossing sign. She was really surprised when a cow moose with a calf came ambling by. She was afraid that Annie would start barking and making a scene which could agitate mama moose; but Annie strangely enough was silent for a change. Maybe she realized she was not safe in the back seat of the truck and that really big animal might hurt her.
After four weeks and one day on the road, we returned to Idaho Falls about 11:00 am. After much reflection on where we are in this stage of our lives and what we want to do with the rest of our time; we have decided to embrace a full time RV lifestyle. We had planned to spend the winter in warmer climates this year as a final test of whether we were ready for this new adventure. However, we have come to the mutual conclusion that RVing is what we want to do for as long as our health holds out. So we will put the camper in storage for the winter and start the process of divesting ourselves of our house and most of the “stuff” we have accumulated over the years. Sometime in the late spring or early summer of 2012, we will begin our new adventure. That means I will get to write more blogs about our new life. Until then, thanks for following along.
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