Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The Big Push

So here we are on the 2 last days of the trip.  We are heading to Ft. Collins, CO.  There is a KOA in Ft Collins that is worthy of talking about.

At first, I was a little concerned about the area.  When we pulled in, it looked like we were going to be staying  in a cement plant.  The driveway extended way back to an entrance, where it opened up into a really large facility.

  It would make a great survivalist compound.  I haven't told them yet but I may annex it under imminent domain and call it "Rootistan."
  I have had offers from several of my readers to engage in a polygamist colony, if I will work on their trailers.  That sounds fair to me since I have no other skills to offer.
  Here is a little something to whet your whistle ladies.....I am gonna block out my eyes to protect my identity.
Anyway, control yourselves ladies.

The facility was pretty cool.  The pads were all concrete and super level.  It had full hookups and wifi.  Now the wifi was sketchy, but they were working on some new hardware to try and remedy that.  They had a really nice playground for the chitlins.  It has a small lake, paddle boats, miniature golf etc.  The problem is......that costs extra.  The rates are pretty steep comparatively, so I figured that was all included.  Nope.  So, that sucks.  The camp hosts were really nice there and overall the bathrooms, showers etc. were nice.
So we are going to give a "4 bubba" rating to the Fort Collins Lakeside Campground.
Ft. Collins is a nice little town.  We roamed around the downtown area, window shopping and general gawking.

Now, I did notice a few things that resonated with me.  The first was the town was very artsy, which my daughter really liked. A lot of shops and art galleries.

 The other was the waft of Mary J Wanna as I wandered through the middle of down town, that usually was accompanied by a character much like this........that really needed to get a job.
I talked to one of them.  I confused him, I think.  I asked him hard questions like " Are you from around here?" and "Where is a good place to eat ?"  The latter question should have been one that he could relate to, since he should have had the munchies.  He was of no use to me.

There is a canyon that a lot of hikers like to explore, called Poudre Canyon, but because of all the wildfires, it was closed.

  It was severely smokey, so it didn't really look like much fun anyways.  We may come back and check it out on another trip.
We decided that even though we were having too much fun, we were getting tired and running out of laundry.  We had a family meeting and decided to make the 13 hour trek back home, straight through. 

 Man, was that brutal.  Good thing for cruise control.

So overall, here are the stats for the maiden voyage of the Avalair:
States traveled : 8
Miles Traveled: 3,478
Casualties: 1 rear axle seal
Avg mpg: 13.5
Hope you enjoyed my journal of the Yellowstone trip, we sure did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


So we rolled in to Utah late last night and we were wiped out.  We are staying at the Flaming Gorge KOA. 

 It's a cool little campground.  The campground is well maintained and even though there is very little grass, due to the desert type climate, they have people raking the gravel to keep it all clean and ready for the next campers.  The spots could have been a little more level, but that is really kinda the norm these days.  The wifi was way easier to connect to than the last place. 
 The bathrooms/showers are really clean and have a pass coded lock on the doors.
We are gonna give the Flaming Gorge KOA a "4 Bubba" rating.

We hung out most of the day in the campground and then went exploring.  The scenery is pretty cool.

We decided to tour the gorge by boat.  We rented a pontoon boat for a few hours and went cruising down the river.

The water is COLD.  I jumped in for a split second.  It didn't take me long to get tired of swimming.  You dry off quick, because the humidity is really low......
So we headed back to the campground to hang out for the rest of the day......

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Well, as luck would have it, while we were running around I noticed a weird smell.  Kinda like the smell of creosol at an amusement park.......Hmmmm... what ever could that be?
So, being the paranoid type, I had a temp gun handy.  I checked the tires and wheels on the truck and trailer.  Everything was normal.
So we pressed on.  I pulled into a turnout, to check out a scenic overlook and I smelled it again.......dang.  I crawled under the truck and saw that the backing plate was covered in oil. Crap.  That could only mean one axle seal.  Not something I could change in the campground.  I tore it apart that night to verify and confirmed my suspicions.

There was a small auto repair shop next to the campground.  Man, this is gonna hurt.
I talked with them and found that they could try and get to it as soon as I got the parts.  Where is the nearest parts house? West Yellowstone.  Oh, that's only 36 miles, how long could that take?
How about 2 hours?  I would have never believed it.  We raced to NAPA on Sunday afternoon.  They closed at 2.  We got there at 1:59.  The door was locked.  We knocked until someone came out, then we gave them the sob story of the lowly travelers.  They let us in, got us our parts and sent us on our way.

We raced back and spent the same amount of time on the road, going the other direction.  We arrived at the garage, only to be told, "Come back tomorrow, we are too busy".  Seriously?  We are scheduled to be n the road by 8.  We have reservations in Flaming Gorge, Utah.  
So, I made sure I was there 15 minutes before they started work.
They got me in the rotation and got started by 8:30.  
Guess what?  Wrong parts.......repeat process as required.  We finally left by 4pm.  8 hours late.  Sweet, now we have a 6.5 hour drive ahead, which when traveling in a caravan, turns into 8.5 hours.  We rolled in around 12:30 am.  What a day.....


It's hard to choose the pictures that best represent what Yellowstone is all about.  This is the hardest part.  Pictures don't do it justice.  You have to see it in person.  Make it part of your bucket list. 
 My favorite place on earth is the upper and lower falls.  One place is called "Artist Point." There is a good reason for this.  It's breath taking.  I always imagine what the early explorers must have thought, when they stumbled across each new discovery.  Each new finding would trump the last.
I am just going to post pics of some of the awesome stuff we viewed.

Mama Root had an interesting encounter this afternoon.  We had stopped due to a traffic jam.  A bunch of the "Moronimus Tourist Maximus" gathered about 150 yards ahead.  Pointing out into the woods.  My wife decided to get out and walk up the road to see what was happening.  She decided the safest place to walk would be on the shoulder.  Little did she know that over the embankment there was waiting a furry friend. He looked up at her and started meandering towards our truck.  It was actually pretty comical from my point of view.  She moved faster than I have ever seen. Here is the only pic we got.  The shadow in the corner is the door post.  The shoulder is about 4 foot wide.
I did get a lot of pictures of the ground, her hand and the dash.


We decided to break the park up into sections in order to see everything.  There are so many things to see in Yellowstone, you can't imagine.  Every flocks to the "touristy" sites, but really there are tons of stuff, off the beaten path that are way better.  We did it all, but it was still at a pretty good pace.

Yellowstone Lake was right around the corner from our campground.  This is an awesome lake.
If you look closely, you can find all kinds of wildlife on the edges of the road. 
 The indicator I always look for is the species called "Moronimus Tourist Maximus". They generally are found when wildlife is present.  They always tend to leave their vehicles in the road with the doors open and generally travel in herds.  They generally have offspring with them and are easily identified, by the  large pouch around their waist, which is used for storing food for a later date.  Anytime, you find wildlife, these are generally present in mass numbers.

 One stop we made was in the mud volcano area.  It has a lot of thermally active areas.  Cool stuff.
Lots of geysers in this area.  Most are bigger and better than Old Faithful, just not as timely.

And we're walking...................



Cody is just outside the East gate, which makes it a popular destination.  We are finally reaching our destination.  We have reservations at Fishing Bridge RV park.  It is the only park in Yellowstone with full hookups.  It's centrally located, so we used it for our base camp.
It's an ok park, but sort of reminded me of a Wal Mart parking lot with trees.  Pretty much just a place to park.  Most of the people are never in their camper until late, anyway. The shower situation is something you need to know about.  They only allow you 2 showers per space, per day.  So if you have 4 people, like we did, 2 of you are gonna be funky.  Now, you can buy additional showers at $3.38 each......seriously?  Mama Root and Sister Root just used our shower.  
Another issue is the sewer connection.  I'm not sure who the brainiac was that decided your sewer dump should be a foot of the ground, but he needs to be fired.  It ends up making your hose run uphill.  Everyone in the campground was complaining about it.  Not only is it a foot of the ground, but surrounding by a concrete wall on 3 sides.......that's thinking guys.  My dad is still complaining about it.
Something I had not thought about was mosquitoes.  They were insane.  They looked like small birds.  Literally, when we drove up they would swarm the truck.  You could see them attacking the glass.  It was crazy.  We could not sit outside at all.  For that reason, I have no pictures of our campground.  My wife did happen to snap this pic of me though.  You may be able to see the mosquitoes if you look closely.

With all of these things combined this earns the Fishing Bridge campground a 2.5 Bubba rating.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


We pressed on towards Cody, Wyoming.  This would be our last stop before Yellowstone.  We planned a travel day and a recovery day before we move on.  So with Devil's Tower in the rear view mirror we pressed on.
We crossed some pretty good climbs and most of the trip was around 8,000-9,000 ft elevation.  
We came across the Powder River Pass, which was at 9,666 ft.

It was really windy up there.  My son had a hard time staying on the ground.  I on the other hand, had gravity on my side.
The rest of the way will be down hill.  That's much better.

The Ponderosa in Cody,Wyoming is our next campground.  It's smack dab in the middle of town.  A lot of stuff is within walking distance.  We got a pretty good spot in the shade.  Nice level spots, great showers and full hookups.
They had wifi, but it sucked the big wang.  Everyone was complaining about the wifi.  We ended up sitting 6 feet from the router, on the porch of the office.

Mama Root had some important work stuff going on, so it was imperative that we had a good connection.  When I asked the people at the desk about it, they replied "Welcome to Wyoming," like it was a regional, your wifi sucks.  The campground was nice other than that.  I just think that need to step up and buy a decent router.  We went river rafting and they had a deal with the campground where they came to the Ponderosa and picked us up.  That was cool.

So, with that we rate the Ponderosa with a "4 bubba."