Welcome, and thanks for visiting our blog. Follow us as we explore this beautiful country and enjoy life's simple pleasures.


Back to Hermosa, then Carhenge, Chimney Rock, and North Platte

Thursday, 10/06/2011

Holiday RV Park

North Platte, NE

This week found us going back to the Heartland RV Park near Hermosa, SD, just south of Rapid City.
We got there on Friday, the 30th of September, and stayed for three nights.  We didn’t really do much of anything except relax and take it easy.  The park is very near empty right now.
On Monday, the 3rd of October, we headed out for Bayard, NE, and Chimney Rock National Historic Site.  On the way there we stopped in Alliance, NE, and checked out Carhenge.  This is a replica of England’s Stonehenge.  Being the car nut that I am, and since we were going right by here, we had to stop.  I spent almost an hour wandering around the grounds viewing the various displays and taking pictures.  Here are just a few…
Many of these vehicles still have the full drivetrain still in them including engine, transmission, and rear axle housing.  A few other creations were the “Dino” and the “Spawning Salmon” and an all Ford exhibit called the “Fourd Seasons.”  Also, a couple of “benches” made out of old pickup truck tailgates to sit on and contemplate and reflect.
By the way, it was free admission!
I found a little RV park near Chimney Rock called Pioneer Crossing Campground.
There was a small store/office there…
but as the sign reads, it’s closed for the season.  Luckily, the campground is open year round.  Chimney Rock is a landmark along the Oregon Trail that pioneers used in their navigation west.  As we were approaching the site, I was also looking ahead for it, knowing that our destination was nearby.  Here’s a couple of late afternoon pictures of Chimney Rock from our campsite…
and some of our neighbors…
and a few very early morning views…
and a couple of sunrise pictures.
After taking these early morning photos we headed over to the visitor center for a couple of hours.  The campground is just a mile or so away and very convenient to the site.
We both really enjoyed our time here.  The visitor center wasn’t free, but with our National Parks Pass we were able to save $1 each and get in for just $2 per person.   We highly recommend a visit here if you’re in the area.  Here’s another couple views of Chimney Rock from the visitor center.
After we were done at the visitor center we went back and hitched up and headed out for North Platte, NE.  Instead of taking I80, we elected to take US30 which runs parallel to the interstate.  We both enjoyed this route much more.  We like going through the small towns and seeing the beauty of rural America.  US30 is two lane, but there was very little traffic to deal with along the way.  We arrived late afternoon on Tuesday, the 4th, at Holiday RV Park in North Platte, NE.
Wednesday and today, Thursday, we have just been taking a break and are in kind of a holding pattern.  Another COLD front came through with lots of wind again!  Tomorrow, Friday the 7th, we’re headed for Smith Center, KS.

Devils Tower National Monument

Thursday, 9/29/2011

Mountain View RV Park

Sundance, WY

Wednesday, the 28th, was a travel day for us.  We left Heartland RV Park south of Hermosa, SD, and headed north on SD79 to I90.  We drove westbound about two hours to Sundance, WY.  We’re staying at the Mountain View RV Park.
We’re here to see Devils Tower National Monument.  I visited this place with my parents many, many years ago.  As a young person, I didn’t get much out of it.  I thought it looked like a big gigantic stump.  But now, I’m truly in awe of it.
Today, Thursday, we drove over to Devils Tower.
Sorry, the sign is a bit weathered.  What a sight this is.  I took many pictures of this grand landmark.  These first two photos are from along the highway leading to the park.
Here are some more photos from inside the park…
Circle of Sacred Smoke Sculpture represents the first puff of smoke from a newly lit pipe.  The sculptor is Junkyu Muto.  The sculpture honors the American people as a gesture of world peace.  It was designed to raise visitor awareness of the importance of the tower to over twenty different tribes who consider the tower a sacred place.
We hiked the 1.3 mile Tower Trail which circles all the way around the tower.  Most of the trail is in a Ponderosa Pine forest.  The trail is paved and has benches for those who want/need to take a break. 
The hike was quite peaceful.  We enjoyed stopping occasionally and just listening to the sounds of the forest.  The views of the tower were awesome.  The tower changes color depending on the way the sunlight hits it.  There were rock climbers on the tower today, two are right about in the middle of each of these photos.
Some views from the trail out over the valley below…
A couple of views of the tower from the first half of the trail…
Looking almost straight up…
A view through the trees…
we made it this far and kept on hiking…
this fallen tree looked like a Praying Mantis to me…
more views through the trees…
twisted trees and twisted trail…
We made it all the way around the tower successfully.  After we got back to the car we took a short break for a snack and then headed out.  Here are some fall colors…
prairie dogs…
a couple more of the tower from the park road…
and one more sign.
We both really enjoyed our time here.  It was worth the trip out here.  Tomorrow is another travel day.  This was our view out our back window.