A Wild West Adventurer Part 1 Reno to Devils Tower National Monument
by Laurie Pedrick
So our saga continues...... I have been absent from this site for a while and have since been a number of places in our Adventurer Camper. This story is a bit long, so I will chop it into a few bits for easier reading. Lots of bits and bobs here - and a few suggestions if you are taking a trip somewhere along this route.
A Wild West Adventurer
We started this journey on an early Sunday morning.... our goal, to travel from Reno, Nevada to South Dakota to visit the family homestead. Our expectations were $4.00 per gallon diesel fuel and about ten miles per gallon. We are back in the Adventurer for this trip and plan on stopping just a few times before getting to the homestead. So let's get this Adventurer started, shall we? We drove as far as Rockport State Park outside Park City, Utah our first night. We stopped along the way for a snack or two and lunch.
If you are taking this route along I80, be sure to stop along the way to see what the area has to offer. For example, you can go to the town center in Lovelock and place a lock onto the growing chain and "lock" your love. We plan on doing this for our thirtieth wedding anniversary..... We stopped in Elko for our first fuel stop and we got pretty good news... we were getting better than the anticipated ten miles per gallon. Our next stop was even better with an average of over twelve and one half miles per gallon.
The campground at Rockpoint Utah was clean and the host very nice. We had our campfire for the night and seeing as the fire danger is very high in the west right now looks like it may be the only one. * Side note as of this posting fire has been all around this camping area and I am not sure if it has survived.
Day two started out with a bit of wind. Did I say a bit? What an understatement! We fought the wind throughout the remainder of Utah and through much of Wyoming. Sadly, our planned stop at Independence Rock was marred by wind gusts of over fifty miles per hour. You can imagine what this did for our fuel economy..... next few tankfuls were just over ten miles per gallon.
Our goal for the day was to get to Devils Tower which we managed after twelve long hours on the road. You crest a hill and you see this magnificent piece of geology ahead. A winding route to the park itself and we got what I consider the best site in the house. From our folding chairs we could look right up past Prairie Dog Town to the Tower itself. The weather did not cooperate for us to take photos at night, but it was still a great photo opportunity.
While planning this adventure, we decided that having a bike would be a great asset. I will write about the bikes in another story. But on day three we decided that we would ride our new bikes to the Visitors Center. We got there all right, but ended up walking about half of the way as it was so steep. We did get quite a few comments from folks... "you guys rode up here from the campground?" We hiked around the Tower and then rode back to the campsite. But I must say the ride back was great. We also rode the bikes to the store at the entrance to the Monument.
Small side note: this is the first National Monument in the National Park System. If you do not already own a yearly pass (for those under 62) I suggest you invest in one. Contact the National Park Service to enquire about purchasing one. Another great service they have at the parks is a nightly talk from a ranger. Our first night there the talk was about climbing Devils Tower ... which is not allowed in June in respect for the Native Americans.
Day four saw us up early to hopefully get a good shot of the Tower as the sun rose, but the clouds were being difficult again that day. Our drive was not all that long today but we did have an unexpected stopover to get a slowly leaking tire repaired and a watch battery for JP's multifunction watch. Long story, but after the watch just stopped working somewhere in Wyoming, we stopped in Casper to pick up a few things and a battery for the watch. Needless to say they did not carry this battery at Wally World. We found one in Rapid City, South Dakota at the Batteries Plus. Thanks to the folks at Tires Plus for repairing the slow leak and to the folks at Best Buy for sending us to the battery store to get the battery we needed.
Next up..... to the Badlands and beyond with photos to follow final installment.