Saturday, July 26, 2014

Glacier Bay National Park

We spent one day cruising through this park and entrance was free to us with our America the Beautiful Senior Pass.  The roads are very narrow and windy with rocks jutting out on one side and big drop offs on the other side of the roads.  These cavernous holes in the ground were carved out over many years by glaciers.  The park is filled with a multitude of waterfalls and streams and rivers.  We drove by a granite wall with water coming out of the wall they call the weeping wall.  We only saw one of the 29 glaciers left in the park and they estimate they will be all gone by the 2030 due to the global warming.  This park is filled with wildlife but all we saw this day was a chipmunk.  Most deaths occur from drowning in this park and a few happened this month alone. 

There is certainly much beauty in the United States of America!

Deadwood / Sturgis

Deadwood is a cute little town loaded with casinos, restaurants, bars, gift, and art shops.  Parking is a premium here and pricey.  We toured the local gift shops and attended a saturday evening mass while here.  We visited this town and Sturgis the same day.  Sturgis is a city in South Dakota near Mount Rushmore where 750,000 motorcyclists assemble once per year from all around the world.  This year, it starts on August 4 for 10 days and we arrived 2 weeks before the party as they were setting up tents in vacant lots.  Nearly 25% of the shops were vacant and the 1/2 of the remaining shops sold tee shirts and base ball hats with the rally logo on them.  I purchased last years shirt for $5, as the 2014 shirts were $20.  There was a festival in the local park with food and music that we strolled through.  The locals stay away from Sturgis during the motorcycle festival and I don't see any reason to visit this town at any other time.  The included pictures here are of Deadwood and that is worth a visit.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mount Rushmore

This is a National Park in Keystone, South Dakota where sculptures were carved in granite of four presidents to spur tourism into the area.  It has obviously been successful as more than 3 million tourists visit the site annually.  It took 14 years to complete the project and finished and opened to the public in October 1941.  The Presidents depicted are Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.  This is quite a spectacle to see in person.  They sell food, drinks, and a large assortment of gift shops.  Be aware that this is the first national park we have visited that does not accept annual national park passes or America the Beatiful Senior Pass.  They charge all vehicles a $11 PARKING FEE, and more for RV's and buses.  The good news is the parking pass is good at this park for a full year after purchase.  I think I will sell mine on line for a big discount. 

The Crazy Horse Monument is only about 1/2 hour drive from here.  We drove down there and saved the $11 per person entrance fee by not entering the park. I recommend visiting this site in about 60 years when it may be finished. 

 Google Crazy Horse and read the reviews for yourself. 

Glacier Haven RV and Campground

We arrived here on July 17 for 2 nights to visit Glacier National Park.  This is a small park with 19 sites on one loop.  It is located 20 miles from the West Park entrance.  This park has a federal park type atmosphere with natural trees and ground cover found in the local forest.  The sites and street in the park are ground rock.  There is no satellite or over the air TV and no cell service here.  The park provides free wi-fi which has a strong signal but is really slooooow.  It took almost 5 minutes to load my e-mail to read and when it finally loaded I was kicked off from non use.  I was forced to re register all over again.  All sites have full hookups with 50 amp electric, sewer, and; water.  During the day fly's would bite and draw blood and the evening had mosquitos.  This kept us inside the motorhome.  Staff is friendly, but the park is very noisy with cars and trucks wizzing by at 70 MPH on one side and trains cruising by on the other many times per day.  I paid $39.55 per night with Good Sam discount and $2 fee per day for our dog.  I feel this park is overpriced and I rate this park P***.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Big Arm State Park - Flathead Lake Montana

We arrived here July 14 for 3 nights.  Our site was a relatively level pull through site alongside the lake.  We had 80 feet of lake frontage to ourselves and had unobstructed views of the lake from our motorhome.   It was heavily treed so we were unable to get satellite reception, but we did have cell service.  This was a dry site with no water, electric, or sewer at our site or throughout the park.  There was no dump station either.  There is also a boat ramp inside this park.  This is the largest lake west of the Mississippi river and they claim it to be the cleanest lake in the country.  The water was warm and swim-able, but the weather was not warm enough for us to go in.  It was only 85 max temp and I need 90 degrees.  Boaters were mooring their boats directly in front of their site, but off shore a bit because the water was very shallow near shore.  Buddy went for several tethered swims as there were many dogs here and he would be invading our neighbors sites without his leash.

We took Buddy for a trip around the whole lake one day and stopped along the way at a fruit stand to buy some locally grown cherries and homemade cherry wine.  We paid $26.33 per night and I rate this park

Walmart - Boseman Montana

We spent the night in this Walmart parking lot on  July 13 and stocked up our fridge at the same time.  This parking lot was better than some campgrounds we have stayed at.  We pulled in pretty early at 6:00 PM and there were at least 20 RV's there already.  There were 8 foot manicured lawns and trees between parking spots and there was a large park area with picnic tables and a trash can.  It was located next to the I 90, but we could not hear the traffic.  I rate this stop P****.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hart Ranch Resort

We arrived here July 10 for 3 nights.  This is one of the best parks we have visited in the RPI system.  We were lucky to get directed to the upper section which had full hookups, 50 amp electric, water, and sewer.  The 20 X 50 foot concrete pads were separated by green mowed grass and trees on all sides.  Owners get priority reservations on the upper section and can stay 21 days and then must move to the lower section for nine days before they can return to the upper section.  Many of them stay extended periods.  The lower section has gravel streets, gravel pads, 30 amp electric and water (no sewer).  It is a healthy walk to the facilities from the lower section.  This resort is full of all the amenities, large clubhouse with exercise room, pool table, ping pong table, puzzles, television, video rentals, ice cream store, full serve restaurant, huge pool and spa, tennis courts, music entertainment, and the check in lobby with oversized fire place and seating area were exceptional.  I have never done this before, but I must give a split rating for this park.  I rate the upper section P***** and the lower section P***.

We had rain every day we were here, but the storms don't last long.  We visited Mount Rushmore, Sturgis, and Deadwood from this location.  We dined out one night in nearby Hill City at the Alpine Inn.  We waited nearly two hours to get a table but the meal was worth it.  Only two choices on the menu, a 6 oz filet mignon, or a 9 oz filet mignon.  This has to be the best steak I have ever sampled.  They serve it with a lettuce wedge with your choice of dressing, and a baked potatoe.  They sell this meal for $6.98 or $9.98.

Fort Laramie State Park

This Army compound is mostly refurbished and people are manning different locations in period costumes.  Dogs are welcome here except inside buildings.  You can tour the chow hall, barracks, officer quarters, pub, and vegetable garden.  There is also a visitors center stocked with many military and Indian books.  They do have a guided tour, but we chose to walk the complex with Buddy.
There is a great picture of Aggie and Buddy relaxing in front of the settlers RV.

Register Cliff Historic Site

We toured this park while staying at Guernsey State Park.  This park is located on the Oregon Trail and pioneers traveled through here in their wagons and you could see the ruts in the mountain from their wagon wheels.  They also inscribed their names on the mountain walls with dates in the 1800's.  A short hike up a trail will take you to the ruts and you can view the plateau where the U. S. Army set up camp in the area.  Early settlers dug out a hole in the mountain to store their food as it maintained a constant cool temperature during summer and winter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guernsey State Park

We arrived here on July 8 for 2 nights.  Although they have electric and water sites, we opted to dry camp here since our water tank was full and holding tanks were empty.  We were assigned a pull through with lake view.  We did use jacks to level the coach but site was relatively level.  The lake was being drawn down while we were here and we had the campground to ourselves except one other camper.  We did not go down to the water as it was all mud.  In two days the lake turned into a river because the lake must be very shallow.  The campground and road leading to campground was gravel and very dusty.  Our clean motorhome and toad were covered with dust.  We traveled through a thunderstorm when we left and it cleaned both vehicles.  The weather was warm about 88 degrees but we did not need air conditioning.  We decided to eat indoors because of the fly's and elected not to have a campfire due to the knats at dusk.  We did have good satellite reception though.

  We toured a museum on the property with local Indian pottery and clothing and military guns.  We also toured the Castle, a small two story wood and stone structure built by the conservation corps.   We also toured Register Cliff, Oregon trail, and Fort Laramie from here.  We paid $17 per night, which included the entrance fee.  I rate this park F***.

Fort Collins/Wellington KOA

We pulled in here on July 7, for one night.  We were able to get a pull through so we did not have to unhook.  We had full hookups with 50 amp electric and water and sewer.  The pad was concrete with grass and trees between sites.  This was considered a premium site and we paid $44.59 for the site.  They had lower priced sites on gravel with 30 amp electric, but we needed 50 amp to run both air conditioners.  This is a very nice park, but I could not get over the overwhelming odor coming from a cow feed business next door.  It smelled as if you were in the middle of a dairy farm.  Although it cooled down enough to open the windows at night, we opted to leave the air on as we did not want the odors to overtake our motorhome.  I feel this park was overpriced and would not stay again.  I rate this park P***.

Rifle Gap State Park

We stayed here on July 6 for one night.  Our site was perched high above the reservoir with a great view from our site.  We had full hookups with 50 amp electric, water, and sewer.  Our site also had a fire pit and covered picnic table.  We had a pull through which was great because we did not want to unhook the toed for one night.  The site was also level so no need to use jacks. The campground and our site was immaculate and well maintained. The entire staff was friendly and courteous.  This is located about 13 miles north off hwy 70, but well worth the detour.  I would like to have stayed longer, but we have a lot of miles to cover.  We paid $31 for the night which included the entrance fee to the state park.  I rate this park F****.