Sunday, September 03, 2006

Across Wyoming

This was the day I dreaded before ever leaving home. There’s no straight route across the middle of Wyoming, so I had to zig and zag my way over to South Dakota. The Nav system predicted a 14-hour day. At around eight hours and 6 PM, we were somewhere between Douglass and Lusk on Route 20 at a truck stop called the Three Sisters. We had dinner and a peek at very small town Wyoming.

My dashboard is telling me that my oil needs to be changed and that something is wrong with my tire pressure. On the way here, I tired to make a repair to the orange casing of our TAB’s propane tank cover. It’s broken in a few places and a screw is missing from one of the brackets. I tried replacing the screw, but after driving on roads that were under construction for a good part of the day, the jiggling beat me in the game.

The drive even more demanding than I thought it would be. After dinner we drove for another 2.5 hours in the dark and near the Black Hills where hundreds of deer stood near the road. I wanted to make up time, but couldn’t risk driving over 50 mph. At one point, a huge buck stood in my lane and I had to swerve onto the shoulder.

We came to the Jewel Cave National Monument and had a crazy drive over step winding roads. The Nav system got confused then, and I was trying to look at a map in the dark and at the same time, avoid the deer.

Once we got onto 244, we found the seconded largest KOA in the country with no trouble. The new two story office and store felt more like a hotel lobby than a campground. Since it is so big, you’d think that they’d offer to escort us to our site, especially in the dark, but unlike many of the other, smaller KOAs where this courtesy was offered, Mt. Rushmore hands you a map and sends you on your way. I had some trouble finding it, because the campground is about the size of the Village of Red Hook, but once we found it, we were happy. It was on an end and right across from the bathrooms. With 25-35 mph winds, we had some difficulty setting up the tent. I doubt that the older one would have stood up to this test, but this new one was great. I made sure to use the guys on the corners for extra protection.

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