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Old 11-05-2013, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default Western US trip

We loaded up our Ranger with two dogs two cats two adults, and hit the road. Our intent was to visit the Grand Canyon. We had reservations at both the South and North Rims.
On the way through Texas, we stumbled across the Palo Duro Canyon State Park. What a thrill! It was beautiful. We stayed at camp ground just outside the entrance. it was perched right on the north wall of the Canyon. We stayed for two days in order to enjoy the open air theater. The show they put on was similar to Oklahoma. But with a local Amarillo Tx. theme.
From there we headed to the Petrified Forest. We found free camping at a Gift Shop just outside the entrance of the park. The place was closed when we got there, and the electric hookup was dead. So we went across the road to another Shop that charged ten dollars with hookup.
We arrived at the South Rim and got our site. We enjoyed five days there. We really enjoy taking advantage of the Ranger programs offered at the parks.
We were fortunate to see four California Condors giving an air show over Bright Angel Point. I got some great pictures of them.
We then headed up to the North Rim for a three day stay. What a difference between the two rims. They are only twelve miles apart but, worlds away from each other. We were greeted at the entrance by a herd of what we thought were Buffalo. They turned out to be Beefalo's. A cross between Beef Cattle and Buffalo.
From there we went to Mesa Verde National Park. We were blown away by the Cliff Dwellings. I have seen pictures of them all my life but, seeing them in person is awesome. Climbing up and down the cliff walls to access them it not for the faint of heart.
Our next stop was Arches National Park. It was 105 degrees in the shade and very windy. We just made a quick drive through and headed off to Denver. Disappointing visit.
Out side of Denver we found a Wild Animal Sanctuary. These are Exotic Animals that were peoples pets, Circus Animals and rescue animals from all over that are housed here in their natural habitat. It is absolutely worth seeing if you ever get to Denver.
Next stop. Custer South Dakota. We spent six days there. Mt. Rushmore was everything I ever imagined. Crazy Horse was Great. Deadwood Is DEAD, not worth going to. We visited Jewel Cave and all the towns nearby. It was a good stop.
Our next destination was Desmett South Dakota to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead.
On the way there we kept seeing signs advertizing Wall Drugs. So like a lot of other people we got sucked into the biggest tourist trap in South Dakota.
After that we went to Mitchell S.D. It is on the route to Desmett. A friend of ours convinced us to see the Corn Palace. Well we did. Enough said about that. We also saw the largest Pheasant in the world just outside of Mitchell. What a Thrill
The Wilder Homestead was very good. It is the actual Homestead of the Wilder's. All of the buildings there are reproductions.
The night we arrived we experienced the worst thunder storm I have ever seen. The RV was being blown all over. The wind and rain was so hard that it actually came through around the door seals. I woke up to a wet pillow and blankets. What a night!
From Desmett we headed back toward home (Central Florida). We stayed on night at the Horse Shoe Casino in Council Bluffs Iowa. We both hit the slots and had a good time. We both played for two hours and only lost five dollars each. Pretty cheap entertainment.
From there we went to Nashville Tenn. We are both Johnny Cash fans, so we went to the Museum which had just opened that month. It was worth going to. We do plan to visit Nashville again in the future.
We left Nashville and headed south. We spent the night at a Truck Stop in southern Alabama. Woke up surrounded by big rigs. At least it was free.
We arrived home after thirty days and 6500 miles on the road. We were still speaking to each other civilly. The animals survived just fine.
One thing I did not mention. If you are not familiar with the Ranger, it is 19 ft long on the exterior. Therefore, quite a bit smaller on the inside.
We have never been campers. We have always said roughing it was a Motel without a Restaurant or Pool.
I guess you can make do with just about anything. It is all in your frame of mind. We plan to enjoy our little home away from home for some time to come.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Western US trip

What a great trip! It all sounded good except for the heat part, can't wait to start our little adventure next spring.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Western US trip

That really does sound like a great trip! I love your enthusiasm - makes me want to hit the road again
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Western US trip

Enjoyed reading your road trip saga....
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Western US trip

Two dogs and two cats? Amazing. Just one meowing, needy cat can drive us nuts at times.

Been to every one of those places except your Nashville stop. Arches is a great stop but you have to time it right. We've hiked the 1-1/2 mile one way to Delicate Arch (on the Utah license plates) three times now. The first time it was in 108 degree heat and we ran out of water and had to turn back just short of getting there as we would learn later. That was a hiking lesson. Time your visits and always carry plenty of water if you hike. Our last trip to Arches in September entertained us too with high winds and changing weather.

Arches arriving storm...
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:07 PM   #6
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Sounds like a great trip. Would love to see some pictures if you could post some. It's the type of trip I want to do a lot of when I retire but that's still about 2 years away.
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