Red Dirt Roads to Seminoe State Park – Wyoming

Red dirt road ahead …

scenic byway

On a recent trip up to Casper, Wyoming we decided to hit the back roads home rather than the highway. If there’s one thing I can count on it’s Mr. G. finding the most obscure roads to get from place A to place B. Yes, I’m a lucky girl! 😉

Our destination, other than getting back to the H.O.W. was the Seminoe Reservoir and State Park. 

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Image courtesy of Google Maps

The weather started out a little gloomy but cleared up after an hour or so on the road.

Rain, rain go away ...

Rain, rain go away …

Not too far off the highway, on Kortes Road is Dome Rock, a Bureau of Reclamation public use area. We made sure to make a note of this one seeing as the name struck a chord with us. We stayed on Dome Rock Road in Quartzsite, AZ for our very first 14-day boondocking adventure. 🙂

Perhaps a boondocking spot for us in the future?

Perhaps a boondocking spot for us in the future?

It didn’t take long for the landscape to change as we made out way out toward Seminoe Dam and Reservoir. Before we hit the road, now over two years ago, I never imagined the terrain in places like Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, etc. to be so arid. High desert wasn’t a part of my vocabulary yet. I guess I expected everything to look like Aspen or Lake Tahoe, at least the vibrant green and blue parts I’d seen in pictures.

This is more what I guess I expected … (which is what we saw that day 🙂 )

Free range cattle

Free range cattle

And this …

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And this …

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I was glad to see, if even just for a few miles, the green of the trees, the jagged rock formations and even a few wild flowers ..

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The Seminoe Dam was a great spot to stop for a bit and take in the scenery.

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Looking down on the Seminoe Dam …

Seminoe Dam

Seminoe Dam

Looking toward the reservoir …

Seminoe Reservoir

Seminoe Reservoir

Mr. G. taking it all in …

Mr. G. ... taking it all in. :-)

From this observation point The Seminoe State Park was just a short drive.

Seminoe Lake - Wyoming

Seminoe State Park – Wyoming

In the picture above you can see the North Red Hills Camping area. I think we may have to make plans for an overnight or two soon. I’m starting to miss the coast and I think this may be the closest beach option around. It’s only 33 miles north from Sinclair, the next town over, on Carbon County road 351.

Hmmm … maybe I’ll take a day trip while Mr. G. is sleeping. 

(Time lapse – 10 mins. Yes, daydreaming about sand and surf)

Okay, where was I?

Oh yes …

The name Seminoe is the Americanized spelling of the French name Cimineau. True story –  At first I used the spelling “Seminole” when looking up our route. Yes, naturally I was directed to Florida … oops.

Anyhoo … Basil Cimineau Lajeunesse was a French trapper in the area in the 1800’s. During that time, the Seminoe Mountains were explored by gold prospectors and mining activities have continued to present day in the Elk Mountain area. We should have been able to see the pit from the lookout above. But I couldn’t pinpoint the open-pit mine. Perhaps I was mesmerized by all the pretty blue water. 😉

Looking back toward Seminoe Dam

Looking back toward Seminoe Dam

There are three camping areas located on the northern end of Seminoe State Park – North Red Hills, South Red Hills and Sunshine Beach. Each campground has from 25 to 30 sites and all are primitive, however they do have restrooms and dump stations. Overnight camping is $17 for out-of-state visitors. Sand Mountain Day Use area is also available for a fee of $6, non-resident.

It’s easy to see why they call the area Red Hills …

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I couldn’t help but sing Red Dirt Road by Brooks and Dunn while we were bee-bobbing our way through the countryside. Mr. G just loves it when I sing. Just kidding, I can’t carry a tune. Nope not even in a bucket with a handle. Of course that doesn’t stop me! 😀

I have to tell you, as fun as the day was, scrubbing that red dirt off the truck a few days after the fact was a total pain in the a**!  But, yes, I’d do it all over again. 🙂 This was only about a quarter of the way through our journey. She was actually much dirtier but I didn’t have any other pics of how bad it was.

"Youre going to love cleaning the truck this time babe!"

“You’re going to love cleaning the truck this time babe!”

It was a great afternoon and the drive made us sleepy enough to take a nap when we got back to the H.O.W. This was great because that was the day we needed to start getting into the night shift routine. Ugg … have I mentioned I hate night shift?

Guess that’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

By the way, I haven’t forgotten I promised pics of our trip back in time to the 70’s. It just seemed a little too tawdry to add pics of our “American Hustle” weekend getaway with the beauty of Mother Nature. I will put together a quick little post soon though. Honest 😉

Oh hey — If you happen to have the song Red Dirt Road stuck in your head now, this video is for you! 🙂


~Cheers~

A Sunday Drive Out in the Country… Quartzsite, AZ

Sunday was a beautiful day here in Quartzsite so we decided to take a little drive to see some sights. We weren’t interested in the mega flea market areas starting to take shape. Other than a quick browsing episode at The Gem Store, we haven’t strolled through the vendors that are beginning to set up shop here in Quartzsite, yet. I suppose we will check out the tents at some point, otherwise we probably couldn’t say we got the full “Q-experience”. 🙂

We took Cholla Road off Dome Rock and followed it until it turned to gravel, which wasn’t too far. Along the way we couldn’t help but be intrigued by the Dr. Seuss looking vegetation scattered along the roadside.

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I haven’t looked into what these guys are called, but aren’t they cute?!?

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There was one plant that looked so out of place to me. Its leaves were so soft and supple.  I don’t know how it thrives in this environment.

Any ideas on what this is?

Any ideas on what this is?

I also thought it was strange to see moss on a tree in the desert. I’m not sure why I thought this, but you’ve heard me say before, when it comes to plants and animal tracks I have a lot to learn!

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I about jumped out of my skin when I saw this thing growing up out of the dusty earth. Yes, I thought it was some kind of snake… :-0

Eeeek!

Snake or the head of a Loch Ness Monster… in Quartzsite. LoL

This one sort of looks like creepy sea creature …

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And of course… the requisite dead wood photo…

Looking back on it I should have played with the sun and shadows a little... :-/

Looking back on it I should have played with the sun and shadows a little… :-/

We came to a fork in the road and looking at the sign which way to do you think Mr. G decided to go? LoL

Hmmm... choice seems easy, right?

Hmmm… choice seems easy, right?

Yes, we chose the “Oh Poo Run”. But not for too far. We ran across a couple of posted claims that were pretty cool. The notices looked fairly new so I wonder how often people are out there prospecting. We didn’t see anyone around the day we were exploring.

sign

The next sign was set off the road a bit and probably a marker for folks to find a spot they’re looking for. I thought it was the coolest sign we’d seen all day. 🙂

Land of the Free... Home of the Brave

Land of the Free… Home of the Brave

Once we made it back to the fork in the road we took Lapaz Valley. There was a mine set in the hill the Mr. G wanted to check it out. He made his way into the tunnel until he came to a split and turned around. He said it was about 55 paces. Ugg, just thinking about it makes me feel short of breath. I gingerly stepped inside and made it about five very short tippy-toe paces and hightailed it out of there!

Mr. G making his way inside

Mr. G making his way inside

I made it as far as the inside door…

"Authorized Personnel"... yep, that leaves me out!

“Authorized Personnel”… yep, that leaves me out!

It was pitch black inside but the flash on my phone actually worked pretty well. However, not well enough for me to consider going any farther.

Babe??? Can you hear me???

Babe??? Can you hear me???

Thankfully he answered me right away… otherwise the rest of the day would not have been as peaceful and pleasant. LoL

Looking back out to daylight from as far as I was willing to go

Looking back out to daylight from as far as I was willing to go

We made our way out on Lapaz Valley Road which connects with 95 out where the Long Term Visitor Areas are located. There’s no doubt more and more RVers are arriving every day. I’m not sure what our plans are just yet. We’ll need to move on to somewhere on Sunday, just not sure if we’ll be going to the LTVA or heading out of town. But then we usually never know what’s around the next bend in the road. 😉

"Cruising down a dirt road..."   Life is good :-)

“Cruising down a dirt road…” Life is good :-)

Guess that’s all for now. As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂

~Cheers~

 

Fly Over States and Phone Calls from Home

When it comes to fly over states, I’ll take the view from the front seat over first class any day. Scenic Vista Oregon

Scenic Vista Oregon

One of the things I’ve noticed while being on the road over the past year is that phone calls from home seem to have a greater impact on me. I guess back when we were all living within a few miles of one another we really didn’t talk on the phone all that much. When I did get a call from one of my boys I always had that fluttery feeling in my gut that something must be wrong.

Thankfully I never got any calls reporting bad news. Usually it was a question about how to make something, how to spell something, or the ever popular couple of bucks for gas money request. But now that we’re on the road we get a different kind of call from home. Usually it’s my oldest son, Rob, and he’s just calling to say hi and make sure we’ve haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth.

It’s funny how a call from one of your kids can put a smile on your face that lasts for days. We got one of those calls a while back from Rob. He calls a couple of times a month to check in on us, especially when we are on the move. In a way it’s like our roles have switched and he is the mother hen watching over her brood.

This call, however, was a little out of the ordinary. He called to tell me he heard a song on the radio that morning that reminded him of Joe and me and he thought it would be a great idea for a post here on AGG.

Now first of all let me say that I am always touched by his concern for us but this call really blew me away. Not only did he think of us when he heard the song… but he thought about it enough to recommend it as a topic for a post! The simple fact that he takes the time out of his hectic day to read my blog warms my heart. But knowing that he felt so strongly about this song and how much he thinks of us when he hears it was like a great big bear hug though the telephone lines… or… satellite waves… or however our calls are transmitted these days.

The song is “Fly Over States” by Jason Aldean. It’s about what you miss when you’re traveling the country at 30,000 feet and how you can’t judge what life must be like in the middle of nowhere unless you’ve been there. It’s so true. It was like it dawned on me all over again how lucky we are to be able to see this great country of ours in such an up close and personal way.

One trip in particular stands out in my memory as one of those times where we got an even closer look into small town U.S.A. Joe decided to defy the demanding voice of the shrew in the GPS and take a two lane state road instead of the interstate. We got off I-25 in Dwyer, Wyoming and took Route 26 though the south-west corner of Nebraska. The pace was a little bit slower but we were on Main Streets to towns like Scottsbluff, Northport, Broadwater, Ogallala and Oshkosh. I never even knew there was more than one Oshkosh… B’gosh!

We were able to smell the smoky aroma of backyard barbecues wafting through the air, hear kids jumping and splashing in community pools, and see the old timers sitting on benches outside the barber shops and hardware stores lazily fanning themselves with the newspaper. Being able to have a front seat view into these snippets of Americana is just one of the perks of life on the road but I have to say it’s a pretty awesome one!

So… thanks Rob, for reminding me of all we have to be thankful for and how special it is for us to be able to see so much of this beautiful country through the windshield of our truck.

I thought I’d leave you with an assortment of pics from our travels in no particular order. Enjoy:-)

2 mills

 

Really???

Really???

 

amarillo

Western Colorado

Western Colorado

Living in the "middle of nowhere"... looks good to me.

Living in the “middle of nowhere”… looks good to me.

Kansas

Kansas

More Kansas... lol

More Kansas… lol

Oregon

Oregon

Oregon

Oregon

or 8

 

This was taken in Utah. We thought it was cute because Providence, RI is only about 45 miles from our home in CT. Well... that and it's a land locked lighthouse... lol

This was taken in Utah. We thought it was cute because Providence, RI is only about 45 miles from our home in CT. Well… that and it’s a land locked lighthouse… lol

Utah

Utah

No worries!

No worries!

Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington

Moon over Montana

Moon over Montana

 

Freshening up... cowboy style

Freshening up… cowboy style

Umm... no thanks, I'll stay sleepy.

Umm… no thanks, I’ll stay sleepy.

Hand in hand... mile after mile

Hand in hand… mile after mile

ot sure where our next year on the road will take us, but I’m certainly looking forward to the journey.

Thanks for stopping by, more memories to come in my next post.

~Cheers~

 

 

 

The Hoover Dam and The Valley of Fire

For the most part, due to Mr. Gibberish’s insane work schedule, we don’t get to do a lot of typical tourist destinations, especially when we first started out. But once in a while we got lucky and he had more than one day off at a time. The first time we had a chance to act like tourists was about one month into our journey.

While staying in Las Vegas in one of those less than glamorous hotels I mentioned in previous posts we got a chance to see one of the Seven Man-made Wonders of the United States… The Hoover Dam.

hoover-dam-2

hoover-dam-1

The trip couldn’t have come at a better time for me. You see I’m a beach lover at heart and for most of my life I have lived on the coast. Being so land-locked in Sin City had me a little on edge. Thankfully, Joe planned the perfect remedy for me.

Ahhh… I remember it well. It was a beautiful sunny day and the hubby took me to the beach!  Ha Ha Ha… not exactly, but I did get to stick my feet in the water of Lake Mead! Okay… it didn’t hurt that rain had moved in and stayed in Florida… postponing The Daytona 500, otherwise we would have probably been watching that. But I like my knight in shining armor recollection better.

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The water was pretty darn cold, but crystal clear and felt great on my toes! I wish I could have gotten better pictures to show the clarity but I just couldn’t capture it with my phone. Thankfully we’ve upgraded our camera since then. At any rate, it was great and just what I needed to rejuvenate. Funny how such a simple thing can act as a reset button.

At the risk of sounding loony, well loonier than usual, it kind of put a soothing spell on me. I’ve always loved the beach no matter what season. It’s my “happy place” and I wondered more than a few times as we made our trek out west, going through miles and miles of desert, just how I was going to handle being so far away from the coast… any coast. Other than the fountains at the Bellagio Resort and Casino, this was the most water I had seen in much too long. Seeing Lake Mead, a mammoth body of water was just what I needed.

Back to the man-made wonder. The dam itself is an incredible engineering feat that astoundingly took less than five years to complete. Heck, I’ve seen home renovation projects take longer than that!

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dam 01

dam 02

While the dam itself was something to see, the spectacular views coming out of Boulder City and approaching it were what took my breath away.

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lake-mead-3

Don’t you just love the construction barrel? I still think I could use a photography class… lol

Before heading into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area we stopped and had lunch at a little place called Mel’s Diner. What a neat spot! From the looks of the place and hearing bits and pieces of conversations going on around us, I gather the eatery is almost as much a historic landmark as the dam itself. The service was super friendly and speedy, the food was fabulous, and the total bill came to less than eating at a fast food chain would have. We had been saying we wanted to find a little local diner for a while and this was a great one to find. They serve breakfast and lunch from 7am to 3pm so if you’re in the area stop in!

mels

After filling our tummies and getting my “big water fix” the ride through the park seemed a little long, but again the scenery was awesome. We took the longer route back to Las Vegas so we were able to go through the Valley of Fire State Park. It was worth the extra miles. We were coming through at just about sunset and the brilliant colors were simply magnificent. Here again, the camera on my phone just doesn’t do justice but I hope you’ll get the idea.

fire01

fire02

valley-of-fire

We had a great time being tourists for a day. Looking back over these pictures it’s easy to see why. The combination of Mother Nature’s handy work in the Valley of Fire and the man-made wonder Hoover Dam was just the perfect balance.

It might be tough trying to top this memory… but I’ll try in my next post.

~Cheers~

Our First Road Trip on Eight Wheels

Our first long distance road trip with the camper was in July. I’d like to say it went smooth as silk… but that’s hardly the case. While we didn’t experience any real trauma, it certainly was a little nerve-wracking to say the least. At only 26′ our camper is small in comparison to some on the road. But in small towns, heavy traffic and tight parking lots it seems massive… to me anyway. Joe seems to not have any issues with towing, parking and just plain maneuvering it in general. Good thing because I still have not to this day driven while we are towing it. (I know. It’s on my to-do list… honest)

We left from Freeport, TX heading north to Tennessee for the next assignment. We only had a few days to get there and naturally pulling our new home-made traveling much slower. But after the disappointment we felt after seeing the condition of the beaches in Freeport and even up into Galveston, we decided to take a few hours out of our normal “only stop for bathroom breaks” mode and park our behinds on the beach… a clean beach.

We headed out of Texas via the Galveston ferry where we got to see some dolphins (sorry no pics) and then followed the Gulf Coast shoreline into Louisiana. We went through a few of the well know cities like Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, and of course New Orleans. We lucked out as we went through New Orleans at the perfect time to see a bit of fireworks displays for the 4th of July celebrations. (again… no pics :-( )

The Horace Wilkinson Bridge (photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Horace Wilkinson Bridge (photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the other hand, as bad luck would have it, we had a little automotive scare while crossing over a very high Horace Wilkinson Bridge (shown above) coming into Baton Rouge on I-10. It doesn’t look that big in this picture but it seemed almost insurmountable at the time! While climbing the grade of the bridge we felt/heard what I can only describe as a “POOF”. Joe figured it was something to do with the baffles in the muffler/exhaust on the truck.

All I know for sure is that while trying to climb this mega bridge we seemed to loose most of our horsepower while pulling our home. Did I mention there was crazy bumper-to-bumper traffic everywhere? And that it was the evening of July 4th? And that by the time we limped off the bridge we ended up in a less than desirable neighborhood… ok down-right sketchy neighborhood?

I have to admit I was in a state of panic, albeit an inner-self-contained attack, as I’ve learned over our several thousand miles of traveling together, even without towing the camper, that Joe processes emergencies much better without my twenty questions. Thankfully, once we maneuvered through the dilapidated streets things seemed to have purged themselves out of the muffler (or whatever/wherever it was) and we seemed to have our horsepower back… oh… and a new metallic rattle coming from regions unknown.

We stopped to do a vehicle check and have dinner in a Cabela’s Outfitter’s store parking lot in Gonzales, Louisiana. Not very romantic you might think… but quite the contrary. While Joe was checking out the truck issue I hopped in the camper and made us each a ham and turkey wrap, with muenster cheese, fresh spring mix, cucumbers, oil and balsamic vinegar. I grabbed two bottles of diet coke and some sun chips and we had our dinner by a little man-made pond on the Cabela’s campus. We watched a beautiful sunset over Baton Rouge. That’s pretty romantic if you asked me. (I know… you didn’t.)

This was one of the perks we had been looking forward to. Being able to throw together a quick meal in our home, instead of eating on the run in the fast food joints was a welcomed change of pace. After resting a bit and getting fortified with a yummy dinner, not to mention relieved that there seemed to be nothing seriously wrong with the truck, we hit the road again to get some more miles in before we stopped for the night.

We traveled through Mississippi where the towns of Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula stood out. We ended up spending the night in a Super-Walmart parking lot. This was a first for me. I have to admit it was something I had actually laughed out loud about when I first heard that people did this while traveling. But, it turns out it’s not as bad as you might think. It certainly beats shelling out anywhere from $30 to $50 for a campsite that we would only use for a few hours. It’s hard to believe but even after just about five hours of sleep we woke up ready to hit the road again.

Next state, Alabama but just for a few miles (a few miles to us is anything under 150 these days) through Mobile and then on to the highlight of this leg of our journey… Florida and Pensacola Beach!!

Casino Beach, Pensacola, Florida

Heaven on earth… did I mention I love the beach?!?! As soon as our feet hit the sand we could feel the stress melting off our shoulders. After only just a few short hours we were stress free and ready to hit the road again.

Of course there was another SNAFU on the next leg of our journey, and the next as well, but I’ll only bore you with one at a time.

~Cheers~