Today, July 5, was a travel day. We left Sturgis, SD at 7:15 am.  Larry and I are usually so slow getting ready that 9am is a great time to leave; but all four of us cooperated and we hit the road early.   Two hundred thirty miles is our usual goal for a day.  Today we did at least 350 miles. 

We came through the Big Horn Mountains at Powder River Pass (elevation around 9266ft.). The views were incredible.  First of we got to watch the snow capped mountains as we approached them. Then getting off the interstate at Buffalo, WY, we started climbing. 

Above Ten Sleep Canyon,  we came to this 270 degree turn in the road.  This rock was jutting out high above us at the peak of the rock was a small arch--very delightful.  We passed snow just off the road from us; then we passed through the small town of Ten Sleep.  There was a campground there; but it was still early in the day and we decided not to stop. 

Coming down the mountain, we came to a rolling land area that was dry--sorta like desert and high plains combinations.   Then this plains, desert area changed into badlands, similar to the Badlands in SD.  The configuration of the hills was softer, more rounded than SD.

Larry and I had such a great time that we kept driving.  We have stopped for today in Cody, WY. Yellowstone is about 60 miles west.  We will start that adventure tomorrow.

In our crossing through Powder River pass, we lost our turbo charger.  We were able to continue but at a much slower pace.  On leaving Cody we proceeded west toward Yellowstone.  The state park we came through was beautiful, lake on one side and mountain on the other. 

We got to the east entrance of Yellowstone.  The Ranger told us there would be a 20 minute wait. What lay ahead of us was bad. Now I don't know what thoughts come to your mind when someone says road construction but what we saw was a mountain slide. The pavement was gone.  We were driving on rock and dirt.  It was a washboard in most places.  Our sole possessions were being shook up.

At one point in Sylvan Pass, the east bound lane literally dropped off the mountain.  We were very relieved when we were through this.  Fortunately, all of things were fine.  We past 3 male elk on the way.  We were close enough to touch them.  Their antlers looked like fuzzy velvet.  We came around Lake Yellowstone, which is a filled in volcano.  

We almost always saw steam from geysers or fumaroles or we smelled sulfur.  Since this is my first trip here it was amazing.  We are driving towards our parking area in West Yellowstone.

Traveling to Yellowstone

Phyllis’ Journal


Phyllis’ Journal 2005-B

This is a chronicle of 4 Morgans:  Larry, Phyllis,
Roscoe (male miniature Schnauzer), and Harpo (female miniature poodle)

This page covers June through  August of our first full year on the road.

Areas visited include  The Black Hills, Devils Tower, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons.


Page Last Updated: 8/10/2008

May 31 to July 5 brought us to the Black Hills of SD.  This was a glorious five weeks.

Larry, Roscoe, Harpo, and I have had many experiences.  We revisited Custer State Park.  We took the wildlife road, turned onto a side gravel road where we found the main herd of buffalo.  There were so many calves; they were darling.

We checked to see how the in progress mountain carving of Crazy Horse was coming.  In the last three years much work has been done on the horse's head.

We drove through Spearfish Canyon.  We found a delightful walk along Iron Creek.  We met an artist painting a landscape on the trail.

We drove into Rapid City to meet our new mail service and pick up packages and mail.  Larry ordered a new laptop.  While in Indiana, Larry decided to give our desk top to Paul.  On the road, Larry's old laptop developed more and more problems.  My HP was having problems charging. A good working computer is important for us on the road to keep track of and pay bills as well a great communication device.  This new Dell was one of the packages we picked up.

In order to save money, we changed our state citizenship to SD.  We now have a SD address, driver’s license, registration, title, plates, insurance, and voter registration.

We try to find areas we can take Roscoe and Harpo.  Custer State Park is great.  Dogs are allowed on trails. 

We assumed the other state parks would also do the same, but we still checked on line for rules at Bear Butte State Park.  We paid upon entering, parked the truck, and read the sign going up the Butte--no pets allowed on trails.  Fortunately, a park worker refunded our money.

On Father's Day, we went to Devil's Tower.  This is a must see.  It is a unique formation.  The columns that form the exterior of the tower are falling off.  Of course, these aren't just tumbling off left and right--it all happens after many years of erosion.  We walked the inside trail around the tower.  It was great fun!

In-between our campground and Devil's Tower at the first exit in Wyoming is a wonderful canyon  called the Little Grand Canyon of Wyoming.  The red rock walls are spectacular.  We were enjoying the scenery when we came upon a beautiful arch or bridge about two-thirds up the canyon wall.

Larry found a "short cut" from our campground to Hill City and south--Larry and I don't like driving in Rapid City.  This "short cut" was supposed to have a cave on it.  We started out and the sign on the road said "No Outlet".  Did we believe the sign?  Of course not!  The road was fun.  It deteriorated at about the half way point. Fortunately, we have 4-wheel drive and made it just fine.  We got out several times so the dogs could check out the smells.  We never saw the cave.

Hill City is a small neat town.  We had lunch at the Alpine Inn and it was fabulous ( be sure to save room for desert).  There is the Prairie Berry Winery.  All the wines are made from fruits grown in SD. 

One late afternoon, Larry and I had been working around the camper all day and decided we would take a hike.  We went to Mount Roosevelt (in honor of Teddy Roosevelt).  As we started up the path the sky looked threatening.  However, we continued.  We had a very quick hike. We did the trail fully and looked at the views but at a very fast pace.  There were views into ND at Teddy's home place, Bear Butte, and Harney Peak, the highest point in the Black Hills). It did not rain while we hiked.  The fast pace was invigorating.

Larry seems to be improving from the auto accident. The relaxed lifestyle, fresh air, exercise, and an absolutely great place seem to be helping.

We took the Needles highway and had a fun time climbing up around the backside.  There are tunnels on this road.  At the top, there is a 8'7" wide and about 10'6" tall tunnel.  We took the truck through here--very interesting and close.  From here we took the Iron Mountain road that has tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore.  We got out at one lookout.  There was a short walk.  Taking the trail, we got off trail and saw an arch here near the lookout.

In Custer State Park, there are tons of great hiking trails.  One area is up at Sylvan Lake. Near here we took a very challenging hike up little devil's tower.  Some of the hill we climbed was at least sixty-five degree climb.  The hill was laden with loose rock.  About two-thirds up the trail was this narrow walled section that we walked through--really cool.  Right at the tower, you have to climb and lift yourself up through a very narrow crevice.  I have bad knees. I felt really proud of myself when I accomplished this small feat.  The view was incredible. After climbing out of the crevice, we came to a grassy area.  We had a view through the trees.  The trail went higher, but that was beyond my physical abilities.  Larry went up a short way beyond me.  The dogs and I waited, sitting on the tower.  We were so proud of the dogs.  They were regular troopers. Only at that last narrow crevice, did they need help.  We came down much faster then we went up.

Throughout this area of SD there is the Michleson Trail (an abandoned railway).  We hiked a part of this. The hill next to the trail was rock turned up on end that looked like petrified wood.  One portion of the trail where the mountain had been blasted away for the track, the rock, that looked like petrified wood, was stacked like firewood.  Below us, in a small valley, there was a mine door with a rag tag mining operation. 

On our drive away from where we had hiked we were confronted with Harney Peak right in front of us--magnificent.   I was looking at the mountain through binoculars and camera lens.  I panned to the right and found little devil's tower.  We drove on to see if could get a better view.  In Hill City, we found the tower over the town. I got a shot with the camera.  We drove further and got a full view from the highway.  Little devil's tower is a boulder that is set off by two other boulders that are staggered down the mountainside.  Larry was able to pick out the tree at the top left where he had climbed to get some pictures. 

Speaking of pictures, Larry has hiked and carried several cameras with lenses in a camera bag hooked on his waist  like a gigantic fanny pack.  This was getting to heavy and complicated for him.  Larry went searching for a digital camera that would take the place of most of his film cameras.  He found a very, very light weight digital that zooms telephoto and even has a wide angle attachment. He loves it.

Our time here in the Black Hills is drawing to a close.  Today, July 4, we are going to get the camper and truck ready to go.  This involves checking everything for safety in travel as well as securing anything that could move and break during travel. We plan to pull out first thing in the morning. We are headed toward West Yellowstone, MT.  Larry and I found jobs there in a leather shop, working 21 hours apiece per week.  The owner of the shop found a RV parking place that was reasonable.  We thought we would have to pass on Yellowstone until a later time, due to how expensive the area is. 

God has everything worked out for us.

The Black Hills — June 2005

West Yellowstone is a tourist town.  There are about 1000 year round residents.  You can get just about any place in town on foot in 15 min.  The nearest Wal-Mart is 90 miles away. 

Our camping spot gives a new definition to the term "white trailer trash".  We had to set up and then clean up the site.  We had 2 to 3 foot high weeds that had tough stems. There was lot of broken glass.  It took us several hours getting the lot where we could walk to our front door  without getting bug bites from all the weeds and the dogs could walk without getting cut on the glass.  We are not in a campground but off an alley with 4 sites with hookups.

It is July 8th, our first day on our first workamping job.  Larry and I are working retail at the Backcountry Leather shop here in West Yellowstone.  We are working 3 or 4 days a week.


West Yellowstone

Larry and I have watched Old Faithful and the upper geyser basin. 

The thermal pools are beautiful--the blue in the pools and springs is 199 degree F. 

Each of the geysers seem to be individuals.  Their height and volume are different. 

Grotto Geyser goes off for almost an hour.  It had several exit places so there were several streams going off at once. 

It appears that this geyser sprang up in a group of trees.  You can make out the downed tree forms under the dried mineral.

Yellowstone Canyon is fabulous.  It has waterfalls and geothermal features (past and current) that make descriptions trite.  

Mammoth Hot Springs have several active areas.  It gives the appearance of cave flowstone.

There are 2 areas to visit.  A drive and an extensive boardwalk area. 

We did the drive on a separate day from the boardwalk.  Yesterday we did the boardwalk. 

After finding a parking spot it started to rain;  so we went to the restaurant and had lunch. 

During lunch the rain turned into a hail storm.  Timing was perfect,  we finished lunch and the rain and hail stopped. 

If you've seen cave boxwork, then if you expand that to a grand scale you have Mammoth Hot Springs; then add waterfalls and cave flowstone and your picture is complete.

We sightsee as often as we can.  Pets can only be in certain areas in the National Park.  Larry and I try not to leave  the dogs any more than necessary.  

When we first arrived, most of our forays into the Park were exploratory.  The only section we have left to explore is the area that is closed (Dunraven Pass).

We have seen herds of buffalo, elk, white tail deer, mule deer,  coyote, wolf, beer,  bald eagles, ferret, trumpeter swan. 

Mammoth Hot Springs


Today is Nov. 30, 2005.  Sorry for the long delay.  Life is truly amazing.

The last week we spent in West Yellowstone was very busy.  We went to the Paint Pots Geyser Basin. 

One of the geysers looked as if it was bubbling up blood.  Then we went to the Midway Geyser Basin. 

The water from these geysers flow directly into the Firehole River--2000 gallons of boiling water every minute. 

Last Week at Yellowstone

Yellowstone Canyon

Our Home is Where We Park It


2005-C ><2005-A

NOTE: Click any picture to get a larger version.

Yellowstone Area