Nearing a longer term destination… arriving in Utah

12.31.11 Coalville, Utah (population 1000; elevation 5000 ft)

Wow…it’s been quite a week.  At the age of 53, one would not necessarily think that there are LOTS of new skills to learn…but there most certainly are. I can honestly say I have stepped out of the “suburban” (coffee shop, typical middle class) lifestyle – not that I was *ever* that typical, but this is a whole new realm.

**read all the way through for some powerful info**

Let me take this chronologically (its how my mind works…and I guess others now that FB has implemented ‘timeline’!, plus its easier for me.) I’m going to start with Christmas eve in Mitchell, SD. My drive took me from Cedar Falls, Ia. where I spent a couple of days in a local park; got my phone replaced in Waterloo; enjoyed the first snow covered landscape (about 1” total depth!) and took some time to “walk” mainstreet. *And of course, introducedHair of the Dog to a few local business people in the area.

A view of the heartland... this could easily be anywhere between Indiana and S.D.

Arriving in Mitchell later in the afternoon, I was already feeling poor from a virus I contracted. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was running about a 100 degree fever. Even so, I was determined to attend Christmas Eve services at a local Lutheran Church…inspiring and eye opening. Americans in this part of the nation are a tough breed…you can see it in their eyes and how they quietly worship. It’s not “showy” in any way. Entire families and extended families came out for this service. I stayed as long as my health allowed.

Getting sick on the road is a challenge in and of itself. I’ve been on a schedule to get a few important things done…and could not afford to just stop; crank the furnace to 70 and lay in bed. This was the first fever I have run in probably 10 years, so, I was a bit concerned at the time. I have since beat the virus and only have the “after-effects”. I’m sure you don’t need me to get into details!

Wall Drug - Took a photo (anyway) - read and see why...

Ok, so, onward from Mitchell, leaving early on Christmas day, I discovered just how real the holiday is to “middle America” Americans. Wall Drug – one of the biggest tourist traps in the USA, right up there with South of the Border in SC was CLOSED! Wow, after hundreds of signs for hundreds of miles… I was looking forward towards some cough medicine if nothing else – instead I was greeted to an empty town (there are not many people in SD anyway!) and a locked door to Wall Drug…oh well, not to be deterred, I headed west and about 10 miles west of Wall, at exit 98, I found a “campground” that charged only $5 for the night…there was nothing else around, but as always, there is plenty for me to do inside. Plus…I was still sick! So… some soup, a good nights rest and with God’s help, I healed and was read for travel on 12.26 (Monday) – yet another holiday to Box Elder (Rapid City), SD.

Box Elder (12.26 Monday – 12.28 Wednesday) – Even after staying there, I’m still not sure what “Box Elder” is…the nearest businesses all identify themselves as Rapid City, SD. You can map it and see where I was. Business had to be done here. I met Barbara – owner of Americas Mailbox. Nice woman as is all the staff! Thanks to Dawn and others if you’re reading this. Dawn helped me with my plates (yeah! I have SD plates and a SD license now!) We of course talked a littleGood Lifebusiness – and of course SOC!

Beyond the Americas Mailbox office, I had opportunity to travel around the town – got to FedEx 2x, the DMV (for my license) – twice (yeah, they want confirmation you actually receive mail in the state!) Tyler at Verizon wireless was both helpful and interested in HOD. Many good people in Rapid City. I could see spending more time there at some point. The weather continued to be unusually warm – easy on the propane wallet! But…I did break down and purchase a space heater…one of those things that looks like an old 1950’s style home radiator…kinda cool actually.

The Black Hills - climbing to 7000 ft +

Another view of the Black Hills - evergreen forests - but no skiing

Wednesday (12.28) was time to move on again – traveling through the Black Hills (look at the dirt on my carpet and you know why they call it the black hills!) The Black Hills are actually beautiful. Home to Hill City (met the owner of the Mangey Moose Saloon – and yes, gave him access to HOD). Of course, the Black Hills are best known for Mt. Rushmore – drove near it but not next to it – the road looked too hairy for the RV. I did drive by Crazy Horse – another mountain carving “in the works” since 1948. Yup, that’s not a typo… 1948!  

Crazy Horse - make the pic larger adn look at the stone carving

Crazy Horse - my actual view

I descended out of the Black Hills (wow does this kill gas mileage!!) in the mid-afternoon and reached Wyoming – New Castle – for a late lunch (and a quick stop at a local bar to promote HOD! – they were excited and even bought a few cans off me!) I also had a GREAT bison burger and BAKED fries – perhaps the best I’ve had at Isabella’s (?) just off main street. The hardware store was thrilled to see me park street-side in front of their business! After some time chatting with the people at the café and the bar, it was time to hit the road again and head towards Casper.

Sunset on the high desert

An early morning drive into Casper from New Castle (Wyoming)

Night settled in across the prarie/high desert and the wind picked up… I found a place to gas up and then a rest stop to spend the night (really from 6pm to 6am!) Got a good night’s sleep and then on Thursday (12.29) headed into Casper. I started driving pre-dawn and watched the sun rise over the high desert – magnificent.

Casper is a somewhat depressed town along the edge of some mountains – can’t see what makes it tick…but didn’t spend much time there. Time to park at Wally World, cook breakfast (so windy put down the rear support legs), and then go shopping. Found a bulb that fits one that blew – tried another one before and all that happened was I blew a fuse that not only controlled the light, but also the furnace! Fortunately, fuses were 2 minutes away and I was able to restore the furnace on a night that was in the 20’s (and windy).

A brief stop to enjoy the high desert

The landscape here really is fascinating

Thursday ticked on as I drove west and encountered some good winds. I’m really learning how to pull a 38’ trailer and stay out of trouble…but the biggest test (yet) was coming up soon. From Casper, I headed SW on Wy 220 to 287 – both state roads. On my last leg of the days journey into Rawlins, Wy, I saw a tractor trailer that had been blown over! When I reached Rawlins (only about 1pm), I decided it was not worth trying to get any further west with 40 mph winds and gusts OVER 65mph! The folks at “RV Camperworld” were great, hospitable and confirmed the wisdom of my decision to call it a day from the road!

Dust blowing across the highway in 50+ mph winds - shortly before a tractor trailer blew over

More of the high desert and almost a lunar landscape!

Rawlins, like much of Wyoming is populated with folks who are “just” making it. The town has all you’d expect – a City Market; a few hardware stores and a downtown area with ½ of the stores closed and unoccupied. Even still, the town was immaculately clean and the people were most friendly and helpful. I really like what I see here in this part of America.

After a windy night in Rawlins, it was time to head westward… especially since there is a new ‘high wind warning’ for Saturday for Rawlins and that means if I didn’t leave on Friday, I was not leaving until Sunday!

An approaching cold front and the precursor to todays snow

Get the idea it is OFTEN windy here?!

Just stepped outside (Saturday 12.31) – LOVE the smell in the air when a little (or a lot) of snow has fallen. Just seems to do something to the humidity – even in cold weather – makes it wonderful to breathe and feel live! Its nice and chilly outside – I’m wearing 3 shirts and no jacket – typical for me unless its windy or VERY cold. Right now its about 28… so, its very comfortable (yes, I know those of you in Florida think I’m nuts!)

Ok, back to the story… I left Rawlins yesterday afternoon (Friday 12.30). Drove about 5 hours to get to Coalville. Going for lunch soon – some ice cream/ tex-mex place was recommended to me. I may meet Jesse there – Jesse is an energetic young man whom I met yesterday at the Holiday Hills campground office. A young man with a story to tell and his along with Chandra’s this morning (at the same office as I “re-upped” for another day) make this trip worthwhile. Jesse told me last night about his travels after high school to Hawaii! Amazing how some folks step out of their comfort zone!

Another amazing sunset - here at the Coalville campground

A spring-like evening - 50F after sunset!

Just took this pic! A sugar coating of snow from last night

The surrounding campground – I’m near the motel for wifi!

So… here we are  – Saturday morning 12.31.11 – new years eve – not really feeling the whole new years thing, but I guess I never really did – its just another evening. Not sure if I will stay here or venture into Park City for at least dinner or something.

My goals at the moment are to get this post up – with LOTS of pics and to get some marketing ready for the new year- including a sales funnel I have in my mind and now need to transfer to pages to “hit the ground running.” I know I’m onto two great companies with products and services in need – now the issue is to get the word out.

IF you stuck with me this far… you deserve to see my post about 2012… go to http://facebook.alansills.com and review my post from 12.30.11 – LOTS of useful and powerful info there. 

All for now,

Al

 


Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Top