We got up early Friday morning, as we had a long day ahead of us. We were supposed to stay in Hannibal, Missouri last night, but stopped 230 miles sooner due to the tire problems we had. We were scheduled to spend Shabbos in Indianapolis, so on Friday we drove 540 miles:
Shabbos in Indianapolis was nice. It was odd being back in civilization again. The roof A/C dripped into the cabin, so that’s something else for me to fix when we get home.
On Sunday, we drove 738 miles without any sightseeing:
Before leaving Walmart, we bought an industrial-grade fan and stuck it between the two front seats, facing forward. Hopefully the increased air circulation will add a degree or comfort, as the air conditioning still isn’t working.
The black freight car is rolling down one of two “humps” in the yard. The cars are rolled down the hump, and their inertia carries them through the switched rails until they hitch on to the appropriate train:
We left North Platt and stopped near Kearney, Nebraska at Fort Kearney (not to be confused with Fort Phil Kearney, which we visited on day 7):
We are definitely going the wrong way:
We then headed East towards our next destination. We increased our speed to 70 so we would make it, something we had not done since our tire failure in Toledo. Just outside Beatrice, someone motioned us off the road. Looks like one of the RV tires was beginning to fail. Thankfully, we were right near another Tractor Supply:
We lashed the failing tire to the roof, bought another wheel, and swapped the spare that we bought at the Tractor Supply in Toledo with the remaining good tire. We now were running on the two new Tractor Supply tires, had the good original tire as a spare, and the faulty tire on the roof. This is really getting old.
I got up early and went outside. It was totally silent in the desert. No birds, no leaves rustling, nothing. It was a little creepy, and beautiful too:
We drove up a side “road” to a trail that led to a rock face with Indian Petroglyphs:
The rock must pretty soft, because it had a very interesting erosion patterns. A bird nest is on the rock face in the upper left:
We climbed up on top of the mesa:
We were quite alone out there:
Boar’s Tusk in the distance:
We packed up and got back on the interstate before 9am. We drove east to Rawlins, Wyoming, where the state prison was located from 1901 to 1981. The complex is now a privately run museum. We took the tour, which was very sensationalistic and generally distasteful. We felt some parts were not appropriate for children. The guide asked us if we wanted to sit in the gas chamber. Um, thanks no.
From Rawlins, we drove east to Laramie, Wyoming, site of the previous state prison, which operated from 1872 to 1901. It’s a state-run facility, and was quite well done:
The guard “tower”, which overlooks the cell block below:
The prisoners made brooms to support the prison and to earn improved rations, etc.:
There are a number of other structures at the site, including a one room schoolhouse:
From Laramie, we continued East to North Platte, Nebraska, where we spent the night in the Walmart parking lot.
In the morning, we drove up the road to the Fossil Butte National Monument:
One of the volunteers demonstrated how to clean a fossil:
We then drove to the Warfield Fossil Quarry. We worked for an hour, and brought home a box full of fish fossils. The limestone comes out in pieces the size of a pizza box. The chisel is placed on the edge to create a crack that is used to split the rock edgewise, forming two thinner pizza boxes, hopefully with fossils on the inside.
From the fossil dig, we drove to Kemmerer where we replenished our water supply and had lunch. We then drove south to Green River, entering the Red Desert. We drove along a gravel road looking for wild horses. In the distance, Pilot Butte:
It had rained, and the RV was quite a mess:
There was a sign at some point that said that the land area enclosed by the mountains visible to the North, West, and South is larger than the state of Massachusetts. Not that that’s saying much.
We drove out on Tri-Territory Road 4-17 where we spotted some wild horses:
This pronghorn ran in front of our SUV and nearly met his end:
We pulled off the road and to set up the RV for the night. This area of Southwest Wyoming is the largest unfenced area in the US. We were 10 miles from the nearest paved road, and 15 miles from the nearest people.
Monday morning we had an early start. Here we are ready to leave:
We dumped our tanks at a gas station in Jackson, which was….. interesting. We then drove South to Hoback Junction for our horseback ride:
We started off together, then M and Trish split off to complete the two hour ride while B and I completed the one hour ride.
B’s horse was a 27 year-old fellow named Spud. Spud is moved along by slapping him with a length of rope, known as “the Spud Whacker”. B did a great job keeping Spud going, and pulling up on his reins when he tried to eat.
Trish and M are up front:
B and I with the guide:
Meanwhile, Trish and M headed off on their two-hour ride, which took them off the road onto the ridge above:
While B and I were waiting for M and Trish to return, B spotted me while I crawled under the RV, stripped the brake wires, and replaced the wire nut so that both RV wheels now brake, meaning that the RV will no longer heave to one side when we brake.
We left the stables and continued South along the Snake river to the West Table river access, where we waited for the folks from Teton Whitewater to show up. Our guide was Ammon, and he was great. He asked the other boats not to splash us because there was a “princess” on board. The four of us were in the back row. Here we are entering the class-3 Big Kahuna rapids:
Everyone had a great time. Thanks Ammon!
From there we headed South, for a dozen or so miles even being 100 yards over the border into Idaho, then sadly turned to the East. We had reached the Westernmost extent of our trip. It was time to head for home.
I had chosen a dispersed campsite on BLM land just East of Fossil Butte National Monument, but there was intervening private land, so we continued on. We eventually found a place to get off the road just a few hundred yards from the road to the National Monument. The sunset was beautiful. Fossil Butte is in the background:
While we set up the RV, the kids collected bones they found lying about, probably from a cow. Did I mention that I love dispersed camping?
We drove 172 miles today. The white circles indicate the location of the horse corral and the river access.