Monday, September 19, 2011

Days 35-39: Yellowstone, Big Horn Mountains, and Home

For our last day in Yellowstone on September 11, 2007, Day 35 of our Alaska adventure, we drove the upper loop. The day was sunny, warm, and beautiful, although it had frosted during the night. We were hoping to see wolves and moose, but all we found were coyotes, buffalo, and antelope. We did see a small band of elk come out of the woods in Hayden Valley in the evening, but they were too far away for good pictures.

100_0952a-Yellowstone NP-Coyote

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Pronghorn Antelope

100_0999-Yellowstone NP-Bison on Road
Yellowstone Traffic Jam

We left Fishing Bridge RV Park in Yellowstone on the morning of September 12, 2007, Day 36, and went out Yellowstone's east entrance, beginning the final leg of our journey home.

100_1006-Yellowstone NP-Along East Entrance Road
Along the East Entrance Road of Yellowstone National Park

After a stop in Cody, Wyoming, to get an oil change for Harvey, we took Highway 14 out of Cody and went up through Greybull and the Bighorn Mountains to pick up I-90 at Ranchester. We stopped for photos along the way and spent some time at the Shell Falls viewing area, giving Harvey a chance to cool down after climbing the mountains. A nearby forest fire provided some good photos of helicopters gathering water to carry back to the fire, which was somewhere out of our sight.

100_1009-Big Horn Mtns
Big Horn Mountains

100_1010-Big Horn Mtns
Big Horn Mountains

100_1023-Big Horn Mtns-Firefighting Helicopter
Firefighting Helicopter in Big Horn Mountains

We had supper at a McDonald's in Sheridan, Wyoming, then drove on to Gillette. It was after dark by the time we reached Gillette. Motels were full, so we looked for Crazy Woman Campground, which we had seen listed in our Passport America directory of campgrounds.

We saw a police car parked in a driveway and stopped to ask the officer where the campground was. The officer said that Crazy Woman Campground was right next door to were we were. When Doug asked if there was a Walmart nearby, the police officer almost seemed relieved and told us that we might be better off camping in the Walmart parking lot. He said it would be free and that there was frequently trouble at this campground. We had seen an ambulance pulling away from the area as we approached, but we couldn't say for sure that it had come from the campground. Anyway, we took his advice and parked for the night in the Walmart parking lot.

It wasn't a very restful night for Doug. With no electrical hookup, he wasn't able to use his CPAP machine; and a semi had pulled in and parked near us, with its diesel engine running all night. The noise wasn't so bad, because it helped drown out other sounds; but we could actually feel the vibration.

September 13, 2007, Day 37, was a pretty boring travel day, with no sightseeing stops. We camped that night at Ron Dee's RV Park in Mitchell, SD. After registering at the RV park, we went to Marlin's, a local truck stop, for supper, before hooking up.

Ron Dee's was a nice, clean, and quiet RV park. We slept in a little on the morning of September 14, 2007, Day 38, getting a bit of a late start on that travel day. We made it to East Moline, Illinois, where we spent the night in a room at a Comfort Inn and Suites. The desk clerk told us the rate would be $109, plus tax; but then he wound up giving us an upgrade to a suite and charged us only $85. Go figure. Later, though, we discovered that the suite's air conditioning didn't work. Maybe he wasn't being as nice as I originally thought.

After a very restful night at the Comfort Inn and Suites in East Moline, we set off for home on September 15, 2007, Day 39 of travel to Alaska and back, making it home by early evening.

For those who might be wondering, we sold Harvey three weeks later. After completely cleaning, polishing, and servicing everything that was potentially problematic on him, we listed Harvey on eBay. At the end of the auction, he went to his new home in New Jersey. And Doug heaved a big sigh of relief.

Thus ends the saga of our Great Alaska Adventure. Thanks so much to those of you who have hung in there with me while I wrote this series of posts. What loyal friends you are!


  1. Oh wonderful and what glorious pictures to finish with, that really was a trip and a half ... so glad you shared it with us :o)

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Deborah. It was fun to write.

  3. The traffic jam picture is hilarious! What a TRIP! Hope Eddie and I can do something like that one day. Nice job with all your postings, it was fun to read about!

  4. Thanks, Elizabeth. You and others made the sharing of it fun.

  5. Bravo! Clap, clap, clap. Whistles!

    An adventure well-told and finely-illustrated.

  6. Hilary - Thanks kindly for the ovation, my friend.

  7. I certainly did enjoy reading all about your Alaska adventure... And I know your hubby was glad to say GOODBYE to Harvey!!!! ha

  8. Betsy - If there was ever an understatement, you just uttered it. Doug was thrilled to see Harvey move on to a new home.


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