Wednesday, August 17, 2022

September 3

We eased into the day with a decent continental breakfast of a bean burritos blueberry muffins and coffee at the Baymont Wyndham as we hit the road toward Wyoming and the Tetons. On the map it appeared that there would be a straight shot west though Ten Sleep but any way you cut it the Tetons were eight hours away so we decided to go south through Casper and on to Dubois and save some money on gas by avoiding the Big Horn mountains.

Our original plan was to drive six hours to Dubois to be within two-hours of the Tetons. But we decided to only go halfway which landed us in Casper. We were still trying to get the right mix of road time and down time. So, instead of driving six hours one day and two the next to the Tetons we decided to split the difference and go four and four stopping in Casper. We theorized part of the unpleasantness we had encountered thus far was the result relentless pace of driving. If we were to increase our pleasure and avoid pitfalls, we needed to get the mix right of being on road and off road.

I don’t know if we made the right call, but it was another beautiful hot day rolling through the endless arid sage bush and grasslands at the end of South Dakota and into Wyoming. As we went along through all this nothingness save for the stray herds of black cows, I wondered why there weren’t giant solar and wind farms out here. Well, the Google machine came up with an answer. A study using the Sahara Desert was modeled and apparently while the solar panels would absorb great amounts of sunlight the a vast expanse of black panels combined with the color of the desert sand would create excess of heat thus effecting the climate negatively. On top of that only fifteen percent of the sunlight taken in makes it back to the electrical grid. However, Wyoming is one of the states with the greatest potential for harnessing wind energy in the U.S. without harmful side effects to the environment. But it is also old coal country so there is resistance and we know how that goes. I was half right anyway.

We did encounter some GPS confusion between Garmin and Google again. When we straightened that out we found the bumpy dirt road ride to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Chalks Bluff Campground on the banks of North Platte River. The North Platte River is a tributary of the Platte River and is five-hundred-fifty miles long with the river head starting in Jackson County Colorado. Here, just outside of Casper it butted up against Chalks Bluff camp site and is stunningly beautiful as it flows eastward to Nebraska.

The dozen or so campsites were pretty private separated by small tress and sage bush following a ring pattern. After sussing out what was available we took a little slice of paradise facing the river. We attached our Moonshade awning to the van but being novice city folk from back east we’re not skilled at setting camp in a way that will limit the impact of the sun. I bought a couple of compasses for this very thing, but they’re sitting on a bookshelf back home and we keep forgetting to buy one when we stop. Oh well, we have to move our chairs here and there to avoid the sun—we’ve dealt with worse.

For the rest of the afternoon we watched the lazy river flow by and were enchanted with the heat and stillness, though we could the hum of a gas powered generator in the distance. A pack of maybe ten deer frolicked on the sagey incline on the other side of the river. They would occasionally jump into the water and we were excited. Like old people who just go places and look at stuff because we have nothing better to do. Donna, in her old person excitement, implored me to get my phone out and take some pictures. Still, it was pretty cool.

Also cool was the Black-billed Magpie that flited about near us. Unlike the deer on the other side of the lake every movement I made to get my phone out and snap a shot of the big bird it rocketed away. This magpie is a western bird and is slightly bigger than a blue jay but with a longer tail. As it flew away it did so making boisterous noises like not today old man who has no purpose in life other than to just look at things. Eventually I did get a shot. Not a good shot as you can see but a shot nonetheless. Here’s also a better Google image.

I was thrilled that my birder friend Karen who I sent my pic to said that would be a lifer for her—meaning once in a lifetime.

Another great night. Tetons next.

How we got here...
An Ode to Fire and Donna
Chronological Posts From The Road 
Going Mobile: What We Learned
Our Rig: A Pictorial Essay




  1. Sounds Great! Can’t wait to read about The Tetons. ♥️ Stop in The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for Lunch in Jackson Home if you swing that way.

  2. Replies
    1. Next time...when we're not on such a tight schedule. One of the things we're learning is that having someplace to be on a certain day and time is not conducive to this type of travelling. The more open ended, the more enjoyable.

  3. Love the magpie pic! Great color, black and white with that beautiful blue!

  4. Hey Magellan,
    Some of us could really use a visual /map to go with posts .
    Please and thank you 🙏 😆

  5. Your wish is my command. Magellan has updated posts with routes taken.