Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander


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Travel Blog 273: Badlands and Bark Park

Badlands National Park
From the Black Hills we headed east, stopping at Wall, South Dakota. We took the scenic drive through Badlands National Park.

Badlands 3

Corn Palace
We spent a night at Mitchell, South Dakota, home of the one and only Corn Palace.

Corn Palace

Mitzy on Indian Lap

From there we continued east and south, cutting across Iowa and Illinois into Indiana, where we dropped the coach off at Wakarusa for some service and repairs at the Thor plant. From there we took the hour drive north and a little east to stay with a good friend in Kalamazoo (we had lived in that area for many years, a couple decades ago).

Jamer's Flowers 5

Dog Park
We found a great dog park to run the pups. Here are some shots.

Posing Pup

Resting Jack

Run, Jack, Run

St. Bernard

Brown Dog with Footbal

Old Trucks
Here are three more old trucks from Jim’s Salvage.

Jim's Old Truck 4

Jim's Old Truck 5

Jim's Old Truck 6

Alex and Mitzy

See you next time.

Travel Blog 272: Black Hills and Bold Bunnies

Mountain View RV Park to Beaver Lake Campground

On to South Dakota
From Sundance we took I-90 east across the border into South Dakota. We exited on to US 85 South, and then took US 385 six miles south of Deadwood to Creekside Campground.

Just a couple miles from our campground in the Black Hills National Forest, we found a great picnic area to walk the dogs.

Jack in the Woods

Female Hairy Woodpecker

Bluebird on a Branch

Spearfish Canyon Road Trip
This is a scenic byway worth taking.

Bear Butte State Park
Just a few miles north of the notorious Sturgis, we visited Bear Butte State Park, a sacred Indian site. The main attraction is a hike up the butte, however, no dogs allowed. Since there is no drive around, we stayed just a few minutes.

Town Tours
During our time in the northern part of the Black Hills region, we had the chance to tour Deadwood, Lead, and Sturgis. Sturgis is just a waiting place for the annual motorcycle events, but Deadwood and Lead where interesting to tour around.

On to Custer
From our campground south of Deadwood we headed south on 385 to Custer, and then east 3.5 miles to Beaverlake Campground, a short 55-mile trip. This is a wonderful all-around campground, but what makes it unique is that it is home to over 150 (and counting) cute, tame, bunny rabbits. Jack and Mitzy were in total awe when six hare youngsters not only did not run when they approached, but they came up to greet the unnerved canines—how dare they?

Campground Bunny

Custer National Forest is everywhere, so every morning we took the pups out on an old road or trail seeing deer, elk, and lots of chippers.

Chip in Tree

Bull Elk

Custer State Park
Think mini-Yellowstone as you drive through this 71,000-acre park viewing the wildlife. We saw massive bison, pronghorn, lots of prairie dogs, and burros who solicited from cars on the loop.

Pushy Burro

PD Family Alert

We took a road up to Mt. Coolidge Lookout and were rewarded with a great view. We saw the Crazy Horse Carving eleven miles away, and Mount Rushmore 13 miles distant.

Mt. Coolidge Lookout

Crazy Horse

Rushmore from Afar

Later during our stay, I photographed Rushmore through a tunnel, and then up close.

Rushmore Up Close

Rushmore from Tunnel

Scenic Byways
Along with the 18-mile Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, we drove the 18-mile Iron Mountain Road and the 14-mile Needles Highway. Here is a shot of from the narrowest part of the Needles Highway, the Needles Eye.

The Needles Eye

Mitzy in the Mirror

Wind Cave National Park
Adjoining Custer State Park is the 34,000-acre Wind Cave National Park. Like Custer, it is home to lots of wildlife. The cave is known for boxwork, with over 95% of all the boxwork in the world located in the 145 miles of underground maze. I took the Natural Entrance tour, and here is a photo of Ranger Justin standing at the natural entrance to the cave and a photo showing boxwork.

Ranger Justin and the Natural Entrance


Jewel Cave National Monument
Just twelve miles from our campground is the Jewel Cave National Monument. This cave was more picturesque.

Jewel Cave 1

Jewel Cave 3

Jewel Cave 4

Jewel Cave 6

Jewel Cave 7

Old Trucks
Just east of Sturgis is the town/village/tiny spot call Chip. And adjacent to Chip is Jim’s Salvage—heaven for old truck shooters.


Here are five old trucks from Jim’s.

Jim's Old Truck 1

Jim's Old Truck 2

Jim's Old Truck 3

Another Old Truck

Old Boar's Nest Truck

We really enjoyed the Black Hills and will come back again.

See you next time.

Travel Blog 271: Prairie Dogs and Black Hills

Deer Haven RV Park to Mountain View RV Park

On to East Central Wyoming
From Saratoga we took 130 north to 30 east to 487 north to 220 east to 258 north to I-25 south to Wyoming 95 north, where we settled in at the Platte River RV Park just outside of Glenrock. The 172-mile trip was pretty in its sparse sort of way, but most of the time I puzzled if we were in the center of nowhere or near the edge. Great day for driving, with fair skies, very little traffic, and lots of pronghorns for the pups to view.

Road Trip
We took a road trip out in the boonies south and east of Glenrock and saw lots of birds and some interesting terrain.

Western King Bird

Three Old Mailboxes

On to Sundance
From Glenrock we made an easy 200-mile journey east on I-25 south, north on Wyoming 59, then east on I-90 to Mountain View RV Park in Sundance. Once again very light traffic, and the only significant population was that of the herds of pronghorn.

Much of the soil around Sundance is the bright red associated with Sedona. An interesting eye-catcher just east of the town is a yellow, twin-engine plane placed between and above the going and coming lanes of I-90. I call it the Wyoming Hood Ornament.

Sundance Scenic II

Wyoming Hood Ornament

Devil’s Tower
We had been to the Devil’s Tower in the past, but thoroughly enjoyed seeing it again. Jan took a few shots of the tower, but my photo efforts were geared toward the Prairie Dog Town.

Munching Prairie Dog

Mr. Squirrel

Black Hills National Forest
Our RV park was just two miles from the Sundance trailhead in Black Hills National Forest. Several mornings I took Jack up the trail. Luckily, as the photo shows, I had a detailed map so as not to run astray. Another interesting stop in the forest was the Warren Peak Lookout Tower, still manned everyday by rangers spotting and reporting fires. Here is a shot from the lookout.

Trailhead Info

Hiking Jack

View From Lookout

Another time we took another family hike on the Reuter Trail in Black Hills National Forest. Once again, we saw no one else. However, hollies and the turning leaves acted as colorful boundaries along the trail.

Holly and Friends

Day Trip
From Sundance to 116 south to Upton, then 16 northwest to Moorcroft, up 24 then east on 113 to Pine Haven, adjacent to both Keyhole Reservoir and Mule Creek Bay. From Pine Haven we took McKean Road north into the countryside. We turned south on Lower Kara Creek Road, connecting to Inyan Kara Creek Road that led to I-90 and our return to Sundance.

Cindy B’s in Alladin
With Alladin’s population of 15, Cindy B’s restaurant doesn't have a huge population base from which to draw its diners. However, regulars help to fill the seats, and the word-of-mouth of great home cookin’ brings in some tourists like us. Here is a pic of Cindy’s place, plus a shot of some local ranchers talking about tracking down missing cattle, the high price of hay ($150/ton), and the rain that drops everywhere but on their ranches.

Cindy B's

Cindy B's Boys

Old Trucks
Here are five old trucks all from eastern Wyoming.

Old Truck 1

Laramie Old Truck

Old Moorcroft Fire Truck

Old Platte River Truck

Old Sundance Truck

Trip to Eastern Wyoming
Most all our time spent in Wyoming in the past was in the western part of the state, primarily in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. We love both these parks and will frequent them again.

This year, though, we thought we’d explore the eastern portion of the state. As blog followers know, we started west of Laramie, camping in Saratoga. We explored the Medicine Bow National Forest, and took in the Wyoming Annual Beerfest. From there we headed to Glenrock, east of Casper at the north end of the forest. Next we spent several days in Sundance, east of Gillette in the Black Hills of Wyoming. The scenery was wonderful, the pronghorns and deer were plentiful, and the traffic was sparse. Very enjoyable stay in this wonderful state.

See you next time from another state of mind.

Travel Blog 270: Young Brews and Fast Critters

Chatfield State Park to Deer Haven RV Park

Up to Wyoming
From our campground in Chatfield State Park, we decided to take the scenic route up to southern Wyoming instead of taking major roads and interstates. We took 121 north to I-70 west, US 40 west, CO 125 north, and as we passed into Wyoming, we continued onto 230 west and 130 west to the Deer Haven RV Park just north of Saratoga. It was only 216 miles, but much of the trip was steep and winding, affording wonderful views by requiring Jan’s full attention driving the bus.

The literature says that Saratoga is an interesting place, and it is correct. Although only 1,600 inhabitants, it has a lot to offer. It attracts hunters and fisherman (mainly fishing for trout) from all over the country and the world. They have an airport with a runway that can handle B-52s, and in the fall they say there may be a dozen or more big corporate jets transporting the rich (don’t know about the famous part.)

In sharp contrast to the high-density, heavy-traffic, go-go of the Denver area, this sparse, lightly populated area was a nice, slow change of pace. Deer wandered everywhere, and hundreds and hundreds of pronghorns populate the surrounding countryside. Our pup, Jack, feels that there is nothing more fun to watch than running pronghorn.

Oh, Deer

Running Pronghorn II

Dog Park
I was quite surprised that this small town had an off-leash dog park, and very pleased at how nice it was. It quickly became the cornerstone of our morning.

Microbrew Fest
Saratoga hosts the Steinley Cup (pronounced “Stanley” like the hockey version), Wyoming’s microbrew fest in which most all the microbreweries in Wyoming compete for honors. The 21st annual happened the Saturday we were staying in Saratoga, so we felt obliged to participate. Pleasant day, friendly people, good beer.

Brewfest Pup

Brewfest Vendor

T-Shirt Girls

Young Howard Stern

Battle Pass Scenic Byway
One afternoon we drove south to Encampment, then took Highway 70 up into the Medicine Bow National Forest, up over Battle Pass, and west on toward Baggs. Scarce traffic and great scenery. By the way, the name came from the numerous battles fought between the Indians and the trappers.

Road Block

Rock Ptarmigan

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

Snowy Range Scenic Byway
Another time we headed south for about ten miles, and then went east on highway 130 once again into the Medicine Bow National Forest, stopping at Centennial for a nice lunch, and then on to Laramie. Once again, beautiful scenery and light traffic.

More Colorado Pups
Here are more pup pics from Colorado that I didn’t have ready for my last blog.

Black Pup

Run, Jack, Run

Where Is the Baby?

Wild Child

Old Trucks
Since an individual from Pine Island complained about my lack of truck shots, here are three old trucks from the Old Truck Reserve.

Old Truck 1

Old Truck 2

Old Truck 3

See you next time.

Travel Blog 269: Wild Weekend with Yogi

Riverview RV Park to Chatfield State Park

From our campground west of Loveland, we took 34 east, and then I-25 south down to our campground near Larkspur.

Jellystone Park
This campground and “resort” is the perfect place for kids. Since we volunteered to take our grandkids plus one friend, we wanted a place with lots of activities. We found the right place. Here are just a few of the activities: morning flag raising with Yogi and Boo Boo, goat grazing, bounce pillow, pancake breakfast (with sausage), swimming pool, afternoon ice cream with Yogi, movies, candy bar bingo, waterslide at the Old Swimming Hole, hayrides, and so on, and so on. However, the biggest hit was that we rented a golf cart for the weekend and Austie became the chauffeur. Great weekend—we packed a week into 48 hours.

Cute Swinger

Fishing Hole Slide

I Love Yogi

Nattie and Austie on Jump Pillow

Silent Specatator

Chatfield State Park
From Jellystone, we took the short drive north and west to Chatfield State Park. We have stayed many times at this wonderful park…full hook-ups, roomy sites, lots of privacy, rabbits everywhere, and one of the best dog parks on the planet.

Ala Carte


Ball Retriever

Black and White

Jumping Jack

.Run, Jack, Run


Wet and Wild

See you soon!