We have traveled 1,308 miles since my last post in Santa Fe and find ourselves tonight in Missoula, MT. This is the last night on our own before meeting up with our tour group in Coeur D’ Alene, ID tomorrow and we are excited to finally meet those we will be traveling with on this journey.
Our stays the last few days have been in Colorado Springs, CO, Casper, WY and Paradise Valley, MT. And, as you may guess by these locations, the views along the way have been wonderful. Our drive from Colorado into Wyoming was marked by high winds (worse than the ones we encountered in Oklahoma) and made for a nail-biting journey. Kudos to Art for keeping us on the road with gusts in excess of 40 mph – no small feat. The poor RV rocked and rolled throughout and there was a stretch where I had to concentrate on not getting motion sick. Needless to say, we were glad to have that day behind us! Leaving Casper, we hit our first rain so far on this trip but it was really nothing more than a drizzle so nothing that impeded our way and frankly, made for some dramatic skies!
While in Colorado Springs we ventured out to explore the Garden of the Gods, a park of sandstone rock formations set against a backdrop of Pikes Peak and the Rockies. Can you say, gorgeous? This area is well visited and offers many trails to enjoy its natural beauty. We opted for the central trail which winds through the formations, is paved and stays level. Encountered a good number of people, saw two deer and witnessed two climbers scaling the face of one of the formations. It was a lovely way to exercise after our drive from Santa Fe!
Did not sightsee in Casper – arrived, set up camp, did laundry, a Walmart run and then “chillaxed” the rest of the evening. Our campground sat along the North Platte River and apart from walking down to its banks our activity level for this day was pretty close to nil. Need one of those kind of days every now and then!
The drive to Paradise Valley was 404 miles, the longest since we left Santa Fe, and was marked by the big skies of Wyoming and Montana, mountain ranges in the distance looming closer, and some elevation change. Having stayed in Paradise Valley last year, we knew that this place was special and would warrant repeat visits. Our campground here sat right on the banks of the Yellowstone River with commanding views of the Absaroka Range to our east. One of the loveliest places we have stayed thus far as the pictures will attest. As luck would have it, we met two other couples here that will be traveling to Alaska in our caravan! They are both from Georgia, so we will have some fellow southerners to hobnob with along the way! We stayed here 2 nights and it was hard to leave.
View from our campsite at Yellowstone’s Edge RV Park
A relatively short drive to Missoula allowed us ample time in the afternoon to make our last Walmart run before heading into Canada. Stocking up on supplies that we know will pass border inspection, we are feeling well prepared until our next planned stock-up at the Walmart in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Before that next run, we will have soaked in hot springs, toured Banff and explored glaciers on the Icefields Parkway! So stay tuned, we are just getting started!