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Author Topic: Western Loop Adventure  (Read 10199 times)

Terry A. Brewer

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2014, 01:02:38 PM »
>>Awesome vista. We just sat there on a couple of rocks like a couple of kids and looked out from our viewpoint. Not another tourist in sight.<<


That's why many of us tow Jeeps...And what we try to tell people who don't tow what they are missing, especially when they say they don't need a toad because their RV will go anywhere.<G>

dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2014, 07:58:55 AM »
Yesterday, we took the toad and toured in Custer State Park. All I can say is "WOW". This park is huge and there is something to take a picture of around most corners. We started out from Hill City and took the Needles Highway. At first there are some twists and turns and you think "This is cool". Then you begin seeing some of the rock formations and go through a tunnel that you think is pretty small. Wait for it...the tunnels get smaller and longer. Suddenly, you reach the "Needle's Eye" , stop the car and get out, and be amazed. What a view! During busy times, I could see a real traffic jam here.


After Needles Highway, we headed for the Wildlife Loop. Before we got there, there was a turnoff labelled Mt. Coolidge Firetower. What better place to see vistas from than a firetower. Up we went and up and up. MaryAnne was on the outside edge (no railings here) and had to look away everytime an approaching car came and I had to drive the right edge. She feels that it is unfair that the driver is always in the middle of the road. It was only a mile long but that gravel road felt like five miles of twists and turns. Sure enough a beautiful vista awaited us complete with an observation deck. In the distance, you could see Mt. Rushmore, Harney Peak, Needles Highway, and Crazy Horse. It was worth the drive up.

We went around the Wildlife Loop next. First we saw whitetail deer next to the road munching on the grasses. Speaking of Grasses, did you know that there are National Grasslands? I didn't until stopping at the National Grassland Office in Wall, SD. Back on topic...we reached the southern end of the loop and saw the Buffalo corrals in the distance. Next, we came upon a lone buffalo walking down the middle of the road causing a Buffalo Jam. He walked right past MaryAnne's side of the car. Maybe 6 inches from her window. He didn't pay much attention to all of these cars. He's seen them before. Besides, he owned this stretch of highway. Down the road a little we met a group of Begging Burros. I didn't see anyone feeding them but I'm sure there is a reason they hang out in the middle of the road. We finished the Wildlife Loop and had a great lunch at the Legion Lake Diner. We drove into the town of Custer and headed north past Crazy Horse to the campground. We'll save Iron Mountain Road for the next day. The pups were happy to see us and we took them for a walk around the park. Life is Good in the Black Hills!
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 07:49:15 AM by dverstra »
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2014, 08:13:51 AM »
I forgot to mention one of our personal favorite "finds" on this trip. Mary Anne was reading about the Badlands and saw that there had been an area that the government had "procured" for the War Effort. It had been used as a training area for gunnery during WWII. Wait a minute..my dad had been a tail gunner on a B17 and I remembered him talking about gunnery school in South Dakota. At the White River Visitor Center, we found a plaque for this. I took a picture of it and sent it to my brother. I was a littled choked up over that one.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 07:49:47 AM by dverstra »
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therealsimpsons

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2014, 10:05:03 AM »
We just got back from Custer about a week or so ago. We stayed at French Creek RV Park on Washington St, right in Custer. When you take US 385 North out of Custer, in about a mile after you climb the big grade, look right and you will see Crazy Horse.

The wildlife Loop is always great. We were in Custer 4 days, and drove it every late afternoon. We know that Loop by heart now. I think we've driven it 20 times in the last 6 years.

Safe travels,

Stan

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Molaker

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2014, 10:12:02 AM »
The wildlife Loop is always great. We were in Custer 4 days, and drove it every late afternoon. We know that Loop by heart now. I think we've driven it 20 times in the last 6 years.
Watch those wild donkeys.  They'll make asses of themselves every time. :D
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2014, 08:48:48 PM »
Watch those wild donkeys.  They'll make asses of themselves every time. :D

To celebrate seeing those asses, we stopped by the Prairie Berry Winery and bought some Red Ass Rhubarb wine. Oh and we tasted and bought a dozen others. We are ready for a steak dinner now! The trouble with a wine tasting is that you want a few of each. ;D
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2014, 08:54:37 PM »
>>Awesome vista. We just sat there on a couple of rocks like a couple of kids and looked out from our viewpoint. Not another tourist in sight.<<


That's why many of us tow Jeeps...And what we try to tell people who don't tow what they are missing, especially when they say they don't need a toad because their RV will go anywhere.<G>

Really thinking about renting one of those once we reach Moab. What are your thoughts?
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Billy Bob

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2014, 09:32:33 PM »
I have been following your trip with great interest, just one thought would be great if you could post some pictures of your trip that way we could see some of the places you visited as well as read about them.
Billy Bob 

dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2014, 07:56:59 AM »
Billy Bob
I've added a few pics to the more recent posts. It won't allow me to edit further back in time. I'll post a few pics of earlier in the trip now
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Terry A. Brewer

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2014, 07:31:43 PM »
>>Really thinking about renting one of those once we reach Moab. What are your thoughts? <<


I think it would be a great idea.... Wouldn't be surprised if after renting you traded your CRV for a Jeep.

dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #40 on: September 16, 2014, 08:12:00 PM »
>>Really thinking about renting one of those once we reach Moab. What are your thoughts? <<


I think it would be a great idea.... Wouldn't be surprised if after renting you traded your CRV for a Jeep.

Shhhh.....MaryAnne might hear you 8)
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2014, 07:38:02 PM »
Back on task...The following day we went to Mammoth Site first in Hot Springs, SD. If you have never been there, this needs to be on your bucket list. On our first RV trip, we saw this archelogical dig site inside of a building. I never forgot it. When MaryAnne said she wanted to go to the Black Hills, I said Mammoth Site was a necessary stop. Even if you are not into dig sites, this will blow you away. I'll refer you to their website to get the info on how this site was formed. http://mammothsite.com/ Don't miss it!

We headed north to Custer SP to travel the Iron Mtn Road to Mount Rushmore. While this road is not as spectacular as Needles Hwy, it is still a road with character. It has tunnels and these pigtail bridges that are hard to explain. You curve around and go under your previous track. It has numerous lookouts to see Mt. Rushmore from a distance.

Next stop was obviously Mount Rushmore. Last time we were there for the lighting ceremony at night. This time it was during the daytime hours. If you are looking for a Patriotic Moment, do the Lighting Ceremony
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2014, 08:59:17 PM »
We traveled south today to Sydney, NE. We stopped at Cabela's CG and walked the dogs. It was first come first served parking at the CG. After parking it, we went into the store. I paid for the campsite while MaryAnne did some shopping. I can see why they have a CG. We easily paid for the site a couple of times over after the "Shopping Trip". It's warm in Sydney compared to the elevated Black Hills. A 50 amp site with the A/C running cures that. Life is Good in Nebraska!
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #43 on: September 20, 2014, 10:03:17 AM »
Yesterday was also a travel day. We traveled south out of Sydney, NE through Limon, CO then through Colorado Springs to Canon City, CO. We have successfully avoided interstates except for the stretch from the Badlands to Rapid City, SD. I hope to avoid most interstates throughout the trip. I wanted to travel the Byways this time at our own pace.

Today, we hope to see the Royal Gorge (I'm sure it is GORGEous) and the Holy Cross Winery in an old abbey. We might also take a drive to Cripple Creek if time permits. I'll add some photos to this post once we are back.
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Molaker

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #44 on: September 20, 2014, 10:49:55 AM »
Yesterday was also a travel day. We traveled south out of Sydney, NE through Limon, CO then through Colorado Springs to Canon City, CO. We have successfully avoided interstates except for the stretch from the Badlands to Rapid City, SD. I hope to avoid most interstates throughout the trip. I wanted to travel the Byways this time at our own pace.

Today, we hope to see the Royal Gorge (I'm sure it is GORGEous) and the Holy Cross Winery in an old abbey. We might also take a drive to Cripple Creek if time permits. I'll add some photos to this post once we are back.
The Royal Gorge may be a disappointment.  Not that it is not a spectacular site, but because of the fire they had a couple of years ago.  The fire burned much of the forest area approaching the gorge and knocked visitation down so much many tourist businesses closed their doors.  When we were there in June, even the bus tour was spotty and we could not cross the bridge.
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ArdraF

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #45 on: September 20, 2014, 02:59:24 PM »
What a shame!  Even I, who hates heights, walked across the bridge.  It really was neat.

ArdraF
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #46 on: September 20, 2014, 03:26:24 PM »
I'm happy to say that the Royal Gorge Bridge and Visitor Center is OPEN for business and it is GORGEous. They say the visitor center just opened last week. I'll post pics later. Right now we are headed to take the Royal Gorge Railroad at 3:30.m We have a Dome Car seat and also an Open car that we can stand on. Pics later!!!
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ArdraF

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #47 on: September 20, 2014, 03:29:12 PM »
Oh, lucky you!  We wanted to do the train but it wasn't running at the time.  Take lots of pics for us!  We did take the ride down to the loading platform so got something of a feel for what it's like down in the canyon.

ArdraF
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #48 on: September 21, 2014, 10:33:30 AM »
Here are the pics of the Royal Gorge Bridge and one from the bottom
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Betty Brewer

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #49 on: September 21, 2014, 12:31:22 PM »
Wow, your photos took my breath away.  I have been there before  but the mind wants to forget scary views!  Great job of sharing your adventures!
Betty Brewer

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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #50 on: September 21, 2014, 06:35:12 PM »
Today, we traveled to Montrose, CO on Hwy 50. What a beautiful road to take. It winds and turns through canyons. Colorful rock all around. No pics of that since the windshield was all dirty. Doh...should have thought of that. No problem, the rain as we were headed up to Monarch Pass cleared them. MaryAnne took some front window shoots as we scaled the Pass. Beautiful fall color was beginning to appear.
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #51 on: September 23, 2014, 06:31:24 AM »
We went to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park the following day. We had passed by here on an earlier RV Trip with the kids in tow. Didn't have time then. Boy, did we miss something. Our Senior Pass came in handy again. No fee for entry. :) Not like the $11 parking fee at Mt. Rushmore. >:(

We traveled along the South Rim Road and walked to all of the overlooks. So many great views. The pictures just can't capture the depth of it all. Surprisingly, not too many places made us fearful of the heights. Although, there are plenty of places without guardrails. The South Rim Road is not a loop so we headed back past the same breathtaking views.

We took the East Portal Road to the bottom of the canyon. There were all sorts of warnings about "little" things like the 16% GRADE ;D, Use Low Gear, etc. The CRV handled it fine. I had it in 1st gear most of the way down. I pulled off to the side when possible to let those braver (foolhardy?) souls pass me. Only drive as fast as you are comfortable with on these grades. Besides, the slower you go the more you see. 8) When we reached the bottom, we stopped at the picnic spot by the diversion dam. Great spot! Take your picnic lunch here. In 1909, a 5.8 mile diversion tunnel was completed to provide the valley with water for irrigation. The dam was used to back up the water for the tunnel.
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bucks2

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #52 on: September 23, 2014, 11:42:04 AM »
"Our Senior Pass came in handy again. No fee for entry.  Not like the $11 parking fee at Mt. Rushmore."


Thanks for little bits of information like this. I absolutely hate driving into a place and getting the $10 to park and $25 to see the sight surprise. I'm still a year and a half away from the benefits of the Golden Age pass (actually the DW will get it several years before I do) but I can't wait for that benefit too.

Ken

dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #53 on: September 24, 2014, 10:01:44 AM »
Yesterday, we traveled to Moab, UT from Montrose, CO via Hwy 128 (Scenic Byway). Awesome route to take into Moab for our first ever visit. After looking at the map again, I should have taken the second available exit from I70. It would have been a better road. Hwy 128 was a little twisty and narrow in spots but I like it that way sometimes. I took it real slow and let cars past me as soon as I was able. I road the center line through the narrow spots for MaryAnne's sake. She was on the "cliff side" as Ardra puts it. ;D Other times, she had to look the other way. After reaching Moab, we checked into Portal RV Resort. Nice Spot! Since the RV is more than 10 years old, we are in the campground side of the park. We walked the dogs and then took off for a quick trip alongside the Colorado River toward Potash. We saw Indian writings on the sides of the cliffs and some Great views of the Canyons. I keep wanting to say "Awesome" because that is what it is. Forgive me but the views are not just Great they are AWESOME.

It is easy to see why this forum meets in Moab every year. Awesome views with plenty of things to do. We are having to plan our time here because there is so much to be seen . We'll never see it all. Today, we head out for Arches Park. More Awesomeness, I am sure.
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #54 on: September 25, 2014, 04:30:42 PM »
Yesterday we did go to Arches National Park. Hooray for the Senior (Geezer) Pass. I'm Dutch and I love a good (FREE/ Previously paid for) time. I think that the first part of the park is the best IMHO. Just after you scale the first hill, I mean. Yes, the arches are cool too. It's all in what you enjoy, I guess. We mostly toured in the car. We did a little walking. It is hot here in Moab. 90 degrees hot. I know that it is hotter in summer but I came in the fall expecting cooler conditions. Whaaaa! Enough whining or I'll add a little cheese and have a party.

Today we toured through Dead Horse Point State Park and then through Canyonlands Island in the Sky. Beautiful, AWESOME vistas. There's that word again. How else do you describe it? Pics to follow, although most of you have been here!
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 08:29:19 AM by dverstra »
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #55 on: September 28, 2014, 06:33:43 PM »
It's been a couple of days since my last post. During that period we traveled to the Needles area of Canyonlands National Park. A smaller area that takes more walking to see the sights. Smaller campgrounds too. Not many spots for a larger RV not that I needed one. The campgrounds were all full though. Yesterday was rainy and we decided to sit back with a good book and watch the drops fall.

Today we drove the LaSal Mountain Loop. I wasn't expecting what we found. AWESOME vistas. You can see that from my photos. Almost a perfect picture taking day. A Great day in Moab. Sitting with a Leinie and forumming! 8)
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SeilerBird

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #56 on: September 28, 2014, 07:22:19 PM »
Beautiful photos, but you did not rent a 4wd?  Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo >:(
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #57 on: September 28, 2014, 10:08:40 PM »
Beautiful photos, but you did not rent a 4wd?  Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo >:(

After looking over the edge at Shafer Trail, I realized that I wasn't ready for that. I guess that makes me a wimp ;D
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 10:16:08 PM by dverstra »
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #58 on: September 30, 2014, 06:04:27 PM »
Today we are in Santa Fe, NM. We decided to travel here since we had a couple of extra days before going to Taos for the Wool Festival. Last night was in a KOA on the north side of Albuquerque. That is a nice KOA by the way. It didn't look like much from the road but it was well maintained and Clean. A side benefit was that it was walking distance to a MicroBrewery (Kaktus Brewing Company). BEER mmmmm. A small out of the way little place with good beer and a cool patio to relax on after a hard day of drivin'. On the patio there were stools with the backs painted for different characters. One table had the Dollys.  Dalai Lama, Salvadore Dali, and Dolly Parton. Another table had the Breaking Bad Characters. Excuse me but I don't know their names. Pure eclectic!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 06:06:21 PM by dverstra »
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dverstra

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Re: Western Loop Adventure
« Reply #59 on: October 02, 2014, 09:11:46 AM »
We toured the Georgia O Keefe museum. Mary Anne and I were disappointed. It was small and without a lot of her paintings. $10 each to enter and half of the gallery was other artists. Most of the people were in the gift shop wondering where the other wing with more paintings might be. If you are going to downtown Santa Fe, make sure that you know where to find parking. Most streets are narrow without parking. When you do find a street to park on, a sign will say "Residential Parking by permit only". Not very tourist friendly IMO. Eventually we happened upon a public parking garage. More signs for Public Parking would have been appreciated.

We walked around the Plaza with the rest of the tourists wondering "What Next?". We sat for a while in the Plaza with the sun and a cool breeze. Best part of downtown Santa Fe, in my opinion.

We proceeded to Museum Hill area. What a find! It had a Free parking area! With empty spots! We climbed the stairs (an outside elevator is available) from the parking area to the outdoor plaza which had Native sculptures arranged around it. We first visited the Museum of Native Arts and Culture ($9 per person). Make sure that you visit this one. It has some great exhibits about local cultures and history of the area. A tour is available for more info.

After touring the Museum of Native Arts and Culture, we enjoyed a lunch at the cafe on the outdoor plaza. It is more than a cafe, it is truly a quality restaurant. If I lived here, this is where I would come for lunch.

We then toured the Folk Art Museum. Not my or Mary Anne's "Cup of Tea" but it had a large collection of Folk Art. This museum was another $9 per person. If your thing is Folk Art, it would be worth it.
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