Camping Day Five - Casper, WY

Casper, WY

We had a pretty good drive today heading from Colorado up to Wyoming. There was traffic, as one might expect when multitudes are flocking to see a rare event, but we were mostly able to drive the posted speed limits. Driving fatigue was minimal.

We pulled into camp at about 2:45 PM MDT. The place was already quite full, with only a couple of spaces that (obviously) would be filled later. Our spot is located at the end of a row closest to the road in front of the park. The next two spots do not have RVs in them but are occupied by a large group of people with canopies and tents. We drew the party animal neighbors - oh well.

We have the cameras and aux equipment to try and capture tomorrow’s event. Our friends are going to try and join us here in the campground and they have some more sophisticated cameras and equipment, so we will ask them to share.

We’ve been counting down to this for over five years. Here’s hoping and praying that it will be clear and beautiful for the totality in Casper.

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Camping Day Four - Craig, CO

Craig, CO

Today’s journey took us further north into Western Colorado. We’re camping at the Craig KOA which is a pretty nice place. Last night, in Montrose, the campground was OK, but the spaces were too close together and we weren’t able to get the satellite TV to connect due to trees. TV is working just fine tonight.

Tomorrow is the last leg to where we will observe the eclipse in Casper. Our route takes us through Rawlins, WY and then on into Casper. We may be meeting with some friends who also plan on watching the event from Casper. We will be in either telephone or Ham Radio contact, still to be decided.

We are looking forward to our stay in Casper, not only because of the eclipse, but that we will be camping there for two consecutive nights which will give us a chance to relax and calm ourselves after a semi-hectic run up to witness the event. We will get out the grill and cook up a good dinner after the eclipse is done, and depart for the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore on Tuesday.

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Camping Day Three - Montrose, CO

Montrose, CO

Today’s drive from New Mexico north into Colorado was quite the event. We started up US 550, the “Million Dollar Highway” to see the majestic western Rocky Mountains via the towns Durango, Silverton and Ouray along the route.

It was indeed a beautiful scenic ride, but Both Damsel and I resolved that we would not travel this way again even if someone were to give us a million dollars to do so. The winding road in places was very narrow with a serious drop off on one side or the other. Some of the switchback curves were posted as low as 10 miles per hour. We were both nervous wrecks taking the 36 foot big RV through there.

Once past Ouray, the road straightened out on in to Montrose where we are camped. We are having some adult beverages to help us relax and get back to normal.

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Camping Day Two - Kirtland, NM

Welcome

We entered New Mexico this afternoon and are presently camped in Kirtland, NM, about forty miles east southeast of Four Corners. Our campground is adequate, with a reasonable price, but not a five star resort. But, that doesn’t matter since we have our own luxury accommodations with us. We’re comfortable.

After leaving Holbrook this morning, we stopped briefly at the Petrified Forest National Park. Damsel got some souvenirs in the gift shop and we went into the park only as far as the Painted Desert Overlook, just a mile into the park. We turned around just after that and headed back to I-40 to continue along the route.

We went east along the interstate to Gallup, where we refueled and then headed north to our present position between Shiprock and Farmington, NM. The ride was good today with some minimal slowing for road work and the usual small town speed traps.

Tomorrow, we will be heading into Colorado along US 550, the “Million Dollar Highway.” This leg of the trip, although a difficult drive along a winding and steep road, has been on our bucket list as one of the most scenic drives in America. Damsel will have her camera clicking away as usual.

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Camping Day One - Holbrook, AZ

Camping Day One

Well, we’re on our way toward the rendezvous with the Great American Eclipse. Tonight finds us camped in Holbrook, AZ, along I-40 in northern Arizona.

We had a pretty good and uneventful (thank God) trip today, with mostly light traffic and minimal delays due to roadwork and no problems with weather. The forecast along our route for the next couple of days looks good too.

The forecast for Casper, WY, where we will be waiting to watch the big event is for some cloudiness, which we hope will change to mostly sunny on eclipse day next Monday morning. We will keep an eye on conditions as our trip progresses.

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ISS and SpaceX Dragon Sighting

SpaceX Dragon

One of our regular activities in retirement in our desert place is to watch for overflights of The International Space Station when they are visible. Tonight’s flyover was the last in the current series of visible passes in our area and included a special treat of which we were unaware until after the pass.

As the ISS soared across the sky, Damsel noticed a fainter speck of light following in trail of the brighter space station. We both saw it and wondered what it could be. I suggested that it might be a cargo resupply or something of the sort. We continued to watch the pair as they swooped out of sight towards the southern horizon.

I came back in the house and got on the computer to see if I could find out what we were seeing. It turns out that the fainter dot of light was a SpaceX Dragon CRS-12 resupply ship with 6400 pounds of “stuff” on board to deliver to the ISS on Wednesday morning.

This is from the NASA blog about the SpaceX Dragon Launch:

Crew members aboard the International Space Station can expect a special delivery Wednesday morning. A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft loaded with more than 6,400 pounds of supplies, equipment and science materials is heading their way after the successful liftoff of SpaceX CRS-12 at 12:31 p.m. EDT from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.

The on-time liftoff marked a spectacular conclusion to a countdown that proceeded like clockwork throughout the morning, aided by cooperative weather conditions across the launch site. With a sonic boom sounding across Florida’s Space Coast, the first stage returned to SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station while the rocket’s second stage finished the task of propelling Dragon to orbit.

Read more at the link above the quote. Damsel and I feel very fortunate to have witnessed this extraordinary extra-terrestrial event.

Damsel remarked earlier this evening regarding that she’s glad to see SpaceX, rather than Russians, supplying the ISS these days. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

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Microburst Damage around Town

Broken Branches Uprooted Mesquite Tree

Damsel and I were out to do some shopping today and we saw some of the aftermath of the monsoon storm that hit our town last evening. According to reports, there were many more trees damaged or down in addition to the two shown above. Photos courtesy of Damsel.

The broken branch on the tree above left was adjacent to one of the town’s Historical Markers. Fortunately for the Little Red Schoolhouse, the tree branch fell away from the building. The uprooted mesquite tree above right was along the main road through town where we saw several other damaged and down trees and branches.

Much of the town suffered power loss and a couple of homes were evacuated due to poles or trees falling on them. Damsel and I were fortunate in that God spared us the microbursts that caused the major problems and our power was uninterrupted.

Our back retention walls continue to protect our little house from storms like the one last evening where three inches fell in an hour when the storm cell stalled right overhead. This was similar to, but not as intense as the storm that hit us on July 18 two years ago. This is the second storm this season to cause the little washes to dump flooding along the dirt road directly in front of our house.

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