Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, MT

What an awesome rescue center.

So the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is more of a rescue center for animals who can’t live in the wild than like a zoo.

Not my picture – found on Internet.

They take raptors that have been hit by cars and can’t fly.

They had an otter exhibit.

The Grizzly Bear and Wolf exhibits were marvelous.

Rescued Bear

Can’t say enough good things about this place.

Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon – Amazing.

Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon was (so far) my favorite part of the Park. We stayed in Grant Village. I wish we had stayed in the Canyon area.

The small spawn followed up his 11 mile geyser hike with a 6 mile Saturday hike in Canyon section of Yellowstone.

Saw one of the Falls on hike, but we mistakenly headed South rather than North?

Canyon Guide – Must Have. Spend the $1.00

We had some trouble with one trail map and we didn’t immediately find a Canyon guide so that is why we hiked in the wrong direction.

So once we got headed in the correct direction we came to the fork in the trail where one route went up to a parking area and another wound back and forth down to a Falls. The Down trail was totally worth the hike (and they had lots of benches where you could sit and take a break).

We then hiked back to the parking lot and drove to inspiration point because I was tuckered our (even if the kid wasn’t).

Next time that we are at Yellowstone- we’ll stay at the Canyon area.

Dubois/Wind River, WY KOA is OK, but the nearest steakhouse…divine.

The Dubois KOA had a playground for the kid and laundry. It was fine. I wonder if I’m getting jaded? I will say that we bought our 3rd Sewer hose there. Strangely 3 seems to be the perfect amount.

However, can I just tell you about the The Long Buffalo Steakhouse. Holy $&@) is that was some great grub. 120 E Ramshorn St. Dubois, Wy. Tel 307-455-4222.

Save those digits to your contacts. Seriously.

I had asked my husband what he wanted for dinner and he looked me with a sort of desperate despairing look and mockingly said a Ribeye and a loaded potato. The kid had been being a particular terror that day and both he and the kid were tired.

Ok. Challenge accepted.

So I got on Yelp and found this gem a 6 minute walk from the KOA.

A gem.

It was SO so close.

I ordered ahead and when the husband came back in after wrestling with the terror’s tantrum of the moment leaving the playground I told him to go walk and pickup food from restaurant that I had ordered while I watched the terror.

The steaks and potatoes were unreal. I had a 10oz filet mignon – and this awesome salad with the sweetest beets and blue cheese.

Husband had his 14 oz ribeye with loaded potato.

Picture from their website. I wolfed down my steak and didn’t even think about taking a pic. And the delivery looked this damn good.

The kid got a cheeseburger.

And all was right in the world.

Old Faithful, Geysers, Bison, and NO WiFi.

Let me say I was not expecting anything that happened at Yellowstone National Park. I loved things I didn’t expect and felt somewhat meh about some of the things I actually went there to see.

Let’s start with BAD. We had no WiFi on a workday for me. This was not good. I had to handle meetings by cell rather than Skype. I also had really poor connectivity. I have a Verizon AND an AT&T hotspot. This was NOT supposed to happen.

I was NOT happy. Gray areas below are the “alleged” WiFi areas. I was in one. Cell service throughout Yellowstone pretty much sucks.

The good – Old Faithful. Everyone makes such a big deal about it. I honestly thought all of the other geysers we saw on a long hike past it were more interesting. Old Faithful is huge. Don’t get me wrong, seeing it shoot up – cool.

Small spawn is pictured dead center with husband. He is sitting on ground looking away. So, there’s that.

I just enjoyed the quiet morning walk with the family around the geysers more. And there were a TON of geysers and pools to see. I don’t know why nobody mentions the great hike along the geysers? They are even bike trail/wheelchair accessible?

Old Faithful Shooting up in the Distance.

But DO Pay the $1.00 for the guides in Yellowstone.

They are worth it.

Cliff Geyser (below) was probably my favorite.

Black Sand Basin. Really liked this short little walk.

Amazingly, the small spawn did 11 miles of hiking on Friday. You read that right. The 6 year old did eleven miles of hiking. He then ran around the coin laundry area high on Gatorade sugar. This kid sure likes his “hiking adventures.” We are kind of pudgy and middle aged- the kid is just running us ragged.

He did the Biscuit Basin Loop (5.2 miles) AFTER our morning hikes.

And the boys saw a male Bison up close and personal.

Male Bison on walk to Biscuit Basin.

It was quite a day.

Wyoming Dinosaur Center – Thermopolis, Wy

This was worth the money and the time if you love fossils and dinosaurs. It’s small, but really neat. Short. Good for kids.

I’ve been to many, many, many world class museums. Not kidding. They have a ton of marble and are fancy.

London’s Natural History Museum. Been there.

Paris’ Jardin des Plantes & Pantheon? Oui.

Chicago’s Field museum? Yep. New York’s American Museum of Natural History. Check. You get the idea.

Look, I’m a bit jaded. Been there. Done that. So when I tell you I liked the fossils at this little museum – I do have a somewhat decent tourist basis for comparison.

It isn’t everything. It’s just solid.

If you don’t want to believe just me, in 2019 Time Magazine for Kids rated it one of the World’s Coolest Places. So that’s something right?

So what did I like so much about it? I’m glad you asked. Let’s talk turkey (or dinosaur) about what (and why) I liked it so much.

It seemed REALLY historically accurate. Had unique pieces and replicas. And what seemed to be a very well-curated historical timeline. This was key for me. Well, how would I know? Good question. I don’t personally/professionally, BUT we are currently teaching the kid (Covid/RVSchool) and one of the sources we are using is Usborne Encyclopedia of World History.

When we walked through the Wyoming Center it matched the Encyclopedia. I may be “amateur hour” on the science/paleontology, but I loved that I both understood it and it seemed to be proceeding through the fossil history in a methodical way.

We’d read about trilobites. There they were …

We had read about ichthyostega.

Yep, they had him too.

Also some funny/creepy modern comments. Apparently these guys were one of the inspirations for the Sentinel Robots in the Matrix –

It was like walking through a timeline of pre-historic history with some REALLY great fossils. It’s a NICE collection.

Megalodon Tooth (here’s looking at you Shark Week)

It was a good time.

I’m really glad we stopped in.

Also, they have a dig site tour that is one of only three places in the world that have dinosaur bones AND tracks in the same place.

Purple marking is dinosaur track. Leg bone in background.

Like I said – worth the time and money. 2020 rates below:

RV Stop – Elderly Dog with Ear Infection needed Vet

Callie the Elderly Retriever developed yet another (continuing) ear infection.

She was treated for this ear thing in Wis when we had her stitches taken out. But Tuesday morning she was shaking her head, scratching her ear, and her ear was Bright, BRIGHT, red.

So we needed a Veterinarian. In the middle of what was supposed to be a travel day, in Thermopolis, Wy, RIGHT AWAY!

Thankfully, Hot Springs Vet Clinic took her in the early afternoon.

After a shot, yet more ear cleaning gunk, wipes and some more pills later….hoping this will last until we get home.

Ear looked somewhat better in the morning.

Fingers Crossed….

Eagle RV Park in Thermopolis, WY – Lovely.

So traveled from Devil’s Tower across the Bighorn Mountains to Thermopolis, WY.

We had an idiot light (check engine) en route. ‘Cause Nothing Ever Goes as Planned.

We are on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. It runs on diesel. We had just taken on diesel at a Cenex in Gillette,WY. We suspected bad gas, but pulled over to read (you guessed it) the manual in the middle of the mountains. Not fun.

Because the light was NOT flashing and lots of websites said a solid check engine often occurs – we continued over the mountains. Dicey choice – but there you go.

When we pulled into Thermpolis we took on new diesel. The light went out about 2 miles later – so probably bad gas as we suspected.

Anyways, we stayed at the lovely Eagle RV Park outside Thermopolis on US 20. Their e-mail for reservations

We are the RV in middle row on the end. (#26)

I have nothing snarky to say. The grounds were lovely. The people were nice. We really enjoyed our stay there.

Adjustable Sewer Hose Carrier – This could be a disaster in the making….

So we currently have two sewer hoses for the RV. The small hose fits perfectly in storage area for it in RV.

RV Sewer Hose Storage Atra

We bought a second more sturdy hose on the road while heading south from Sheboygan, Wi to Milwaukee, Wi after we dumped for the first time in northern Wi and decided we needed a bit more length.


Anyways, we bought a 15’ Titan.

We didn’t get it from Amazon – but here it is.

But then we needed someplace to put it, which ended up being a black trash bag. Not the best option. But it didn’t fit in RV carrier area – typical.

So we bought (en route to Devil’s Tower). an adjustable sewer hose carrier.

It came with 0 directions. That’s right – zero. So we watched you tube – not the most helpful. Went to the Vallerra website. Yeah, nothing there either. Do you sense a trend? Yeah, me too….

So we did our best to install this thing. We had no instructions – and no idea if those screws we used (that came with the kit) will actually hold.

Here’s hoping we don’t lose the hose and carrier on the road tomorrow. Think we’ll try to add some zip ties in the morning…just in case.

Devil’s Tower Early AM Hike – With Whiny Kid

The Devil’s Tower hikes in the early am are really awesome. As long as your 6 year old isn’t whiny. Also avoids 94 degree August afternoon weather….

Slightly Crumpled Map from Visitor Center

We are staying at the Devil’s Tower KOA. It conveniently located RIGHT outside the gates to the National park.

Blue dot is us parked in KOA.

So we took our RV up to top of Devil’s Tower park at about 8am and there were really only climbers getting ready in main parking lot. There were very few people around for our hikes. Lower section was similarly empty.

Unfortunately, the visitor center up top was closed (Covid – Ranger shows up outside at 9am) so we couldn’t get National Park Sticker, but we did get cancellation stamp for kid.

Stamp – but no sticker.

We started on the 1.3 mile tower trail and the 6 year old incessantly whined about wanting to climb the boulders and the tower. Incessantly.

View at about halfway point.

Honestly, I just wanted a nice walk on the trail.

And enjoy the views (which were really awesome) in peace and quiet. Doesn’t everyone (but 6 year old) want a quiet walk?

Finally, my husband just went bouldering with the kid just get him to stop whining at us. Ugh.

We have now promised kid climbing lessons when we get home.

Honestly, we need to get back into shape too. But oh the whining this morning….Staying on the path/trail apparently was THE worst thing we have ever asked him to do….

Of course the deer and her fawns didn’t seem to be very interested or impressed by our presence or kid nattering.

After doing the Tower Trail hike we headed down to do Prairie Dog Town. The Valley View Trail was only .6 miles. It wasn’t that cool of a hike. But I did enjoy the sculpture,

reading the Native American legend about white buffalo calf woman, and the views….

Thor Delano RV FB 2020 – So The Awning Just $&@! Broke….

How many things can break on a brand new RV on our first trip you ask? Add yet another thing to the list.

Now I know why guides tell you to buy used RVs.

So we headed from Keystone, SD to Devil’s Tower, WY. Lovely trip.

View from KOA

It was maybe an hour and 45 minutes? We stopped for groceries and gas at a Safeway in Rapid City, SD – so I can’t give exact time – let’s just say it wasn’t long.

So we are at Devil’s Tower, WY KOA. Its nice here. Open and pretty.

Nice view of Tower from KOA.
KOA has cabins, camping, and teepees too.

When we arrived it was early in the day and mostly empty. It’s Thursday. We are supposed to leave on Sunday for Thermopolis, WY.

Then, the awning broke immediately after we extended it.

I swear to you I feel like the house on this RV is held together with rubber bands and bubblegum.

We’ll let you know just how many things ultimately break on this NEW RV, but we only have another 14 days or so on the road to go – and it’s not looking good.

I already had scheduled service/repairs for this thing for September 4th – two weeks ago. So that should tell you something about it.

Broke list – so far re short list of fixes we are at:

1. Sunroof shade;

2. Dinette seat/bed area that wouldn’t lay flat and wrecked facing on table;

3. Ineffective/weak bathroom mirror magnet/closure;

Notice our cheap adhesive magnet addition to the right.

4. A bunch of the cheap ass drawer locks are broke; and now…

I have no idea what is broke with these cheap things. Notice unfinished/rough plywood for drawers

5. The Outdoor Awning.

A bolt and the end cap came off and wires were loose. Ok. It got stuck extended out. If we can’t get this awning thing fixed we won’t be going anywhere….

We tried zip tying wires and cap (Good Sam guy also recommended – more on that below).

Zip-tied end cap on. Bolt came out. Other pieces may have gone flying?

Zip tied wires up – still wouldn’t work.

Undid zip ties. Tried to retract – no good. So then we read Thor manual. We checked fuses. We looked online. There was no awning manual included with our RV manuals. Also, more on that in a minute.

We called the Thor “Elite” service (they are on East Coast time – and Thor was closed for the day – they couldn’t tell what type of awning we had).

The Elite guy (Tom- very helpful BTW) and I couldn’t find the brand of awning on google. The brand isn’t visible on the awning itself. He (Tom at Elite) said be getting back to me tomorrow (Friday) (fingers crossed) after he called Thor.

We called Good Sam early Thursday afternoon. They said they’d get back to us. They didn’t. We decided to try again in Friday am. We then went to bed frustrated.

But wait, there’s more….

Ok, it’s now Friday morning. And last night SUCKED. Wind and a storm came in at about 2:30am. There was lightening and rain. And remember the AWNING is STUCK in the OPEN position. We don’t want that thing to tear off or blow into neighboring RV.

We don’t have an awning manual.

We can’t find anything on youtube.

We get the motor end cap off – but can’t figure out how to get the thing to retract. This just sucks.

I call Good Sam (again) – this time they manage our call/request. We end up having a mobile repair guy get here at about 4am. He does something to wires, says to zip tie end cap again and deal with it when we get back from trip.

Husband trying to get end cap on. Friday morning after a Good Sam guy got it retracted.

Awning is broke for the remainder of trip. But at least we can drive this thing. And we of course have to pay for mobile repair service trip.

This morning’s pictures –

Need to figure out how to get cap back on.
We need to figure out how to zip tie this back up.

Elite guy (Tom) called back first thing this Friday am. He had been hard at work and talked to Thor and got awning manufacturer information.

The awning is made by Carefree of Colorado. “Specially” for Thor. Model Latitude – OEN. Dual Pitch. Carefree’s tel is 303-469-3324. I’m feeling real “special” right now….I probably need another cup of coffee.

Elite guy also got awning manuals and wiring information to me.


This guy was awesome. He e-mailed me the PDFs. We’ll review tonight (because I’m working on low sleep today…).

But our awning is still broke and now I need to order parts from Carefree so they can be waiting for our service stop.

The RV house side thing sometimes kinda sucks. I oscillate between this is fun and WTF broke now? Perhaps on a Saturday with some sleep I’ll be more chipper.

But damn. I’ll try to regain some perspective tomorrow – after more sleep.