We Get High as a Kite

We continued west from Deadwood, SD, across Wyoming on I-90, through some torrential rainstorms and then up to 8,300 feet elevation to the Lakeview Campground in the Big Horn national forest and mountain range. The pull up the mountain from Buffalo along US Highway 16 was an easy pull for our 2015 RAM 3500 Truck especially with the cooler temperatures.

The campground is beautiful set on the edge of Meadowlark Lake and is 100% dry camping. (No electrical, water or sewer services anywhere in the campground) Even with getting parked in a tricky site easily, we met some issues right away. Without electricity we needed to run our recently fully packed refrigerator on LP gas. Many RV devices are affected by altitude but Norcold is especially has issues with adjusting to higher altitudes above 5,500. Since we 3,000 feet over that the refrigerator would try to light and would just puff out immediately from the mixture being too rich. Some refrigerators can be adjusted for this, but without access to the internet we could not research the issue and it was not readily clear from a close inspection of the back of the unit. We have our generator, but that also at the altitude would have suffered from decreased performance. We had not intended to use the generator to maintain the refrigeration for three days.

While Jason was running around setting up the campsite, back and forth working on the LP issue, etc. he started to get altitude sickness. Pounding headache, short of breath, etc. So we jumped in the truck and Barb drove us down to the lower levels in Ten Sleep, WY. We found availability at Ten Broek RV Park in Ten Sleep and decided to move there since we had a recently fully stocked refrigerator going bad and Jason’s experience at the high altitude. The RV Park is about 50 years old and a very unusual parking arrangement, where the rigs “parallel park” end to end and not side to side. The parallel parking is a bit of an issue, one morning we had a knock from the campground owner asking us to retract a slide in so a class A could maneuver around us and get out, not a big deal since we were home but what if we had not been home? Otherwise, Ten Sleep is a very small town of one gas station, a couple of saloons (with great food, ice cream, etc.) and functional community with school and senior center.

As it turns out, this was a great base camp for a number of driving tours up to the mountain as well as away from it to a well done local history museum in Worland, WY. From the Big Horns to Ten Sleep is an absolutely stunning drive on Highway 16 on the North side of the canyon as well as an even more amazing drive along the South side on a dirt road with many turn outs that would be great for boondocking at a lower altitude. We encountered a number of smaller camper vans, trailers and tenters that were boondocking along this dirt road. We marked a couple of areas to return to should we ever downsize to a camper van. The Sitting Bull park in the Big Horn National Forest has some breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains.

[wpgmza id=”14″] We now have a new measure of “how bad can it get” for roads. In the Black Hills of South Dakota we found the forest service roads to be well maintained and well passable in our pickup truck. In this case, Cold Springs Road started out well-groomed and it was well-marked with huge expensive signs promising destinations on it that we wanted to check out including access to the painted rock canyon. As we continued on up the road thousands of feet in elevation we kept asking ourselves if we should turn around, the road had a number of washouts and the maintenance of it deteriorated. However, there were huge, very expensive and well maintained signs calling out miles that keep getting smaller to our promised destinations. Once we got to the painted rock access it was a just a cow-path to a hiking trail. So we continued on, because of the signage, to what we had hoped would be better roads where we could exit and were now closer than our starting point. Once we got into the national forest system it really fell apart, with ruts in the road one to two feet deep in places and a complete mess from the rain in the area. We had to turn around, almost 20 miles and two hours into this trek we could no longer continue. We were just a mile or two from the end where we would connect with a campground. So we backed up to a point we could turned around and made our return over that 20 miles. The kicker was that as we were got to the beginning of this trail, we came across the map which you could only see as you exit, hidden behind some trees.

What is up next? We move onto Cody, WY, for the Extreme Bull Riding and Fighting at the annual Cody Stampede Rodeo!

CampgroundWe started at the Lake View - Big Horn National Forest campground, then moved down to lower elevation. to Ten Broek RV Park
West end of Ten Sleep, WY, on US Highway 16 where we stayed 3 nights.
Nights Stayed3: June 24, 2018 - June 27, 2018
Parking SiteSite D4
AttractionsWashakie Museum - natural and human history of the area around Worland, WY, in the basin and big horn mountains
WELS ChurchesN/A
Remember for Next TimeLake View campground was at 8,300' feet MSL
AT&T CoverageNone in the Big Horn Mountains, marginal in Ten Sleep itself and not LTE only 4G
Verizon Coverage4G/LTE with low speeds in Ten Sleep, nothing in the mountains
WiFi CoverageTen Broek Campground does have WiFi, but it worked like most, not very well
Anytime FitnessNot for miles!
Mail ServicesN/A