In July, 2019, we took a trip to Crater Lake National Park and beyond. Where beyond? We went to Craters of the Moon National Monument, City of Rocks National Preserve, Grand Teton National Park, Custer State Park in South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Mount Rushmore National Monument, and Devils Tower National Monument. For this last set, we camped in Custer State Park and took day trips to the other sites in that area. On the way home, we stopped in Salt Lake City to see friends and enjoy dinner with them at Red Iguana.
The reason for our trip was that we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in Crater Lake. Wile we were out, we continued on to the other places, most of which we had seen before and wanted to see again. Because the hotel at Crater Lake is the absolute best place to be when in the park, we stayed there and parked our trailer in the parking lot, and then camped in the trailer at the rest of the stops.
We had a first time experience while on this trip. When we left Crater Lake, we planned to cross Oregon and then find an RV park to stay overnight somewhere just into Idaho. We learned that this part of Idaho is very busy during the summer and we could not find a park with a space for the night. We ended up staying in the parking lot of a Walmart. We had heard that you could do this and it's true, at least in Caldwell, ID. It was very hot that day, and we learned that we could indeed run our air conditioner on the trailer using our Honda generator for power. Thanks to RVParky.com for helping us find a location to stay. It has proven to be a great app while traveling and planning a trip. Based on this experience, we then made reservations at other overnight stops so we knew we would have a place to stay. Some of them were full when we stopped, so this turned out to be a better way to travel.
Here is a map of the places we visited. As I have done before, this was generated by using APRS on my amateur radio which was in the Jeep as we traveled.
Our last destination on our trip was actually to 7 places that are very close together. We based our camp in Custer State Park at the Game Lodge Campground. From there, we first visited Mount Rushmore.
We were last at Mount Rushmore in 1987. We arrived during a fog that was expected to last for days, so we didn't get to see it on that trip. So we returned to see if we could see it this time. And we did. Of course, all was not perfect. The visitor center was under construction, so we couldn't get as close to the monument as we expected. But it is so BIG that this was a minor complaint.
We have visited Grand Teton National Park several times and it just keeps calling us back. On this trip, we had the opportunity to visit here or Yellowstone, or both, and we chose to spend a few days here.
We toured a few new places on this trip. We went to Jenny Lake and took the shuttle boat across to the trail to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. The shuttle boat was fast and saved us several miles of hiking around the lake. We could focus on the trip up to the falls and point.
City of Rocks is a national preserve in southeast Idaho. A national preserve? According to the visitor center people, it is a national preserve because is is owned by the National Park Service and managed by the State of Idaho.
Whatever it is called, it is an area of exposed eroded granite formations, many of which are rock climbed. Others, like us, just look and gawk.
We visited Craters of the Moon again. Our last visit was in 2016. See that post for more information about Craters of the Moon.
This place is just so raw. You don't expect to see a landscape of just lava flows and the few features that Nature has managed to grow there.
This time, we spent a day and camped in the campground, which was closed for rebuilding the last time we were there. We had the time to drive around the Loop Road and see some sights we were not able to see last trip.
Crater Lake National Park celebrates and preserves a VERY large lake that sits in the caldera of a volcano. The water is an amazing blue color. The lake is the deepest lake in the USA.
When you first see Crater Lake, you will say "WOW." Then you will begin to notice other features on and near the lake. There is a rim drive that goes around the rim of the crater, and lets you see the lake from many different perspectives and heights. We have visited it several times, and the first view, each time, is WOW.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.