Once again the Perfect Tow Vehicle lives up to her name!
This morning I go over recent receipts and calculate the miles-per-gallon achieved by the PTV following the interstates from Rawlins, Wyoming, to Chugwater, Wyoming. The PTV encountered strong crosswinds on that trip. We also exited in Laramie, parked at Wal-Mart for the night, and returned to the interstate to continue on to Chugwater. The total distance was 201 miles.
A 2005 Chevy Express van is rated at 17 mpg highway.
Of course, that’s without towing a trailer and probably in optimum highway conditions with no wind, no stop-and-go, and no road maintenance slow-downs. Considering all that, I am extremely pleased to report that the PTV, loaded down with batteries and all my stuff, pulling the Best Little Trailer, and in her advanced age, performed beautifully at 16.51 mpg!
Monday, July 2
The crew and I leave Cottonwood Campground around 9 a.m. It’s very smoky this morning due to the surrounding forest fires. I’m glad we waited until today to go see Mt. Rushmore. Now we have a good reason to leave the Hot Springs area and get out of this smoke. I take a few photos to show the poor visibility.
In order to reach Mt. Rushmore, we again travel through Wind Cave National Park and a section of Custer State Park. The 7-day pass I purchased for $15 the last time we entered Custer State Park is still valid. The drive is one of my all-time favorites. I don’t think I could ever tire of it. We encounter pronghorns, buffalo, and the begging burros again.
My new Nikon camera is a dud.
It’s the kind of camera where the lens telescopes out and retracts. At least it’s supposed to. This dang thing sticks in half-retraction, sending the message “lens error.” I see that message numerous times throughout the day.
I take photos from the PTV as we approach Mt. Rushmore, go through the tunnel, and drive by the entrance. There’s a line of cars waiting to pay the $11 admission. I drive on by and further up the road I park at the “Profile Turn-out.” Here is where I snap a pic of President Washington’s profile.
The day is young so we continue toward the Crazy Horse Memorial!
At the gate I pay the $10 entrance fee and ask about the dogs. The gatekeeper tells me they can go into the display area and out onto the viewing veranda. They are not allowed in the Welcome Center where the movie is shown. This is good. We’re not completely shut out.
With much anticipation I park the PTV and walk the crew down to the exhibit area. The sculpture of the two fighting stallions is my first photo. Or so I thought. “Battery exhausted” . . . Darn! This camera has gone through six batteries today!
I shake off my annoyance and focus on experiencing the memorial.
I wholeheartedly agree that the Crazy Horse Memorial far exceeds Mt. Rushmore in impact and poignancy. In fairness, Mt. Rushmore is already familiar to any American. I won’t attempt to describe the Crazy Horse Memorial experience here. My words would be insufficient, and, alas, I have no photos.
Spike and Bridget enjoy the memorial, becoming another attraction themselves, as we wander the cool display area. Both children and adults come up to them, cooing and asking questions. “Ooh, may we pet them?” “Are they twins?” “What kind of dogs are these?” “What are their names?”
Bridget delights in the attention and scampers around at the end of her leash.
Spike enjoys the people and commotion, too, although he soon tires and has to lie down. The floor is concrete and must feel cool. I settle on a bench. While Bridget and I wait for him to recuperate, I watch people posing with the Crazy Horse replica which is slightly bigger than life-size. After a few minutes Spike’s ready to walk back to the PTV for the ride home. I offer to carry him, but he wants to smell the grass on the way to the parking lot.
By the time we arrive back at Hot Springs around two o’clock, I’m starving!
I pick-up another rotisserie chicken at Lynn’s Grocery. A picnic shared with the crew at our campsite caps a memorable day for all three of us!
A slideshow of smoky landscapes, more pronghorn, more bison, more burros, and the magnificent Mt. Rushmore