Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Aluminum Sensory Overload

June 3

I'm bored.  Let's move.

It is on a gray morning that we pack up and turn our sights to Devils Tower National Monument.  It isn't very far away and we get to our campsite within the park in the early afternoon.
Not taken in the early afternoon

We unhitch and drive up to the visitors center, where we spot a close cousin to our Airstream.  The owners, Dave and Kari, are a very sweet, energetic couple who own two dogs…they must be nice people!  

We chat about Airstreams and the joys of owning vintage, then they are sweet enough to give us a tour of their restored camper.  It is so welcoming and cozy!  

Parting ways, Hubs and I take the shorter of the two trail loops around the tower.  I was not expecting Devils Tower to look the way it does.  So many colors!  

Bright green lichen grows on the rock, giving it an almost iridescent glow.  

The "trails" around the tower are very civilized.  Everything is smooth and paved, though not without uphill and downhill slopes.  

Go THAT way.

It starts to drizzle lightly as we round the last bend and get in our car.  Back at Sputnik we begin dinner preparations for fresh fish and fried green beans over a campfire.  

The sites here are perfect.  Each has a fire ring with grate and grassy space for dogs to play.  Sites are generous gravel pull-throughs and while some sites aren't exactly level, ours is.  We have a terrific view of the tower, large shade trees, and the park has immaculate flush toilets!  I am very excited about the toilets.

Potable water is available, along with free firewood (from the trees that came down during the winter) that is already chopped.  All this for only $12 a night!

As the evening rolls on, a new Airstream (16' Bambi) pulls in.  The owners come over and introduce themselves as Dave and Cathy, park rangers in Glacier National Park.  They are very generous with their knowledge, laughs, and bear spray.  Yes, the lend us a can of bear spray for us to return when we land in Glacier!  

Hubs asks about bear bells and Cathy tells the following joke:

How do you tell the difference between Grizzly scat and Black Bear scat?  
The Grizzly scat is full of bear bells.

HAHA oh wait.  That might have been us.  

For the uninitiated, a bear bell is a bell worn while hiking so you make enough noise to warn nearby bears of your presence so you don't surprise them and get eaten.

Hubs calls them dinner bells.

It isn't long before another Airstream (2014, 27' Eddie Bauer) pulled by a VW Touareg pulls in.  We soon meet the very gracious owners who give us a tour of their Airstream.  

Oh my goodness.  This is luxury.  

The whole back end opens down into a ramp and has a screen door, so it is just like having a porch!  Everything looks so together…like the people who built it didn't have to hunt for just the right part to make something work.  It was already there.  

After a tour of our humble home, we chat about solar and Yellowstone and they tell us about the best campgrounds within Yellowstone.

I heard internet rumors of free camping near Devils Tower, so Hubs and I set off to find this mythical spot.  It is supposedly in a nearby section of Black Hills National Forest (in WY) and follow the cryptic directions from some rock climbing forum.  The turn is from SR 24 to Lytle Road and down about ten or eleven miles.  At first the road is the usual gravel of all county roads around here.  

Yea, we could do this pulling the Airstream.  

For about nine miles.  

The road soon turns to pure rutted dirt with steep inclines, sharp turns, terrible potholes and numerous threatening homemade signs.  We follow it as far as we dare, then turn around and head for home.  

If you find yourself attempting this road in search of free camping, do NOT pull your trailer down it.  Unhitch and look if you must, but the campground within the park is so nice, and inexpensive (not to mention it has a view), I would recommend saving time and a flat tire and just stay there.

Not too long after, we notice that yet another Airstream has joined the throng.  This one is a '65 Overlander, and we also get to chat with the owner, Everett.  

Sputnik on the left, Everett's camper on the right, and way in the background is one of the new Airstreams

I attempt a dessert of brownies in a cast iron pan over the campfire.  They are burnt on the bottom and raw on the top, so it evens out.   

On Airstream Sensory Overload, we crash for the night.  


  1. Great photos! The Sputnik seems to be Alumamagnetic , OR the powers of the tower are calling us all home...

    1. Hey twobikes! Good to see more another airstream on the interwebs! So when's the Devils Tower rally going to be?