While making reservations for my upcoming western trip, I’m running into many obstacles and few rooms. Many weekends are filled with events again that Covid had cancelled last year. So I tried getting rooms on week nights. Called a hotel in Wallace Idaho this weekend and was doing just that, reserving a room on a week night and four months in advance besides. They had only one room left. Now they have none.
Gas prices and room prices are already high so by July they could be shockers! This means you can already count on restaurants being packed, short staffed and always out of something. It will make your vacation challenging. One solution, pack food in your vehicle and plan more picnics. Be careful, this can lead to insects and much larger pests coming into your vehicle. If the hotels and campgrounds are full, there is always primitive camping. You can take my word on that. Take biodegradable soap, you may be washing in a bucket with stream water because bathrooms are either closed or full.
It will be a challenging year for vacations. That doesn’t mean, don’t go, it means go prepared.
The tragic death of Bob Saget and the numerous videos on YouTube of dead hikers and hunters have one thing in common – being alone either contributed to or was the cause of the person’s death. If you fall in the city, break a leg and do it on a public sidewalk, it hurts. It is more than inconvenient but it is not life threatening. If you are alone in your house and hit your head, or you break an ankle hiking in the wilderness, being alone can lead to your death.
I mention these things to you readers because I have a couple of trips coming up. I spend 90% or more on these trips alone. Over a third of the trip is solo wilderness camping. I’ve said this before and it is in my books, part of my purpose in life is to serve as a bad example. I’m glad for all those who follow my adventures but again, be safer than me. Take a friend, it will be twice as fun and a lot safer. As for me, feel sorry for the bears!
Photo: Angel’s Landing - at the bottom of the cliffs they occasionally find bones of dead people from previous falls. It is stunningly beautiful and very dangerous hike.
Angels Landing Zion NP
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Travel Tip – check to see if your room has a safe. If it does, there is a fee for the safe. If you are not going to use it, tell them when you check in, they will take the fee off. You wait till the next day, you are stuck with the fee.
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Traveling safety tip: If you travel the back roads like I do, check your tires often – you will bounce the tire pressure out of them.
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June 20, 2021 (Covid)
For those going to Yellowstone, there are lines for everything, even the bathrooms. This is because so many campgrounds, bathroom, restaurants, gift shops and other facilities are closed. This funnels everybody to the few remaining places. The one thing they did not have a shortage of – Yellowstone traffic! If you go to Yellowstone, fill you vehicle full of food first.
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Mosquitoes a big problem in the Tetons, Yellowstone and the National Forests surrounding them. Many of the campgrounds in Yellowstone are gated and closed. No restaurant, café, or snack bar in Yellowstone is open for in-dining purposes. A very small number of the park’s restaurants are open for take-out only. Even some of the park’s grocery stores were closed. This is causing grocery stores in towns surrounding the park to be almost empty on a daily basis. It is putting hardships on the locals.
Last but not least, northwest Wyoming has joined in on the heat wave! 100 degrees in Cody today.
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Got a great meal at the Proud Cut Saloon in Cody. French Onion soup, garden salad with huckleberry vinaigrette dressing, and a nice thick cut of medium prime rib! In my opinion one of the best places to eat in town.
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Miner's Grubstake is a small general store and gift shop but mostly restaurant and saloon is still open in Atlantic City. The Atlantic City Mercantile is a full service restaurant and saloon open only on weekends. Come to Atlantic City, Wyoming there are businesses to take care of you. The weather is great.
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Travel Warning: Heard a rumor that rooms are going for $600 in Moab! Crowds are out in many places and this is driving room prices up. Besides I like an excuse to say “Moab” and “Winnemucca” Call ahead to check on crowds and prices. Avoid being shut out when you get there! Going to Encampment and Saratoga.
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A recommendation to eat or drink in Laramie Wyoming would be the Crow Bar N Grill. They serve craft beers and have a large wine list there. I was driving so I had a soda with lunch. Pulled pork sandwich was flavorful. https://www.thecrowbarandgrill.com/
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I’m at Woolleys! One of the best in Hot Springs! It’s next door to the Mammoth site. If you are in Hot Springs, this is the place to eat dinner. It has indoor and outdoor dining, full bar and wine list. Great view
One of the tourist attractions of the Black Hills, Sitting Bull Caverns, outside of Rapid City is for sale and still closed to the public. I believe it is still for sale but definitely closed. It is in my book, Underground Treasures of the Black Hills.
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Travel Advisory: Warning! South Dakota State Highway #83, under major reconstruction – No truck traffic allowed. 11 miles of dirt road to be negotiated and it is soft dirt. Do not attempt in bad weather.
You follow a guide car through the construction site. I had to put the van in low and could feel the vehicle sinking in the soft dirt.
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Travel Advisory: During my drive the other day noticed more than a dozen dead deer alongside the road! That means that there is more than a dozen damaged vehicles out there. It is Spring and deer are on the move. Most dangerous times are around dawn and dusk. The animals move more and are tougher to see. Be aware and be safe!
Travel Advisory: Noticed a couple of things while traveling, many State parks are closed but RV parks are open. Not surprisingly, they are crowded. Also half the rest stops I drive by are closed. I’m approaching Grand Island Nebraska. Interesting side note, a truck just past me carrying a piece of WWII German artillery, a famous canon known as the “88”.
Like to give a shout-out to the Farson Mercantile, Farson Wyoming! Just received a large book order from them! One of the things that you will love about them is their ice cream. You have probably noticed many of my postings are about places where I stop to eat something! The Farson Merc is one of those places! They have a nice gift shop that serves snacks and lunch but their best thing is their ice cream! It is well worth the stop!
It is on the southern approach to Yellowstone National Park and of course the building is old and historic. Local directions are not necessary, there are only 4 occupied structures in Farson Wyoming.
The SoldiersMemorialMilitaryMuseum in downtown St. Louis, Missouri will shut down for two years after this weekend. There will be a closing ceremony on February 28th. The Soldiers Memorial will be closed to undergo extensive renovations. The current estimated cost of renovations is $29 to $30 million dollars. Those costs will be covered entirely by anonymous donors to the Missouri Historical Society.
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In Wallace Idaho, having a great time. Two new restaurants in town that I tried.
Like all restaurants in town, they have excellent and friendly service. These two are truly unique.
For lunch I tried the Silver Tea Room, 618 Bank Street. For dinner I ate at a Hawaiian restaurant called The Taste of Aloha, 520 Bank Street. They serve authentic Hawaiian Luau Food. I cannot pronounce or spell everything I ate, but the food was good.
When in Wallace I recommend that you give these places a try!
The Winter Inn in Warren is closed making Warren more of a ghosttown. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I recommend The Pollard Hotel in Red Lodge, MT Really great service, gourmet dining in the restaurant.
*** I experienced noises in the haunted room that I could not explain
There is a misprint in the book, page 150/151, should be room 310. The book is in the lobby.
I recommend the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, SD as a good visit.It's 42 buildings crammed full of historical items spread out over several acres. www.pioneerautoshow.com
Idaho City Hotel is currently closed due to the owner's health - but they hope to reopen.
The Jamieson Inn, Wallace Idaho is closed.
The Westlakes Ghost Town and Rock Shop, Oakaton, South Dakota
Today, the Westlakes have passed on, their holdings have been sold, the signs are gone and the "ghost town façade” is no longer open for visitors. The "general store” still stands, though with very little variety, fewer rocks, and not nearly as much ambiance as it did in the past.
I recommend seeing the Wyoming Prison Museum, 500 W. Walnut in Rawlins, WY. “Known as ‘The Old Pen’, this museum features numerous historical displays and information including confiscated inmate weapons, tales of prison escapes, and an exhibit on the movie "Prison" that was filmed here. Guided tours are available daily from April to October.” The site is alleged to be haunted and the museum even gives tours on Halloween.
Have noticed a number of deaths of mountain climbers, bikers and kayakers.
One thing that they had in common was that the person had gone SOLO!
I often go solo but this is a SAFETY HAZARD!
It is best and the number one safety rule is to NOT GO SOLO.
Both serve great food with a big smile. Both have a wine list and full service bars.
The Ruby has live entertainment in the adjacent Red Garter Saloon and gunfight re-enactments in the street in front of the establishment.
The Powder House has cabins.
Both have great Western atmosphere. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for these endorsements. These are places I eat at when on the road. These recommendations are purely for your benefit.
I will continue to try to send the best of the West.