I made it to Sheridan Wyoming just about lunchtime and found myself a comfortable area of the Walmart parking lot to spend the night .
It's nice driving through Wyoming. There are rolling hills and scenic views almost everywhere you look. But the best thing is the towns are small, even their big cities like Cheyenne, Casper, and Sheridan, are still small compared to most cities. Which means there's no crowds, there's not much traffic, and it's easy to pull a trailer around. But more important is the interstates not crowded. Here it is the middle of tourist season and once you leave the city's the interstates are almost empty so you can put it on cruise and sit back and relax.
The upcoming solar eclipse is all the rage in Wyoming. I guess the best part of the eclipse is going to pass directly over Wyoming, and since Wyoming has a lot of cloudless days this time of year Wyoming is apparently a big deal as a viewing area. From what I understand places like campgrounds and motels are already booked for the eclipse and the government is worried about people trespassing on private land and having run-ins with rifle toting ranchers. And I heard on the radio this morning since there's a lot of reservation land in Wyoming, the Indians have said they will let people camp on Indian land for $500. That seems a bit high for an eclipse when you can get the same effect by putting your head under a blanket for two minutes.
The Anderson ultimate hitch got tested a little today and performed just like it was supposed to. Leaving the state Park this morning I drove down about a mile of twisty, hilly, bumpy, dirt road and the hitch never did anything to make me nervous. Then when I pulled into the Walmart in Sheridan the parking lot was kind of full, must be payday or something, and I had to make several sharp turns to get to where I wanted to be and the trailer pin box never touched the bed walls. So it looks like I've made it through another day without finding any faults with the Andersen hitch.
A mother wild turkey and a few of her turklets gobbled their way through my campsite just before dark last night.
When I went to get in the truck this morning I found my rearview mirror hanging by the wires. It looks like the stickum let go. I held it up with some duct tape until I can re-glue it it to the windshield. Fortunately for me a rearview mirror is all but useless while pulling a Fifth wheel.
My cunning plan to beat the Denver traffic worked like a charm. I got on the road it at 4:15 a.m. and cruised through Denver without a care in the world, no bumper-to-bumper traffic, no stress, no problem.
Well there was one tiny little problem. My days drive was over when I arrived at my first overnight stop at Wyoming's Glendo state Park at 8:30 in the morning. Now I know most people would think that 8:30 AM might be a little early to pull in for the night, but to me driving is like a job, and like any other job, my philosophy has always been, it's never too early to quit.
Yes I could've continued to drive farther down the road but that would've violated my self-imposed rule of never driving more than 200 miles in a day, in less for some reason it's absolutely necessary. After all, what's the point of imposing rules on one's self if you can break them on a whim.
Now some of you, and you know who you are, may be wondering how I liked towing with the new Andersen ultimate fifth wheel hitch, after all this is the first time I've taken it out on the road and first impressions are usually lasting. So in a word ..... I LOVE IT!
In over 20 years of pulling three different fifth wheels with two different old-fashioned fifth wheel hitches, I have never towed this smooth and this quiet before. It's hard to describe how it feels if you have never towed with an old-fashioned hitch before but if you have then all of the chucking, bucking, clanging and banging are gone. It used to feel like there was a trailer back there fighting my every move, now it feels like the truck and the trailer are one unit doing the same thing at the same time.
When the old-fashioned hitch would go over some whoop de do's in the road it would feel like the trailer was trying to tear the hitch out of the bed of the truck. And when I would drive over a transition from a road to a bridge the trailer seemed to be doing the Lambada back behind the truck. But now there's none of that, it rides over everything and doesn't feel any worse than a three-quarter ton truck with 80 PSI in the tires is going to feel by itself. In other words it tows almost like it's not there.
Now I only went 200 miles today and there was no wind to speak of so I still don't know how it will handle on a windy day. I also didn't have the opportunity to make any really sharp turns to see if the pin box is going to hit anything in the bed, so there's still some testing that needs to be done
But for the things it's done so far it's been great, lining up the hitch is no harder than it is with an old-fashioned hitch. When it's hitched up I feel like it's a whole lot safer. And it pulls like a dream. So right now I couldn't be happier.
Glendo Reservoir is a huge body of water, this is just a tiny little finger of the lake that's near my boondocking site
This is my last day to get ready for the Montana trip and it's been raining for most of the day. That hasn't been a big problem because I've had a lot of indoor things I could do, like cleaning up and putting things away. But it looks like I'm going to have to hitch up to the Arctic Fox between rain showers.
It's been a long time since I've been as far North as Montana because I generally prefer the southern states and the southwestern states, but I've been invited to stay at a real working ranch in Montana and I can't pass up the opportunity to be around some actual cowboys.
I've always had a lot of respect for people that make their living ranching, it's a tough, difficult, and often times financially draining, way to make a living. It's something that you really have to love doing because love might be the only thing you get out of it. The weather and cattle prices are pretty much out of your control, and yet those two things can make the difference between success and failure.
So to succeed ranchers have to be self-reliant, responsible, and tougher than the land they live on and I believe that makes them good people to know, interesting people to be around, and true American patriots.