WA: Sequim – 02/17/2017 – 03/17/2017

Parking: John Wayne Waterfront Resort
Rating: 10

Sequim, WA
Sequim Bay

When we were living in Washington, I knew of Sequim, but I didn’t really know about Sequim. If I had, I would have bought property years ago. It’s in the rain shadow, and when the rest of Western Washington is cloudy and rainy, Sequim is bright and sunny. It’s interesting because only a few miles away, the rainfall doubles. Another few miles away, and the rainfall doubles again. A few more miles away and the rainfall is over 180 inches per year.

Sequim is mostly made up of older, retired folk, so it’s a slower-paced town. The views are spectacular, and there is a Rails-to-trails bike path that goes from Port Townsend, across the northern part of the peninsula, and will eventually go all the way to the coast.

John Wayne used to visit Sequim, and his heirs run the resort. They have set up a mini-museum in the RV park office with all kinds of memorabilia from his life and films. Though I am not generally a fan of private RV parks because of the sardine nature of the sites, the guests (at least the winter-time guests) were quiet and respectful, so it wasn’t too bad.

One of the questions that we are asked as we tour the country is “what has been your favorite state?” We keep answering “Washington” because of its beauty and variety. Although we have enjoyed travelling, we have been missing being able to spread out to build something. Both of those reasons combined with the desire to be able to sometimes leave the boat behind and to have a better zip code for health insurance made us realize that we want to have a Homebase. We want it to be somewhere in Washington where it’s not too wet, so the Sequim area seemed pretty ideal. We spent a lot of time walking, biking, and motorcycling to all kinds of lots in the area – raw land, houses that needed work, sites on the water, sites in the woods, ex-meth-lab lots, etc., but we could not find the right property. Sequim is a fairly hot market, and with the numbers of folk retiring to it from all over the country, it has just gotten a little ridiculous. Plus they have some serious nut-jobs working at the city. There was one lovely lot – 100 year old farmhouse, 3 acres, right on the bike trail – that we would have taken, but the city had zoned it High Tech Commercial though it is in a residential area. We talked to the city about the zoning, and they think they are going to get a software company to build there. They are smoking crack. No software company is going to be successful recruiting young talent into a town that is essentially a retirement community.

The rest of the Olympic Peninsula is too wet for us, so it’s off to Eastern Washington to try our luck there.

Sequim, WA
Sequim Bay
Sequim, WA
John Wayne Resort
Sequim, WA
Eidolon gets left behind

SD: Wasta/Badlands – 07/01/2016 – 07/05/2016

Parking: 24 Express
Rating: 10

We decided to hide during the holiday weekend and mostly avoid any tourist locations after a quick drive through the Badlands proved massively crowded, so we went back west to a tiny RV park that is $5 for overnight or $10 for all day – and that included electricity (considering how hot it was and how much electricity the big rigs were using for air conditioning, that’s an amazing price).

We had planned on doing some motorcycling to go to Wall Drug and back to the Badlands to get some pictures, but with the heat, violent thunderstorms, and crowds, we just stayed in and played video games.

SD: Deadwood/Mt. Rushmore – 06/29/2016 – 07/01/2016

Keystone, SD

Parking: Steam Wheel Campground
Rating: 10

The bathrooms here are nice. Seriously, really nice. Each one is about 9.5′ x 6.5′ with ample water pressure, clean as a whistle, nice chairs (including a shower seat for folk that cannot stand up), and plenty of places to store your clothes/shower essentials. Each is a full bathroom (with toilet and sink) and are totally private. These are (by far) the best bathrooms I have ever seen at an RV park or marina – or in 90% of hotels or in any house in which I’ve lived. I know it’s crazy to wax rhapsodic about a bathroom, but when you are on the road, a really good shower is nirvana.

The campground has some back-in sites but also some of the modern nose-to-tail curved, pull-through sites (Connor Battlefield and Belle Fourche also had those). I far prefer this style site because you feel a little more open to the scenery – your chairs aren’t pointed at the side of the next RV over.

We did a couple loads of laundry, but mostly we did nothing. Deadwood was a little too touristy for us, but we did have to stop by Mt. Rushmore. Unfortunately, it was raining buckets, so we only got a few glimpses of the carving, but at least we got to hear some of the talks on its building and the native people of the area.

WY: Burgess Junction – 06/23/2016 – 06/27/2016

Burgess Junction, WY

Parking: Bear Lodge Resort
Rating: 9

Free dispersed camping in the Bighorn National Forest is excellent, but we decided to stay at a cheap little RV park to have access to showers. To get there, the road is winding and steep, so it was slow-going. Along the way, there are signs describing the various geological formations and how long ago they were formed and some of them were 500 million years old.

We spent some time on the motorcycles on several of the forestry roads. The scenery is excellent, and we saw an old splash mill and some moose. We walked up to the top of a dam for a drinking water reservoir; for servicing such a small population, the dam and resulting lake are very large and beautiful, and we were impressed.

The Wyo State Patrol had their convention at the Resort while we there, so we figured it was probably the safest place in the state to be.

We met a lovely Park volunteer who told us about her and her husband’s thirty years of full-time RVing and all the places they visited. He passed away 18 months ago, and she had moved back to their home base of Tampa. She was lunching with her lady friends and watching the Bucs’ games at the local pub when she realized that she hated that lifestyle and wanted to be back out in the wild. She couldn’t do the RVing thing anymore at her age alone, so she decided to volunteer at the Park despite all her friends thinking she was crazy.

Just before the steep trip back down the mountains, we had an engine light come on – that is not at all reassuring, and going down the 12 miles of 8% grade was especially nerve-wracking with the worry. In Sheridan, we picked up a code reader, and it turned out to be just some blip with the velocity sensor (i.e., absolutely no big deal) which was a great relief.

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

(splash dam)

Burgess Junction, WY

(moose hidden in there – didn’t get closer because moose are dangerous)

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY

Burgess Junction, WY