The weather has been great from the Black Hills into Wyoming. Every day is high 70s/low 80s, no humidity, no bugs, just a few puffy white clouds floating in the sky.
I was going to drive straight to the Bighorn National Forest but saw the sign for Devil’s Tower and went there first. Got a nice campsite in the park next to the tower and went out for a hike to the Visitor Center and then around the base of the tower.
Spent some time watching climbers, there were a lot on different routes around the tower. As you’re hiking around it you can hear them yelling out climbing terms like “On Belay!” “Rope!” and “Who’s got my cheese sandwich?”. At night there were some climbers camped on a ledge halfway up, I could see the light of their headlamps. Must be a great view.
I drove to the East side of Bighorn National Forest and took a forest service road up near one of the trail heads leading into the mountains. National Forests allow “dispersed camping” where you just take a gravel road away from anything else and set up camp somewhere off the road. Cost is $0. Unlike state and national parks, they allow dogs running loose, firearms, 4 wheelers, pretty much anything but fireworks due to the fire danger. Everybody seems to be having a great time. I hiked a few miles up to Sherd Lake at 8725′. There were a few people swimming but it was really cold, I just went in up to my knees.
Next morning I woke up and there was a high school cross country meet running past my campsite. They started at the highway, ran several miles up the gravel road to the trail head then back down to the highway.
I drove over the pass to the west side of the national forest and found another dispersed campsite, this one much higher up at 8900′. Took a hike up to Mirror Lake at 9800′ where I could start to feel the altitude a little.
Dark clouds started rolling in while I was enjoying the view at the lake so I scurried back down to my campsite where a couple of thunderstorms rolled through about an hour after I got back. Due to the altitude it got quite cold at night, I had to put on an extra blanket. Not sure how cold exactly but the next morning at 9:00 it was sunny and 54.
Continued west to Cody WY where I had my first mail shipment from Florida waiting at the Cody post office under general delivery. It was like Christmas morning, I got my new passport with 52 blank pages, international driving permit, the correct locking outlet for my fridge, some checks, and a bunch of other things that have piled up over the past few weeks. I stopped at Ace Hardware to pick up some wire to finish the fridge wiring and grabbed some lunch. It was getting on into the afternoon so I checked in at the Cody KOA. After 3 days with no amenities it was nice to have showers and toilets, wifi, swimming pool, laundry, etc. I completed the wiring and now have a 12V cigarette lighter outlet at the rear in addition to 2 USB charging ports, so I can plug the inverter in to charge my laptop when the car is off.
Early next morning off to tour Yellowstone.
I was most of the way around the loop, coming up to Old Faithful, when traffic came to a stop and stayed stopped. They had warned about construction (why in the height of the summer instead of spring or fall?) but this was beyond slow. I moved about 15 feet in 20 minutes. I asked a guy on a motorcycle who was coming from the opposite direction how long it was and he said it’s miles, you’ll be here for a couple of hours!!! That settled it, I had planned on leaving the park through the south exit and continuing on to Grand Teton and Jackson, but had no interest in spending the rest of the afternoon in a traffic jam. I made a U turn and backtracked a few miles then exited the park out the west entrance into West Yellowstone and Montana.