Wednesday, April 27, 2011

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center

Have I mentioned that we have left spring behind--somewhere in Texas, I think.  Once again, we awoke to snow on the car.  That makes three out of four mornings this week.  As we head farther north and to higher elevations, more and more the weather dictates our movements.

The weather forecast for the Mammoth Campground at 7000 feet in Yellowstone is pretty cold.  Over the next seven days the night time temperatures do not get above 20 with the lowest being 11 degrees.  That’s too cold.  It is especially too cold for a campground without hookups like Mammoth.

The ability to be flexible is a positive trait, especially in this lifestyle.  We have several options and over lunch we discussed which would be the best for us.  I think we have finally decided to leave here tomorrow and drive to Hardin, Montana where we’ll holed up for three or four days.

Hardin is very close to Little Bighorn and right on the route we would take to Yellowstone, but it’s real selling point is its elevation.  At 3000 feet, it’s lower than anything around and thus warmer.  We’re not talking a heat wave here; night time temperatures will only be in the 30s, but above freezing.  That’s a whole lot better than the 20s.

This morning we went to the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center.  There we got a fantastic overview of the four historic trails that passed through this area.  The one that is most familiar to us, of course, is the Oregon Trail, but the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, and the Pony Express all passed through present day Casper to cross the Platte River on their way west.  Those on the Oregon Trail were seeking lands in Oregon to make a new start with their lives.  The Mormons were seeking more religious freedom and ended their journey in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Hundreds were seeking riches in the California gold rush.  The Pony Express provided these pioneers with mail service between east and west.

The Interpretive Center did an outstanding job of presenting the information associated with each group.  A short film at the beginning of our visit set the stage for the interactive displays we saw as we made our way around the center.

The Interpretive Center is under the direction of Bureau of Land Management.  There is a small fee ($6.), but it is covered with the National Park Pass (America the Beautiful) so our visit was free.

Now to catch up with a couple of things.  Our drive yesterday from Fort Laramie was uneventful--just the way we like it.  We were again on I-25 with very little traffic and much the same scenery as on previous days.

We had the opportunity to fill up the gas tank when we got to Casper.  Prices are a little cheaper than they were in Colorado for gasoline.  We paid 3.45 and that was for the mid-grade.  Diesel, however, was higher at 4.13.

My heat hog.  He loves full hook-ups.
I knew our gas milage would be hurt by the wind and uphill climb yesterday.  We only got 6.68 miles per gallon on the last tank of gas.  Of course, that value is skewed because we ran the generator for approximately 1.5 hours on that tank of gas, as well.  

Okay, I think that about does it for today.  Tomorrow, we heading to Hardin.  Thanks for tagging along.

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