Friday, September 09, 2011

Escaping to the Escapade

Gosh – we’re way behind on updating our travels, but we’ve been so busy having fun we didn’t have time to write about it!  So here we go:
Each year the Escapees RV Club, founded by a full-timing couple in 1978, holds an annual rally or  “Escapade”.  Although we’ve been members for many years, this was the first time that the date and location worked for us, and so we headed up the road from Rapid City to Gillette, Wyoming for the rally.  We’ve been to other national rallies, and while the Good Sam Rally is huge and had a lot of friendly people and the Winnebago Grand National Rally (also pretty big) was a fraternity of owners, the Escapee rally is like attending a family reunion.  Escapees give each other lots of hugs, and everyone acts as if they’d known each other for years.  It was a bit small in comparison to the other rallies, a little less than 700 RVs and 1300 people, but that made it all the better – I think we talked to just about everyone there!
Cam-Plex ExteriorEscapades are well organized; there are morning coffees, seminars on the RV lifestyle, a big vendor area, and much more.  The Wyoming Cam-Plex where it was held, was a nice facility.  However, the RV parking, basically fields of dead grass with hookups, was too far to walk to, so we had to drive and park for all of the activities.  Cam-Plex ParkingWe both attended seminars, the mechanically-centered for me and the RV-upkeep type for Brenda.  Some were informative, some were just OK, but after 35 years of RVing and six years of full-timing, we’ve experienced (and I’ve fixed) most problems.  Each day there was a mass get-together where door prizes were awarded (none, sigh, to us).  Escapade ParkingThere were a number of socials, and at one, we joined the “Boomers”, an informal group that stays in touch through a bulletin board and gets together wherever more than one couple are in the same area.  Actually, we were motivated by the “Margarita Boomers”, a couple that always shows up with a portable Margarita machine.  Cam-Plex InteriorThere was nightly entertainment, meetings of special groups like Veterans, booths explaining the various groups (called the “Birds of a Feather (BOFs)), and get-togethers at local restaurants. 
On the down side, Gillette is not exactly a picturesque town; after all, it’s county bills itself as the “Energy Capital of the Nation” and claims to provide over 10% of the nation’s energy needs (mostly coal).  Not exactly a recipe for a pleasant location, and the town’s industrial pedigree was obvious.  And they’ve obviously got their priorities wrong – the Golden Corral was closed and turned into a sushi restaurant! Oh, the humanity!
After our week at the rally, we headed over to Buffalo, WY, and traveled across the beautiful Big Horn Mountains to the little town of Ten Sleep.  A Ten Sleep Lake Roadpretty little town of just over 300, it had a Western look, a great RV park (Ten Broek, see our review), and a nice little diner called the Crazy Woman Café.  The name kinda made you debate any complaints about the food.  But fortunately we didn’t have any complaints, just a great breakfast.  We traveled up Ten Sleep Canyon and turned on a dirt road through the woods.  What a beautiful drive!  Deep forests, mountains, streams, and there, along the stream, two moose!  Moose at Ten Sleep LakeWe watched as they ignored us, slowly moving through the grass as they grazed.  They’re such neat animals to watch, and of course Brenda wanted to take them home (I don’t think you can house train them).  We spent a full day in the area, but hope we have more time to return on a non-holiday weekend since the woods were full of campers getting in one last trip for the summer.
While at Ten Sleep, we made a road trip to Riverton WY, so that Brenda could add another casino to her list.  We both came away winners, but the real treat was our trip through the Wind River Canyon.  What beauty – miles of huge canyon walls, majestic and colorful, with a swift-running river along the highway.  
Wind River Canyon3
Wind River Canyon2
We left Ten Sleep on a beautiful Sunday morning and headed for Cody, where we plan on spending a week.  Downtown MeeteeseeOn Monday, we decided to visit a little town called Meeteetse which was having a Labor Day Celebration.  While I’m sure that all 300 town residents were celebrating, we didn’t see much going on, although there was an interesting museum and a passable restaurant.  We decided to head into the mountains, and took a dirt road into the Wood River Canyon.  We didn’t see any wildlife, but the views were magnificent. As we got closer to the Bighorn Wilderness the rugged peaks grew larger, and larger….and the road got worse, and worse.  After a while we’d had enough sensory overload from the scenery, but the memories will stay with us for a long time!Wood River Canyon

Wood River Canyon2Wyoming…..Cody…….what better way to highlight the area than with an image of the animal that made Buffalo Bill Famous!   This guy was monstrous – and made me grateful to the guy that invented the electric fence.Wood River Bison

We’re in Cody now, and have been busy exploring, so come back and see where we’ve been!


  1. Anonymous9:59 PM

    We really like the whole area you covered. Love Cody, the museum is fabulous. We visited Butte, MT another mining town today. I will be looking forward to your next blog. Have fun. Margie

  2. Mary and Jim10:18 AM

    After y'all said you were attending, we thought about looking into it. It seems like it might be the same as Workamper - for all of the assistance they offer, we do not seem to need help finding or getting positions.

    Although getting to know others who enjoy margarita's might be fun!

  3. Hi Keith and Brenda,

    We enjoyed seeing you at the Rally. Hope we meet up again soon, somewhere down the road.

    Yep, that buffalo is a monster!!