We crossed the eastern border from South Dakota, set up camp, and sped out to Devil’s Tower as a gnarly weather system thundered towards us.


To see this mysterious natural wonder for the first time amidst a storm made our visit there that much more ominous. Lightning was striking in front of a dark wall of clouds that kept closing in from the north . . . exactly from the direction our camper was parked.


Indy helped keep me dry as I grabbed a few shots of Devil’s Tower.


We didn’t stay long. The rain increased as evening approached.

Driving back to our campsite, we noticed piles of hail along the shoulders of the roads and highway. When we arrived at the caboose, we feared the worst. Hail the size of ping pong balls had smashed into the campground, damaging trailers and tow vehicles. It blasted through the vents in the bathroom and our bedroom. The downpour that accompanied it soaked our entire bed, the mattress, sheets, comforter, some camera equipment I had laying on the bed got wet, rain drenched the floor and the carpet throughout the camper. We spent the rest of that evening cleaning things up, drying things off, and fortunately I brought some Flex Tape to patch the broken vents.

Luckily there was no other hail damage to the camper, except for a handful of pockmarks on the skirt. It’s fortunate we weren’t there with the Sequoia – it would’ve taken a beating for sure.

We took it as a sign. We started receiving news reports about the resurgence of COVID amid the states and economy reopening. Travel restrictions were already making things awkward for us and we feared things would soon get much weirder than the initial outbreak. I had a sense we might get “stuck” somewhere. I decided to yank the steering wheel south and get into Colorado ASAP.

The next day we made the haul to Cheyenne, pulled the caboose into Terry Bison Ranch. Our short stay included several bottles of sarsaparilla with the kids as they ran around the playground, followed by two-inch thick bison burgers at The Senator’s Steakhouse for dinner right there at the ranch. Before we finished dinner, Aspen got bit by the groove bug and she and Chels hit the peanut shells for a little country-western line dancing with a few older ladies.

The next morning we had an early breakfast at the Tombstone Café on the ranch (the huevos rancheros was killer), then we started the long haul to Southern Colorado. If you’re going to get stuck – in quarantine or unable to freely travel across states – I can think of a hundred worse places to be stuck than Colorado. Besides, we had family and friends there to rendezvous with.

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