Friday, August 3, 2012

Torrington, Wyoming, and home again to Connecticut

Torrington, WY was our furthest west planned destination. It just seemed like a fun idea to visit the town named for Torrington, CT. We met Mayor Mike Varney. and had a wonderful chat. He is affable, jovial and a skilled politician. We will be posting Torrington, Wyoming, on our website as a "special" town profile.
Torrington has a park with a campground, which made staying there even easier. The campground is named Pioneer Park, and has over 15 sites for campers and travelers. The North Platte River runs along the back of the campground, but it is not for swimming although some do cool off at the edge of the river.
The water is swift and full of driftwood that could injure a swimmer. The cost of staying overnight at the campground is $10, which includes electricity; and payment is on the honor system. Just stick your money in an old mail box!
When we left Torrington, we finally started heading east. The only other stop on our agenda was to visit with Joan’s cousin (actually first cousin-once removed) Ernie and his wife Micky in Highland, Indiana — if they were going to be home. They were, along with their oldest son, Tyler, who had recently graduated from high school. Their other two children were visiting grandparents, so we didn’t get to see them. We had a great time reminiscing, and catching up on family news.
In the morning, a storm was developing, so after a quick cup of coffee, and a few hugs, the Vagabonds left. The wind was howling, strewing paper and trash (it was garbage day and everyone on the street had already put out their cans) all over the lawns. There were a few limbs down, and we decided to ride out the storm at the nearby Cabelas, which was close by, but in the open — so no branches or trees would fall on us and we could point the View into the wind exactly as a ship handler does in a raging storm in the ocean. When the storm cleared, we headed east once more.
Traveling east along I-80 near Kearny, Nebraska, we encountered a ‘bridge’ across the highway. It had an Indian motif and since there were no exits, quite a curiosity. After a little internet research, we discovered that it was rolled across the highway in one piece in 1999 as a tourist attraction. The highway was diverted for eight hours to accomplish moving and stabilizing the bridge! Apparently they forgot that tourists would have to leave the highway to visit the various multi-media exhibits. As a result, visitors have to exit either before or after the bridge, and take a winding side road to get to it.
Another more attractive bridge was outside Keystone, South Dakota on the road to Mt. Rushmore. This is a stone archway and very pretty. This bridge, also man-made, is more natural looking being made of stone making a tunnel through the rock.
We cannot end this trip without a few observations.
First, Brutus, our Beta fish has traveled nicely and seems to enjoy the "waves" created by the bumps of the roads. It would be nice to take another pet, perhaps a cat or dog, but the Vagabonds decided that it would not be fair to the animal, especially with the heat we have experienced this summer.
The Vagabonds have seen all types of Recreational Vehicles on the road. Each is best for a particular type of travel: a 5th wheeler or toy hauler for carrying an ATV or dirt bike, and it has the advantage of detaching the truck and going to the store or an event, and not having to take the whole rig. 
A tent for backpacking or camping in one spot for a few days or a week. If you are traveling, tent camping can get tedious putting it up and taking it down every day, but it is a far cheaper way to travel. 
A ‘Class A’ is like taking your home with you. Most of the ones we saw also towed a small vehicle. Many people with ‘Class A’ RVs plan on staying in one place for several months. And, they get very low gas mileage! (Some of the newer ones even have a washing machine and dryer!)
A ‘Class C’ is a mini-apartment with an engine and wheels! It has all the amenities of the ‘Class A’ models, but is more compact.
Class B’ RVs are built on a van chassis, have less space, storage than a ‘Class C’, and no slide-out to make more room when stopped for the night.
If you plan to purchase an RV, be sure to investigate each type to get exactly what you need and want. There are RV shows that will give you a chance to look at every model. The show at the BIG E in March is a good one for looking at, and in, every class of RV. And, of course, do some research on the internet!
On our previous trips, the VW Eurovan was fine, but as we wanted more room to set up the computers, cook our meals, and have a shower, we decided to go to a larger vehicle and selected the Winnebago VIEW, which is a ‘Class C’ RV. We have plenty of storage and have saved money by not eating out or staying in motels a few times a week.
Our meals in the VIEW have ranged from pancakes and sausage for breakfast to roast beef, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob for dinner. Most of the time we had sandwiches for lunch. The refrigerator and freezer work great, and while the microwave/convection oven works, we have yet to master it completely.
We decided to end our trip a little early, since there were a multitude of events and things to take care of at home. Our cat, Tillie, was especially happy that we came home a little earlier than planned. For the first 24 hours, she meowed constantly, and stayed by Joan’s side.
One last comment is in order about this great country of ours. 
The American Vagabonds cannot lose sight of both the homogeneity and heterogeneity of both citizen and geography alike. English is the language of the land — yet the accents can be very different. What fun it is for people to hear our New England accent around the country, and often they guess that one of us comes from Boston (smile). 
Also, we here in CT are accustomed to not seeing very much of the sky above us due to the many hills and vegetation that surround us throughout Connecticut. In much of the Mid -West and West, there is a BIG SKY that holds a certain awe for the Vagabonds.
Travel America is not a slogan for the Vagabonds, it is a privilege.        
The American Vagabonds hope you have enjoyed traveling with us for a few weeks, as we try to encourage everyone to explore America. We expect to be back on the road sometime in November, so keep an eye out for.....
James and Joan, The American Vagabonds
And, don’t forget to visit our web site: or on blogspot-americanvagabonds.

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