Friday, September 1, 2017

Riverside Wyoming for a week

August 24 to September 1:

On Thursday (8/24) we finished packing up the Duchess, paid our electric bill for the month we were at the Red Mountain RV Park, and drove north 110 miles to Riverside, Wyoming. We checked into the Lazy Acres RV Park and were guided to Site 4. This is a small (36 sites) family owned park located on the Encampment River. There are only a couple of sites with river frontage and ours is not one of them. It is a very nice park with trees, grass and full hook-ups. We got set up and walked around the town of Riverside. Since the town has population of 52 this did not take that long. The town has a nice city park with a 9 hole disc golf course, a well stocked general store and two bars/restaurants.

2000 Sign relocated to campground

Site 4
 On Friday we drove over to Laramie, Wyoming by way of WY Hwy 130 which is a scenic byway that goes through the Medicine Bow National Forest and the Snowy Range Mountains. Laramie is located 80 miles east of Riverside and it was a very scenic drive through the national forest. We got out at the pass through the mountains but since the temperature was 52 degrees with a strong wind we did stay out long.

While in Laramie we stopped by the Walmart to pick up a few items for motor home and then ate a quick lunch at Taco Bell near the University of Wyoming. We looked on line and found a local museum that we visited called the Laramie Plains Museum and Invinson Mansion. There was a guided tour of the house that lasted over an hour with an excellent guide who knew a great deal about the family and the town of Laramie. Mr. Invinson was a banker and investor who a one point was the richest man in Wyoming. He and his wife traveled all over the world and brought back many items to the house they built. The house was became a girls bordering house for many years after it was donated by Mr. Invinson to the Episcopal Church. Most of the girls who stayed here were from area ranchers and they came to the bordering house to go to school in Laramie. The local Women's Club bought the house in 1972 after it was almost sold to the Alberson's Grocery Store chain to be torn down for a grocery store location. They have spend many years and almost a $1 million dollars restoring the mansion and turning it into a great place to visit.

Bottom right picture is snowshoes for horses.

We then drove to the University of Wyoming where we walked around the campus for a while. Since classes had not started for the fall semester we saw very few people. We did visit the Geology Museum before we left which has a great collection of dinosaur bones.

On Saturday we visited the Grand Encampment Museum which in Encampment, Wyoming. Encampment is located next to Riverside (you can walk between the two towns) and was a mining & logging town during it's heyday in the late 19th and early 20th century. The museum traces the history of the area along with being the site of several old historic buildings that have been moved to the museum site. It has a number of exhibits along with wonderful old photographs from the days of mining and logging. Copper was discovered 16 miles west of Encampment and a tramway system was used to move the copper ore from the mine to the copper smelter located in Riverside on the Encampment River. The smelter burned down twice and was not rebuilt after the second fire due to the falling price of copper. The engineer who built the tramway system went on to design and built a number of ski lifts in the western US.

On Sunday we decided to do some hiking in the national forest located west of Encampment. We found the parking space for the beginning of the logging road that lead of the Green Mtn. Falls Trail. After looking at the logging road and talking to some people who were coming down from the logging trail we decided to walk the two miles up the road to the trail (we were glad we did not try and drive it). We hiked up the beginning of the trail and then decided to turn around and hike back down. It was nice walk up and back along a following creek.

We then drove up to Battle Pass to see the Continental Divide in this part of Wyoming. The air was hazy from the fires in Montana and this limited how far we could see. I'm sure on a clear day you could see over 100 miles from the pass.

Monday we took the day off and stayed around the campground. We did ride our bikes around Riverside and Encampment.

The Willis House

Tuesday we drove up the Snowy Range to walk the trail between several of the glacier lakes located in the mountains. We walked from Lake Marie (named after the first woman to hold elective office in Wyoming) to Mirror Lake and then to Lost Lake. As we walked along the trail we could hear the rocks on the mountain cracking off and falling. It sounded like someone was shooting off fireworks. The hike is a beautiful walk with the lakes and the Snowy Range Mountains visible along the entire trail.

On Wednesday we drove over to the town of Saratoga which is located about 18 miles north of Riverside. We walked the two blocks of downtown and visited the historic Hotel Wolf & Restaurant which was built in the 1893. There was a lot of old pictures of the hotel and town on the walls which we enjoyed looking at.

From there we drove across the river to the Snowy Mountain Brewery which is located at the Saratoga Resort & Spa. We sampled several of their brews before splitting a glass of their 2017 Total Eclipse Chocolate Black Lager (which was very good). We had a nice visit with the two bartenders: one of whom was here for a few month from Serbia and the other had gone to school in Encampment.

After finishing our beer we walked around the resort & spa. They have hot springs at the facility with individual tubs covered by tepees along with a large pool heated by the hot springs. The springs are suppose to have healing properties with numerous minerals in the waters. The resort has a 9 hole golf course, access to the river for fishing & canoeing, horse back riding and other activities. The resorts hosts a number of weddings each year.

There was old photograph of a hunting party from the 1880's that included Wyatt Earp and his brother, Teddy Roosevelt, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid and other famous old West characters.

After leaving the resort, we drove back across the river to Bella's Bistro where we had dinner reservations. This restaurant was recommended to us by Steve & Larrianne and we had a wonderful meal at the place. We were surprised by Saratoga with both a nice resort and Bella's being in a town of 1,700 population. We did find out that there is a number of large ranches around the area and a high end gated community right out side of town.

The high end gated community is called the "Old Baldy Club" and we remembered that Vic and Pam Gallagher lived there. We had house sat in their apartment in Austin while they traveled to the British Virgin Islands for several weeks for two winters and taken care their Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Emma and Murphy. We texted them Thursday morning and they invited us to come out that evening for a visit and to join them for the club's weekly "cookout on the river". We arrived at their house around 5 pm and had a great visit with them. We got caught up on our lives over the last couple of years and got to take a quick tour of their house. Murphy had passed away earlier this year and they now have an eight month old Cavalier King Charles puppy named Jo-Jo (full of pep and energy). The house was bought by Vic's dad in 1966 and has remained in the family since then. The Old Baldy Club was started in 1966 as a golfing, hunting & fishing club and Vic's dad was one of the charter members. Pam & Vic drove us and another couple, Milton and Rita from Dallas, to the location of the cook-out which was a few miles east of the club. We got to meet several people who are members of the Old Baldy Club (which is named for a mountain near Saratoga) and enjoyed quite the spread of food. There was a three man musical group that provided entertainment during the meal and they were very good. The lead singer is a retired rancher and in his 80's.  After dropping off Milton & Rita at their place, we took a quick tour of the clubhouse and dining rooms at the club. It was great to see Pam & Vic again and they invited us to visit anytime we are in this area in the future.

On Friday morning we packed up the Duchess and headed 200 hundred miles north to Glenrock, Wyoming which is about 25 miles east of Casper where we will be for the next two weeks.