“Good morning! Would you like some water?”
The crew and I have walked and breakfasted. I’m done with my coffee. It’s time to break camp. I step outside and my next door neighbor is standing at the rear of his fifth wheel holding a hose.
“Sure! That would be great!” I look up the length of the hose to the water spigot across from the campground. He has three hoses hooked together. “Wow, that’s some long hose.”
“Yeah, I almost had enough. I went down to Ace and bought another one.” He finishes filling his tank and brings the hose over to the BLT. I have the little door to the tank open.
“Thanks a lot! I was down to a third of a tank.” He pulls on the hose to bring it over to his neighbor on the other side.
I’m not happy with the results of my online research for our next camp.
No matter which way we go, it looks like a long drive today. That would be okay, but I did not sleep at all last night. This is strange because, ever since I retired, my insomnia has disappeared. I guess it must have been too much caffeine from the iced tea. I wasn’t worrying about anything. I just could not doze off.
Nevertheless, I feel good this morning.
However, I know I’m going to be sleepy around one o’clock. Thunderstorms are predicted over near Wind Cave National Park and the Black Hills area. I see myself driving sleepy-eyed on a mountain road during a thunderstorm. Not good.
Later I grab two empty jugs and head for the water spigot.
Three guys in jeans are at the receptacle for campground donations. I’m glad I put mine in there this morning. I bet they’ve read my thank you note. All three greet me with smiles.
“Is it hot enough for ya’?” the big guy asks. He moves over to pump the water for me.
“You have a really nice town. I appreciate having this place to camp. I enjoyed the tractor-pull the other day.”
The guy in glasses and fishing hat responds. “Not many tractors this year, were there.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t know. I’m not from around here. If I see two tractors in the same place, to me that’s a lot.” This garners chuckles from the three men.
The big guy asks me where I’m headed.
I tell him I want to see Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills, generally the Rapid City area. “Trouble is, I can’t find a camp less than three or four hours away and with this late start, I don’t want to drive that far.”
That’s all I had to say.
In an instant I’m Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. The big guy is the lion, the lanky one is the scarecrow, and the man with the glasses and fisherman’s hat is the tin man. All three discuss where I should go, because I’m little Dorothy and they want what’s best for me.
The lion says, “You should go to Lingle. It’s past Ft. Laramie, not too far.”
“What about B.J’s?” the scarecrow suggests.
“No,” the lion corrects him. “The lady doesn’t want an RV park. That’s an RV park.”
The tin man chimes in. “She can park by the river at Lingle.” I assume he’s talking about the North Platte.
The lion pulls out a piece of paper and pen from his shirt pocket and draws me a map.
He explains it slowly while drawing, being careful that I understand every turn. “Once you get to Lingle, you have to go left or right. Go right. Then go over the tracks and drive about four miles to the river. That’s public land.”
“If you turn left, that takes you to Lusk,” the tin man adds.
The lion hands me the map. “You can camp down there and it’ll be nice. Your dogs can run around and everything.”
I thank them all again and they smile some more, wishing me luck as they go.
So here we are!
We’re still in Wyoming, a few miles outside of Lingle, population 510, over the tracks and beyond the corn fields.
We aren’t camped right on the bank of the North Platte, but we’re close. (The banks are too eroded to be safe.)
A thunderstorm comes and goes.
A big white dog from the ranch across the main road pays us a visit. I wash my hair, soak my feet, and take a nap with the crew. Giant cottonwoods form a canopy above us. A cool breeze blows through our open windows. This is good. This will make a good camp for tonight. [slideshow]