Wind Cave NP & More New Alpine Friends! (Deer Park CG, Buffalo WY)

It’s good to get away from it all! – big cities and jobs, etc., but not so much with regard to internet and cell phone coverage… and I sure hate getting behind with the blog posts 🙁

We’ve been in Wind Cave National Park at the Elk Mountain Campground for the past few days.  (Click the links for more info)  And now we decided to take our grandson Kaan to see Yellowstone NP.  We’re currently enroute…

Let me try to bring you up to date with the limited connectivity we have here now, at Deer Park RV Park in Buffalo, WY.  Our Verizon Jetpack doesn’t seem to want to take a charge anymore, so I’m relying on the park wifi and/or our iPhone hotspot…

The last inkling of life we saw on the Jetpack… no bars and no battery. It won’t charge anymore 🙁

When we left Ellsworth AFB FamCamp on Wednesday the 22nd, we didn’t expect to go off the grid, but that’s what happens at some of these national parks.  And that’s where we ended up over the last few days – Wind Cave National Park.  We headed south on 79 to Hot Springs and then came back up north on 385.  My GPS (RandMcNally) said that the park had a campground and would accommodate big rigs.

We passed the Visitor Center and cave entrance on the way to the campground:


The Elk Mountain Campground turned out to be absolutely beautiful.  Sites are water only – no electric or sewer.  They cost $18 per day, payable with a fee envelope and firewood is by donation.  We paid $9 per night with my disabled veteran NP access pass.


Here’s our site at Elk Mountain CG:

Elk Mountain CG in Wind Cave NP, South Dakota.
View to the east at Elk Mountain CG in Wind Cave NP, South Dakota.
View to the west at Elk Mountain CG in Wind Cave NP, South Dakota.


Grandson Kaan checking out the woods for wildlife.
Grandson Kaan getting sprayed down for mosquitos and bugs.
Relaxing on our lawn at Elk Mountain CG.

I should mention that we had to weave our way through the buffalo to get here:



In summary:  We went on two of the cave tours and attended two of the evening ranger-talks held at the Campground amphitheater.   Kaan and I really enjoyed the cave tours (Stilla stayed behind to watch little dog “Coach”), and the ranger-led nighttime wildlife walk was pretty cool as well.

Grandson Kaan on one of the Wind Cave tours.
Wind cave tour.

We took the ‘Natural Entrance’ tour and then the ‘Fairgrounds’ tour.  Our favorite was the ‘Fairgrounds’ tour.

Boxwork on the ceiling of Wind Cave.
Walking along one of the many narrow passageways in Wind Cave.


Click HERE to learn more about Wind Cave from my friend wikipedia™ and click HERE to see more images. courtesy of google™.

On our last day at the campground we drove into the nearby town of Hot Springs to enjoy a lunch and visit the famous Mammoth Site.  Unfortunately, my iPhone battery was low, so we relied on Stilla’s iPhone for pictures and I couldn’t get her phone to download the images 🙂  Maybe I can get it to work later and will update you with a few pics, because this was a really cool site where that are still actively digging.  Meanwhile, click HERE for some really good images from google™.

Kaan and Stilla at the Hot Springs, SD visitor center.

Friday, we packed up and departed Wind Cave NP on 385 north.  We decided to drive over to Yellowstone NP because our grandson Kaan might not get another chance for years, and we haven’t been there since the early ’90s.  We drove by Custer SD where we finally had cell phone connectivity again and I updated our status on Facebook so friends and family would know we’re still alive.  Then we headed northeast on 16 to get back on I-90 near Gillette, WY where we were earlier this month.


We finally landed at Deer Park Campground in Buffalo, WY after a 200 mile driving day.  We definitely noticed it’s getting harder to find reasonably priced (for us) campgrounds the closer we get to Yellowstone.  This place was $43 per night with full hook-ups.  But having full hook-ups is nice so we can do some loads of laundry.

And now for the highlight – as we were pulling into Deer Park Campground we noticed another Alpine!


As some of you blog-readers already know, this is a rare occurrence since Western RV only manufactured ~1,700 of them over a 10 year period (’99 thru 2009) before they went bankrupt.

Meet Ken & Caren Dortch:


Here’s a front-view of their nice 2006 Limited:


It’s always nice to meet fellow Alpiners!  They are always the nicest people as are most RV’ers.  Ken and Caren are from California and have just started full-timing.  We spent a large part of our evening getting to know them after we got set up.  We exchanged contact information and shared Alpine stories.  I hope I was able to convince them to join the Alpine Coach Association (ACA) and the Alpine SoCal group.

Deer Park RV Park & Campground office building.
Our spot at Deer Park RV Park & Campground in Buffalo, WY.

I owe Ken a few adult beverages, thanks Ken!  They are heading to Yellowstone NP as well… you never know, we might see them again soon 🙂

(L to R) Caren, Ken, Stilla, myself and little “Coach” in front of our Coach at Deer Park RV Park & Campground in Buffalo, WY.

Check back in to see where we end up… as of this morning (Saturday) even we don’t know.  We just hope it’s somewhere near one of the entrances to Yellowstone NP so we can do day trips in the Silverado.

2 thoughts on “Wind Cave NP & More New Alpine Friends! (Deer Park CG, Buffalo WY)”

  1. I don’t know if you’ve been to Yellowstone before, dear traveling nefyou, but you will find the mid-July crowds quite large. A dedicated crowd-hater myself, I greatly prefer to go in mid to late September, when the weather is cooler (sometimes too cool) but the people herds are much much thinner.
    It’s still my favorite national park of all that I’ve seen, no matter the time of year.

    1. I’m already beginning to regret coming here in July. CG costs have doubled and we’re still 120 miles away in Shell, WY. Luckily we found a spot with hook-ups so we can run the A/C 🙂

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