SNOWSTORM IN LATE MAY?

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We are getting a snowy sendoff in Guernsey before we head west to the Tetons.  And we know there will be snow there also.  That is just fine for us Louisianans!

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Gracie wanted to go investigate the white stuff.

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Wheeeeeee!

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Wait, is that a rabbit?

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Back to running again!

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The chase begins!

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Gracie has a coat to wear, but she was too busy running.  Not for long.  George said ok, that’s enough.  LOL.

CASPER, WYOMING

According to Forbes Magazine, Casper is the 8th BEST city in the nation to raise a family.  Well that meant we had to go visit, and also make a few stops along the way!

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Half way between Casper and Guernsey is Ayres Natural Bridge.  Indians believed the natural bridge was an evil place.  Travelers along the trails heading west used the bridge as a place to hide from Indian attacks.  It is a beautiful natural bridge of limestone carved away by LaPrele Creek.

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The limestone bridge is huge!  Diane is standing under the bridge below.  George is standing much farther away from it in the picture above.  Notice the little bench off to the right.

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Someone had placed this cute wooden owl in a gnarled old cottonwood tree.

We stopped at a buffalo ranch on the road leading up to Ayres Bridge.  The buffalo calves looked like cow calves.  The buffalos look like gentle giants.

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We wanted to hike Bridle Falls so we headed up to the trailhead at Rotary Park.

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Bridle Falls is pretty and the coolness of the surrounding air was nice!  We started hiking at 6370′.

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Gracie enjoyed the hike.  We made sure she didn’t overdo it as she wanted to go go go.  Whoa Gracie!

Pretty view of Casper down in the valley.

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We went to the downtown area of Casper to visit Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters.  Great store!  And to see its perfectly ok to drive and park your ATV downtown.  We saw three using parking spaces in an hour.  LOL.

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On the way back to Guernsey I took this picture of the sandstone hills about 45 minutes south of Casper.  I’ve never seen so much changing landscape.

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We finished up the weekend with a nice Mother’s Day Brunch at Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse.

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WONDERFUL WILDLIFE

The photos are of a few of the critters we have seen.  Deer and antelope are everywhere.  We don’t have squirrels at the camper but do see allot of bunnies.  And so does Gracie.

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The elusive wooden buffalo on the hill.

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Deer are everywhere.  Literally.

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Ok, actual buffalos.

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(This owl photo is not mine)  Little Burrowing Owls live on open prairies and grasslands in prairie dog holes and other animal dens.  The are endangered.  We haven’t seen the owls but we continue to look.  They are adorable!

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We saw these mountain goats in South Dakota.  I don’t  have a strong zoom on my camera but have been able to get some pretty good shots.

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Boxer on the mountain.  Our favorite animal!

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These Elk were moving and fast.  This area of the Laramie Range has fire damage.

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Spotted these pretty horses near the Grayrocks Reservoir.  I had left my camera at the trailer so I used cell phone to try and zoom in.  The photo turned out like a water color painting.

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Turkeys strutting around showing off.

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Prong Horn Antelope truly are EVERYWHERE.

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LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE

I love old barns and houses.  I always want to go in them and look around.  The more worn down the better!

A reconstructed Fort Laramie house.

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Old log cabin near the North Range of Camp Guernsey.

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Beautiful old homestead in South Dakota.

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The little Esterbrook Church with Laramie Peak in the background.  We came across this ATVing in the Laramie Range.  Really beautiful!

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While ATVing in Laramie/Medicine Bow National Forest.

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Abandoned, but I can imagine the family who lived here at one time.

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Beautiful log barn with metal roof.

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Snow still on the ground in May.

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Sturdy old rafters.

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Yep, an outhouse.

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Just a roof 🙂

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This was actually a newer log cabin located way out on some ranchland.  Very isolated.

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I wasn’t sure if this had been used as a barn or a home.

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Barn grouping.

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Reconstructed house at Fort Laramie.

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SHED HUNTING THE LARAMIE RANGE – WYOMING

Going out to ride the Laramie Range/Medicine Bow National Forest and hunt for elk antlers (sheds).  The highest peak in the range is Laramie Peak, 10,276′.

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Getting the ATVs ready with our friend Dave who lives here.  We will be riding over towards the peaks in the background!

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Always antelope everywhere you look.

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Parked and hiked.  George found the first antlers.

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We hiked down through this ravine to a grassland area below beyond the trees.

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And hiking back up.  Way up.  lol.

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Esterbrook Church.  Very pretty.  We were around 7,300′  Laramie Peak in the background is 10,700′.

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Antelope watching us.  We rode the two track trail that is above the antelope.  Squilly line going towards the peak.  We also had county roads to ride.  They are graded rock/gravel roads.

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Looking for Elk.

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MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL – SOUTH DAKOTA

This is a pretty impressive sight to see!

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We stopped along the route for pictures by this giant granite.

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Pretty Sylvan Lake.

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The land and mountains around the memorial are beautiful!

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Sixty foot faces that look completely like the men they represent … Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.

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Missouri Flag going thru the walking area up to the memorial.  The Texas Flag was wrapped up too much for picture.

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There were quite a few mountain goats in the area.

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Gracie gets to visit all the places we do.

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The towering granite all around us.

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We drove two scenic routes after leaving the memorial … Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.  Crazy, fun, beautiful drives!  Stats are:  17 miles, 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 pigtail bridges, 3 tunnels, 2 splits and the 4 presidents in view along the route in many areas.  Here are some pictures.

Here is one of the pigtail bridges.

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The tunnels are all single lane.  Narrow and short.

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When you drive out of the tunnel below, the Rushmore Memorial is directly in front of you in the distance.

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Mt Rushmore is in the distance between the trees on the right.

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Blue Star Memorial Highway along the route in honor of the armed forces.  The switchbacks are very steep and cut back and forth up the mountain.

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Stopped for some hiking . . .

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We made it down to Custer State Park.  Mt Rushmore is visible in middle of picture.

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We finished out the day visiting a local brewery near the hotel.  Would love to come to this area again one day.

Copy and paste URL:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rushmore

CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL – BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA

A model of Crazy Horse at the Visitor’s Center.  The mountain monument has been in work since 1948 and is funded by private money.  No federal or state funding.

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Let me back up to the day we left for South Dakota.  We had snow, snow, snow!  This is our small snowman we made for the kids and sent pictures to them!

Everything looked so pretty.  This is at our fifth wheel on Camp Guernsey.

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The snow was just starting.

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We came across allot of snow on the drive to SD.

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Crossing into South Dakota, we entered Buffalo Gap Nation Grasslands.  We could see snow all around us, but only green pastures in Buffalo Gap.  It was really unusual.

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Back to snow entering Black Hills National Forest!

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Oh man, George saw the word “Tatanka” and kept telling me that means Buffalo.  lol.

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Our first view of Crazy Horse.  We got a little excited and loud … Gracie just slept through it.

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There were trucks and people working on the mountain.

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It is a pretty amazing view.  We let Gracie out to run a bit and of course took a picture.

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This is an aerial view (not my photo).

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Wonderful Indian artifacts and displays at the museum.

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Teepee and a display of tools used on the mountain.

Child’s beaded moccasins.

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Here is a link to learn  more about the Crazy Horse Memorial.  Copy and paste URL.

https://crazyhorsememorial.org/

HIDDEN SURPRISES IN SMALL PLACES – WYOMING’S OLDEST BAR

Six miles north of Guernsey is the little town of Hartville, Wyoming.  Friends had told us about a little bar and restaurant there called Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse & Spirits.  They said the steaks served there were the best in Wyoming!  Well, we had to go!

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As usual, deer were out all along our drive as we drove north on Hwy 270 into Hartville.  Now these are some winter coats!

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Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse & Spirits is in an old building that was once part of old Fort Laramie’s trading post.

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Miners is the oldest bar in Wyoming, in the oldest incorporated town in Wyoming.

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The interior of Miners is rustic and very charming!  The beautiful hand carved bar was shipped from Europe to Wyoming around 1865.

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I ordered the 8oz Filet Mignon and George ordered the 16oz Ribeye.  The steaks were very generous and cooked perfectly!  A bit on the more expensive side but well worth it.

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Rounding out our meal was a very delicious Wyoming craft beer called Saddle Bronc Brown Ale.

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We will definitely go back.  Maybe just do an appetizer and try one of their wonderful homemade desserts!  This pretty rainbow accompanied us back to Guernsey.

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HISTORIC FORT LARAMIE, WYOMING

A fort/stockade was established for fur traders in 1834 and called Fort William.  It became Fort John in 1841.  The US Army purchased it in 1884 from American Fur Company and it became Fort Laramie.  Fort Laramie remained as an army post until 1890.

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Right away George found his perfect ranch house.  I couldn’t get him off the porch 🙂

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The rooms are finished with original period pieces.

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The big iron stove was close by for heating up the iron.

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An old chamber pot on a bear skin rug.  Question for the grandkids, what is a chamber pot 🙂

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This cute little bunny came out as we were walking the grounds.

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Gnarled bark of a huge cottonwood tree.

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The state has restored many of the buildings, but some are left as is.

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The land around the fort is beautiful.  Rolling hills where the North Platte and Laramie rivers meet.  The Laramie is a tributary of the North Platte.

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I love this picture of the lone teepee.

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Diane had to try out the old jail.  The cells were very small and cramped.  Imagine wearing those leg irons!

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The armory was George’s favorite.  He wanted to bring the Gatling gun home.

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The old wagons were in great shape.  The iron rims covering the wheels are what carved the deep ruts at the Oregon Trail Ruts.  You can see why.

Open bay barracks for the troops.  And lots of buckets in case of fire.

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Memorial for the Pony Express Riders.  It states 120 riders, 650,000 miles, only 1 killed by Indians and 1 mail lost.  I’ve never checked these statistics but it seems amazing.

In 1852, Wyoming Territory’s first recorded school taught the children of officers at Fort Laramie.  Soldiers were often asked to teach for 35 cents a day.

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The old iron Army Bridge over the North Platte River.

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This trading post is in the town of Fort Laramie and ran by Miss Marie and her husband.  A very interesting place!  She hand makes all of the items in the shop.  We got the kids’ arrowhead necklaces there.

 

Historic Fort Laramie, Wyoming.  Copy and paste URL:  

http://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/fort-laramie

We did a short side trip over to Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, before heading back to Guernsey.  And now we know why the city is named as it is … this long bluff dominates the view.  Founded in 1899, the bluff is a national park area and called Scotts Bluff National Monument.  Talking to my mom recently I found out she had lived in Scotts Bluff as a child.  My grandpa had work there as a truck driver.

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EASTER WEEKEND IN THE PARK – GUERNSEY

We were so happy to be invited to attend Easter Sunrise Service at “The Castle” in Guernsey State Park.  It was serene and beautiful, clearly a place to hear God and the perfect start to Easter Weekend.

The Castle is a historic stone structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s.  It sits on a bluff overlooking the North Platte River and surrounding area.

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The Guernsey reservoir from The Castle.

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Chilly, but beautiful Easter morning.

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Lookout from top deck of The Castle.

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Laramie Peak from the observation area at the top of The Castle.

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Guernsey State Park is very large, with 7 campgrounds, hiking trails, yurts and of course the outstanding scenery.

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George standing on the bridge over what use to be Tunnel No. 2 inside of Guernsey State Park.  It isn’t pretty to look at but it is another interesting piece of history here.

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Coal trains run through here 7 days a week from the north.

 

Guernsey’s annual Easter celebration was in the town center park and we were so happy to lend a hand!  We help toss out 3,500 Easter eggs for the children’s Easter Egg Hunt.

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This precious little girl made me think of our kiddos back home.  We miss them.

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George and Dave (from Camp Guernsey) grilled up 300 hot dogs with Faith Fellowship Church.

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Faith Fellowship is a wonderful little Guernsey church … great people and pastor.

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The kids anxiously waiting for the word GO!

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(Rachel and Sean sent us pictures of our kiddos at their Easter Egg Hunt in Texas.  Looked like they all had a great time!)

Guernsey State Park, Wyoming.  Copy and paste URL:  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernsey_State_Park

 

80,000 ACRES OF MILITARY TRAINING

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We came to Wyoming for George’s work.  He is a System Analyst for the AF and works with Security Forces.  We setup our trailer on the Camp Guernsey main cantonment area.  Full hookups for $4 a night!

Camp Guernsey is a Joint Training Center owned by the state of Wyoming, but has many different customers that include U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, law enforcement agencies, the Civil Air Patrol, the Boy Scouts of America, and foreign military personnel.

It controls a combined area of over 80,000 acres of maneuver area, training ranges, and state-of-the-art facilities.

Global Strike Command’s 620th Nuclear Security Combat Training Center at Camp Guernsey, Wyo., provides advanced tactics and marksmanship training for security forces members who guard and secure the Air Force’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force.

Established by the Wyoming Army National Guard Camp in 1940, the Camp Guernsey Cantonment Area has many historic old buildings still in use today.  There is also a C-17 capable airfield.

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Entrance to the North Training Area of over 50,000 acres of fire and maneuver areas, artillery use; aerial bombing; and dedicated firing ranges for small arms, heavy weapons; live-fire convoy routes (this and all of the above are public information).

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A convoy on the South Range Training Area practicing breaching maneuvers of a vehicle carrying a mock nuclear payload.  I can go to the ranges with George to watch the exercises.  I find very interesting, especially since I spent nearly 24 years working military aircraft simulators.

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A “sniper” on the South Range.

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There are two log cabins on the South Range that are managed by the billeting office.  For $40 per night, we can stay at either cabin.  Called Grey Rocks Ranch (over 22,000 acres), the Wyoming National Guard purchased the ranch in 2006 and added it to the land already owned and used for military training.  Grey Rocks is remote, but beautiful.

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And last but not least, our $4 a night home on the Camp Guernsey Cantonment Area!

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Camp Guernsey.  Copy and paste URL:

http://wyomilitary.wyo.gov/guard/guernsey/