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Posts Tagged ‘Devil’s Tower’

When I went outside after a soggy night of showers, the worms were out. Hundreds of 4-inch thin worms were taking their morning wiggle, many on the campground road. Yuck! I really didn’t want to sqush any but there were so many of them. It looked like we might experience a little sun, so we chose to exit Badlands on the viewpoint drive going north. But we saw few gleams of light. Very disappointing.

We skipped Wall Drugstore, a famous tourist trap just north of the Badlands. We went there once and we wandered around stores in an old-timey mall. The historical pictures are interesting, but that was about it for us. So we drove I-90 for 100 miles west to Spearfish, SD. It’s always a little sad for me when we stop heading east and start heading west (home). Usually it happens around the middle of the trip but we have less than 3 weeks left now. Other than vibrant green ranchland, the notable item we noticed is the 80 mph speed limit on I-90. I guess they figure its harder to kill yourself speeding among all the grasslands. We can’t join in the fun; the Lazy Daze wouldn’t enjoy that speed.

Spearfish has a beautiful canyon that runs 25 or 30 miles along the river. It has steep walls, waterfalls and trees that change color in fall. The last time we were there it was very cold and snowing. This time, it was raining, so we skipped it. Another opportunity lost to weather. The campground hostess told us that it had basically rained through April and May. Not good for tourism in the Black Hills. We went to the Spearfish City Campground, expensive and crowded, but pretty and convenient to Safeway. I wanted to do a big shop before we hit Yellowstone.

It was sunny on Tuesday morning so we took a walk along a rushing stream, then took off for the short drive to Devil’s Tower. We camped at the Park, Belle Fourche River Campground for $6 per night. Thank you America the Beautiful Senior Pass! It’s a beautiful campground that is plunk next to a prairie dog town. Prairie dogs are in the uncomfortable position of being endangered……unless they settle anywhere near your property. Then they’re like miniature, chirping developers – they want to expand into your neighborhood.

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We drove up to Devil’s Tower in the afternoon. After Memorial Day, it is unofficially summer and there were lots of tourists, so the parking lots and paths were busy. The sun was coming out from and going behind the clouds. We walked the 1-mile circuit around Devil’s Tower. Created by magma, it’s got the tallest basalt columns in the world – 600 feet high.

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Later in the afternoon, we went over to a meadow that has a great distance view of the Tower. We got some fleeting sun on our subject. Dinner was interrupted by a big thunderstorm. One peal was so loud, I shrieked. Then, back to chopping vegetables. We returned to the meadow after dinner because sunset is now around 8:30. We hoped to see the last red rays of the sun on the Tower but we were out of luck again.

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We had debated staying an extra day, but heavy clouds the next morning convinced us to move on. It was a heavy driving day across Wyoming. We continued on I-90 all the way to Sheridan. Just south of the Montana border, we turned left into the Bighorn Mountains. No gentle foothills here. The road rises several thousand feet via dramatic switchbacks with a few spots big enough for the rig to pull over.

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We wended our way through valleys, canyons and gulches and once again, had to pass up visiting the Medicine Wheel. We reached the 9,430-foot pass and found the pass sign obscured by vandals.

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The descent on the western side was harrowing. It was very steep and very long. I had the window open and had to close it to block out the smell of our burning brakes. If we ever do it again, we’ll unhook the Rav.

We had already decided to go another 50 miles to Cody, WY but I wanted to check out the free Lovell town campground. I’m glad we didn’t stay; it looked like an Occupy-movement tent city. Probably nice people but way, way too crowded. We finished off our 311-mile drive at the Absaroka RV Park in Cody. It’s $33 per night but has a nice view of the Absaroka and Carter Mountains. It worked for us as yet another couple of rain showers washed our vehicles.

 

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