Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. -- Carl Sandburg
There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

September 4, 2011

8/10 - Devils Tower and the Black Hills

Devils Tower, WY

Devils Tower, WY

In the morning, we drove up to Devils Tower where there were tons of motorcyclists and more and more coming in as time wore on. The visitor's center was packed with them and they reserved the parking lot near the building for them. I found a shady spot for my van in the RV line up along the road and looked at the displays in the visitors center then took the mile loop around the rock. It is a cool chunk of rock with interesting formations. Unfortunately, they banned dogs from all the trails.

Hulett, WY

After that, we took the north route out of the park and wound our way to I-90 where I found a gas station. I had a thought to drive the 30 miles to the Montana border so I could claim that state in my tally but I was getting low on gas and didn't want to risk it. I headed east to Spearfish where I took the road to Spearfish canyon. It was a beautiful drive. I stopped at a picnic area to have lunch and let my dog try out the creek. She only wanted to get her feet wet. I didn't know the Black Hills are so rugged.  Vertical cliffs everywhere.

I drove to Hill City and directed Mr. Garmin to find Mt Rushmore which he tried to send me on dirt roads and some interesting back roads. Granted the main roads were often blocked as each town had some festival for the bikers and blocked roads. One of the roads was a very twisty road that criss-crossed a rail track. Turns out it is the track for a tourist steam engine train ride. It wasn't really a problem being sent to those backwaters as it was very scenic.

I finally made it to Mt Rushmore, saw the carvings, snapped the pics and called it done. Mt Rushmore interests me less than the natural beauty of the place. I then proceeded south to see the Crazy Horse memorial which was interesting. Then pressed on to the Elk Mountain campground in Wind Cave Nat'l Park. $12 a night with lots of open sites. I went to the campfire talk in the evening. It was about the animals in the park. The ranger stressed how stupid it is to get near the bison and that the low rumble of motorcycles sounds like a bull challenging another bull. Yikes!
Crazy Horse

They also made the claim that their bison are pure bison and not mixed with cow. I had read that there is no such thing as pure bison left since the butchery of the 19th century left so few animals they were forced to breed them with cow then back breed to the offspring to preserve the animal at all. I don't know what the truth is.

Route:  WY24 to Hulett, WY - E to Aladdin, WY - WY 111 S - I90 E to Spearfish, SD - Alt US14S to Cheyenne Crossing – Lead – Deadwood City -backtrack US385S -Hill City – Keystone via back roads – WY244 – US16/385S – Crazy Horse – Wind Cave NP

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