Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yellowstone Road Trip - Day 11

“A dark mist lay over the Black Hills, and the land was like iron. At the top of the ridge I caught sight of Devil's Tower upthrust against the gray sky as if in the birth of time the core of the earth had broken through its crust and the motion of the world was begun. There are things in nature that engender an awful quiet in the heart of man; Devil's Tower is one of them.” 
~N. Scott Momaday

The two old buzzards and their Fannie Mae headed out from Rapid City, South Dakota headed for Gillette, Wyoming (and points in between) at 8:23 after a Sunshine/Sunrise La Quinta Breakfast.  Gas was procured for $3.699 and at the same place Linda got ice and got her photo taken on some old guy's lap. She took a photo of the Mobil attendant because she had such an interesting name tag. She was a native American and she made her name tag (including the Mobile logo) out of beads. Sounds like a loyal long-term employee.

Leaving Rapid City we passed by a very cute mini-golf place with a pirate theme. There was a gas/convenience store chain we had never seen – Common Sense. Not so common in California, sad to say.

Since our route took us by Sturgis we decided to stop off and get some espresso and take a look at the self-proclaimed largest biker bar anywhere – Full Throttle Saloon – as seen on reality TV. When Wilma said “destination” for the Bookery and Espresso Bar we only saw a "for lease" sign. There must not have been enough demand for books and coffee in Sturgis. Now if it had been touting Beer and Bikes they would have probably had a hit.

Linda spotted a business named "Flowers by Rose" and wanted to photograph the cute house and the unique sign carved into a dead tree. The other unusual thing about the florist was that it seemed to be a gardening type person instead of just a business that imports flowers and makes arrangements. Linda liked that. There were lots of hanging baskets and flowers growing in the yard.

After taking detour we ended up outside of town at the Full Throttle Saloon. We didn't see Michael Ballard (owner). Probably on vacation after the rally. Obviously the bartender could tell we weren't bikers there to drink so she didn't even bother to say "hello" and just let us take all the photos we wanted. And, after all,  she was busy texting and smoking. So, including the famous Full Throttle donkey enjoying his oats in the bar, there were two asses in there.

Next we headed to Deadwood, South Dakota, a national historical monument town. It was very cute and touristy. There's a mix of casinos, hotels, bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, bling bling. The downtown is historical looking with its brick streets (just like Plainview, Texas where Linda grew up). Willie Nelson and Rory Hoffman are performing at the Mountain Grand Hotel. There is a Deadwood trolley and bus tours. We didn't stop to take pictures, buy John did hook up the Hero2 video camera to the windshield and we did a drive-by. We'll add that video to this posting soon and let you know when it's here.

After Deadwood, John finally found a Starbucks at a Safeway in Spearfish, SD. Then it was only nine miles until we got to the Wyoming border. We stayed on Interstate 90 until it was time to exit for Devil's Tower, America's first National Monument (1906). John bet Linda a dollar that it would be seven miles after they turned off the main road on the way to it. His theory is that all National Monuments are seven miles off of a main road. Sure enough he was right. Maybe Wilma slipped him the answer. (Note to John: Don't teach Linda to calculate remaining mileage on Wilma's GPS system. It will cost you money.)

What we both felt about Devil's Tower is that it is the most interesting of all the sights we have seen so far on this road trip. We are big fans of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and had always wanted to see Devil's Tower. After all, it must mean something. Neither one of us was at all disappointed. We took lots of photos because it is possible to shoot it from almost every direction. There is a wonderful 1.3 mile trail that goes around the entire tower. We won't put all the photos into the gallery but will try to give you a nice, large taste what you can see there. The weather was ideal for photos and hiking and climbing. There must have been between 10 and 20 climbers clinging onto various parts of the tower today. The climbers look really tiny from the trail but you can make one or two out in the photos.

After leaving Devil's Tower, lunch was bananas and sunshine bars in the car.  At Moorcroft, as we drove down the main drag there were prominent signs directing visitors to the West Texas Trail Museum. Linda grew up in West Texas so we just had to check it out. And, the old buzzards met at Texas Tech in West Texas. Sadly, the museum is closed on Sundays but we took a couple of photos and learned  that Moorcroft got its start for being where the West Texas Trail crosses the highway. Herds of Texas longhorn cattle were pushed through the area in the late 1800s giving homesteaders a reason to settle in Moorcroft.

We made it to our Motel 6 room in Gillette, Wyoming by 3:30 pm., unpacked and relaxed for a while before attempting to go to dinner at The Golden Corral. Seems the Golden Corral is still a buffet....if you want to go to a sushi buffet. Not our cup of tea. So, we went to a Village Inn (a chain in this area). Linda had a very nice chef salad with salsa as dressing. John had a chopped stead with mushrooms, broccoli and sliced tomatoes. One piece of Texas Toast. And, drumroll, a piece of Caramel Pecan Chocolate Silk pie. Admittedly, it was a small piece, but deeeeelicious.

As you might expect, today's photo gallery has loads of pictures of Devil's Tower National Monument, along with some photos we took on a brief visit to Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis. You can view the 81 image photo gallery by clicking here.

Below is a 6 minute video of downtown Deadwood, SD and some video of Devil's Tower, Wyoming.

So, for now, happy trails and sleep well tonight under the clear Wyoming sky.

1 comment:

  1. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, mashed potatoes