Tuesday, October 28, 2014

From Rapid City SD to Jackson WY

On the way out of Rapid City we see patches of dead bug trees. The bark beetle is killing a lot of pine trees. We have seen these dead patches throughout South Dakota. The only way to treat is to cut and spray.

Deadwood. Why all the motel rooms? Answer. All the gambling houses. They only outlawed brothels in the 1980's. The Taco John's is advertising Ghost Pepper wings. Good thing the hospital is across the street.

Deadwood has capitalized on the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok. Moral: Don't sit with your back to the door. My Wild Bill never does. Beware the dead man's poker hand, 2 eights, 2 aces and a nine. Also it's probably not a good idea to go gambling to make a stake for your new bride.

The Wild Bill Bar has memories for a dear friend. He was served his first drink here. We don't know if he went upstairs.

The bust of Wild Bill downtown was sculpted by Korczak, the sculptor of Crazy Horse.
His youngest daughter, Monique, and the grandson of the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, James Borglum, collaborated on the seated sculpture of Wild Bill just beyond the Tin Lizzie.
The bust of this figure is in one of the museums at the Crazy Horse Memorial.

After Deadwood we head down Spearfish Canyon, catching a couple of waterfalls, Roughneck falls and Bridalveil.

Out on the prairie again we stop at Vore Buffalo Jump. The sinkhole has filled in over the thousands of years of use.
The prairie tribes used to drive groups of buffalo over the edge. Easier to get enough meat and hides for the winter, since buffalo were hard to kill with spears and bows and arrows.

Then we head to Devil's Tower. The Lakota name for the tower is Mato Tipila or Bear's Lodge. The military officer who reported the name seems to have misunderstood the translation of the Lakota name. We hiked the Tower Trail, a paved 1.3 mile path with some ups and downs. This is a spiritual place for the Lakota. No climbing is allowed during June when Lakota celebrations are held. I found it hard to believe that the climbers sued saying the one month ban on climbing violated their rights. Thankfully a judge found otherwise.

The Circle of Sacred Smoke is near the picnic area where we ate lunch.
The prairie dogs are moving in. One loop of the campground is closed because of them and they are at the edge of the amphitheater.

On our way to Buffalo WY we see lots of coal trains. One long coal train after another, all Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
We pass a huge open pit coal mine and coal processing facilities.
Also a large pipeline is being built here along the railroad tracks next to I90. Lots of pumping oil wells here also.

It is cold overnight in Buffalo and there is some melting snow on the steps to the bathrooms. Driving on 16 out of Buffalo We did not think about crossing the Big Horn Mountains and Powder River Pass at 9,666 feet.
Once we make it over the top and down the top portion of the pass on the snowy road, we can enjoy the canyon. It is like going down into the grand canyon with the huge rock walls.
Signs at the side of the road tell the names of the formations and their ages. At 4,500 feet we come out of the bottom of the canyon. We have a flat drive in the basin on into Cody, WY, passing over the Continental Divide. We are getting closer to home. But having a hard time finding a place to stop, as most campgrounds are buttoning up for the winter.

Here we are in Cody, Wyoming. Another Bill. Buffalo Bill Cody started this town and it is still a peon to him. We go out to dinner at the hotel he built in 1902 and called “just the swellest hotel that ever was.” The hotel is named The Irma after his youngest daughter.
Lots of cool Halloween decorations on this old fireplace mantle
Just outside Cody
Near Sylvan Pass

Going over Sylvan Pass to Yellowstone is not bad. The snow was night before last and has been cleaned off and the pass has been sanded.
We watch out for a few icy places. We are just making a loop around Yellowstone lake. Some roads and all campgrounds and facilities are closed, except for a few stray restrooms. We take a short hike on the trail in the snow at West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Right at the intersection from West Thumb we saw a huge wolf just trotting along the road.
William wanted it to slow down for another picture, so he called “Hey boy” to it. We laughed about that. The wolf paid no attention.
Hey boy

We headed on into Grand Teton National Park. Again everything is buttoned down but the scenery. We take most of the side roads in the park.

Fifty years ago I spent a summer working in the Laundry at Colter Bay.
Somewhat like slave labor. Our room was deducted from our pay, but we had to buy our own food at tourist prices. I wanted some money to take home, so I would eat a candy bar on the way to work. Slave over laundry all day. Then eat a cup of soup and a jello for my other meal. I was down to a size 6 at the end of the summer. Old sizes. Then I hitch hiked into Jackson and spent all my money, except what I needed to get home, on gifts, mostly for William.
Grand Teton

Mount Moran at Jenny Lake

On into Jackson, where we stop to admire the antler arches that have been here forever.
William remembers the Cowboy Bar, but it is now a lunch and dinner spot and doesn't open until 4. We head over to the other famous bar, The Silver Dollar Bar, in the Wort Hotel. The bar is inlaid with more than 2,000 silver liberty dollars.
We have a drink to celebrate. I have a Silver Dollar Daly that reminds me of Teton Tea from long ago.

It will be pedal to the metal time from now on. We will be checking the weather reports to make it over Donner Summit before the snow flies. 

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