Wyoming

Zeb here with my last post of our recent road trip.  Just want to share a few observations about Wyoming.   I could not quickly describe Wyoming and I only saw the eastern part, north to south.  I saw so many different things there.

We entered Wyoming at Cheyenne.

Entering Wyoming

Entering Wyoming

Things were hilly with barren rock formations and outside of the city, lots of empty land.

Lonely highway

Lonely highway

Very few towns and very few people.  We did stop at a rest stop in Chugwater.  The signs said Chugwater was famous for chili.  It was pretty hot that day, so no chili for us.  But, let’s talk about the rest area.  The building utilized passive solar power.

Mom took some photos, but I think I should explain what goes on here.  There are solar panels on the south side and shutters that close at night.

Inside rest area building I am on stone wall with solar panels above

Inside rest area building I am on stone wall with solar panels above

There is a solar hot water storage tank also.  The building does have back up electric heaters in the cement floor and back up electric water heaters.  There is also earth berming on the north side of the building to reduce energy loss.

Solar panels at rest area

Solar panels at rest area

This seems like a very smart idea to this duck.

Most people have heard that Wyoming is very windy.  It is!  Here is a snow fence.

Snow fence

Snow fence

These snow fences do not stop the snow, but blowing snow usually will drift against the fences.  This reduces the size of snowdrifts on the highway or any other place the ranchers want to limit the snow drifts.

We passed Glendo Lake State Park.  This is a huge lake that is used for farm irrigation in multiple states.  It is also a recreation center, complete with camping, fishing and boating.  We saw this lake in late September, so the water level was fairly low. Winter snow and rain will fill it again so it will be ready next spring.

We continued on I-25 to Douglas.  We drove through and saw a real western looking bar and restaurant.  White Wolf Saloon has antlers on the front,

White Wolf Saloon in Douglas, Wyoming

White Wolf Saloon in Douglas, Wyoming

carved figures on the porch and lots of mounted animals inside.  WOW!!  This is real old western place.  I sat on each figure

I am helping my friend play cards

I am helping my friend play cards

and on the bar inside.

Lots of stuff inside White Wolf Saloon

Lots of stuff inside White Wolf Saloon

Another time lunch would be fun here.  But this trip, we had a destination and time constraints.  But what fun this is!

Leaving Newcastle and approaching the Black Hills, the landscape was hilly and wooded.  Very pretty.  The Black Hills are mostly in South Dakota, but part of them is in Wyoming.

 Black Hills landscape

Black Hills landscape

This looks very different from the land between Cheyenne and Wheatland.

North of Newcastle is Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

and Black Hills scenery.  See my report on Devils Tower a few days ago.  To get to Devils Tower, we left I-25 at Douglas at took highway 59 to Gillette.  On this road, we saw more antelope,

Herd of antelope

Herd of antelope

more horses,

Many horses

Many horses

more sheep, more cows,

Lots of cows

Lots of cows

more oil wells pumping,

Working oil well

Working oil well

coal mining, wind

Wind turbines

Wind turbines

turbines, hay fields

Hay fields

Hay fields

and a herd of buffalo.

Old and young buffalo in herd

Old and young buffalo in herd

When were near Sheridan, on I-90 we could see the Rocky Mountains.

Beautiful mountains

Beautiful mountains

They look so majestic, just like they do in Colorado.  On this trip we did not go to them, but western Wyoming is home to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.  I, Zeb, just wanted you to know that Wyoming has a little of everything.

We will return to Wyoming

We will return to Wyoming

This state is close to my home near Denver, so I hope mom and I will explore of wonderful Wyoming.  Let me know what parts of Wyoming you like best.

Devils Tower Legend

We visited Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming.

Devils Tower, Wyoming

Devils Tower, Wyoming

Yesterday I told you about our time there.  When we entered the national monument area, we were given literature from the national park service.

This legend was included from the national park service.  I love this legend.  So, I told mom that I wanted to tell all of you about this.  You may or may not have already known this, but I wanted to tell you.

The national park service brochure says:  “Eight children were there at play, seven sisters and their brother.  Suddenly the boy was struck dumb; he trembled and began to run upon his hands and feet.   His fingers became claws, and his body was covered with fur.  Directly there was a bear where the boy had been.

The bear

The bear

The sisters were terrified; they ran, and the bear after them.  They came to the stump of a great tree, and the tree spoke to them.  It bade them climb upon it, and as they did so it began to rise into the air.  The bear came to kill them, but they were just beyond its reach.  It reared against the tree and scored the bark all around with its claws.

Devils Tower Legend

Devils Tower Legend

The seven sisters were borne into the sky, and they became the stars of the Big Dipper.”

Sisters form Big Dipper

Sisters form Big Dipper

WOW!  I know I will remember this legend every time I see the Big Dipper or see a bear.  So, now you know why Devils Tower has those lines.  If only the geologists would agree.

Go to Devils Tower and experience the tranquility of the area.  You will love it there.

Devils Tower Wyoming

Northeast Wyoming is home to the nations first national monument.  In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument.

Devils Tower, Wyoming

Devils Tower, Wyoming

In 1872 Yellowstone had become the country’s first national park.  Some of Wyoming’s incredible landscape was saved for all to enjoy.

About 50 million years ago, molten lava was forced into sedimentary rocks and devils tower and the little Missouri Buttes were begun.  The geology is fascinating, but today, I just want to show you what I saw and experienced.

Getting to Devils Tower, we crossed the Belle Fourche River several times.  It is a beautiful river.  You would enjoy looking at it, camping by it, hiking along it, and fishing in it.   As we approached Devils Tower, the landscape changed.

Approaching Devils Tower

Approaching Devils Tower

We were back in the Black Hills.  Just love the hills, Ponderosa pines and unusual rock formations.  The landscape is always changing.

We pulled off the road at the designated place and took pictures of Devils Tower.

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

It is just there.  Sticking up out of the ground.  The tower is 867 feet high and stands 1,267 feet above the river.  The diameter of the base is 1,000 feet.  This is one big rock, or as they say, one big columnar monolith.  Again, these places make me feel so small and humble.

Mom and I walked around the base of Devils Tower.  On one side, we could see the green plains.  This was once buffalo country, but now it is cattle country.  The valley is green, with trees and hills in the background.

Cattle country behind Devils Tower

Cattle country behind Devils Tower

Very relaxing.  I like being here.

We took lots of pictures of Devils Tower and were fascinated by this rock formation.  Circling above the tower were turkey vultures.  The vultures use the rising warm air to circle, play and look for food.

Turkey vultures around Devils Tower

Turkey vultures around Devils Tower

They were fun to watch.

Shortly after entering the park grounds, we saw the black tailed prairie dogs.  While there are still many black tailed prairie dogs, their overall population is about 2% of what Lewis and Clark described as “infinite” 200 years ago.  Much of their natural habitat has been lost.  They were cute,

Black tail prairie dog. Looks so cute

Black tail prairie dog.
Looks so cute

but they jumped a little and barked.  I stayed in the car while mom took photos.  The park information said they could bite.  The car was safer for me.  I like being safe.

They really have black tails

They really have black tails

We went to the visitor’s center.  Lots of good stuff in there.  Mom just bought the hatpins.  She buys those almost every place we go.  No food or drinks are sold in the park.  There is a water fountain, but that is all.  Keeps things cleaner, and I think that humans sometimes eat too much.  We had drinks in the car, if we got thirsty.  The visitor’s center is a log building.

Visitor's Center at Devils Tower

Visitor’s Center at Devils Tower

Just seems to fit in the Black Hills.  The roads, camping and picnicking facilities and museum (now visitor’s center) were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression.  We saw more of their work in Colorado at Red Rocks Amphitheater.

I hope you visit Devils Tower.  It is in northeastern Wyoming, 33 miles northeast of Moorcroft, Wyoming.  I think it is very interesting and very peaceful.  I know you would enjoy your visit to Devils Tower.

One more photo of Devils Tower

One more photo of Devils Tower

I hope we can come back again.   Tomorrow I will tell you the legend of Devils Tower.  Be sure to read it and let me know what you think.

Our national park system is great.  Visit www.nps.gov for more information.

Deadwood, South Dakota

Zeb gambles and enjoys lunch

Deadwood, South Dakota is fun.  Located between Rapid City and Spearfish, the drive is scenic.

Beautiful scenery

Beautiful scenery

If you are a fan of cowboy movies or western history, these towns in the Black Hills are familiar to you.  In real life, they are a lot of fun.

We started gambling in the Silverado Casino.  Not big stakes gamblers, we played slot machines.  We had fun and won some.  This was my favorite slot machine

penguins played when we won

penguins played when we won

and where mom’s friend won.  We were in South Dakota to attend a wedding and met the groom’s parents in this casino.  Popular place.  After winning, we walked down some of Deadwood’s streets.

Deadwood saloon

Deadwood saloon

The old building are interesting and the names of the businesses were very old west names.

We ate at Pump House Coffee and Deli that had been a gas station.

Pump House deli in Deadwood

Pump House deli in Deadwood

The building was recognizable as a service station

Registered Restroom???

Registered Restroom???

and lots of gas station stuff was there.  The deli menu kept the theme with the names of sandwiches.

Menu

Menu

Seating was available outside,

Pump House patio

Pump House patio

but we ate inside.   This was a great place.  Mom and her friend were amazed at every new discovery.

wake up coffee

wake up coffee

The people was very friendly and the food very tasty.  This is a popular deli in Deadwood.

Booth for friends

Booth for friends

After eating and taking lots of photos,

gas pump

gas pump

we strolled down some other streets and then gambled a little at the Wooden Nickel.

Great stone buildings in Deadwood

Great stone buildings in Deadwood

Mom did better gambling here.

Classy door handles to Wood Nickel

Classy door handles to Wood Nickel

All the humans seemed to be having a good time.  It was a warm sunny day so I saw many humans smiling.  I like happy people.

Deadwood is a small town in the Black Hills.  It is easy to find as it is close to Spearfish and close to Rapid City.  It is also an easy drive to Mount Rushmore.  You will have a good time when you visit.  The hardest decisions will be which casino to visit first and where to eat.  But don’t worry.  You cannot make a bad choice.  Everything is good in Deadwood.

Black Hills of South Dakota

Sturgis and Mount Rushmore with Zeb

 I love road trips!  We entered South Dakota

Entering South Dakota

Entering South Dakota

through Newcastle, Wyoming.   Hills, trees and meadows were everywhere.

Entering Black Hills, SD

Entering Black Hills, SD

It was beautiful.  But, soon it started to rain and then small hail.  Here I am sitting in hail.

Hail in Black Hills--cold

Hail in Black Hills–cold

Mom, we have to talk about where you put me.  We arrived in the evening, staying in Spearfish.  Yep, that is how it got its name.  People used to spear fish in the river.

In the morning we went to Sturgis.  You know, the motorcycle place. IMG_3832 We were there last week, in early September, so the motorcycle rally was over.  But, still some bikers there as the weather was beautiful.

Zeb at Motorcycle Museum in Sturgis, SD

Zeb at Motorcycle Museum in Sturgis, SD

The motorcycle museum is really cool.  And, I Zeb, the duck, sat on some motorcycles outside.

Zeb on motorcycle

Zeb on motorcycle

Some day I may ride.

WOW!  Another motorcycle

WOW! Another motorcycle

Then there was this crazy store, Hot Leathers Trading Post.  Lots of hot leather stuff.  Makes my heart race.

Hot Leathers

Hot Leathers

Next we went to Mount Rushmore.

Zeb at Mount Rushmore

Zeb at Mount Rushmore

This is a National Monument, not a National Park.  Four giant heads carved in the mountain.  This is a monument to four U.S. Presidents:  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.  Admission is free but parking, which is necessary is $11 for a car.  Being rather small myself, I found some facts fascinating.  Washington’s nose is 21 feet long.  The other noses are only (?) 20 feet long.  The eyes are 11 feet wide.

These guys are HUGE

These guys are HUGE

Some say that we ducks have wide mouths, but these presidents have mouths 18 feet wide.  The carving, started in 1927 and ended in 1941, needed 400 workers, used dynamite as the primary tool and cost $989,992.32.  That is an exact figure—great accounting.  This monument means democracy.

Mount Rushmore honors our democracy

Mount Rushmore honors our democracy

As we left Mount Rushmore, we saw a huge piece of heavy machinery on the road in front of us.  They were shooting seed out a pipe at the top of the vehicle.

Seeding the shoulder of the road

Seeding the shoulder of the road

We believe it was grass seed or some seed to plant vegetation along the shoulder of the road.  Mom had never seen one before and, of course, neither had I.  Was interesting to see.

To see Mount Rushmore, drive on I-90 to Rapid City, SD.  Then exit and drive 23 miles southwest of the city, through Keystone.  There are many signs and the roads were clearly marked.  While you are in the area, consider seeing Crazy Horse monument, also carved in a mountain, visit Custer State Park and prepared to be amazed by the landscape of the Badlands National Park.  The Black Hills are beautiful

Black Hills stream

Black Hills stream

and this is a wonderful setting for a monument to democracy in our country.  I hope all of you go to see it.  We thought it was great!  Next time I will tell you about our day in Deadwood.  Look for me on Wednesday.