Treasure hunt find May 22, 2012
High Park Fire

Memorial Day Weekend - Road Trip

We were inspired from Arden's visit to go on a roadtrip. The kind of roadtrip we love - pack up the car, throw in the maps and point the car in a direction and simply make it up as you go along.

I took Friday off. We left around 10am-ish, and decided to head north. Kevin had an idea where we were going to end up for the first night. We decided we wanted to go and see Devils Tower. It took us about 5 - 6 hours to get there. Kevin called our Best Western in Hulett, WY to secure a room. We were glad we did. There is nothing worse than arriving tired, and then not having a place to stay. We immediately went to Devils Tower to look around. It was cold, cloudy, misty, and windy. But it was very atmospheric.


I took this photo with my little point 'n shoot, and then converted it to black 'n white.

Here's another one...


For a more "normal" photograph...


There is a very nice trail around the Tower. It is paved and reasonably level. We started it, but then decided to come back the next day. Access to the Tower is from a parking lot. There is a visitor's center (which was closed by the time we got there on Friday) with some nice restrooms.


 Hulett, WY is about 9 miles away from Devils Tower. It is a wonderful small hamlet. There is a newish Best Western that is very comfortable and quiet. We ate a dinner of burgers (I had the cheeseburger) at the Ponderosa Cafe in Hulett. The cafe is a favorite stop during the Sturgis bike week in August. Our burgers were good, and the service was friendly and prompt. In fact we found all our interactions in Hulett excellent.

Saturday we went back to Devil's Tower. This time we had time to stop off and take more photos. We had time to walk the trail around the tower. They estimate about 45 minutes. We took longer because we stopped frequently. We also had time to visit the Visitor's center.

This is the view of Devils Tower from Hulett.


Kevin and Devils Tower.


The tower is collapsing.


Devil's Tower is regarded by Native American tribes as a spiritual place.  It is not hard to see why. There is a sign post as you begin the walk to be respectful of prayer bundles.

More of the tower and Kevin...


On the way out there is a large prairie dog town, with many signs urging tourists not to feed them. I find it hard to get excited about prairie dogs. But they did have their babies, and they did come out to play. So cute prairie dogs (I can't believe I just said that!)

This photo is a colored version of the view of Devils tower you see when approaching it from Hulett...


 At the entrance of the park is the Trading Post.


We went back to Hulett for a nap, and a browse. We found a great museum and gallery called "Rogues Gallery". We met a local artist called Bob Coronato. I was impressed with the quality of his work we saw displayed in the Best Western. I ended up buying an etching of his of Devil's Tower, and a few other items that were interesting. We had a wonderful browse through his museum. A really great fascinating collection, and a great conversation.

Sunday we were sad to leave Hulett. We decided to head east towards the little town of Aladdin. We stopped in at the Aladdin Trading Store. Kevin bought a book on pie making.

From there we headed to the Vore Buffalo Jump. 

It was closed, and very windy.

We picked up a newspaper that had some biker recommendations for scenic drives. We really enjoyed the Spearfish Canyon Drive. We ended up finding a picnic spot and having ham and cheese sandwhiches. There were little birds singing in the trees around us. I got a very quick view, but I think they were redstarts.


A quick photo of the Spearfish Canyon road. Very scenic...


We continued to drive towards Lead, and then on to Deadwood. Deadwood was very touristy, and I can see that it would be unbearably crowded in the summer. We managed to find a parking spot for 50c, (it was metered) and then ambled the streets. I was really put off by the slot machines everywhere, but I guess without gambling, Deadwood would be a ghost town.


We then decided to take the road to Mt Rushmore. I really don't approve of defacing landscapes, but I guess you have to go there once. You can actually see it quite nicely from the road. They charged $11 per car for the joy of parking. It was busy, but I would hate to see this during the summer.

This is a photo from the road...


From the viewing platform... (aka this is what $11 gets you.)


We then drove to Custer to find a motel. We ended up at the Comfort Inn.

The next day (Monday - Memorial Day) we checked out and made our way into Custer State Park for some animal viewing. We were not disappointed - we had close encounters with Bison (too close for my comfort.) Kevin took a photo of this, I'll blog it later.

This time of year we saw lots of babies. We also experienced a burro jam.

Baby bison...


Burro jam...


and pronghorn...


Kevin has some better photos that I'll blog in a separate post. We also took video which I'll try and post later.

We drove home taking it easy, stopping frequently and switching drivers. We took a slightly different route, and found the oldest town in WY- Hartville.




The Sunrise Art & Museum, Hartville, WY.