Robby Poore

Day: June 25, 2017

Black Hills to Cody Wyoming

Devil’s Tower, USA

Junior Rangers at Devil’s Tower

Wyoming

Cody, WY

Big sky requires big beer

June 24, 2017
We decided to get an early start to our day. The kids helped pack the tent and camping stuff, so we gave them some cash and sent them to the camp store to buy some cinnamon rolls. Lynne and I packed the car and picked up the kids, then we were in the road by 8:30.
We blasted north and west to Devil’s Tower. On the way we noticed that the terrain changed almost exactly at the state border. We’ve seen this in several states; Texas to New Mexico, Iowa to South Dakota, etc. Wyoming looks more westerny, and South Dakota looks more plainsy.
Looking at our car’s hood, it seems we’ve brought several hundred thousand insect carcasses displayed in various splatter patterns all the way from Iowa.
Devil’s Tower was a strange sight to behold, a large igneous tower made of phonolite. The kids worked on Jr. Ranger packets and we went on a short nature hike. We saw a few mountain climbers scaling the ridges of the Tower. The kiddos got their badges and some patches, and we were on our way.

More driving through expansive plains and rolling hills. At Buffalo, Wyoming, we headed west into the Bighorn mountains on highway 16. This area in Wyoming, in addition to the Black Hills in South Dakota, is really popular with motorcycling clubs. We saw one particular biker gang while fueling up in Buffalo, about 15 bikes in all, and oddly enough I heard the song “Eastbound and Down” blaring out of ALL of their bike speakers at the same time. How is this technically possible? Is this a thing, or did I imagine this?

A beautiful climb to about 9500′, and a gorgeous drive through rocky canyons with roaring rivers on the other side of the Bighorn range, then down to arid rolling desert. Lynne said it reminded her of San Isidro in the south part of the Jemez in New Mexico.
We arrived in Cody, checked in to the Best Western, then began doing laundry while the kiddos swam in the hotel pool. Cody is a cute western town, with saloony-type restaurants and Buffalo Bill themed attractions, but still with enough integrity to be a decent little town.

As I mentioned in another post, wifi and cell service can be spotty out here in the West, so posts might not be as frequent. We’ll spend the next 3 nights in Yellowstone, and we’ll see how things go!

The Black Hills of South Dakota

Breakfast in the great outdoors, Black Hills SD

Desmond and Gretchen with new hats

Biovarg family selfie at Mt. Rushmore

The twins getting Junior Ranger badges

One of the many Needles tunnels the Black Hills– we barely made it through with our family sportwagon!

A herd of buffalo!

Ranger Earl begins the Wind Cave tour. Robby thinks this is one of the best National Park tours he’s ever been on

June 23, 2017
An exciting, ever-changing evening of wind and rain. We woke up reasonably refreshed and happy, though. We made coffee and oatmeal with our little camp stove, and warmed up in the western morning sun.
We’re staying at a private campground called Spokane Creek, it’s quite nice. Lynne and I haven’t stayed in very many private campgrounds, and this one seems to be a rather popular with the big Sturgis Motorcycle Rally folks. After leisurely breakfast, we drove the twisty roads through the Black Hills up to Mount Rushmore. These roads wound around each other, over bridges and corkscrew like hills, it seemed to me a lot like an adult roller coaster! It was really pretty around Mount Rushmore, and the kids filled out their junior ranger packets. We also got them some junior ranger hats– they look absolutely adorable wearing these matching hats. After this we drove around more twisty roads in the Black Hills, had a lovely picnic in Custer State Park at a beautiful lake named Sylvan Lake. Robby opted for the “1970s lunch,” consisting of Triscuits and Underwood Deviled Ham. The rest had more modern, “healthier” cuisine.
More twisty gorgeous roads took us down to Wind Cave, where we saw a heard of buffalo and several calves, big prairie dog towns, and even one fox cavalierly trotting amongst the prairie dog mounds.
We took a fascinating guided tour at Wind Cave, with Ranger Earl leading the way. So far, there are 149 explored miles underneath a one square-mile patch of land. We took stairways up and down, looking at all kinds of beautiful rock formations. The kids loved it, especially when Ranger Earl turn off the lights. We went in the modern entrance, but the natural entrance to the cave is a small hole about 18″ wide that the Lakota Sioux Indians believe that the first herd of Buffalo emerged from this gateway to the spirit world. The air pressure below and the air pressure above vary just enough that there’s almost constant wind either going in or out of the cave.
After the tour, the kids got their junior ranger badges, and we drove our way around the Black Hills back to our campsite.
The kids found a pack of other kids to play with, and Lynne and I relaxed by the fire. We were exhausted, and went to bed around 10.

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