Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Westward Ho! (Day Five)

by Pa Rock
Wagon Master

Our day began in Hill City, South Dakota, near Mount Rushmore, and it is in the process of ending in the sad little  town of Greybull, Wyoming.  Between those two places we have managed to put in appearances in Deadwood, South Dakota, the Devil's Tower in northeastern Wyoming, and the Powder River Pass high up in the Rockies.

I informed Boone this morning that I had decided to eliminate Glacier National Park from our itinerary for this trip.  It is a "must see," but just not this time.  Glacier would add two full days to the trip, and I doubt that either me or the oxen are up to that long ride across Montana and up those magnificent mountains.   To make up for that, Deadwood and the Devil's Tower were added.

Deadwood is a very interesting little town  It is the place where Wild Bill Hickok was killed in 1876 while mulling two pair (aces and eights) in a poker game at the local saloon.  He and Calamity Jane are both buried at the Boot Hill Cemetery in Deadwood.  Most of the original town burned and was replaced by more modern buildings, many of them stone, in the very early 1900s - so is still has a strong historical flavor.  Boone and I walked along the brick Main Street that was lined with tourist shops and casinos.   We saw one fellow sitting out in front of one of the saloons with a full glass of beer - at nine in the morning!

Devil's Tower is known to many for it's prominent inclusion in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  It is very impressive, standing essentially by itself out in the middle of a beautiful nowhere and reaching for the sky.  In the movie it made a convenient landing pad for the spaceship.  Richard Dreyfuss also made a mud replica of Devil's Tower inside of his home - something that movie wife, Teri Garr, failed to appreciate!

We took Wyoming Highway 16 from Buffalo to Worland, a beautiful drive through the mountains where we saw many mule deer.  The highest point on that trail was Powder River Pass which is 9,666 feet above sea level.  The temperature was in the forties there, but after we descended six thousand feet or so, it was in the eighties.   There was a lot of snow on the ground up in the mountains.   We also drove along beside a couple of streams that were roaring their way down the mountainside.

Tomorrow we will go to Cody, Wyoming, early and visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and then we hope to spend the rest of the day driving around Yellowstone National Park.

It's been a great trip up to this point!

1 comment:

Don said...

I remember traveling that exact route some 20 years ago and the scenery was magnificent.

We ended up continuing on to Yellowstone because I wanted to see the Custer battlefield along the way.

Sounds like you guys are marking a trail you'll remember for years!