Monday, August 22, 2016
We all had a good night sleep at the KOA in cody, especially since the temperature at night was 18 C ( 65 F ).
The KOA had free pancakes and coffee so we had breakfast before packing our tents. There were a few arrangements I had to make, so we were delayed about 30 minutes before we left.
Now let me tell you a story. There once was a couple of young cowboys named Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid who were travelling east with their old uncle Festus. Sundance had taken the lead, riding a fine young stallion ( a new breed of stallion called Honda, I believe ) that he had borrowed from his old uncle Festus. They were galloping through the last of the mountains and the foothills and at one point the gang rode down on a road that lead through a Podunk ( ” a one horse town ” crossword puzzle answer ) with a population of no more than 50 people so Sundance slowed the gang down to a trot. It was like riding through a Clint Eastwood western. There was no one to be seen and nothing moved in the town. As they left the town, the sheriff came out of nowhere riding his black and white appaloosa and stopped Sundance. Now the sheriff was a relatively young man ( at least from Festus’ viewpoint ), possibly 40 years old, vertically challenged ( short, to the politically incorrect people ) and sporting a follicly-challenged goatee ( at least I think that’s what it was supposed to be). The sheriff questioned Sundance on whether he knew how fast his was travelling and Sundance answered him politely, realizing that he had slowed down to a trot but not quite down to a canter, however it was not and excessive speed. He was travelling at a trot and not a canter. It appeared obvious that, since it was the end of the month, he knew that Sundance was a foreigner passing through town and it wouldn’t be worth Sundance coming back to face the judge to plead his case for a few dollars, that he would be able to extort some money from Sundance. Sundance, knowing that the issue was too small to worry about, politely excepted the charges and moved on. It was at this point that Sundance remembered that he was wearing his Pa’s boots, which were quite heavy and had resulted in his Pa having a number of issues with the law. Now this is just a story and the names of the people in it are fictitious in order to protect their privacy.
Moving along, we reached Devils Tower shortly after lunch. We walked around the base, saw a stranded climber being assisted to safety and took some pictures of this iconic structure.
Some fun facts: Devils Tower (Lakota: Matȟó Thípila or Ptehé Ǧí, which means “Bear Lodge” and “Brown Buffalo Horn”, respectively) is an laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains (part of the Black Hills) near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming. The Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Col. Richard Irving Dodge when his interpreter misinterpreted the name to mean Bad God’s Tower, which then became Devil’s Tower.
When we left the tower, I slowly headed south-east since the car was indicating that the gas was almost empty. I hadn’t anticipated the possibility of no gas stations in the area and we had 50 km ( 30 miles ) to the nearest gas station. I ended up driving the last 15 km ( 10 miles ) with the gas gauge telling us that we had no gas left in the tank. We were relieved when we finally reached a gas station. I had always wondered how far I could drive when the gauge indicated ‘ 0 km to empty ‘. I still don’t really know, but it’s at least 15 km.
After filling the car with gas, we travelled a little more than an hour until we arrived at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Spencer and Braeden took some pictures of this iconic mountain carving, after which we had some supper at the adjacent restaurant and then drove to the KOA campground a short distance away.
We checked in, set up our tents in the dark, as usual and then the young lads took showers while I went to the registration area to charge my laptop and phone. While I was at the registration area, I met a couple from St. Catharines Ontario who were vacationing in the area and we talked until they staff closed the registration area at 10 pm.
We had decided to leave a little earlier the next day because there would be a time change during our travels east and we would lose an hour by the time we reached central South Dakota, so I decided to get to bed early. When I reached the tents, everything was dark, the sky was filled with stars and almost everyone in the this large campsite was already asleep, so I followed suit.