Saturday, February 11, 2012

Gillette, Mother Nature, Devil's Tower and Mt Rushmore.......

After our adventure of gassing up in 0 degree, hurricane force wind, we bravely (as in trembling) set our course northward on the two-lane shoulderless state road that led to our night's destination:  Gillette, Wyoming.

We only had to drive about 80 more miles to get there, but the elements were serious business.  I did my famous white-knuckle grip act on the steering wheel.  The good news was that I did know how to drive on ice.  Steady speed of 40 MPH, very little accelerator or brake play.  Take what Mother Nature gives ya.

We were stunned to see train after train pass us headed south,  about every ten minutes apart.  The trains were long, and filled with freshly mined coal from the Gillette mines.  You'd have to see it to believe the scope of it.

Cindy Shot This Pic in The 5 Degree, 50 MPH Wind as We Entered Gillette.  She Later Submitted it to USA Today, and It Was Published as a Unique Photograph
We made Gillette as dusk was settling in.  We were exhausted.  We hit the hay early, for tomorrow was a big day---we were going to Devil's Tower.

You may have visited Devil's Tower---but I bet it was not in the winter!  Remember the movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"?  Much of that movie was filmed near Devil's Tower, which is America's first national park.

We lunched the next day at a nice little eatery right outside the entrance to the national park.  There was no one else there except the owner and the cook.  We had burgers over a nice conversation with the owner.  I think she was glad to be able to talk with someone in the winter.  She said they were always busy in the summer but winters were sometimes a little slow.

Devil's Tower is remarkable.  You have to see it up close to appreciate its enormity and uniqueness.  We spent some time taking pics from the base of the structure and then drove leisurely around the park.  There is a huge prairie dog town on the park grounds, and the entire area teems with deer.  The experience was phenomenal.

The next day we drove to Mount Rushmore, where four US presidents are etched in granite for posterity.  I must say that the mountain and the sculptures in winter made as lovely and striking a photograph as I have ever seen.  We were the only people in the park that day---except for a park ranger who had a nasty disposition and tried her best to give rangers everywhere a bad name.

Deer And Other Wildlife Teem Around the Devil's Tower

Next Post:  Deadwood, Wall Drugs, Mother Nature, Kansas City and Home


  1. What a great vacation but oh so cold.
    The pictures are awesome. Thanks for sharing.


  2. great photos! you're giving me an itch to travel.

  3. You two are crazy! My kind of people :-). I can't wait to hear what you've got to say about Wall's Drug Store.We haven't been in the area in over 40 years, so I imagine I wouldn't recognize the place now. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

  4. What a great adventure. Sometimes you gotta brave the storms to get the victory. I love the photo of Mt. Rushmore and Devil's Tower. I remember Close Encounters. Thanks for sharing this. My fingers were stuck to the mouse as I read each post. : )

  5. Thanks for the Wyoming photos Clint. I remember one time we went to Disney land in the winter and it was great because the line were so short : )

  6. Hi there Clint... I read this post and the one before it, and I must say this... you were crazy to go out in that weather, but you are right... it is such a unique experience. Thank God you were kept safe.

    The pictures are wonderful... and what makes it great for me is to be reading it from a first person point of view... like someone I know telling me the story "face to face".

    Ha... thanks and blessings on your weekend.


  7. Enjoyed the pictures Clint...very pretty ...looks like the deer is up to his neck in snow?? AND I would have been stresse to the hilt driving on ice in that weather ..Yeah You!

  8. Clint,
    Fabulous pictures. But are you and cindy CRAZY to be out and about in that kind of weather????

    This is what summers are for! :)

    Oh, well, those of us who are curled up by the fire salute you both!!:)

  9. Wow...I saw Mount Rushmore twice, but never with snow on it. Looks so different in the winter time.

    But for sure it was more relaxing because of no tourists ;-)

    Have a beautiful sunday and many greetings to you

  10. Love Mt Rushmore... don't miss the winter roads!!

  11. Hey great, but cold looking area. Love Cindy's picture. You are not there now are you? sandie

  12. Hope you saw the Crazy Horse monument since you were so close. More amazing, in some ways, than Mt. Rushmore. I have been in weather that cold before, but not on vacation!