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|
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|
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