Published: September 9th 2009September 9th 2009
Devil's Tower, Wyoming.
Thursday night, we had a great time downtown. For a small town they had a good turn out. They closed off one of the streets and set up a big open sided trailer with a band up there. Cauldened off an area for the drinkers, people were just walking around browsing the shops, listening to the music. They had some kids activities set up at the back of it as well as some food stalls. It was the last one for the summer, by the sounds of it they had had them every thursday night for most of the summer.
Friday, We biked down to a baseball diamond just down the road and played baseball with the 4 of us. Kids really enjoyed just getting out and running around, along with a bit of competetiveness in there also. Josh hit one over the fence, I hurt myself diving to catch Josh out. Came home and watched ' Dances with Wolves' as it is set in this area of America. Very relevent as we have been reading about the Sioux indians when we went to Custer Park and Crazy Horse. Their whole life revolved around the Bison (Tatanka) , so when the
Josh and Tori on their paddle boat.
white man came to the area and started slaughtering the Bison for their skins it was always going to effect the Indians. Numerous treaties were signed over different times for the land in the area, but were broken for a variety of reasons, one by one. One was the find of Gold in the area. Thousands of people rushed to the area in search of getting rich. The army tried in vain to keep gold miners off Indian land. Cities like Rapid City and even Denver popped up due to the gold that was found.
Saturday the 5th we headed west into Wyoming to the ' Devils Tower'. A huge rock sticking up out of the ground. It has funny looking lines down it, that are actually thousands of octagonal shaped thin rocks stacked next to each other. The day we were there , there had to be at least 30 climbers climbing the mountain. It is 867 ft from the base to the top. The tear shaped top is 1.5 acres in size. We walked around a very nice ashphelt covered track that weaves its way thru trees around the 1000 ft base of the mountain. It was very
Story board telling of the history of the area.
hot walking around, with lots of stops to sit down and consume more water. Tori got a rangers pack at the visitor center, she had great fun finding all the things in the booklet and learning along the way. She received a badge and a certificate for her troubles. We drove back to the front gate of the park where they were having a classic car rally. So we stopped and had a look at that while Kylie finally found somewhere that had a Bison Burger for sale. She had been wanting to try one for a while, she reckons it didn't taste much different from beef. Its spose to be alot healthier , leaner type of meat. After there we drove across the barren land of north Wyoming to Belle Fourche back in South Dakota. The only claim to fame of this little town is that it is the geological center of America if you take in Alaska and Hawaii. So we had our photo opportunity and shot the gap. Next we drove down to Deadwood, an old western town of years gone past. The casinos have moved in now , but have used their profits to rebuild the
Can you se the mountain climbers on here ?
old looking buildings along the main street and surrounding areas, back to the country and western era for which it became famous. Wild Bill Hicock was shot in the back at a saloon in Deadwood. We just did a drive by as it seemed more of an adult type entertainment place. Next we drove to Sturgis, I think we were the only ones there that didn't know that Sturgis was world famous ( Yeh, Only in America !!). Every year they have a huge motorcycle rally where over 15,000 people from all over America converge onto the little town in the middle of no where, and PARTY !! Today they were having a ' Mustang Rally' for the long Labour weekend. They had Ford Mustangs parked all the way down the main street, there were some awesome cars. So we walked around to the Harley shop, still can't get Kylie to buy a Harley mini-skirt !! The Ford truck said he was packing up to head out to the dragway where the Mustangs were heading to at night. So we drove out there and they were just finishing their local drag meeting before the Mustangs arrived. We had taken tea
Indian legend of how the mountain came to be.
there and waited and waited !! Racing didn't start until about 8pm. They had done time trials the day before, then just the ones that wanted to line up against someone else went racing. We got talking to these two guys that had Mustangs but didn't want to race them. Most cars were doing about 7 - 8 second runs. One guy came out with a hotted up '69 Mustang. He did a 5.6 sec run WOW !! it just blew away the lastest car it lined up against. They have these cars here called 'Saleem' mustangs. Like FPV I think, they take a Mustang ,send it to the Saleem factory , spend about $20 grand on it and it comes back, flash as with all the tricks on it. Kylie reckons they just don't sound right thou,Too quiet !! they bought out one funny car that did a 4.6 sec run. When we left it was still 22 degrees at 10.30pm.
Sunday we had a quiet start. Kylie went for a walk and I went for a bike ride as she walks to fast for me, when we got back we got told to stay outside as our suprise
Center of America at Belle Fourche.
wasn't quite ready. We came in to find the table set nicely and a stack of Pancakes just waiting to be eaten !! A very nice thought and a nice way to start the day! Then went out to Keystone in the afternoon. They were having a big weekend of it out there. We went and watched a shootout in the local saloon while learning a little bit about the history of the west. We missed the ' Little house on the Prarie' reunion. Then we went out to the Crazy Horse Memorial again, this time with thousands of others.The main carpark was full so we had to park out in the trees and get picked up by an old school bus up to the main area. We got a space on the grass and settled in with my deck chair and a couple of mats. Had a quiet beer and chips and dip until it got dark. They had a couple of guest speakers talk about the man himself, Korczak the guy who started the carving.One of them was a Indian himself and thanked the work that Korczak has done for his people. It seemed quite hypocritical to us
Mustang at Sturgis.
that all these thousands of people would come to an Indian scupture when it was their forefathers that drove the Indians off there land to make them the race they are today. Then they did a laser light show on the mountain, before doing a pyrotechnics blast on the mountain which rocked the whole place. A very cool night !!
Monday, we packed up and headed southwest. Another boring landscape to drive thru. There's just nothing out there. Into Wyoming and it just has rolling hills of tussock grass , no houses for miles. When we did see a mailbox it had a sign on it , farm house 6 miles. I nearly got caught out as I can get about 150 miles on a tank when Im towing the trailer. I was on about 1/2 tank when a sign said next town 80 miles away. That was definately cutting it close, the light was on coming into town. LOL We drove next to a 3 lane railway line for miles. We would have seen at least 5 trains, one had 2 engines in the front, one in the middle and two more at the back. I counted 120 carriages
full of coal. Every train I saw was pulling coal somewhere. I guess for their power stations. They do have Nuclear ones but alot are still coal. Got into Denver, Colorado about 5pm. Population 2.8 million. Lots of high rise buildings along with a very flash football stadium. We are staying at a state park for the week. They are run by the state and are always very clean and tidy and have lots to do just inside the park itself. Ashphelt roads everywhere, so the kids jumped on their rip-stiks straight away and were off. All good until Josh was riding past someones site that had a dog and it came running out at them . He jumped and fell off his rip-stik and landed on his back and smacked his head on the road, came back not a very happy camper !! We watched an awesome lightning storm south of us but we couldn't hear it and it never came our way, but it was good to watch.
Tuesday we drove into town, we are about 10 miles out from Downtown. We found a park and went to the United States Mint. On the internet it said there
Cars warming up there tyres at the drags.
were no tours as they were all booked until next week. So we bowled up and got a standby ticket for 1pm. We went for a walk around the City. On the steps of the State Capitol building is a step that is engraved " 1 Mile above sea level ". We went back and got on the tour easily. Only two places in America make the coins for the USA. Philidelphia and Denver. Denver makes between 20-24 million coins in a 24 hr period and they run 5 days a week. On any given day they make about 1.4 million dollars worth. A penny cost 1.7 cents to make, a dollar coin costs 25 cents to make. They sell them to the Federal reserve at their face value and this is how they fund themselves. A coin lasts in circulation for about 20 years whereas a dollar note last about 24 months. I asked why they don't get rid of the penny , she said congress has been discussing it for about 15 years and no one ever can agree on what to do about it, so it just gets put on the back burner. Not alot to see
This guy did a 5 sec run from memory.
really, just machines running and pennies coming down a conveyor belt. The tour was free but we had to buy some stuff in the shop as usual. From there we walked down 16th ave , which is an open mall with a shuttle that runs up and down all day and is free. Got back to our campground about 6pm. You have to have a park pass to get into a state park, $7 day it is here, so even thou the camping is cheap you have to add that into your price / night. Had a fire at night as the kids were dying to try out these coloured flame things we bought awhile back. Once you get the fire going you place these packets on top of the wood and the flames turn into purple, pink, a real bright blue. Something different to watch while Mrs Claridge and I had a bottle wine, Ive finally found one I like, while the kids roasted marshmellows, then Josh managed to drop a plastic chair on his toe and it bled everywhere. Tori lost a tooth today, so some things don't change wherever you are in the world.
Wednesday, after having
a shower where you have to pay 50c / 3 mins. and 25c for each 1 1/2 mins after that. I put in 3 quarters and the bloody thing stopped half way thru me having a shower, so I went out to the hand basin and finshed having a shower out there. Lucky there arent many people at the campground and no one else was in there. Bloody tourists !!! Then we went up to the Denver Red Rocks Amphitheatre, an amazing outdoor concert arena set between 2 huge Red Rocks that look like they just poke up out of the earth. Alot of people were using it for a work out area. Running up and down the seats, what a workout that would be, it was hard enough just walking up them. They were setting up for a concert tonight. " The Killers" were playing, never heard of them. It was built in 1941 by young men that didnt have a job due to the depression . They got paid $25 / month and $20 of that went back to there families. It took 4 years to build and the list of famous singers and bands that have played
The kids stack of Pancakes !!
here is very long. Its spose to be one of the world's greatest open air theatres around. Came back for a quiet day, thought we would go for a bike ride around the park this arfternoon. It has cooled off a bit but not much, still 24 - 27 degrees most days, down to about12-14 at night. Just nice.
There are more photos below