Published: June 17th 2012May 31st 2012
We checked out of our motel early and went to The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, which is an educational not for profit facility. Ithink Jon was disappointed that I spotted the signs for it butt he ended up getting some nice pictures of the wolves and I got another dose of bear.
After the Discovery Center, we headed back to yellowstone for the last time. We headed South to see the Mid Geyser Basin, which we had missed on the first day. The Grand Prismatic Spring was pretty amazing. It is the largest spring in the US and is beautiful (google it!)
We then repeated the walkfrom our first evening, from Old Faithful to The Morning Glory Pool, so we could get some better pictures in the sunshine.
We then drove out of the East entrance of the park, which was pretty much barren. The trees looked like they had all been detoryed by fire and there was no wildlife.
Our next stop was Cody and we were going there for one reason - ribs. Jon's dentist had said that the Chop & Rib House in Cody did the best ribs in the US and so naturally, Jon had to factor that into the trip. I am not a fan of ribs myself, but even I have to admit, they were good. After sharing a disgustingly calorific pecan pie dessert, we both felt refreshed and decided to cover as much ground as we could before stopping for the night. We were orignally going to stay in Cody (which is a really cute town by the way. It is very Wild West, and not built up at all, so feels larger than it is), but as we felt so awake, drove on another 250 miles to a small town called Gilette. It is a small, eerie town. We were warned to be careful by a shop assistant, as it is frequented by 'mad people'. Reassuring.
1st June 2012
We got up (to find that we had been mauled by moquitoes) and headed to Devils Tower National Monument, which has nothing to do with the devil. The geologists explanation for the formation of the Tower is that it is a volcanic plug (or neck of an extinct volcano), while the Native Americans say that it was formed when a group of young girls were trying to escape from a group of bears. They climbed onto a rock to get away from it.
The girls fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. The bears, in an effort to climb the rock, left deep claw marks in the sides, which had become too steep to climb. (Those are the marks which appear today on the sides of Devils Tower.) When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the star constellation the Pleiades.
The scenery was very much lke Shrewsbury as we left Devils Tower for Mount Rushmore. Lots of green rolling hills and sheep.
I was disappointed with Rushmore. It was so gimmicky, with an $11 entrance charge for the car park and then a museum, a cafe before you even get to see it. Three of the heads look unfinished too. We spent about 5 minutes there, got our obligatory photos and moved South, onto our final stop before home - Carhenge.
Built in 1987 by engineering consultant James Reinders during a family reunion, Carhenge is a weird place in the middle of a huie field in Nebraska. It is a replica of Stonehenge, but with cars (it does what it say on the tin). It was quite imprssive, but I found the whole place a little eerie.
The best part of the day for me was the drive from Carhenge to Greenwood. As we passed through a National Forest, we spotted two cats crossing the road ahead of us. Noone else was on the road, so we stopped to see what they were. We were surprised to see that they were young mountain lions. They stopped on a bank about 20 feet from us and we watched one another for a few minutes, until they disappeared into the forest. They were beautiful, but have evil faces. I wish they had huing around long enough for some photos, but I was too in awe to waste time looking for my camera.
We were starting to make good time after that, until we got pulled over for speeding. Jon was going maybe 5 miles over the limit and luckily the cop was quite decent and just gave him a warning, but he took all thre paperwork and asked us to 'remain in the ve-Hi-cle' while he shuffled papers.
Jon said that if he was caught speeding again that day in Nebraska, he would go straight to jail, so it was a long ride the rest of the way home.