Thursday, October 19, 2017

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Day Six of the RV Trip to South Dakota and now Wyoming.

We decided last night that since we're so close, we'd pay a visit to the Devil's Tower National Monument a couple of hours or so away from where we'd boondocked.

For the record, it proved quite windy boondocking where we did near the Badlands!  Got so windy, the RV moved enough to cause us to wake and move the slideout back in to reduce our wind signature!

We survived and after breaking camp, made it to Devil's Tower just after lunch.

The afternoon was spent relaxing a bit at the National Park Service campground within the monument's grounds.

Devil's Tower was the nation's first National Monument, designated as such by President Theodore Roosevelt.  So Wyoming holds the distinction of having the first National Park at Yellowstone and the first National Monument at Devil's Tower.

 Our view of Devil's Tower from the campground.

We picked a nice location for Umarang

The day's work completed, we rode out on Scarlett and did the loop known as The Spirit Highway.  Not too shabby a road in terms of scenery but the good stuff awaited our return back in the Devil's Tower area.

 At the scenic turnout spot just before the Devil's Tower Junction

 Near the Devil's Tower Visitor Center

At the Visitor Center Parking Lot

Of course, there's only so many views of Devil's Tower one can take before it tires both the taker and the audience of said pictures!

Back at the campground, the prospects looked pretty good for a nice sunset and boy did it turn out!

The last Pano I took before my camera's battery died.

I ran back to Umarang but failed to get there in time to snatch up my iphone to take the remainder of the beautiful sunset colors.  However, not to worry, my loving wife Martha also got some great shots of the sunset while I shot the panos:

Here's a video of the four panos that turned out alright:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Minuteman Historic Site, more Badlands and a Sunset

After work today, we rode over to exit 131 that takes one to Cottonwood, SD.  Just after exiting the I-90 highway, one is at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. 

Here there's a visitor center with a small but well put together museum dedicated to the memory of the Minutemen squadrons once fielded by the US Air Force as part of America's Nuclear Triad.  A sobering subject to be sure, but they documented it pretty well.

 I found this map showing the missile silo locations quite 
interesting, I imagine the Russians during the Cold
War would have liked to have their hands on it, eh?

 Morbid Humor, not surprising, given the times

After the visitor center we went to the D-09 Minuteman Missile Launch site by way of the Badlands Scenic Byway, allowing us to see the whole scenic loop of which we saw but a part last evening.

Back to I-90 and exit 116: The D-09 Minuteman Missile Site was a bit of a letdown as it was the site where you can't go down and access the control center.  All you can do is walk about on top, and gaze down at a replica missile through a glass observation platform.

Martha and I then headed on back to Uma to relax for a bit until it was time for me to wander out for the sunset at the Pinnacles View Point within the Badlands National Park.  Martha stayed with Uma to relax some more and cook dinner.

 Scarlett on the cliff edge, that little white box
in the background is Umarang at our glamp site

 The pinnacles at Pinnacles View Point
about an hour before Sunset

 The Golden Hour is in play....

After the sun set, most everyone left.  There was this couple parked next to me who waited for the real colors to come out.

 At first, it was just a mild rosy glow in the skies

 Pretty suddenly, the skies basically turned to
the colors of fire with yellows turning to reds
in quick succession.

Last shot, my camera lenses just couldn't taken in
enough light to prevent a high ISO so I stopped here.

There were some deep red afterglows in the clouds above the distant horizon that my camera just couldn't capture I'm sad to report.

Still, a few pics for you to mull over, I hope you like them.

I rode home in the darkness, only seeing some deer alongside the road just before turning onto the dirt road which led to my glamping site.  I'd seen two large Bison on the way into the park, glad they'd moved elsewhere while I took pictures.

Badlands Sunrise

Woke early and caught the sunrise at our boondocking site near the entrance to the Badlands National Park.

 6:15 AM


Good Morning...time to work.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wall Drugstore and Badlands National Park

Day 4 of the RV Trip to South Dakota.  We left Hot Springs and made it to Wall, SD to check out this kitschy tourist destination.  

 We didn't buy any souvenirs but did get Martha on
the big Jackalope

Just a few miles south of Wall, SD, within the Buffalo Gap Grasslands, we found a spot to do some boondocking:

 Overlooking the Badlands just north of the boundary
to the Badlands National Park

After work, we motored into the park to look for sunset picture locations.  The Badlands National Park is quite scenic, if what you see is rugged rock formations but not much that we could find in terms of coloration on those rocks:

 The view from Conata Basin Overlook

 These Bighorn Sheep weren't looking too good
but they seemed to be happily feeding alongside the road
photo courtesy Martha

 From Panorama Overlook

 Panorama Overlook

 At the Panorama Overlook

My assumption that the dipping sun would add colors to the rocks at Panorama Overlook proved wrong.  So we geared up and raced back towards Conata Basin Overlook for hopefully better sunset views.

Racing to Conata Basin Overlook
photo courtesy Martha

Conata Basin Overlook

photo courtesy Martha

After the sun had set behind the western horizon, we motored on over to Pinnacles Overlook where we found a bunch of cagers enjoying the sunset.  We were too late but plan on seeing tomorrow's sunset from this point:

 Pinnacles Overlook

 We then rode on the few miles back to our boondocking site, and got the below pic of the waning sunset from where we're glamping!