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Week #3 – Ike on Her Bike!

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the right to do the same.”  Voltaire
“In the wilderness is the preservation of the world.”  Henry David Thoreau
Sunday, Independence Day off in Jackson was patriotic, starting with a local parade in town, a performance organized by the Grand Teton Summer concert series, a western rodeo and ending with more fireworks.  The hit of the rodeo was when the children’s winner of pulling the ribbon off the calf was asked where she was from and replied that she was from America.  That won a big applause.
With Arne and his jeep, we drove along the same route that the cyclists continued to pedal.  This was through Dubois, Riverton, Worland, Buffalo, Gillette, to Devil’s Tower, all in WY.  There were some very long mtns to climb.  The first day, the first mtn was very, very long and ended in gravel for a mile, as they were repaving the road.  Arne and I continued in the car all the way to Buffalo in one day what would have taken four days of bicycling.

The ride passes by Thermopolis, named for its Hot Springs. which I now had time to stop and enjoy.  Hot Springs are another favorite thing to do of mine.  The water temp comes into the pool about 135* and dissipates through the pool at about 105*   It was a beautiful day to soak for a short while.
We continued through Worland and over the Bighorn Mtns.  That climbed back up to about 9,000 feet.  It went down about twenty degrees as the top which was just hitting the couds.  A smooth downhill brought us to Buffalo, yet another small, one street town. 
Continuing on to Devil’s Tower on a grey, misty day, we passed some more deer and elk.  The Tower is a big, impressive rock formation in the middle of nowhere.  Everybody looks at it, walks around it, takes pictures of it. 
Moving right along, we passed by Aladdin, WY, population 15.  There was a general store and cafe.   That’s it.  The building was big and old and patched together.  It had old and new products for sale, from clothing to jewelry, snacks to cigarettes, cards and cookbooks, old saddle bags and old typewriters, etc.  It was very friendly.
Next stop, Sturgis, SD.  The town is preparing for the annual motorcycle rally coming up in a few weeks.  They are expecting about 650,000 participants this year.  It brings in business for miles throughout the area.  The Motorcycle Museum was full of classic bikes and pics and memorabilia.
Into Rapid City, SD, a hub for the Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, the Badlands. sites of Custer and Crazy Horse and more hot springs and many attractions, such as the Geology, Journey, Crystal Museums, waterparks, etc.
We had another great day of sunshine and temps in the 70′s to view Mt Rushmore early in the morning.  It is fun to see and walk around the base.  It fits into the mountain side.  Many faces of the mountain seem suitable for sculpture.  One of the original drillers sits in the gift shop talking about his experience working with the crew.  In Rapid City, there are life sized bronze statues of every Pres on nearly every street corner downtown.  (There are four not yet done.)  It’s a simple, little city, accustomed to tourists. 
It’s interesting to drive around the Badlands.  The layers and colors of the sediment are seen clearly in the rock formations.  It goes on for a far as you can see.  Much later, we returned for some night shots of the Milky Way; it looked good far away from the city lights.  Looking eastward, the land is starting to flatten for the next part of my ride starting week 4.