Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What a view!

WHEN? Wednesday · May 30

WHERE? Devils Tower Campground

Wendell and Mae Dean don't expect to tire of waking up to the magnificent view from their motorhome:

From the inside looking out

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Creepy photography

WHEN? Sunday · May 27

WHERE? Devils Tower National Monument · find us on the map

Mae Dean's recent snapshot suggests an eerie (perhaps extra-terrestrial?) phenomenon at the exact location of Devils Tower!

High-noon reflection on camera lens
Note: This image has not been photoshopped, altered or retouched

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The nearest town is ten miles away

WHEN? Saturday · May 26

WHERE? Hulett, Wyoming · find us on the map

Sculptures of giant cowboy boots have been placed in various cities and towns throughout Wyoming. One in Hulett is pictured below, with Mae Dean providing a size comparison to indicate just how giant:

Toldja it was giant!

These winsome civic-art displays naturally bring to mind the Catfish on Parade exhibit in downtown Jackson, Mississippi several years ago.

See more Hulett photos on flickr

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The hired help

WHEN? Thursday · May 24

WHERE? Devils Tower Picnic Pavillion

Staff Picnic

With Employee Orientation behind them, Devils Tower seasonal staff pigged out and visited at a potluck picnic.

Mae Dean and Wendell are now ready to receive Summer sightseers, campers and climbers.

You are invited!

Work uniforms
Suited up for work and lookin' good!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Treated to a special guest

WHEN? Wednesday · May 23

WHERE? Devils Tower Administration Building

Summer employees were treated to an inspirational talk by rodeo announcer and local celebrity Willie LeClair.

Lectures / Storyteller / Spirituality / Dancer / Rodeo Announcer

Monday, May 21, 2007

Road Hogs

WHEN? Monday · May 21

WHERE? Devils Tower Administration Building

Lots to learn! Devils Tower summer employees have been warned to avoid the overcrowded highways during August's Sturgis Bike Rally:

Now THAT'S a buncha bikers!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Going up-up-up

WHEN? Saturday · May 19

WHERE? Spearfish, South Dakota · find us on the map

When departing Spearfish for yesterday's travels, Wendell noticed a local station selling gas for $3.07 per gallon and made a mental note to fill up the Saturn there on the way back to Devils Tower.

Upon returning to Spearfish that afternoon, the same station's gas price had increased to $3.28 per gallon.

If you do-the-math, that's a 21¢ increase in just a few hours!

You reckon Americans will eventually sell their souls for a gallon of gas?
Remember when 99.9 seemed unthinkable?
Then again, it would be unthinkable today as well.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Scenic drive-thru

WHEN? Friday · May 18 · (today's second post)

WHERE? South Dakota's Black Hills · find us on the map

Although Mount Rushmore's a hard act to follow, Custer State Park was up to the task. Today's wildlife sightings:

My first pronghorn antelope
Pronghorn Antelope

... only two bison
Lucky travelblog readers with newfangled scratch-and-sniff monitors can find out just how horrible these animals smell

... and several wild burros
Burro image courtesy of Webshots member mjh35

See more Custer State Park photos on flickr

A magnificent memorial

WHEN? Friday · May 18 · (today's first post)

WHERE? Keystone, South Dakota · find us on the map

A grand start to the three-day weekend:
The breathtaking Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Mae Dean wondered if Mt. Rushmore's creation was envisioned because of the monster-like "facial features" that naturally appear in the Black Hills:
Presidential faces memorialized in stone

Wendell promptly found his home state's granite marker:
Mae Dean also found the Texas state marker

See more Mount Rushmore photos on flickr

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dick Cheney golfed here

WHEN? Wednesday · May 16

WHERE? Hulett, Wyoming · find us on the map

Surprise! Even though Wendell and Mae Dean aren't golfers, they were pleased to discover The Golf Club at Devils Tower.

The Golf Club at Devils Tower

See more Golf Club photos on flickr

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Close Encounters: We are not alone

WHEN? Tuesday · May 15

WHERE? Devils Tower National Monument · find us on the map

Mr. McGregor must've been an evil man;  this critter's just too cute to harmFind the hidden turkey

Wyoming's abundant native wildlife is a daily reminder that Mae Dean and Wendell's citi-fied lives have been left behind in Mississippi. Wendell reports that there's so many rabbits "you almost step on them", and Mae Dean has had daily encounters with herds of deer. A neighboring prairie dog town is such a prevalent part of the landscape that it's even included in the Devils Tower Park map. They've also seen many birds, including vultures, turkeys, a bald eagle, and the biggest robins Wendell's ever seen.

Turkey Vulture
A face only a mother could love
At the top of the food chain ... kinda

Gazillions of prairie dogs
Mounds of dirt that move

This morning's well-camouflaged visitor
Click here for signs of other life forms in Devils Tower National Park
Erethizon dorsatum · Porcupine

Monday, May 14, 2007

VIP Orientation

WHEN? Monday · May 14 - Thursday · May 17

WHERE? Devils Tower Administration Building

Both Wendell and Mae Dean will serve this summer as Volunteers in the Park. This week they'll attend various employee-orientation classes. Wendell, who will work in the park's Visitor Center, has been told to expect overflow crowds of Summer tourists. Mae Dean's administrative job will include accepting all Devils Tower public-inquiry emails (perhaps hundreds per day?) – whew!

Devils Tower Administration Building
Devils Tower Administration Building

Sunday, May 13, 2007


WHEN? Sunday · May 13

WHERE? Devils Tower National Monument · find us on the map

Mothers Day morning began with brisk a hike along Joyner Ridge Trail, located on the park's north side. It was hard for Mae Dean to believe that this trail was only two-tenths of a mile longer than the one she walked a few days ago.

Morning views along Joyner Ridge Trail
Mountain Lily along the Joyner Ridge Trail
This is one of Mae Dean's favorite Devils Tower photos
Smaller than actual size

See more Joyner Ridge Trail photos on flickr

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wish you were here

WHEN? Saturday · May 12

WHERE? Received in Olive Branch, Mississippi

Today's mail included a postcard from Wyoming:

Wyoming postcard

Friday, May 11, 2007

The nation's geographical center

WHEN? Friday · May 11

WHERE? Spearfish, South Dakota · find us on the map

While in Spearfish to purchase final uniform gear, Mae Dean made arrangements to have several hundred photos swapped to a CD, to share them with friends and family.

Although details are currently unavailable, Wendell and Mae Dean also visited Belle Fourche, which means Beautiful Fork.

Welcome to Belle Fourche, South Dakota
(find Belle Fourche on the map)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Getting down to business

WHEN? Thursday · May 10 (today's second post)

WHERE? Hulett, Wyoming · find us on the map

Although the National Park Service supplies the fancy name badges, employees are reimbursed for various uniform basics. After visiting the local stores this afternoon, Mae Dean plans to tackle the task of hemming several pairs of her slacks.

Communication to and from Devils Tower will be less convenient than family and friends have been accustomed to. Cellphone service isn't expected to be available at Devils Tower. As for Internet connections, the closest WiFi Hot Spot is provided at Devils Tower Trading Post, where Wendell and Mae Dean each enjoyed ice cream cones while catching up on recent emails.

Devils Tower Trading Post:  Where *free WiFi* isn't free when it comes with $4 ice cream cones

The Tower Trail

WHEN? Thursday morning · May 10 · (today's first post)

WHERE? Devils Tower National Monument · find us on the map

Airstream parked at: Devils Tower Campground

Beautiful weather enhanced a 1.3 mile morning hike along the Tower Trail at the base of Devils Tower.

Typical view along the Tower Trail
A typical view along the Tower Trail

Mae Dean's not even winded!Mae Dean hiking along the Tower Trail

Wendell provides size comparison for a great big boulder
That's a big rock, ain't it?

See more Tower Trail photos on flickr

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Moving Day

WHEN? Wednesday · May 9

WHERE? Devils Tower National Monument · find us on the map

Airstream parked at: The Official Campground of Devils Tower

Wendell and Mae Dean's accomodations are not actually part of the primitive campground available to public campers for a mere $12 per day. Instead, the Airstream is parked in one of two RV hookups available by the campground office.

Moving in at Devils Tower

Although this area of Wyoming typically gets little rainfall, 2007 has been a wet year, so they're surrounded by lots of green.

Welcome to the neighborhood!
The Devils Tower Hood

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sundance Kids

WHEN? Tuesday afternoon · May 8 (today's third post)

WHERE? Back in Sundance, Wyoming · find us on the map

Airstream still parked at: Mountain View Campground

Before returning to the motorhome, a stop by the Crook County Museum included a bronze statue of convicted horse thief The Sundance Kid serving time in the local jail:

He looks harmless enough
Sundance, Wyoming's claim to fame
Sundance, Wyoming's claim to fame

See more Sundance photos on flickr

Wyoming boot sculptureWyoming boot sculpture

Thanks to Wi-Fi available at the campground in Spearfish, Wendell has listened to several Mississippi State baseball games.MSU Baseball

Lots to see in South Dakota

WHEN? Tuesday afternoon · May 8 (today's second post)

WHERE? Spearfish, South Dakota · find us on the map

Airstream still parked at: Mountain View Campground

After touring the Buffalo Jump, Wendell stayed several steps ahead by planning the return drive to Sundance through Spearfish Canyon on its scenic byway, on which they passed Bridal Veil Falls.

Bridal Veil Falls

See more Spearfish Canyon photos on flickr

Since Wendell and Mae Dean never tire of traveling such scenic byways, they also drove through Lead and Deadwood, South Dakota before returning to Sundance.

Lead Me ThereDeadwood, where the Wild West was born

Small town charm

WHEN? Tuesday morning · May 8 (today's first post)

WHERE? Quaint Beulah, Wyoming · find us on the map

Airstream still parked at: Mountain View Campground

Welcome to Beulah

After visiting the Vore Buffalo Jump outside of Beulah, Mae Dean shared these links about this historic site:

Vore Buffalo Jump

See more Vore Buffalo Jump photos on flickr

Vore Buffalo Jump

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Jerry would be proud

WHEN? Sunday · May 6

WHERE? Sturgis, South Dakota · find us on the map

Airstream parked at: Mountain View Campground in Sundance

Murals at the Sturgis Harley-Davidson dealership · by artist Kyle Holdridge

Mae Dean and Wendell toured Sturgis Motorcycle Museum, where they found a family historian and author's name in the museum's Hall of Fame.

See more Sturgis Motorcycle photos on flickr

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Just visiting

WHEN? Saturday · May 5

WHERE? Devils Tower Campground · find us on the map

Airstream parked at the appropriately-named Mountain View Campground

Mae Dean and Wendell drove over to Devils Tower for a look-see at where they'll spend the summer. Both noticed that the Visitor Center where Wendell expects to be working was half the size they were expecting.

Park entrance

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Wild West

WHEN? Friday · May 4

WHERE? Sundance, Wyoming · find us on the map

Airstream parked at: Mountain View Campground

Wendell's navigational skills are right on target!
Approximate travel route

He and Mae Dean are now ready to Discover Wyoming.

Current weather conditions: Overcast to rainy (aka dreary)

All you ever wanted to know about
The Equality State

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Just bluffing

WHEN? Wednesday · May 2 · / · Thursday · May 3

WHERE? Gering, Nebraska · find us on the map

Airstream parked at: Robidoux RV Park

Scotts Bluff National Monument
Dome Rock at Scotts Bluff National Monument
Original Indian name ma-a-pe-te means
hill that is hard to go around

In the footsteps of weary travelers from centuries past, Wendell and Mae Dean visited Scotts Bluff National Monument.

Wendell touring the monument's Oregon Trail museum

See more Scotts Bluff photos on flickr

Mae Dean atop Scotts Bluff

After learning about the area's Oregon Trail history, Mae Dean recalled a popular educational computer game that Lori played in grade school.Remember this?