Saturday, July 28, 2007

Picture perfect

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WHEN? Saturday · July 28

WHERE? Devils Tower National Monument

WHAT? Professional Photography Workshop

Award-winning photographer and art teacher Catherine Cardarelli treated park staff and guests to a photography workshop this afternoon. Mae Dean expects to improve her shutterbug skills by focusing on three important elements of design:

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Angels above

WHEN? Thursday · July 26

WHERE? Devils Tower National Monument

Remembering that the Blue Angels were scheduled to fly over Devils Tower for a photo shoot this afternoon, Mae Dean planned ahead by bringing her camera to work with her.

Mae Dean's photo shoot: A soaring success!
Blue Angels

See more Blue Angels photos on flickr

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yer oogly-oogly-ugly*

WHEN? Last weekend

WHERE? Wall Drug in beautiful South Dakota

Forgot to mention this earlier ...
Wendell and Mae Dean recently had the displeasure of meeting South Dakota's ugliest cowboy:

The monster of Wall Drug
On the bright side, this guy
could make Elwood feel attractive

* Yo momma says you oogly

... is from Wildcats ghetto-riffic cheerleaders' version of The Ugly Cheer. View the link here to see the Wildcats U-G-L-Y Cheer on YouTube.

SNL's Spartan cheerleaders made this cheer a pop-culture favorite, YouTube users began posting their own goofy versions.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tourist trapism at its finest

Wall Drug

WHEN? Saturday · July 21 (today's second post)

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

Planning ahead for next weekend's photography class, Mae Dean purchased a pair of reading glasses at South Dakota's historic Wall Drug. Since the brightly-colored shopping bag she carried them home in is a souvenir on its own, she scanned it to share with her travelblog readers:

Wall Drug shopping bag

Mae Dean shares the good news of her recent
Wall Drug purchase with an unresponsive Santa Claus

Mae Dean brags on her first Wall Drug purchase

No visit to Wall Drug is complete without
photo-opping alongside Annie Oakley

Wendell alongside Annie Oakley

See more Wall Drug photos on flickr

They're not so bad after all

Badlands panorama

WHEN? Saturday · July 21 · (today's first post)

WHERE? Badlands National Park · find us on the map

The afternoon's 104° high temps combined with 25 mph winds made the Badlands feel like an oven. The visitor center's 20-minute movie, Land of Stone and Light, allowed air-conditioned relief while teaching viewers about the area's geology, history and wildlife. Mae Dean compared the mountain views to a much taller version of Arizona's Painted Desert.

The Midwest's Painted Desert

See more Badlands photos on flickr

Mae Dean and Wendell in Badlands

Friday, July 20, 2007

Buffalo Bill came out tonight

Buffalo skull on buffalo skin

WHEN? Friday · July 20

WHERE? Devils Tower Amphitheater

WHAT? Devils Tower Cultural Program Series presents
Buffalo Bill Boycott
Weekend entertainment by cowboy poet and storyteller William Frederick Boycott as Buffalo Bill, who sang to the tunes of two different guitars, a mandolin, fiddle, and banjo.

WFB as Buffalo Bill

See more Buffalo Bill photos on flickr

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday scenery

WHEN? Sunday · July 15 · (today's second post)

WHERE? Cook Lake Recreation Area in Wyoming's
Black Hills National Forest · find us on the map

After a scenic 20-mile drive along a gravel road that ended up in a remote campground at Cook Lake, Wendell and Mae Dean's only regret was not bringing along a picnic lunch to enjoy while visiting this unspoiled neck of the woods.

Black Hills National Forest overlook view

See more Black Hills photos on flickr

Sundance revisited

WHEN? Sunday · July 15 · (today's first post)

WHERE? Sundance, Wyoming · find us on the map

Passing by Sundance's Crook County Museum on the way to the Black Hills National Forest, Mae Dean and Wendell noticed an irresistable photo op:

Webshots member maedeans
The Sundance KidsWebshots member maedeans

Friday, July 13, 2007

Midwest Mexicana

WHEN? Friday · July 13 (today's second post)

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

Mexican painting

Take the night off from cooking!

A taste of Old Mexico at Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant, where Mae Dean and Wendell enjoyed authentic Mexican cuisine in a bright and festive atmosphere.

Mexican decor

KIP's (Kids in the Parks)

WHEN? Friday · July 13 (today's first post)

WHERE? Devils Tower Visitor Center

One of Wendell's favorite National Park Service duties is certifying younger visitors who pass the rigid requirements of the Devils Tower Junior Ranger program. Once the appropriate paperwork has been completed and approved, a certificate is awarded to the new Junior Ranger:National Park Service logo

Devils Tower Junior Ranger certificate

Students across the nation follow the Junior Ranger program to learn more about United States National Parks and Historic Sites. New York middle schooler Sam Maslow and his brother have accumulated hundreds of Junior Ranger patches, badges and pins. Junior Ranger Sarah Watts from North Carolina, who has also earned an impressive number of certificates, was quoted last April during the first-ever National Junior Ranger Day.

Visit the National Park Service Junior Ranger Zone to learn more about its fun and educational programs.

No traveling necessary!
WebRangers provides online opportunties for virtual travel.

Image courtesy of Junior Ranger Sam Maslow

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Never say never

WHEN? Wednesday · July 11

WHERE? Devils Tower campground

An unexpected crimp in Wendell's cooking plans:
Charcoal has been included in a temporary burn ban at Devils Tower. For perhaps the first time in his culinary career, he's considering purchasing (gasp!) a gas grill.*

The Official Hat of Q-Fest 2004
This 2004 photo suggests that it's more
about the apparel than the grilling method


Wendell did indeed purchase a tabletop Char-Broil gas grill at an area WalMart while running an official park errand. Mae Dean's been pleased with the meals cooked on it. You reckon he's converted?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

World Travelers

WHEN? Tuesday · July 10

WHERE? Devils Tower Visitor Center

Bienvenidos Devils Tower!

Wendell's park assignment has given him the opportunity to meet travelers from all over the world, including England, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. He offers brochures in their native language to Japanese visitors, who arrive each Tuesday by the busload, and who thank him with lots of bowing. Several have even asked their gracious Devils Tower host to pose for photos with them.

Japanese brochure

Brochures are available in
Japanese / French / German / Spanish

French brochureGerman brochureSpanish brochure

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The First Lady of Devils Tower

WHEN? Sunday · July 8

WHERE? Devils Tower Outdoor Canopy

WHAT? Devils Tower Cultural Program Series presents
Climbing the Tower Fifty-Nine Years Ago – In Song and Story

Mae Dean is glad she didn't miss this engaging presentation by Jan Conn, who is best known as the first woman to climb Devils Tower. Jan spoke about her adventurous life during the 1950's. Since that time, she and her husband Herb remained active charting cave routes while spelunking in the Midwest .

Jan Conn, the first lady of Devils Tower

Gearing up to climb?
Jan tying her bowline
Jan's husband Herb
came along for the ride

Herb Conn

See more Jan Conn photos on flickr

Friday, July 6, 2007

Land yachts need love too

WHEN? Friday · July 6

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

A plumbing leak inspired Wendell and Mae Dean to pull up the Airstream's stakes for the first time since settling in at Devils Tower. They visited Northern Hills Homes & RVs in South Dakota and returned home with unleaky pipes in just a few hours.

RV Sales & Service

An enormous selection of campers and RV's were available for sale on the seven-acre lot. This unusual design is either newfangled or retro:
Not your average camper

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The 26th President

WHEN? Thursday evening · July 5 (today's second post)

WHERE? Devils Tower Amphitheater

WHAT? Devils Tower Cultural Program Series presents
An Evening with Mr. Theodore Roosevelt

After spending the afternoon working alongside Wendell in the Visitor Center to promote his upcoming show, historical impressionist Gib Young recounted President Roosevelt's dedication to conservation and stewardship.

Gib Young as Roosevelt

Wendell ended up participating in the evening program, posing as the bear whose life Roosevelt spared. At the end of his presentation, Young presented certificates to several Junior Rangers.

Performance with Wendell

See more Gib Young photos on flickr

Ye Olde Information Desk

WHEN? Thursday afternoon · July 5 · (today's first post)

WHERE? Devils Tower Visitor Center

Ready to serve Devils Tower sightseers
Your friendly Devils Tower host

Wendell enjoys helping guests at the Visitor Center's Information Desk. During an afternoon visit to Devils Tower, Gypsy Journal editor Nick Russell snapped a photo of Wendell as he shared brochures:

Devils Tower Brochure 1Devils Tower Brochure 2Devils Tower Brochure 3
(click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


WHEN? Wednesday · July 4

WHERE? Across the street at Devils Tower KOA

Airstream parked at: Devils Tower Campground

Independence Day ended with a bang! After a BBQ dinner with live entertainment, a local campground hosted northeast Wyoming's largest fireworks show. Mae Dean and Wendell had a great view from the Devils Tower amphitheater, while area climbers watched from the tower's summit.

Happy Fourth of July!

Got a minute?
Exercise your brain with this fireworks match game.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Executioners

WHEN? Monday · July 2

WHERE? Devils Tower National Monument

Leafy SpurgeEuphorbia esula
Leafy Spurge · Euphorbia esula

Heavy Spring rainfalls have encouraged heavy growth of non-native leafy spurge. To diminish its ecological impact on native plant species, out-of-state professionals arrive by the truckload to spray these noxious plants with chemical weed killer.

Montana Conservation Corps

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The smell of success isn't always sweet

WHEN? Sunday · July 1

WHERE? Devils Tower campground

Fellow RVers had warned Wendell and Mae Dean to expect unwanted mice, who moved in as soon as the Airstream was parked at Devils Tower. This week, Mae Dean reported that several traps have served their intended purpose.

Field mice don't always live out in a field
Cute little varmints
... until a clan of them invades your living space

Looking on the bright side ...
According to recent mice news from China, things could be two billion times worse.