Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tag along with Colleen & Chris to Devils Tower - then set off on my own!

Today would be a counter clockwise loop. I'd start the day with Colleen and Chris as they were heading to the Devils Tower - a place I've never seen and perhaps the only item on the "to see" list for this trip. The route would be a direct route to Spearfish Canyon (a nice, scenic, twisty bit of road) and then to Devils Tower. At the tower Colleen and Chris would continue their northwest direction with Seattle in mind. I'd drop south and work back to Custer on whatever road looked interesting.

While it was enjoyable to 'tag along' for the past two days I did notice a change in attitude when we split our different ways. I was free to roam. Neither better nor worse, just different.

Toe tapp'n, Finger rapp'n Chris
MPG, 0.7 MB, 9 sec

A line of bikes at the resort. I don't think any automobile clients were residing in the row of cabins - just bikes, bikes, and more bikes.

Becca [Rocket Bunny] from Texas, in front, overcoming a distaste for riding on gravel. She's in the middle of a two? week vacation which the STN meet is only a small portion. Her next destination will be Cody, WY, Chief Joseph Highway, Beartooth Pass, Yellowstone?, Glacier National?, Lolo Pass, along with a host of other scenic places before she heads home - Texas.

A nice Triumph sitting at Lynn's... Dusty wheels - the owner is not adverse to taking it on gravel. Keys hanging in the ignition...

Crazy Horse Memorial

Check this link for more information - and a statue of its final design

OK - note the "Mount Rushmore Heads". I read that the heads of Mount Rushmore would fit on the outstretched arm so I surimposed them - you get an idea of the huge size and the amount of work remaining.

A bit of a joke - I added the "pine scent car freshener" to the truck - but that's what the truck is - one huge pine scented air freshener. There are times when it's nice to ride behind a lumber(ing) truck.

The start of Spearfish Canyon.

Done with the canyon - we're hopping onto I-90 for the jump to Devils Tower.

Back into Wyoming

And again - this one is probably hauling wood chips - it was extra fragrant - even at 80 mph.

High on a hill / ridge. The view west went long.

The road between I-90 and Devils Tower had some nice, sweeping curves.

One of the first views of the tower - protrusion at the left of the pic.

In the park.

Chris & Colleen
There's a trail that goes around at the base - we only walked a short bit of it.

Colleen recreating a long ago "Devils Tower, cave/rocks" photo (I think)

OK - we were fairly certain that there were rock climbers on the tower.  Now I'm not so sure. The 'blow up' has some green in it - possibly a growth of bush or something with a dark shadow. But the white thing in the center was sparkling in the sun - maybe a helmet? Could the dark area and the white dot be a climber? Anyway - note the large rectangle in the lower portion of this photo. Look for it in the next few photos to get an idea of scale...

The "large rectangle" from the photo above is near the far right of this photo.

Info signs
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Larger size

Other STn'ers at Devils Tower.

A lucky shot. I'm rolling down the park road at 25 MPH with the camera twisted to my left - just clicking a photo here and there...

Saving a buck, Colleen hops onto Chris's bike - an unusual site worth the pic.

Go figure.

Near the entrance to the park / national monument.


Process back on those nice, sweeping curves back to Sundance WY / I-90 area. Get some lunch at Subway and make up my mind on where to go. The choices!

What do you have to do to get a Wyoming plate with a "1" on it?

Black Hills in the distance.

A bit "blacker" here.

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The road was void of traffic - relaxing, doubly so with the weather and scenery

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A big valley is approaching.

On the map, that string of gravel down there would take me in the right direction - but today will remain a "high road" day.

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I came around a corner and was presented with a WIDE vista. The view was HUGE. So huge that the camera, even when focused to the horizon can't do it justice.

This photo is but a small section of the above area. US-85 twists into the distance. The town of Newcastle awaits at the base of the hill. Instead of rolling down that disappearing asphalt ribbon, I'll "take a left" and head towards Custer.

Rolling alone I was more willing to stop - I photo'd a bunch of these info signs.

Jewel Cave - about 13 miles west of Custer, is currently the second longest cave in the world with over 139 miles mapped. They estimate, via volumetric air movement that this represents only 2 to 5% of the whole cave.

I stopped to see what they had available for tours. Only the "Discovery Tour" where you take an elevator down to a landing in a large room and then back up. Looking for more I booked the "Lantern Tour" for the next morning at 9:30am.

Info Sign
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Map of the known cave
There is one known natural entrance (which I will go through on the Lantern Tour) and one man-made entrance (elevator shaft @ the visitor's center).
Click for a much larger size

Bon fire dinner photos with the Thunder Bay folks (Bill [Basket] & Shannon, Jim, Gary, Bill [Scoop] & Marita)
I pulled out the camera and set it to auto aperture, manual exposure / time. As the time lengthened the flame softened and the background became visible.

So then Bill #2 pulled out his camera and the games began. His was used for image recording and mine was used for an external flash. Long duration exposures were set and Bill #1, who knows more about photography that myself, tossed the idea of making ghostly images in some photos.

The goal was to have the Jim & Shannon sit motionless on the bench, for Bill to "jump in and jump out" of the photo, and for me to slowly walk across the background. The goal was to have the two sitting be 'solid' in the photo, me be a 1/2 image, and Bill a just barely visible image. The flash from my camera caught all of us - while the next photo below gives an idea of Bill's desired effect.

Note - the photo's from my camera weren't the desired photos - it was only be used for flash. I've not yet seen the photos from Bill's camera.

This is a lucky approximation to the effect - the two seated, while they moved just a bit, are reasonably visible and clear, whereas me in the background is just barely visible (just behind Shannon's head). I have a pair of car headlights shining through my chest.

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