Monday, July 29, 2013

Devils Tower National Monument, WY

The posts of the road trip have been admittedly a little sparse up to now: I was generally posting something quick, with a few pictures, very early in the morning from a Motel 6 somewhere, in order to just get something up. Don’t let that fool you; we had an amazing time, and every day was a revelation. Amazing scenery, amazing driving, good family times, and all of it was pretty affordable.

After a couple of days spent in Yellowstone/Grand Teton/Jackson, WY, we headed out across Wyoming toward Devils Tower. The last time I drove across Wyoming, I remembered it being completely empty. Apparently everyone else has discovered Wyoming in the intervening four years, because it was definitely not empty. We drove across the Wind River plain and the canyons of US 16; I highly recommend both drives, especially US 16, but we were caught behind slow-moving RVs more times than I care to remember. Ditto Devils Tower: our nerves were so frazzled by the time we arrived that we had no patience for RVs, tour buses, or other people in general. We zipped in and out, got some pictures, and high-tailed it for Rapid City, SD, where we were planning to spend the night. 

Verdict: neat to see, no need to stick around if you're not a climber. Cute prairie dog colony at the base, though.

At dinner that night in downtown Rapid City, we discovered yet another street fair. Not as exciting as a county fair and rodeo, of course, but still an unexpected bit of fun. We stopped into an old-timey candy store, bought a bunch of rock candy and Sioux City Sarsaparilla, and made sure the boy was loaded up with sugar right before bedtime.

A general observation: Wyoming and South Dakota have gotten very vacation-y in the summer. Everywhere we went, we were surrounded by other tourists (generally slow-driving ones). Granted, we were in the most vacation-y parts of both states. But still. Montana, on the other hand, was almost always empty-feeling and comparatively devoid of other tourists. Flathead Lake was a little touristy, but even on the interstates and inside Glacier National Park and in Livingston, gateway to Yellowstone, I never felt the kind of frustration I felt in Wyoming and South Dakota.

So. I officially revise my favorite national park to Glacier, and my favorite driving state to Montana.

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