Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Custer South Dakota to Buffalo Wyoming

June 4th - Custer State Park to Buffalo, Wyoming

We left Custer State Park early this morning headed west - of course. Early morning is a great time to see the wildlife and we counted many more buffalo and pronghorn antelope as we drove along. Leaving the park at Custer, SD, we crossed into Wyoming near Newcastle on Route 16. In the east we can see the western forest fires and sort of understand the destruction but you cannot imagine how vast the areas are that burn. Mountain after mountain had huge patches of trees gone, black spars and broken trunks. However, in some areas there was already new growth and timber companies are now allowed to harvest many of the trees.

The country really begins to open up into vast horizons and we stayed amazed at how far you could see. The ranches are very far apart and we kept thinking how many hours a day children must spend riding school buses. We also don't understand why there is so little livestock on those huge expanses.

We reached Devil's Tower, Wyoming about noon on a cool day with part sun. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is one of my favorite science fiction movies and the tower was well represented in the movie. It rises up out of a relatively flat plain and has many colors and layers in the rock. An Indian legend says the deep scar
like columns down the tower are bear claw marks trying to reach Indian maidens on the top of the tower. We walked the 1-1/2 mile perimeter path and the tower has different faces depending on how it faces the weather. Once again our old codger pass as Joe calls it (National Park Senior Pass) got us in free. We parked beside yet another pop up truck camper but never saw the people. A quick lunch in the camper, a change out of wet clothing from the walk and off we went.

Moorcroft, WY was an interesting small town and did not have the hype of a tourist trap like so much of what we have seen. I know small towns have a limited time/way of capturing tourist dollars but some sure do it better than others!

We hopped on I-90 to start over to Thermopolis, WY, our next destination. Finally in the distance we could see a BIG mountain range. Bighorn National Forest is just the other side of Buffalo, WY. A pretty cold rain started as we were approaching Buffalo and we decided to stop for the night, get a dinner out, catch up on internet
mail and not push it. A delightful older lady at the town tourist information center told us where to go to dinner to get good beef. She was right! We are hoping that the rain at this 4,500 feet doesn't translate into snow on the mountain passes at 9,500 feet. We'll see tomorrow!

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