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Day 9 (9.10.07) - MT to Mt Rushmore, SD (Photo's Added)

Devils Butte, Upton, WY (& Old Town), and lots of wild life

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Starting Mileage: 111296, Ashland MT
Ending Mileage: 111585, Mt Rushmore SD
Weather: Light Rain, overcast, clearing & warmer in PM

After leaving Red Shale Campground in Montana, we drove southeast on Hwy 212 towards Wyoming. We again saw Prong Horned Antelope, but today we saw lots and lots of them - I estimated well over three hundred (not all at one time of course):


I'm also pretty sure I saw a golden eagle, I later confirmed that they frequented this area - but the one I saw was pretty hard to get a good enough photo to confirm the species (at least it wasn't a sparrow):


We drove through a town called Broadus, Montana and stopped at the Powder River to get sand. I realized I hadn't been posting many pictures of the small towns we drove through, so while this isn't very spectacular as a picture, should give you a bit of an idea of a typical small town in the prairie states:


Mom wanted to mail some postcards and we'd been on the road for about an hour (my target is to stop about every hour so we won't get too tired driving), when I saw a sign saying 'Roadside Tables'. I never did find any roadside tables, but there was a Post Office. We weren't sure, the sign on the building was quite faded, so Mom went on inside and sure enough, found it to be the Post Office for Boyes, MT. This wasn't exactly a town, but the home of the lady who served as Postmaster for the area. In the front room next to the Post Office was a sort of personal museum and some store items (pop). Over the years, she and her father (I believe?) had collected Montana licence plates from just about every year they had been issued, numerous knives, guns and ranch equipment (saddles, stirrups, branding irons), antique general store items and all sorts of odds and ends. It was all quite facinating, not the sort of place that would show up on a tourist map (it was just the front rooms of her home), but the kind of thing I love to find - out in the middle of nowhere as some would say:


Here is one of the items she was especially proud of (if you can, try to read the caption explaining what materials were used to make the figure):


Throughout Montana, Wyoming and later prairie states we continued to pass old, abandoned buildings (in my town, they would be ordered demolished) and typical farm/ranch scenes such as windmills:


At first we were going to head straight to Mt. Rushmore, but I decided at the last minute to go ahead and turn south first and visit Devils Butte. The weather was cool and rainy when we headed out, but the sun burned off the clouds and it was clear and sunny most of the day, but still a bit on the cool side (mid 60's). As we got closer to Devils Butte, we could clearly see it standing above the rest of the area, quite unique. Teddy Roosevelt set it aside as a National Monument even though he never saw it, he could tell from the pictures and descriptions of his advisors that it was a really special place that needed to be protected. We also learned that it is one of the most popular places for 'crack climbing', a form of rock climbing. The top is about 1.5 acres of grassland, but the sides are so steep that the only animals on top are a few rodents and birds. Also, scientists don't know exactly what caused the geometric shaped columns - although they have offered many different possibilities:


In addition to prong horned antelepe and the eagle, we also saw more deer (white tail and others), red tailed hawk, vultures, rabbits, sheep, cattle and horses.


After Devils Tower, we continued to head to Mt. Rushmore, but before we got out of Wyoming, saw signs for a town called Upton, WY, population 872 - self proclaimed "Worlds Greatest Town". Mom and I were commenting about what sort of person may have come up with such a claim, when I noticed a collection of old buildings in a site called "Old Town". I turned the RV around and went in to check. Nobody was there, but the place was Open (although the buildings were all locked). There was also a genuine Sod House! Since the buildings were locked, the interior shots had to be taken through glass, but hopefully will give you more of an idea of how people lived a century ago in Wyoming.

  • ** The Old Town project began in 1995 to relocate cabins and other structures essential to the late 1800's and early 1900's life in Wyoming. These cabins and structures have been moved to the original site of Upton, then known as Iron Town, and restored to preserve an important era of local heritage.The story goes that the Irish woman who named our town gave birth here one night and population doubled.Every summer, on the third Saturday in July, the population still doubles as past residents and alumni from all over come back for a celebration with old friends and relatives.With thanks to Upton's homepage, it can be found easily on any search engine. Submitted by: Ryan J. Hill ***


Here is the School:

Here is the Sod House, it was maybe 16 feet on each side:

I stopped at one more museum in Newcastle, Wyoming but they were almost closed and I won't bore you with the pictures. Mom was relieved that we finally made it out of Wyoming!


It was too late to see Mt. Rushmore by the time we got to South Dakota. We could see the new Crazy House sculpture from the highway and it appears to be coming along, although a long way from being finished. If you look closely, you can see the profile of the face and a hole forming under what will be his outstretched arm:


We pushed it kind of hard today (close to 300 miles), together with spending time at Devils Tower and Old Town (Upton, WY) (and taking lots of pictures) - we got to Mt. Rushmore area kind of late. We checked into an RV park (with HS internet) and will do Mt. Rushmore in the morning. We also met some very interesting folks in the RV park. First, there was a couple camping with their Motorcycles! They had a tent trailer specifically designed for bikes that opened up even larger then my RV! Then there were a couple of gals van camping next to us from Ohio. They run a historic farm and were interested in the Spinning Wheel Uncle Bill made for me:


In the meantime, chores never end:


Posted by jl98584 23:14 Tagged family_travel

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Hi! I hope you get this comment. I was registered, just hadn't made a comment. So... what's been happening since the 10th? We read them almost daily, at least when we're at the office, our home computer is still down, supposed to get it worked on Sunday. Anyway, its the 13th and the blogs only go to the 10th. hmmmm... It sounds like both of you are having a really good time so far. We had the second week of summer this week, ok, 3 days. 80 degree weather, but gentle because it was not reaaly summer. it was cooler today, nice and ealy fall like. Mom, do you (does your friend) want sand from a playa in the Nevada desert? One of my pts went camping there and brought me a baggie of very white sand. If she does, she can have some. Que and Vivian

by drque

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