Monday, June 13, 2011

1880 Train and Devil's Tower (Spearfish, SD)

Well, we've been kind of busy since my last post.  Debbie and I have both reached a point that we must make an effort to control our weight gain.  Thankfully. I'm not saying it's a huge problem but that's just it, we don't want it to be a huge problem.  So we're trying to be back on the exercise routine.  That can include Debbie's walking DVDs, biking, walking alone, walking together and walking the dogs.  Maybe the theme is just to do a better job of being in motion.  This lifestyle can breed something that resembles laziness.  I might prefer to call it "relaxing" but sinner know thyself!  So we're trying.    Thursday we did our volunteer gig.  Friday we joined two fellow volunteers, Bill and Rena, and went on the 1880 Train ride.  One of the perks of volunteering here in SD is that we get a VIP card.  This card provides us with great discounts to local attractions that can include free!  So we drove to Keystone, SD about an hour and a half away and boarded an old steam engine train for a two hour ride.

The standard fare is $24. We rode for free.   The train ride was mildly interesting but our time with Bill and Rena was enormously enjoyable.  One more perk of volunteering... meeting nice people!  After our train ride we were starving so we had lunch at Ruby House, right across the street from the train station.  The decor was interesting, lots of red and velvet.

Bill, Rena and Duane at Ruby House
My lunch included Buffalo Burger.  If I had closed my eyes it could have been just a good hamburger.  But still good.  We stopped at a glass blowing shop on the way out of town then headed home.  Great day!

Saturday we hung out at our campsite.  Did lots of exercise and I went grocery shopping solo.  I  love grocery shopping.  It's just a fun outing.  Saturday evening we joined our fellow volunteers at the campfire. We have a nice community fire pit within our "volunteer village."  Folks frequently gather there in the evening. Again, just a pleasant gathering. A few marshmallows were cooked, we yakked then it rained so we all headed for our campers.

Duane, Rena and Belinda
Ron and Bill

Chef Tim

A perfectly cooked strawberry marshmallow
Sunday Debbie and I drove to Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.  It was about an hours drive.  You know, we're having such a great time being in the west because it is so uniquely beautiful.  It's not just beautiful, it's huge.  The terrain in this area includes lots of wide open rolling hills, valleys and mountains.

Love those big, puffy clouds
It's so easy for me to imagine cowboys on the open plains as we drive along.

 So the Tower.
First glimpse of tower, way behind Duane

Getting Closer

We're There!
It rises 867 feet from its base and is at 5112 above sea level.  The area at the top is 1.5 acres and the base is 1000 feet in diameter.  (All that is straight out of the brochure.)  It's mighty big!  There's a 1.3 mile trail around the base that provides endless photo ops.

There were climbers on the rock.

I'm not at risk of joining them.

Oh yeah, we saw a gigantic bear climbing the tower too!

Ha Ha...just seeing if you're paying attention!
Hopefully the pictures reveal the impressiveness (word?) of the rock. Probably not though.  We thought it was much more impressive in person than it looked in any pictures we'd seen prior to visiting.

While driving through the park we encountered more of our precious little friends, the Prairie Dogs.  Come on, they're just way too cute.  Debbie took a picture or two or fifty! 

The drive to and from the tower was around an identified scenic loop.  On the way home we stopped at Aladdin, WY.  Population 15!

There's one store...

filled with the most incredible display of junk you might ever see.

That's why everyone stops. 

We got home safely, ate light and chilled.  Another wonderful day!



  1. We have done both of those... rode the train and went to Devil Tower... You are so right it is magnificient out west and we LOVE it!!!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  2. Isn't that part of our great USA just beautiful?? We cannot wait to get to SD and WY to see it once again. I (Sherry) just love the prairie dogs too....