Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Climber in Me and a Once in a Lifetime Experience!

The first entry in this series of posts can be found here. The most recent, here.

Our last day in Rapid City was Monday, my 57th birthday. Our plans from a few weeks earlier were to go skydiving in Hot Springs but after talking about it some more we decided to hold off and save the daredevil stuff for someplace closer to home. Yes, we're both having 2nd thoughts but we still want to do it. Tammy found a place in Winsted where jumps are made from 14,000 feet rather than the more common altitude of 10,000. Go big or go home, right?

We decided to drive a couple hours west into Wyoming and see Devil's Tower instead. It was a good choice. We were there once before (in 1999 I think) but I don't remember seeing any climbers. There were several on this day and it was quite cool to watch. So cool in fact that I decided to give it a try myself! Tammy used the super-duper-zoom on my camera to get this photo of me well into the climb. Locate the climber just above the trees and then go up from there to see me again in this photo. All done without the use of equipment. I'm a natural!

Yeah, just kidding.

I was commenting to Tammy that it would be so fascinating to see a time-lapse of how the mountain (and the Badlands as well) were formed. The base of Devil's Tower is littered with pieces of rock/columns that have fallen off over the years. Nobody knows for sure how often a large piece breaks free but they estimate it could be every 10,000 years or more. It's difficult for me to comprehend that given my relative flash-in-the-pan existence.

Heading back to Rapid City we got off the freeway and went out of our way a little to pass through the town of Deadwood. We drove through it a couple days earlier on Saturday but it was so crowded with a classic car show event that we couldn't find a place to park. No such problem on this day but honestly, there was nothing for us there. It's a nice enough looking town but it's not much more than just a lot of small casinos with slot machines and some small gift shops. Tammy made a quick $7 on the slots then we got some waffle cones and headed out.

We let our Yelp app help us choose a dinner destination for that night: Independent Ale House. It was a good choice.

We were on the road back to Lakeville by mid-morning on Tuesday. We'd only been gone 5 days but it seemed significantly longer, in a good way. This was such a nice break away from our normal lives and routines. I was especially happy for Tammy because her focus wasn't at all on her job where it's been so much lately. 

There was one tense moment on the way back. I missed the exit at Murdo where we were going to refuel. My Forester was telling me I had 30 miles of fuel left but as soon as we passed the exit my Garmin said the next fuel stop was 43 miles away. I didn't want to stop and back up or do any sort of reckless maneuver so I pressed on hoping there would be another exit before too many miles. There was, 9 miles up the road. I got off and turned back toward Murdo but by now my Forester had stopped indicating how many miles of fuel remained, opting instead to simply show a couple of dashed lines. That can't be good. We eventually arrived with fuel to spare but I have no idea how much extra. I pumped 15.51 gallons into the tank.

We had one last detour along the way before putting our stamp of approval on our vacation: the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota! In all of my many times passing through Mitchell over the years, I'd never once gone inside this well-advertised tourist attraction.

Mitchell Corn Palace. Check.

I'm guessing that for most people it's a once in a lifetime experience.

And that's a wrap!

Remind me not to wait so long before taking another road-trip!

Here's a link to some photos I put on my Flickr account.


Steve Claypatch said...

What a nice vacation. I had no idea of the knowledge I would gain by your postings. I now know, I will never be a "successful" contestant on 'Ninja Warriors'. Thanks for sharing.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks, Steve!

Who knew a few day vacation to South Dakota could be so entertaining? We're simple folk and I like it that way.

Well, if there was a glassblowing obstacle on Ninja Warriors you'd kill it! I don't think I could see you getting through the 'spider climb' though. ;-)