Trip Start Sep 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What a day !

Last night I was exhausted, and fell asleep at 7:30, only to awake at 2:00 AM wide awake.  Jet lag must include Buick Lag, I guess.  Yesterday's blog was done at 2:00 AM.  I was also worried because the left front tire had been making noise since we left home, and it seemed to be getting worse.  Before we left, I thought it was a wheel bearing, so I pulled the bearing and it seemed smooth and tight, so I put it back together.  This morning, we got up early and stopped by a tire shop and rotated the tires.  When we drove out of the shop, the noise was still on the left front. It was the wheel bearing.   Since we are headed out of civilization, I took the car to the Buick-GMC dealer in Rapid City.  Luckily, he was able to get the part locally (I could not in Cleveland!), and at 9:00 AM we left Rapid City for Cody Wyoming.

Driving down I-90 we saw a sign that surprised us!  Ahead was Sturgis, SD (of motorcycle rally fame).  Of course, we had to see it, so we pulled off and had a look.  There were lots of BIG biker bars that are only open during bike week, but we got some pictures and headed back out.  An hour later we began to see signs for the Devil's Tower.  We had thought that it was back near Mt. Rushmore, but fortune smiled upon us once again.  A short 30 mile detour and we got to see this amazing attraction.  It is the granite center of an ancient volcano and all the softer material that originally formed the cone eroded away eons ago.  When we left, we got to see the little-seen carvings on the back side of the tower.

Once again, the topography and the geology were ever-changing for the rest of the way to Cody.  Every few miles it changes from flat to rolling, from sand and sagebrush to fertile farmland.  Strange mesas appear in the darndest places.  Then all of a sudden, we were at the foot of the mountains and beginning a 5,000 foot ascent through the Big Horn National Forest, then back down.  About every mile along the steep ascent is a sign identifying the type of rock at that level, and the age of it (in millions of years).  The number of different rock formations and colors and textures is staggering.  We are used to seeing the formations and strata of the Appalachians, and they are not nearly as varied as those here.  Another surprise was snow on the mountain tops.  That makes next week's venture into the Canadian Rockies and Glacier Park a little scary.
We finally got to Cody, expecting a dusty little cow town.  Au contraire, Pierre!  It is a bustling tourist center, much like gatlinburg (but with more class).  We opted for Bubba's Barbecue for dinner, and their appetizer included Rocky Mountain Oysters!  I have regretted passing up "Rooster Fries" during my tour of the South, so I opted to try the "oysters".  Lo and behold, they were good!  they are sliced about 1/8" thick, breaded and fried, and they look kinda like a pig's ear (not on Bubba's menu, however).  Sandra, ever the culinary coward, passed on the delicacy.  After the gay bar abd the buffalo burger, she was not feeling adventurous.
Tomorrow it's Yellowstone.  I hope Yogi is not hibernating yet.  The camping store across the street has a sign advertizing "Bear Spray".  Is that to make them smell better?
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