Thursday, July 31, 2014

Devils Tower, Wyoming: I sooo want to climb it.

So after lunch and my nap I drive out to Wyoming, and the first city sign I pass by is Aladdin. Made me chuckle. I'm heading to Wyoming as an excursion to see the Devils Tower National Monument.

Per the National Park Service: It is a geologic feature protrudes out of the rolling prairie that surrounds the Black Hills. The site is considered Sacred to the Lakota and other tribes that have a connection to the area. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in North America

After a 1 hour drive through the interstate and then a beautiful countryside I see it in the distance. Can you?

There it is.

Getting closer.

And closer. No, I'm kidding. That is just a zoomed in version.

And then I arrive. Another free entrance thanks to my National Parks Annual Pass.

Before I begin the hike uphill and around Devils Tower it is important to note the following.

There he/she/it is.

I walk around the trail.

And take various angled photos of Devils Tower.

There are actually people climbing the tower. You will have to zoom in to see. It is hard unless you know where to look. I sooo want to climb it.

 And the surrounding views along the trail

There is life at the top of the tower.

After I am done with the trail, I get into my car and head for the exit. But stop by randomly to take pictures.

I come across a prairie dog area.

These little critters are cute, especially when they stand up on the hind legs.

The prairie dog grounds.

Just beside the road

Oh no! They've spotted me.

Actually they spotted a guy feeding them. I just happened to be behind him. Yes, you are not supposed to feed them.

Not so small now are they?

After I leave Devils Tower I continue to drive by and stop along the way and take pictures of gorgeous scenery.

This part of Wyoming was really beautiful.

Expenses: $0.00

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spearfish, South Dakota: Fraternal Couchsurfing

So my friend Dan hooked me up with one of his fraternity brothers Bob who lives in Spearfish, South Dakota. He told him what I was doing and that I needed a place to stay in South Dakota and Bob volunteers to host me for two days. I am grateful that I have a place to stay with a friend of a friend and a fraternity brother. The Sigma Nu connection comes through AGAIN. This will be my first experience 'fraternal couchsurfing' with someone I don't know.

Bob left to a concert with some of his friends. So I arrive at his place in around 12 AM, shower and relax a little at hit the bed at 2 AM. I'm ready for a long night's sleep ... so I thought. 

At 3 AM or so I heard them stagger into the house, and I hear Bob mention that I'm in the other room sleeping to which the girls respond "Let's wake him up." and they proceed to enter the room, turn on the light and talk to me. 

FML! I guess I'll be getting up and joining in the celebrations.

Was drinking wine, then I got a cowboy hat put on me and then ICED by Bob.

Asshole! ;-) Bob ;-) Asshole ;-)

Eventually they get tired and we all head to bed. By around 10 AM, Bob and I are up and there is no going back to sleep so we head out for a drive through the Blacks Hills National Forest.

We enjoy the beautiful drive and gorgeous views.

They are called the black hills because these trees look black from afar.

Those trees are still hanging on at the edge.


More views

Obligatory Panorama.

As we driving to the top of the mountain we notice a gravel road on the side and Bob tells me that it leads to a great lookout. Sooo we gooo! 


Getting higher and anticipating the views from the top

Got to the top, where there are many many cell phone towers.

Walking to the lookout.

And there she is!

Obligatory selfie!

We pick up his car from the valet and head back to Spearfish for some brunch at a local Family Restaurant: Millstone.

My body is craving for veggies... so I get a plate full with some beets!

We head back to the house. I take a short nap, and then I head out to Wyoming for an excursion to Devils Tower National Monument. Read more about here (coming soon).

On the way back I decide to stop by a local restaurant to get some dinner: Killian's Tavern.

I run into a fellow traveler: Sam (from Boston) who is also traveling the country in his car.

How co-incidental that I would run into someone in a bar in a town of 10,000 people also traveling across the United States, sit next to him, and then have this conversation. It turns out he is driving for about a month, his budget is relatively the same as mine (monthly), and also has a blog (, so we talk more and trade travel tips of how we get by. I also find out he drives the same car (year and model) and we are driving to the same location tomorrow: Mt. Rushmore. Too freaky.

Perhaps we will meet again.

I chow down on dinner and then go back to the house.

I'm quite tired from all the driving and walking so I decide to take a SHORT 2 hr nap. After I get up I'm groggy but attempt to blog unsuccessfully so I decide to just chill with Bob and do some laundry.

Spearfish is too small for me, but the access to the mountains and trails are definitely appealing. It is beautiful here. 

Thank you Bob for the couch, showing me around, the wonderful hospitality, most especially the ICING. Dan, Bob is a cool dude - thanks for the hook up. Sam, it was refreshing meeting and sharing stories with a fellow traveler. Safe travels and throw in our travel gang sign!

Expenses: $25.72
Lunch: $8.93
Dinner: $16.79