<![CDATA[barbyoung.com - Travels with Barbara & Bruce]]>Mon, 03 Jun 2024 21:22:00 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Saturday, May 25, 2024: Homeward, toward Minneapolis/St. Paul]]>Sun, 26 May 2024 02:24:52 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/saturday-may-25-2024-homeward-toward-minneapolisst-paulNo pics today. We drove from Steele ND to a Holiday Inn in St. Paul MN, where we will spend the night.
We had a wonderful lunch at Mabel Murphy's in Fergus Falls, MN and made a stop at Prairie Fiber Arts Center in Moorhead MN, where Barbara bought a skein of locally spun and dyed yarn.
Tomorrow we'll stop at Bruce's brother's house near Madison WI, and be home by evening.
I probably won't post tomorrow, but we're off again on June 1, to Green Bay WI for a concert by Dan Rodriguez, then four days in Sturgeon Bay in Door County Wisconsin. Look for more blog posts from that trip, coming soon.
Green Bay & Door County trip has been cancelled.
<![CDATA[Friday, May 24, 2024: Theodore Roosevelt National Park]]>Sat, 25 May 2024 03:50:26 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/friday-may-24-2024-theodore-roosevelt-national-parkWe spent most of today doing short but interesting hikes in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We stopped at one of the Prairie Dog Towns on our way to our first hike at Skyline Vista.
Next we spotted a side road that said "Peaceful Valley Ranch," so we drove that way and found one bison on the road, and a donkey in a paddock at the end of the road. He looked at us as if to say, "What did you bring me?"
On the scenic drive through the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National park, our next stop was Wind Canyon Trail.
On Boicourt Trail we saw lots of evidence of bison, but thankfully didn't encounter any on the path.
On our way to Buck Hill Trail, we saw a small herd of wild horses. Below, Bruce is pointing out more evidence that bison had been here recently.
Our last, and possibly the best hike of the day was Painted Canyon Nature Trail. It was steep and muddy, but the views were spectacular.
Then it was off to spend the night in Steele ND, where the only interesting thing was a statue of the World's Largest Sandhill Crane. (Click the photo to see it without its head cut off.)
<![CDATA[Thursday, May 23, 2024: Deadwood to Medora]]>Fri, 24 May 2024 01:14:36 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/thursday-may-23-2024-deadwood-to-medoraToday we headed north to Medora, North Dakota, the gateway to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It was about a four-hour drive, and we thought we'd arrive in time to do some hiking in the afternoon. Unfortunately, it began to rain mid-day and didn't stop until nearly sundown. We'll try again tomorrow. The forecast is for partly cloudy, or mostly sunny, or partly sunny. I can never tell what those icons mean.
We headed north from Deadwood after breakfast, making our first stop in Belle Fourch SD at the Geographic Center of the Nation and Tri-State Museum.
Why is the center here? Because when Hawaii was admitted to the Union in 1959, its landmass – added to the landmass of the continental U.S. – shifted the geographic center of the 50 states to latitude 44 degrees, 58’N, longitude 103 degrees 46’W, which is approximately 20 miles north of Belle Fourche. The actual geographic center is on private land, marked with a small metal survey marker and a flag. Belle Fourche, however, felt that the Center of the Nation deserved a, big beautiful monument. And since the town falls within the measurement’s margin of error, the Chamber of Commerce conducted a fundraising effort to build it on the land below the museum.
The museum itself is charming. It has many items of daily living from pioneer days up to the early 1950's. I was amused to see one of the old shoe store x-ray machines, and a hair salon permanent wave machine (looks like a torture device) that I remember from my childhood. It's a miracle we survived.
Most of the terrain from Deadwood north is flat prairie suitable for grazing cattle and sheep. There are long stretches where the road runs straight into the distance. Occasionally, stone monoliths loom up in the open range, like the Crow Buttes pictured below.
And of course, while traveling down a perfectly normal two-lane highway, we came to a stretch of road under construction that required a pilot car to guide us through the one-lane gravel section. I'll toss in a shot here of an oil derrick. We saw about half a dozen fairly small ones.
 To break up a long drive, I check out Roadside America to find odd and unusual places to take photos. RA came up with this gem in Bowman ND: A cowboy riding a missile, propped on an old fire truck. Also a weather vane airplane that moves with the wind, mounted on an old wooden bridge that we drove through. It didn't look safe, but someone on RA commented that they did it, and we didn't fall through.
We finally made it to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in the rain. We stopped at the visitor center, watched a short film, and had a look at Teddy's original log cabin (which was moved to this spot from somewhere else).
We spoke with a ranger and got suggestions for short hikes in the park, and there is a scenic drive if we give up on hiking. We'll try again tomorrow and hope the weather is better.
Well, that was a lot for a day that was basically driving from one place to another. Tomorrow, after the park, we start heading east on the way home. Just a few more stops. It's I-94 all the way to the Wisconsin Dells, so maybe I'll get some knitting done while Bruce drives.
<![CDATA[Wednesday, May 22, 2024: Hikes, Waterfalls & Science]]>Thu, 23 May 2024 12:34:52 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/wednesday-may-22-2024-hikes-waterfalls-scienceA beautiful sunny day, if a bit chilly in the morning. After all the rain yesterday, we decided to get outside early before our luck changed.
Our first hike was Roughlock Falls Trail, an easy two-mile out-and-back trail that is well marked with interpretive signs leading to a multi-tiered waterfall along Little Spearfish Canyon. 
Pioneers traveling down the canyon used to lower their wagons down the drop by roughlocking the wheels to prevent them from rolling freely - hence the name of the falls.
We pulled off the road for a look at the intriguing sign for the Devil's Bathtub, which was a wide spot in the creek next to an abandoned hydro-electric plant of the Homestake Mining Company. (More about the mine later.)
Then it was a short drive and another easy hike to Bridal Veil Falls. Cascading approximately 60 feet, Bridal Veil Falls is the most accessible waterfall in the canyon. The view from the observation platform was great for photos.
We continued on along the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Drive to the small town of Spearfish, where we had lunch at Nonna's Kitchen, a cute Italian restaurant. You probably know that I follow a low-carb diet, so I was so happy that the chef at Nonna's created a beautiful plate for me with pan-roasted salmon, non-starchy vegetables and cauliflower puree. My usual restaurant meal is a burger, no bun, so this made me very happy. Bruce had spaghetti and meatballs.
After lunch we were off to the town of Lead (pronounced "Leed") a "suburb" of Deadwood, to visit the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center. This is the site of the old Homestake gold mine, now home to the Sanford Underground Research Facility.
As I understand it, and greatly simplified, Fermilab in Batavia IL (from which Bruce is retired, thus his interest) sends a beam of neutrinos to a detector far underground here in South Dakota. SURF also conducts other scientific experiments deep underground, far from the reach of cosmic rays. Science nerds can learn more at https://lbnf-dune.fnal.gov/.
The Homestake Mine was a deep underground gold mine (8,000 feet deep). Until it closed in 2002 it was the largest and deepest gold mine in the Western Hemisphere. The mine's open cut is impressive. The photos can't capture the scale of it when standing on the observation platform.

Our final hike of the day was up Mount Roosevelt to the Friendship Tower. Deadwood Sheriff Seth Bullock built the Friendship Tower in 1919 as a dedication to President Theodore Roosevelt, his close friend of many years. Bullock wanted to create a memorial of his friend’s life and a place where people could view wide open spaces that both Bullock and Roosevelt had become so fond of during their lives.
<![CDATA[Tuesday, May 21, 2024: Deadwood]]>Thu, 23 May 2024 02:13:30 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/tuesday-may-21-2024-deadwoodAnother rainy day, off and on. We didn't venture any further than Deadwood's historic main street, only retreating to our hotel when the rain got too heavy.
Deadwood's main street is hotels and bars, with a few souvenir shops. Every hotel has a casino, and some of the souvenir shops have bars. And there are a few restaurants that are not bars. But it's mostly casinos and bars.
Pretty much everybody who heard we were going on this trip said we had to visit The Brothel in Deadwood. Right up until 1980, illegal sex work was active in Deadwood and largely ignored by local law enforcement. The guided tour of The Brothel explains how the world's oldest profession impacted the community and tells the stories of some of the women who worked in the sex trade.
The rooms contain a variety of period furnishings, from the 1800's up to the 1970's.
The rain let up a bit in the late afternoon, but we didn't want to chance taking a hike, so we hopped on one of the Deadwood trolleys, which are the only form of public transportation in Deadwood. They stop at all the hotels, and the outlying KOA campground, taking about 45 minutes to make the entire loop. It's $2 a ride, but residents and people who work in Deadwood ride for free. We stayed on for a loop-and-a-half, chatting with the driver and getting to see some parts of Deadwood we hadn't gotten to on foot.
Bruce discovered that there was a band playing at the #10 Tavern, starting at 9pm, so we ate supper upstairs at the Deadwood Social Club first and then enjoyed two sets of music from the 60's, 70's, and 80's by the Shuffle band from Utah. They had no set list. All the songs they played were requested by the audience via text message. And if they didn't know a song, they did a pretty good job of playing it anyway.
Tomorrow looks to be a sunny day, if a bit chilly. We hope to get in some nice hikes.
<![CDATA[Monday, May 20, 2024: Dinosaur Museum, Jewel Cave and on to Deadwood]]>Tue, 21 May 2024 20:58:21 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/monday-may-20-2024-dinosaur-museum-jewel-cave-and-on-to-deadwoodThere are two major caves run by the National Park Service: Wind Cave in Hot Springs SD and Jewel Cave in Custer SD. Since cave tours are suspended at Wind Cave due to elevator replacement, we snagged a tour at busy Jewel Cave for 1:00 pm.
That left our morning free in Hill City. We had passed the small "dinosaur museum" on the main street several times without going in, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit. Bruce's friend Steve Simpson highly recommended The Museum at Black Hills Institute, so we had to visit.
What a remarkable small museum. The number of actual and reproduction dinosaur skeletons is amazing.
I also learned a lot more about the history of Sue, Chicago's own T-Rex at the Field Museum. See the sign above.
So, on to Jewel Cave. We got there early and did a nice short walk on the Roof Trail, less than a mile. Then it was down into the cave with our group and a ranger escort. Jewel Cave is so extensive that much of it has not yet been mapped. Cave explorers go into the cave with specialized tools for measuring and recording their location. There are several "base camps" with sleeping bags and portable "facilities" so that cave explorers can reach even further into the cave. We asked, and yes, they must pack out all their waste (even "that").
Jewel Cave is made of limestone and has many levels, as shown in the first photo below. For casual visitors like us, there are lots of stairs, some pretty steep.

The weather gods had been smiling on us the whole trip so far but decided that it would be okay to rain since we were underground. However, it continued to rain for our 80-mile drive to Deadwood, our next destination.
We decided to follow Apple Maps' quickest route, which looked like an interesting ride in the countryside over roads we hadn't already traveled. That was fine for a while until we found ourselves on a gravel road. The rain kept the dust down, but the road got progressively worse and we ran into construction where the road was one-way only. We stopped behind a small truck to wait for a "pilot" to lead us through the construction zone.
How bad could it be? There was a section where there was no road at all, only mud, and another section of fist-sized rocks that banged up under the car so much that I was afraid we'd rupture something under there. At the end, we were so happy to come out on a normal gravel road, and ecstatic to come upon an actual paved road.
I made a short video of the road, with audio commentary.
<![CDATA[Sunday, May 19, 2024: Custer State Park and Two Scenic Drives]]>Mon, 20 May 2024 03:30:58 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/sunday-may-19-2024-custer-state-park-and-two-scenic-drivesWe started the day with a plan to hike around Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. On the way, we pulled into a scenic overlook in the park and took a short hike from there. I couldn't find it on my AllTrails app, so I didn't get "credit" for it, but it was a fun hike.
We continued on to Sylvan Lake for a one-mile walk around the lake. The first part was easy, but the back side of the hill was more up and down and scrambling over rocks. But rewarding, because there were two waterfalls.
We then drove the length of Needles Highway, a 14-mile scenic drive with several one-lane tunnels, switchbacks and high overlooks.
Needles Highway runs into Iron Mountain Road, more of the same but with even more switchbacks, "pigtail bridges" that go in circles, and incredible views of Mount Rushmore.
<![CDATA[Saturday, May 18, 2024: The 1880 Train and a Night Walk]]>Mon, 20 May 2024 03:03:35 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/saturday-may-18-2024-the-1880-train-and-a-night-walkWe took it easy this morning, and I hit the computer to plan our lodging for the next three nights after we leave Hill City on Monday. We'll be in Deadwood for two nights and them Medora ND for one night as we take in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
In the afternoon we took the 1880 Train, a restored steam locomotive pulling vintage cars, from Hill City to Keystone and back, about a two-hour round trip. The scenery was interesting and commentary along the way talked about the mining camps that once existed along the route.
We had supper for the second time at Alpine Inn. A 9 oz beef filet with salad and baked potato for $17.99 is too good not to repeat. Alpine has another restaurant in Deadwood with a similar menu, which I'm sure we'll try when we get there.
After supper we took a drive to Veteran's Point trail in the Black Hills National Forest, with hopes that we would be able to see a lot of stars in the sky when it got dark. We arrived at dusk and walked the short, easy trail to get an idea of where would be best to see from. Then we went back to the car to keep warm until it was dark enough. Only it never really got dark enough. Sunset was at 8:15pm, and by 9:30 the sky was still fairly bright (3/4 moon didn't help) and we could only see a few stars. It was a nice trail, though, and something to do with our evening.
<![CDATA[Friday, May 17, 2024: Custer State Park and Crazy Horse Memorial]]>Sat, 18 May 2024 02:52:24 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/friday-may-17-2024-custer-state-park-and-crazy-horse-memorialWe spent most of the morning and early afternoon doing two hikes in Custer State Park. Even though it was a free entry day, we didn't see a lot of other people.
Our first hike was the Stockade Lake Trail, a 1.5 mile loop trail that had us climbing uphill and clambering over rocks. I don't understand how this hike could be uphill in both directions, but it sure felt that way.
We decided on one more, less strenuous, hike. The hike around Legion Lake, a one-mile loop, was listed as "Easy." Well, there were more hills and rocks to climb over, but the view of the lake was beautiful.
After a picnic lunch at Legion Lake, we headed for the Crazy Horse Memorial. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski was chosen by Chief Standing Bear and his fellow Lakota leaders to design the monument and carve it out of the rock of the mountainside. Work began in 1948 and continues to this day. It will probably take several more generations of Ziolkowskis before Korczak's vision is completed.
We learned that Korczak Ziolkowski was friends with McDonald's founder Ray Kroc. There is a bust of Kroc sculpted by Ziolkowski in the Crazy Horse museum (see last photo).
<![CDATA[Thursday, May 16, 2024: Off-Roading in the Black Hills]]>Fri, 17 May 2024 03:23:33 GMThttp://barbyoung.com/travel/thursday-may-16-2023-off-roading-in-the-black-hillsMost of today was spent driving an off-road vehicle on trails in the Black Hills National Forest. Bruce and I took turns driving, even getting a bit lost in spite of having two GPS systems aboard. We even had to wait for a forest crew to cut up a tree that was blocking the trail.
We were muddy and dusty after our ride, so we came back to our cabin to clean up and do laundry at the combination gas station, convenience store, laundromat and "casino" (video games). It reminded me of Meemaw's hidden gambling room behind the laundromat in "Young Sheldon." The decor was interesting, too.