6/26/18 – Mount Rushmore, Jewel Cave, Devil’s Tower and approaching Yellowstone

Sleeping in my car worked out really well. The only time I woke up was when it got cold enough for me to need to pull up down quilt. Condensation was covering the insides of all my windows even with all of them cracked two inches. Before I do this again, I need to work out how to mount a few fans to help circulation. Still, it worked and I woke with the sunrise to start another day of driving.

My first stop was Mount Rushmore. It was only about an hour and a half drive, but when I got there, I discovered that parking was almost $20 and my America the Beautiful pass wouldn’t work there! I had already gotten several good views from the road, so I decided to skip the stop. As I was leaving, I did find a pull off with a nice view of Washington’s profile. Good enough for me.

My next stop was Jewel Cave. I heard another camper talking about it last night, and since it was almost directly between Rushmore and Devil’s Tower, I stopped by. It is the third largest cave in the world and they had two tours down into it. The short one is $4 for adults (free with a Parks pass) and is a 30 minute talk by a ranger in a cavern 300 feet underground (with an elevator to take you there). The longer tour is only $20ish and takes an hour and a half. Since I had to wait 45 minutes for the first tours of the day, I took the short tour. Very neat place. It’s on my list for a revisit when I have more time.

Next stop was Devil’s Tower. I parked just after noon and their parking lot was nearly full. After a quick lunch, I took the 1.25mi trail around and saw four people climbing the peak. I took pictures of them, but lacking a zoom lens, I’m afraid they are nearly impossible to pick out.

I left around two o’clock headed towards Yellowstone. After a long drive, including a twenty mile washboarded dirt road that Google sent me down, I stopped in Cody, WY and am going to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot. There are about twenty RVs, including four Sprinter vans, and just as many cars and trucks that decided to do the same thing. So I get to look forward to a night of listening to traffic driving by, two generators running as I write this and parking lot lights. Definitely need to figure out some kind of blinds. Another thing for the list.

Miles Driven: 524
Time Driving: 10 hr 8 min

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