It turned out that I have not had the free time I thought I might to get some blog posts up. But today I have a "day off" from my caretaker duties and thought I could get a few more pics up of the drive out to Rochester. When last I wrote, we had only made it to Bozeman MT. Here is my friend and relief driver, Suzanne, waiting for me to finish loading up so we can get back on the road. Suzanne always has a Sudoku puzzle handy to fill the time. Farewell Rainbow Motel - we are headed for South Dakota!
Interstate 90 starts deviating south as you near the southeast corner of the state of Montana. Wide-open spaces with the occasional interesting rock formations, and on this day, lots of bugs splatting the windshield.
And as you head south, the state of Wyoming looms on the horizon. It was a hazy day so it was hard to see the mountain ranges adding visual relief to the rather barren countryside.
Once we crossed into Wyoming, we started noticing patches of red in the outcroppings along the hillsides.
They must be mixing this in with the resurfacing materials used on the highway. All of a sudden, the road surface changed from grey/black to red.
There was one spot of boulders, very brief and only on one side of the highway - no clue of why.
At Sheridan, WY, the road wings east again. It was definitely heating up this day. The farther east, the hotter it got, until the external car thermometer said it was over 100. We stopped at a rest area not far from Gillette, and was smacked by the oven-like heat. But I loved these mountains (or buttes?) that surrounded the rest area. Again, this formation was limited to a very small area.
About this time, the relief driver was ready for some caffeine, saying, "Maybe we can find some coffee, maybe a nice latte..." Oh for Pete's sake, just SAY it - you want a Starbucks! We'd planned a stop for gas in Gillette, but she didn't think we'd be able to find one there, so something similar would suffice. Oh ye of little faith - we pulled into the gas station, got out of the car and there was a Starbucks right across the street!
After our coffee break with snack (omg - the cranberry orange scones!), it was back on the road for the last leg of the day which would bring us into South Dakota. More red soil peeking out.
Finally we reach South Dakota and their famous Black Hills. My mother grew up in this part of South Dakota, and we made many visits back here when I was a kid. This is the land of Mount Rushmore, The Passion Play,Deadwood and for Harley Motorcycle fans, Sturgis!
There was quite a bit of smoke billowing up from those mountains - we're assuming a forest fire although we couldn't find out any info about it.
Here's our destination for day 2: Day's Inn in Spearfish, SD. My mother spent most of her growing up years here and graduated from the teacher's college here. She met my father while he was stationed nearby with the Conservation Corp. And my grandparents were still living here when they died. A lot of family history here. But trust me - I wouldn't want to live here! It had cooled some but it was still very hot and VERY windy.
We capped off the day by heading for a restaurant called The Bum Steer. Suzanne was hankering for a steak and we crossed our fingers this would be a decent place.
Oh, my, was it! Here's Suzanne's rib-eye.
And my tenderloin medallions.
And don't forget the local beer.
But that's not all. The place was full of art. Um, well this may not be the best example of the art, but when you have a place called The Bum Steer, there's got to be something like this.
Here's the art we spent the entire meal studying. Suzanne could spot 7 or 8 buffalo images mixed in with horses and other animals, I could only spot about 4. A local told me there are as many as 12 in this 6 panel piece if you study it long enough. It is by Colorado artist Kevan Krasnoff - be sure to click on his name to see more of his art which includes ceramics, fused glass, steel, sculpture and other media. Fascinating stuff. And thus ended day two in a wonderful way.
Remember you may click on any picture for a larger view.