Thursday, September 01, 2011

Jenn's Big Summer Adventure: Part 7 - Devil's Tower & Windy Wyoming

Thursday (9/1) - as I packed up, I mentally reviewed my plans for the next two days on the road. Planning with Google Maps allows you to figure out actual mileage, and planning on paper makes that a bit more challenging - but you get to see more notes on the maps about features and attractions. I had imagined I would go through Deadwood, visit Devil's Tower and spend the night in Sheridan before heading into Yellowstone for a Friday night reservation at Old Faithful.

One thing I did not take into consideration was dawdling or being tired. I had to unpack my bag so I could ship off a box home from Custer - my lightweight sleep sack, my GPS, gifts and a bunch of other items - all went into a flat rate box.

While I was sorting my goods, a quartet of motorcyclists with California plates parked up along side me so that one of them could do the same thing. "When I saw you here, I thought it was a good idea to send some stuff back home" - some stuffed animals and a bat house!

I enjoyed the short distance up to Deadwood - and made a short stop at a motorcycle shop to borrow a squirt of lube for my chain before going on to check out the "historic" parts. It reminded me of what would happen if you Fisherman's Wharf'd a Sierra Gold Country town like Auburn or Colfax - same brick buildings. Actually, it was sort of like Bourbon St - most of the tourist entertainment seemed to be drinking or buying trinkets.



I made tracks for Wyoming, stopping in Spearfish to get something to drink at grocery store where a sign proudly proclaimed that jobs in the meat department were paying something south of $6/hour. The terrain was increasingly flat and when I arrived in Wyoming, I stopped at the Welcome Center where I was made to feel very welcome with loads of helpful assistance from the concierge, wi-fi, cozy chairs, air conditioning and very clean bathrooms. It was like a lodge or hotel lobby - I couldn't believe how nice it was - outside, however, was pretty desolate.

At the concierge's recommendation, I stopped in Aladdin for gas - if you're looking for a business investment, this historic general store is for sale. They had some great jewelry in a case - but I couldn't justify $600 for a silver and turquoise bracelet. It seems like many of these folks live off the tourism that passes through during Sturgis - but not much else is happening at other times.


You have to go in and tell the lady what your pump reads! This reminds me of a gas station off Orr Springs Rd...


Pretty soon - I got to whip out my National Parks Pass - yay! I was greeted by tiny furry aliens.








My plan was to get to Sheridan - but it seemed later in the day than I expected and the wind made it feel like was making no progress at all. My neck was killing me from all the wind blowing cross-wise on my helmet visor, making it vibrate and by the time I got to Gilette - I was ready for a nap! It was still very light out and seemed too early to give up for the day. As I fueled up, a woman parked a pickup truck in front of the gas station and the dog in the back was SO pretty - I had to go meet her. She was a cute little thing with one blue and one brown eye, but after letting me pet her - she got all Greta Garbo as I pulled out my camera.



Shortly, the dog's human chauffeur came out of the store and we started talking. This pup was a rescue - just the sweetest thing. Her human asked where I was going and laughed when I said I was trying to get to Sheridan - suggesting Buffalo might be more realistic given all the wind, and asked what I was looking for when I got there. I said I would look for a hotel and if I was lucky, a chiropractor. She told me she was actually a chiropractor and offered to help. I took her up on it but she had second thoughts - "How do you know I'm REALLY a chiropractor?" Well, I admitted I didn't - and asked if she had a business card. She pulled out her appointment book, opened her wallet, "Oops, that's my concealed carry permit!" and a number of other things and I just waved it off. As soon as she put her hands on me, I would know if she knew what she was doing, so after warning me "You'll get dirty!" - I was on my back on the sidewalk and she was kneeling on the parking lot by my head. She was very impressed with my tight neck muscles (ha ha!) and gave me one of the best neck adjustments - first time, each side, no pain - that I have had in ages. I swear - that quickie neck adjustment really took care of so much of the pain that had been building up my first week of travel!

Despite the exhausting wind from Gilette to Buffalo - I was really worried that it would undo the adjustment - my neck felt fine the next day. This was possibly the worst wind I have had to deal with on my motorcycle yet - just in terms of constant blowing. My fuel efficiency dropped from 50+ to 34 mpg! I had to pin it just to keep the bike upright at 70 mph! By the time I got to Buffalo, it was just after sunset and I kept going past all the chain hotels to the end of the main commercial strip - looked to either direction and on my right saw a little motel with cabins and piles of flowers - I headed there.

Blue Gables ( - the lady at the front desk declared, "We're the cutest and the cheapest!" as an affable big black lab ambled up to greet me and drop toys at my feet. Sold. I'm such a sucker for cute animals, perky concierges and flowers!

I headed to my room and dropped my stuff and unloaded the bike before it got dark. I chatted with a neighbor at a nearby cabin who was working on an Earthship project ( I drank a yummy beer he gave me and made up some miso and noodles for dinner, watching weather reports and feelng pretty fortunate that I had missed some rainstorms.

Day 8: 300 miles

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