Today, mashed potatoes

(If, by the time you finish reading this post, you still don’t understand the title, I’m not gonna help you figure it out.)

Lately we’ve been focused on recovering from our chest colds, and our R&R has coincided with two days of wet, cold and windy weather. In a way, that worked out well — it kept us fairly close to our home on wheels and gave us a chance to spend more time poking around town, a place we’ve truly enjoyed.

Today would be our last real chance to take a South Dakota day trip from our base near Deadwood. We considered Custer State Park, Needles Highway, Crazy Horse and a few others before making our choice.

We decided to drive to Wyoming.

Hopping on I-90 westbound, we stopped briefly at the state welcome station before exiting at Sundance. We followed U.S. Route 14 west to Wyoming Route 24, both beautiful roads with curves and rolls and heart-stopping panoramas. That took us to Wyoming Route 110 and the doorstep of our destination.

Devil’s Tower was America’s first National Monument. Geologically speaking, there’s nothing else like it on Earth and no one knows exactly how it came to be. I’d seen the monolith from a distance while passing through many years ago, but Deb and I decided that we wanted to stand at its base and see it cast against the big Wyoming sky.

Parking at the visitors center is under construction, creating a big-time Charlie Foxtrot. Because we’d brought Scout and Dipstick along, Deb and I had to take turns walking the Tower Trail. (By National Park Service rules, dogs aren’t permitted on the trails.) When we drove back out, the NPS entry station on which we’d seen a “No Fee To Enter” sign earlier was collecting fees as visitors left — no kidding. (We have an “America The Beautiful” lifetime pass, so it didn’t affect us.)

Our experience today was worth every mile and every minute. Like the Badlands, seeing Devil’s Tower up-close answers any questions about why the Indians considered certain places sacred.

As for us regular folks, it’s good to be dwarfed every now and then.


We arrived back at our campground by mid-afternoon. After chilling for an hour or so in the bus, we took a one-dollar trolley ride into town. We figured that parking Mercy on a Saturday night in Deadwood would be a challenge (we were right), and besides, we didn’t have to flip a coin to see who’d be drinking and who’d be driving.

Deb and I took our evening meal outdoors — steak for her, buffalo burger and sweet-potato fries for me. Then I kept a promise to myself and descended below street level to the cigar bar we’d discovered the other day. I savored a great box-pressed cigar and a dark, bourbon-barrel-aged beer.

By the time we were back up on the sidewalk, Deadwood’s street lamps were just coming on. We people-watched while waiting for our trolley home.

We’ve had a remarkable week here — the best of times. Tomorrow we prep for getting back on the road.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath