Posts Tagged ‘WY’

Hot Springs, South Dakota

August 23, 2013

So … we’re in the center of Hot Springs, South Dakota, walking around to stretch our legs, turn a corner ….

right into a Close Encounter, all right –


with 161 steps!

“You’re kidding, right? Are we really ascending those stairs?” I ask David.

“Yep. Why not? We have some time to kill. I wonder what’s up there.”

Up, up, up, we go. 77 stairs later


we’re halfway up. We drop onto a bench to rest and then ascend the next 84 stairs to the top. Whew!


Great view! Hilly, dreamy, lightheaded Hot Springs.

Further up on top we discover a massive three-story brick building. Impeccably preserved.


It was a grade school established in 1893.


and is now the Pioneer Museum.


The Principal’s office


now houses a 1900 state-of-the-art kitchen.


Complete with a wood-burning stove and wooden ice box.

Every classroom contains a different early 1900’s exhibit


illuminated by daylight streaming through stately magnificent windows. (I might have ended up at Harvard if I had started my education at this Elementary school.)

We’re in the center hall on the second floor now.

Every 1900’s woman needs a spinning wheel


or two.

Save your old clothing and every scrap of fabric to braid into your living room rug.

Every home needs a big ol’ piano, too, don’t you think?


You know, in the least, as a piece of handsome furniture handy for displaying family photos. If you do play, you might consider the piano rule we have at our house, which is, not to spend more time dusting the piano than you (I) actually spend playing the piano. Just a thought. A piano this size might require some pretty heavy dusting, is all I’m sayin’…

Here we have a crazy quilt


The visual for ‘Inside a woman’s brain’ in 1903?

An outer building houses 2 school bells.



Hey, this one has a rope! I should pull it! “R-R-R-I-I-I-N-N-N-G-G!” WHOA! Wish I hadn’t done that. People are exiting the main building – gawking at us. David is grimacing. Megan is holding her ears. What can I say? “School’s dismissed!”

What’s this thing? …


An iron lung!


An iron lung is an airtight metal tank that encloses all of the body except the head and forces the lungs to inhale and exhale through regulated changes in air pressure.

I had heard about iron lungs in association with polio as a young child but had never seen one until now, or even known anyone personally who had contracted polio. Although, the father of one of my second grade classmates wore braces on his legs because of muscle damage from polio. The polio virus also paralyzed muscle groups in the chest. The iron lung or ‘tank repirators’ kept people breathing artificially until they could breathe on their own, a feat that was not accomplished until 1927.

Read more about it in this link:

In the 1930’s an iron lung cost about $1500.00 – the average price of a home!

Well, time to put a wrap on this. We’re approaching our destination now – visiting our good friends, the Langerman’s, who live south of Rapid City.


Yeah, well, we have to find our way to that roof. You see it there, buried in the hillside.

Classic Cars, Coal Trains, and a ………

August 9, 2013

Part 3 of our road trip in June….

Let’s see … it’s the morning of June 14, 24 hours into our trip. (David wonders if I’m going to spend more time blogging about the trip than we actually spent on the trip.)

We hit Highway 25 from Casper, WY, destination:  Rapid City, South Dakota.

We pull off into a rest area and meet up with a mini classic car show


en route to a bigger car show in Scott’s Bluff, Nebraska.


“An early 60’s Corvette.”  (David is naming the models off to me – having come of age with these ‘classic’ era cars.)


“That’s a Ford Fairlane 500. Late fifties”


’57 maybe.  Look at that continental kit on the back!” David seems mezmerized.

“Oh, that thing built around the spare tire?” I ask.  I am pretty clueless with late fifties car terminology.

“Yep. And that fender skirt! What a beauty!”

(Hmmm …Fender skirt, eh?  Every woman should have one …)

We met a lot of coal trains –


This one is empty.


… headed back to Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to load up more coal to deliver to power plants mostly up and down America’s east coast. According to the BLM link here,
over 100 coal trains enter Wyoming empty and leave loaded and bound for all points daily. The largest U.S. coal mine, Black Thunder, lies within the Wyoming portion of the Powder River Basin.

Wyoming as a whole, accounts for 40% of all coal used in domestic electricity generation.


Moving on ….  we’re driving along and are curious enough about that welcoming sign to pull into Lost Springs and check it out:


Population … 



Looks more rigorous than that.


Well, there you have it.  A Post Office/Antique Store




a bar. All you need for a town, really.

Let’s see … one person to run the Post Office/Antique Store, one person to run the bar, and 2 regular patrons to keep them going?

Don’t overlook the bicentennial plaque on the entrance of town.


Lost Springs hails as the smallest Wyoming bicentennial town.  Hey, there’s apparently a spring one mile south, the Chicago and Northwest RR came through here in 1866, they built a Grade School and High School, and in 1911 they had a jail, town hall, newspaper, and bank.  The community developed around the Rosin Coal Mine (1909 – 1923) and in 1920 the official estimated census was 120.

Well, the current estimated census has almost doubled while we’re here.

Onward now … through rolling grasslands

Past another lonely house


To the next big town,  Lusk, where we stop for lunch.

We decide to visit the local museum on the main drag – The Stagecoach Museum


I just took a photo of the Stagecoach out in front of the museum – This link to the museum includes a photo of the museum

There is a Wyoming Standard (one room) School in back of the museum


Inside the museum they have a gasoline iron on display:


David’s mother, Marie, (who lived to 99) used a gasoline iron early in her marriage. I dunno. The thought of gasoline sloshing around while I press that flaming hot iron over a wrinkled garment scares the bageebies out of me. How would you keep from setting off an explosion, setting yourself, or your house on fire? I have a hard enough time avoiding burns (myself, garments, ironing board cover) with an electric iron.

And what have we here?


Why, it’s a party line. (Which David also recognized from childhood.) You know, where the phone rings and you pick it up and listen to someone else’s conversation. And they, yours. It’s a PARTY! (in 1950)

On the road again. Oh we must be approaching a town


Haha. Very funny. Let me guess. The tourist activity was the tornado that blew through here yesterday?

A ‘build the sign and the activities will come’ – kind of vision for the future?

We’re back in nothingness


as far as the eye can see.

We finally get to another town, Hot Springs. We have a little time to kill, and David parks on this quaint little street and suggests we get out and stretch our legs a little.

“Okay, honey.”


He rounds a corner with Megan close behind. I’m fiddling around, getting my flip-flops on, I grab my purse, get my phone camera ready in case we see anything of interest…

What the

Heck! It’s a … you hear that music? See those ‘la’ ‘day’ ‘di’ ‘du’ ‘doe’ notes flashing at us in colors? Playing faster… now…


“David, stop!” “Come back!” “NO-OOOO!” “You’re too close!”
to an Encounter of the Third Kind!

June 14, 2013. Hot Springs, South Dakota. 150 miles from Devil’s Tower. Think about it.

Cattle, Gargoyles, and Oil Rigs

July 28, 2013

So, where did I leave off? Oh yeah, lunch at the ‘Cafe’ in Dubois, Wyoming. We’re back on the road now – headed east on Highway 26.

200 miles to Casper…


The outside temperature is 95 degrees.


Beautiful Wyoming!

“Slow down, honey. Cattle drive ahead!”


I decide to roll down my window and capture it on video. (Click on photo below)

Flying by a cattle drive at 35 mph. Now, watch the video again, while imagining your head out the window getting hammered by a high wind in what feels like a 120-degree convection oven.

“The video’s lame!” you say? No. It’s MOO-velous!


Don’t ask me. We passed it.


And more cows…

Oh. We’re entering a town.


Left to Thermopolis? What, they have a monopoly on hot springs or something?

“Where are we?” I ask David.


There’s even a bar on the main strip ahead.


Yeah, well, how many Lucky Lounges have you been to?

A few miles further we see these formations


What have we here?


Gargoyles? Trolls? Did there used to be a bridge across here?

I asked David what he thought they were.

“Petrified Pac Man chasing a squirrel.”

We passed several oil wells


‘Rich Wyoming.’

And a lone house


surrounded by a vast emptiness.

‘Lonely Wyoming.’

“How would you like to live there, Megan?”


David pulls over to stretch. There is actually a sign at the pull-out.


“No hunting?” Hunting for what? Beetles?

We are entering Casper now, where we will bunk for the night.


We eat dinner at Sanford’s Grub & Pub, a few blocks from our motel. Where (it turns out) the food is less than stellar and the décor is … shall I say, not understated?

For example, yes, that is a Brontosaurus


greeting you as you pull into the parking lot..

Hey David, pose in front of Bugs Bunny for my blog!”


Fat chance.


“Thank you, Megan. What a sport!!”

We enter the restaurant. Thank goodness we don’t have to sit and wait for a table. I feel a little uncomfortable with this couch:


Although I have never given much thought to American Flag etiquette, I sure wonder if this couch is in flagrant (and gross!) violation of it. “Hey, how about we upholster a near-exact replica of ‘Old Glory’ across a couch so people can park their butts all over it.” I dunno. It just doesn’t sit right, if you know what I mean.

We’ re back outside now in front of the restaurant. I ham it up with “Charlie”


and ‘Hank’.


Who is really rather sweet.


Just the kind of guy I like. (David knows.) The quiet type. One who keeps his mouth shut.

Life is good.