Three billboards outside of…Wyoming?

Republican candidates are falling over each other to declare themselves. There is the “Actual conservative republican” the “True conservative republican”, the “Constitutional conservative”, and then someone whose posters just say “Fossil fuels – yes!”

I’m not sure if any of those are code for “not a Trumper” or if they’re all code for “not like Liz Cheney”.

Then there is the billboard with a picture of a six month old baby asking “What about my choice?” This one is unclear on so many levels. First, by law a six month old baby has no choices. Its parents decide for it unless a court appoints someone else to decide for it. A six month old baby clearly is not capable of making many choices.

Clearly this is an anti-choice billboard. Do they know the difference between a zygote, an embryo, a fetus, and a six month old baby? Are they prepared to assume the care (physical, emotional, social, financial) of all of those children whose birth they want to force? It currently costs about ¼ million dollars to raise a child in the US. This does not include the cost of post-secondary education or training.

On another note, a Harley rider passed me the other day with a few gentle beeps of the horn and an enthusiastic thumb up. A semi passed with a quick toot of the air horn. A local cyclist going the other way gave a yell and a triumphantly raised fist. These moments sustain me for miles.

The cafe in the campground at Devil’s Tower opened for us with a special Cycle America menu. The best thing (not) on the menu was ice water. By 7:30 PM the temperature had plummeted to 91 degrees (33 C).

After a couple of Greg’s margarita’s (see 2018 post for “Reba’s Cantina” by Free Hot Lunch – this is “Greg’s Cantina”) and the second half of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I made my way back to my tent, getting lost on the way. It was well past my bedtime – nearly 10:30 when I got to the tent. I awoke before 5. All the water in the campground was shut down but came on at 5. I went back to bed, sleeping in until after 6. Gaspar and Dana were on the way to the airport by 7. We could not talk them into quitting their jobs to stay with us.

Small cave in Devil’s Tower

A front blew in over night – strongly enough to knock my bike over. I needed a blanket before dawn. A cool and pleasant morning with a forecast 15 degrees cooler than Saturday. (We’ve gone from 35 degrees in West Yellowstone to 98 degrees here in a week.) Nonetheless, we set out for the tower early. We hiked to the base of Devil’s Tower and followed a trail around the tower, stopping to watch climbers a few times. There are several named routes up the rock. In this heat, I would opt for one on the shady side.

Climbers lower left (atop tilted column) and slightly higher on right (atop straight column).

We hiked through grasslands and in and out of woods. The tower was closer than it appeared from the campsite, but disappeared and reappeared at intervals.

“The Window” – The missing section of rock lies just in front of us where it fell, as if calving from a glacier, some time ago.
Alien spaceship about to land on top of Devil’s Tower


Nothing like a KOA/RV park to bring a new focus to the trip. In the high country we saw a lot of Mercedes Sprinter vans, which seem like a civilized alternative if you have tons of money (tall enough to stand in, but not like the behemoths we see here). Here we saw an RV with a foldout deck in back with two different gas cooking appliances. Some of these RVs are big enough that the parents could have a cocktail party in the front while the kids have a slumber party in back. They have slide out sections to make them even wider. It’s scary to think that no special license is required to drive these monsters – how many drivers are aware of how long and how wide they are while driving?

Monday morning we climb out of this valley, cross the border into South Dakota, climb through Spearfish Canyon and prepare for Needles Highway, the Black Hills, and The Badlands.

Breaking news

Sunday night I was watching “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. (I hadn’t seen the beginning in years.) The sky was darkening dramatically onscreen as the real sky mimicked it. Lightning began to appear in the distance. My tent was open so I left the movie and walked down to the campground quickly. The wind increased dramatically. I thought better of a quick trip to the bathroom – good thing, as I think my tent would have been gone when I returned. I got inside and tried to hold the tent up against the onslaught. Hail began striking my hands so I held up the poles instead. The windward side of the tent was flat against my body. Hail began to pile up at the base of the rainfly – see photo taken once it stopped.

Minutes later it was over. A gentle rain fell. The moon shone in a clearing sky. Per the National Weather Service, the wind was 60 mph. Now to sleep?