May 24, 2010

A Little Hail in West Yellowstone

Today we got one of several hail storms which hit the area. Luckily, we did not have any damage.

A few of these hail storms came at night and covered the ground with several inches that you could still see the next morning.

Chatfield thought it might be safer up here just in case it got much deeper.

For more pictures around West Yellowstone, click here .

To be continued...

May 22, 2010

Yellowstone National Park

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park in May are here to view the animals of Yellowstone.

Animals are seen in virtually every open field and on most hillsides.

The bald eagle can be seen all summer long.

In May, bison and elk alike can easily be seen from the road in the safety of your car.

The animals primary activity is eating.

As summer progresses, the animals will venture farther from human territory as the snows of winter melt up in the mountains, making food more easily accessible there.

More eating.

If they aren't eating, they are likely to be staring at you wondering what the heck you are.

And sometimes you will find them sitting down and resting...both old and young alike.
For more pictures, click here .

To be continued...

May 7, 2010

Buffalo Wy. to West Yellowstone Mt.

What a difference a day can make. The winds had stopped and the sun was out. Ahead is where we had to stop on the highway the day before. You could see the road today.

It's hard not to snap a few pictures on the way. Look at the lake in the distance.

You know you are getting closer to West Yellowstone when you are greeted by bison.

We made it to West Yellowstone and set up camp next to co-workers who also came back this year.

Nice view from our front window.

For more pictures, click here .

To be continued...

May 6, 2010

Rapid City to Buffalo, Wyoming

Today we headed out to what we thought was going to to be West Yellowstone, Montana. Notice the large turtle in the sky.

Looks like a great day; the road just goes right into the sky.

One thing you can count on this time of the year is that the weather can change at any time. That is just what happened today with winds sometimes reaching 40 to 50 miles an hour. We drove right into a blizzard.

Across the northern part of the United States, many interstates have gates which close during bad weather to prevent motorists from getting stranded. As we approached Buffalo, Wyoming, we encountered said closed gates. The person manning the gates told us that the snow was up to the bottom of our rv mirrors ahead and there was no way we were going any further today.

We headed into Buffalo and found this campground for the night. Once we were settled for the night, the sun came out.

Another camper that stayed here for the night was not so lucky. While driving, their trailer was caught by the wind, jackknifed and hit their truck in the side.
For more pictures, click here .

To be continued...

May 4, 2010

Wall Drug, South Dakota

Returning to Rapid City from the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site on I-90, the big dinosaur on the north side of the Interstate signals that Wall Drug is dangerously close.

Wall Drug is a huge multi-department store advertising itself on billboards for over 500 miles on Interstate 90. This pleasant "tourist trap" has something for everybody.

Besides the vast array of items for sale, Wall Drug features quite a collection of taxidermy animals.

The inside of Wall Drug reminds one of The Old West.

Marlon cozies up to a Wall Drug floozy.

Doug takes a ride on the Wall Drug jackalope.

On this visit to Wall, we strayed across the street to the Wild Life Museum to see some usual AND unusual animals.

The many types of antelopes...

Doug and the wildebeest.
The unusual fur bearing walleye only breeds by the flash of lightning.

The very usual Whitetail Deer Rump.
For more pictures, click here pictures 122-142.

To be continued...

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota

Today we visited the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site just north of Badlands National Park.

You have to call ahead to make reservations to visit the Site as only a limited number of visitors can tour each day.

Sometimes you don't realize that with just a few turns of a couple of keys, it could all be over.

These missile sites are located all over sparsely-populated areas. Along I-90 in Western South Dakota alone, travelers pass nearly a dozen missile sites.

This might just look like a farmhouse from the road but actually it is a nuclear launch facility.

The National Park Service took it over after it was decommissioned and the National Historic Site was established in 1999.

Visitors will find the site just as it was when it was left. The tour begins by following a Park Ranger about 15 miles from the Visitor Center to this location.

This ain't your average farmhouse.

Once out of your car you will notice this large antenna used to communicate with the outside world. Cows often grazed right up to the fence.

This is the facility manager's sleeping quarters. He was the only one on site with a private room.
You can't help but notice that government does everything big...notice the 220 volt toaster. And just what do you toast with that?

This is the dining and day room.

Security Control Center is where an eye was kept on the front gate. Staff also entered this room to access the elevator to the launch facilities.

Doug boards the elevator to make his trip into the launch control center.

Once well underground you will notice the blast door to enter the control room. The door says it all.

Looking up the elevator shaft gives you an idea of just how far down we are.

This is what we will be entering into once we go through the blast doors.

Looking down the hallway after entering the blast doors.

Looking into the launch control room.

Notice the seat belts on the chairs to keep you in during a blast.

With the turn of the keys, nuclear war would begin.

Unlike the movie "War Games", if one person would not turn the key the other person would not hold a gun on them and make them turn the key. The launch could still take place with the assistance of planes above.

These are large shock absorbers which keep the capsule stable in the event of a blast.

One missileer at a time could grab some zzz's.

Next time you are driving by a farmhouse it might not be what you think it is.

Our next stop was at the missile silo itself.

Missiles are located several miles away from the launch facilities. This way a direct hit on the launch facility will not take out the missiles, which can still be launched by plane. One launch facility can launch several missiles from several locations.

It just looks like a fenced-in field, but the fenced area is protected by radar from intruders. Intrude and be greeted shortly by a security team.

This antenna sticking up is part of the radar for detecting intruders.

The glass dome has been placed over the missile to allow visitors to peer down into the silo.

This concrete cover is what you would see instead of glass. During a launch, a catapult would pull this cover off.

Looking though the glass, you notice the missile is quite a distance down. Luckily, this missile's warhead is unarmed.
For more pictures, click here pictures 1-121.

To be continued...