All You Can Eat

21 July 2008

All You Can Eat

We have been startled by just how wonderful the state of Wyoming is, and we only saw the briefest glimpse of it. It has become one of my favourite places in the United States and I'm sure that we'll be coming back.

Wishing that we had had more time to explore, our wagon rolled north out of Douglas towards the border with neighboring South Dakota.

We passed through Shawnee, a kink in the map, stopping only for a few minutes to make photographs, then followed signs for Lost Springs. This town must really be lost because we missed it completely.

As AT&T seems not to have expanded its operations into this part of Wyoming there was no mobile signal to be found. Stopping in Lusk, we parked across the street from The Covered Wagon Motel so that Alex could hijack their WiFi to make a call via Skype.

Walking around Lusk for a few minutes to give him some privacy, we stopped to stare in the window of a Game Processor, seemingly another term for a taxidermist. On the floor inside, a forlorn buffalo head stared woefully at the ceiling.

The distance to our next campground outside Custer, South Dakota did not take as long to drive as I’d originally thought. With the sky blue and the temperature in the high eighties, the prospect of going underground was really appealing.

The Jewel Caves, second longest cave system in the world, is a breathing cave that keeps at a steady forty-nine degrees and ninety-five percent humidity, just what a hot body needs.

We plumped for the Scenic Tour, a one and a half hour underground walking tour that that covers just half a mile of the 141 miles of explored caves and tunnels and involves walking up and down about four-hundred steps.

Jewel Cave, its size and the story of its discovery and exploration are impressive but we all felt that the displays of crystal formations were less varied and interesting than we have seen before in Cabrespine southern France on previous holidays.

Cabrespine may not be as big in scale or length, but just like an All You Can Eat buffet, bigger is not always best.

By Andy Clarke

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