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Old 09-27-2012, 05:34 AM   #51
Lost in Space
manfromthestix's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Lexington, Virginia
Oddometer: 2,264
Hello Bumble Bee, the week-end before was their last open week for the season. The keepers took pity on me, mostly because they hadn't taken the "Come in We're Open" sign down, I was alone and the sun was going down . Glad I didn't call ahead . They were so nice as I was setting up my tent they brought wood over to me so I wouldn't have to carry it down to the site.

Sometimes the lack of planning works in your favor, eh?

I took a long road trip one Spring from my home in Lander, Wyoming to see my son in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I stopped on the way to camp at Devil's Tower in NE Wyoming, just East of the Black Hills and Sturgis, South Dakota. When I rolled into the campground there was no one at the entrance to take my money, the C-store and gas station were closed, and there wasn't another soul in the entire park, so I had the campground all to myself. Well, that is until about 100 Boy Scouts rolled in and set up camp just across the gravel road from me! So much for peace and quiet... I was a Scout when I was a kid so I actually enjoyed being around them and yakking with some of them and the Scout Master. The kids were pulling some of the same stunts that I did when I was their age, like throwing an un-opened can of pork 'n beans in the fire and letting it explode. Fun!

What an interesting contest, and it's cool that it is an annual event and you travel to it! I'm jealous because I just can't grow a beard to save my life, at my best I'd never even qualify for the scruff category. I feel genetically cheated, but I don't spend too much time grooming so I guess that's a fair trade.

I was very interested in your earier trip to Oil City, PA where "it" all started in the US. I'm a geologist with training in oil and gas geology, but have worked as an environmental geologist most of my career doing clean-ups of groundwater from (among other things) petroleum spills and leaks. It's been kind of a hobby of mine learning about the past practices in the industry that have led to some pretty severe contamination issues that we are still dealing with today, and I'll bet there are a few issues at that site still! In the Lander, Wyoming area there were a number of oil seeps coming from the ground near where the Oregon Trail (and Mormon Trail and others) traversed the Southern Rocky Mountains over South Pass. The travelers used to stop at these seeps and dig out the grease to lube the axles on their wagons and carts. Some enterprising persons then decided to dig some pits and recover the oil for fuel (mostly to burn for heat, etc.) and then, after the internal combustion engine was developed, they began drilling shallow wells to tap into the oil. Well, back then they didn't have electric pumps and high-pressure pipelines and big storage tanks, so they just let the oil flow freely out of the wells and into holding ponds (until reservoir pressure had been depeted and it wouldn't flow anymore). The oil was then "transported" to the nearest rail head at Lander via ditches where it accumulated in ponds (usually cut-off meander channels along the river) where it was stored until the next train with tank cars came through. If no train came along in a timely manner the oil simply overflowed the holding pond and floated away on the river . Can you imagine the smell, the damage to the environment, the fire hazards, etc. of this "management" style?? We've come a long way, and we're still dealing with the effects of this. And, those shallow wells all along the eastern front of the Wind River Mountains are still producing oil. It's the same story wherever the early "developers" discovered shallow oil deposits and went after the "black gold".

Anyway, I really enjoy thinking about the history of the areas I'm riding through and enjoyed your write-up about Oli City! I live in Virginia now and am fascinated by visiting sites our fore-fathers pioneered and "developed". I'm continually amazed by how ferking TOUGH those people were and how resilient our planet is. We visited an 1840's iron smelting site last weekend, very cool and thought-provoking. We live in the middle of some of the most hotly contested land in the Civil War so there are lots of battlefields around, but we don't visit them too often because they make us kind of sad... Lots of suffering and hardship.

So, do you still have the Harley from your earlier ride? My neighbor in Wyoming had one identical to that and rode the wheels off it. Are you liking the Beemer? When I brought my first BMW (an 1100RT ) home my wife took one look at it and asked, very seriously, "Will I ever see you again?" Yeah, baby, but only if you grab your helmet and come along! I've got an 1150GS now that will literally take us anywhere we want to go, just love it!

I really like your idea of appending an earlier ride report to continue your adventures rahter than posting a new thread each time, so if you don't mind I'm going to copy your idea for future ride reports I do! More please!

"If it doesn't blow smoke and make noise, it isn't a sport!" - radio ad for shop in Bozeman, MT
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