Next stop after the Badlands and a quick cruise by Mt. Rushmore was a day visit to the Devil's Tower in Wyoming. It's not a hugely known site, but any child of the 70's that remembers Richard Dryfus making sculptures in his mashed potatoes will know this place from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was a perfect stop between the Badlands and Missoula as it was hardly off the highway at all and it gave me a chance to get out of the car and stretch my legs for a short hike around the tower. Driving in, it's an impressive site as it seems to just stick out of the middle of nothing but prairie land. It would be interesting to speak to a geologist about how this thing came to protrude out of the middle of nowhere. I was too lazy to listen to the ranger talk and just preferred to hike the loop around it and admire the giant columns that make up the tower. They're actually much bigger than they appear in the first picture. Notice in the second one, the size of the climber working his way up the side.
The prairie road coming into the park is full of adorable prairie dogs, dozens of them that peek their little heads up from their holes in all the open fields. Reminded me of the ones at Big Spring.