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Day 10

This rock formation is called the Teapot Dome. The spout has since broken off so it's hard to see now. Compared to the other rock formations that we have seen, this may not seem like much. The interesting part of this one is that it sits on top of the center of one of the largest oil reserves in the country. Also, the area where this was shot is technically considered desert due to the lack of yearly rainfall.

In the several miles around the Teapot, there are hundreds of oil wells working hard. This one, however, is just a relic from the past. The tower isn't that special, but the well's pump arm and supports are completely made of wood.

From desert to the national grasslands.

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Now we have reached the Black Hills country. Rolling hills with beautiful vistas and lush valleys.

Another shot from the Black Hills.

Devils Tower. Remember this from the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"? This formation rises almost 900 feet from its base. It was created when molten lava pushed up into the earth from below and then cooled to form a hard formation. Over years, corrosion took down a whole mountain except this hard lava formation.

After a desert, prairie, and the Black Hills, this ice cream cone was just too hard to pass up. We all stopped and got some.

For the railfans out there, here are some Powder River coal pictures. From Orin, Wy up to Gillette, Wy is the Orin coal line. Union Pacific (UP) and Burlinton Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) share this line. This is the cleanest burning coal in the country and also the largest deposits. More than 50 full coal trains come out of the mines in the area every day. With the empty trains coming back that makes over 100 trains a day in this area. All of these pictures (and more) were taken in about 20 minutes at and around the Black Thunder mine just out of Wright, Wy.

Last Updated July 29, 2003

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