Onward to So-Dak

Saturday, May 29. We wake up at the Holiday Inn in Cody – one day into our trip. Today we are headed to Hermosa, South Dakota, a small town just outside Rapid City, to visit old best friends, the Langerman’s. Here you see the rest of those nifty no-sew window treatments in the motel lobby –

“Hey, let’s go! What are you doing photographing the curtains in the lobby when we have a six hour drive ahead?” David says, anxious to hit the road. I’m, admittedly, firing on about two cylinders, being deprived of my usual dose of strong morning coffee.

Here’s another photo I took of Wild Bill Cody in statue form in front of the Museum.

The base of the statue has his birth and death dates.

We’re on the road now. We pass a bumper sticker that says:

Wag more
Bark Less

Which seems do-able, at least for the moment, as I gaze at the scenery …

What reason do I have to be cranky? Even if I am coffee-deprived.

The clouds have their story to tell.

Mother Earth meets Father Sky.

Which keeps resonating with me as we drive. ‘Mother Earth’ and ‘Father Sky’ are honored and revered by the Plains Indians – which I had learned much about at the W.F. Cody Museum.

We’re rolling along, listening to The song, “We’ve only Just Begun” by the Carpenters:

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way.

I’m wagging.

Before the rising sun we fly
So many roads to choose …

Of which, we apparently chose the road

to Dirty Annie’s. (????)

We’re now entering the Big Horn Scenic Byway…

It’s scenic all right. Are you kidding? Buses and outbuildings?

Entering Greybull now.

Even this tiny town has an interminably long stop light.

We turn left on 14 toward Sheridan.

94 miles. No problem.

Oh boy …

Rain.

Entering Shell now.

Population 50. Where?

Who is putting on more of a show? Mother Earth?

or Father Sky?

The clouds greet us

as we ascend into Bighorn National Forest.

Through rock cliffs …

Hey! How did that car get there?

We keep climbing

until we reach the snow line.

And a warning:

Did you see it flashing? I’m not exactly hot on the idea of spending the night back in Greybull.

Didn’t think to bring our skis.

Good thing we didn’t make this trip any earlier this year.

We’ve reached the Granite summit.

Elevation 9033 feet.

We’re heading back down now.

Oh boy. It was inevitable:

Road construction.

Yeah, pay attention because fines are doubled in work zones.

Going down, down, down, uh, how many miles?

Smokin!

Watch for fallen rock? Great. I suppose we should watch for falling rocks, too?

Clouds add an element of mystery

as we reach Bighorn Overlook.

We look down into the valley toward Sheridan.

Headed down … .

Through rock cliffs

that are 280-325 million years old.

Descending fast

into greener pastures.

Past drowsy horses.

June Earth meets June Sky.

How many June Earth-Sky scenes can you process at once?

We pull into Dayton now.

It’s a quaint little town.

Home of the Crazy Woman Saloon.

In the heartland of America.

We head on to I-90 with the pedal to the metal;

Toward Buffalo and Gillette.

Buffalo just ahead now.

We can tell we’re there because, uh,

of that herd of buffalo in the median?

Well it sure looks like it.

Ancient petrified buffalo? Guess that makes sense. In ‘Buffalo’.

We finally arrive in Gillette. Starving. With our food stuffs depleted.

There’s nothing but empty wrappers and garbage left in the food bag up front by my feet. Okay, so, maybe I’m not as starving as David and Megan.

We pull off the freeway into the Flying J, where we gas up and enter the restaurant.

“Hey Megan!” I say. “Sit across from me in the booth and I’ll take your picture.”

“What are you doing, mom?”

“Well, I wouldn’t turn around and look just now, but there is a whole baseball team of strapping young men just about your age sitting in the four booths behind you. Pose for a picture with them!”

“Mom! Stop taking pictures! You’re embarrassing me.”

“Yeah, well I just got that young man’s attention.”

David intercedes: “Settle yourself down, Jody. Maybe we should have dropped you off back there at the Crazy Woman’s Saloon.”

Not to worry. I am able to settle myself down with some comfort food from the menu.

and some comfort dessert.

I refrain from taking more photos. Well, except for this one.

During which, at this point, Megan is obviously ignoring me.

We order and eat. Along with the team.

The team is the Rapid City Stars. An American Legion team. Are they on their way to a game or had they just finished? Judging from their exhuberance I’d guess they have just won a game.

They are leaving now, I know, because my iphone captures them in abstract.

They pile into that dark van and speed away.

Time for us to speed away too.

On the rest of our trek to Rapid City we pass trains, oil wells, road construction, cows, deer crossings, and the threat of icy bridges. I know because I captured them all in the next 30 photos on my iphone.

We enter South Dakota

into more awe-inspiring landscapes.

Something in the front seat is gnawing on my leg.

We finally arrive in Hermosa, a hilly, wooded community about fifteen miles south of Rapid City. The Langerman’s greet us with their usual generosity and let us take over the newly completed bottom story of their three-story home. We enjoy their 5-star accommodations for the next three nights.

Here is Megan in vacation mode, sitting opposite a big screen HD TV.

Life is good.

Oh, did I tell you that from here we head to Boulder, Colorado?

3 Responses to “Onward to So-Dak”

  1. Rene Says:

    I enjoyed the virtual trip and pictures. I am glad I didn’t have to make that drive. I am looking forwar to reading the next chapter…..

  2. Miss Karen Says:

    Hey what’s with the no coffee in Cody, anyway? No coffee? No COFFEE? NO coffee? 😦 [She said, showing off her hip, cool, digital persona.]

    LOVED the comfort food menu. Attended a family reunion in Guernsey, Wyoming, back in my vegetarian days and discovered that it is impossible to order anything in Wyoming without meat in it.

    “I’ll have a salad, please.”
    “Beef or chicken.”
    “Hold the meat.”
    “It comes with beef or chicken.”
    “Uh, chicken, then.”
    (Salad comes with chicken IN BEEF GRAVY on top.)
    “WTF!???”
    “Mom, settle down, you’re embarrassing me.”

    More! We want more episodes!

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