Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tour of America - Day Four

Up early to do a couple loads of laundry and post to the blog (finding “free” internet connection to be very frustrating). A quick breakfast, and the kids swam while Papa Bear conducted a conference call and I packed.

Driving west through South Dakota we passed by Dismet, home town of Laura Ingalls Wilder. And more corn. Plus cows. And drove through historic downtown Mitchell, SD, home of the Corn Palace. We stopped at Ruby Tuesday’s for lunch, where T-Bear consumed all of his chicken strips and fries, half my Angus Burger and some left over fries, and the ends of BooBoo’s mini burgers. Growth spurt comin’ on?!?

The Rush Song of the Day was “The Twilight Zone”.

Heading back to the highway after a gas stop, we came upon a convoy of combines.

The kids (all five of them) went nuts, waving and yelling “hello” to Frank (referencing the movie Cars). We had entered wheat country…

On a whim (and prodded by the whining of a certain child who couldn’t handle being cooped up in the car any longer), we swung into the 1880 Town.

In the upstairs of the 14-sided barn built in 1919....

...was a display of props from the movie Dances With Wolves, including a teepee, Two Socks, Cisco, bison, and all kinds of Souix costumes. Outside were a couple dozen buildings, some original, some relocated, and some replicas. Many were “open” to enter and look around, and I was particularly fascinated with the place settings….

The saloon was open for business, complete with a piano player.

There was a gallows behind the jail.

The Cubs mounted a wagon.

Brother Bear checked in guests at the hotel.

And the local newspaper office had several antique presses. BooBoo was very excited about the saws and equipment at the shake and shingle store.

And we all visited the little red school house (everyone rang the bell), outside...

...and inside.

A butterfly mistook BooBoo for a sweet flower (crazy bug!).

There were grasshoppers everywhere, including inside the old bank.

A few observations about the prairie lands of South Dakota, and life in the 1880’s as I imagined it as we toured the little town. Even in the middle of July, it isn’t unbearably hot, but the wind is very strong and incessant. There is a costume shop that will completely outfit you in “authentic” costumes for $5. Although we did not take time to dress out, several other tourists did, and I imagine spending one’s days in those layers of skirts and long sleeves and leather boots in the relative heat and incessant wind had to have been less than comfortable. Food was cooked indoors in wood-burning stoves, which had to have made the house stiflingly hot. Since bathing was not a daily occurrence, I suspect people smelled quite ripe most of the time. Transportation in wagons or stage coaches had to have been very uncomfortable for very long stretches, since you had to cross the enormous vastness of the prairie to get anywhere. All in all, aside from the romanticism portrayed by Hollywood, I’m very happy to live when and where we do.
Just a bit shy of our campsite for the night, we pulled in for gas and some pix with certain Presidents in Rapid City.

We had a few minor losses. T-Bear’s SPIBelt test kit went missing. The cover to the refrigerator access came off somewhere, and the car-top luggage bag ripped open along one seam. And, the sink started leaking again the night before (probably my Bad…I put hot water down the sink). But, having just finished touring what life was like in 1880, seeing the wagons and stage coaches and carriages people got around in during that time, and seeing the enormous vastness of the prairie that folks had to cross to get anywhere…well, I wasn’t about to bitch about a few minor inconveniences. The wind on the prairie is incessant and very strong. And, did I mention incessant?

The Black Hills are gorgeous, no doubt about it. Our campground was high enough up (and quite convenient to Mt. Rushmore) that it was blessedly cool and pleasant. And the KOA Kampground is a friggin resort! Two big swimming pools, water slide, mini golf, jumping pillow, playground, a huge sand pile with Tonka trucks, and stables and corrals. And, it was packed! The kids were off like a shot practically before we had the vehicle stopped. Papa and I had camp all set up within ½ hour, just the two of us. Needless to say, the kids were all in Hog Heaven.

After a long and full day, and a visit to a neighbor's Big Red Chair, the kids were out like a light and sleeping soundly.

1 comment:

  1. So, what's the wind like on the prairie? Incessant?! ;p