September 22, 2006

Murdo, SD

When Jrex and I lived in upstate NY, he often commented on how flat it was, especially along I-90. I contested the rolling hills didn’t fit my definition of flat. I’ve driven through northern Ohio. I know flat. The past three days have tutored him in the ways of the flatlands.

What’s amazing about South Dakota is how the awe inspiring landscape becomes airborne. As we pass field after field of green grass, golden corn lined with dark strands of trees what begins to catch the eye are the clouds. Towering columns of white, glowering hoods of gray and floating baby clouds stream overhead. Lightening shattered trees crumpled among stands of trees, fields are spotted with black steers; farmhouses hover behind windbreaks of trees. The constant red road carves ahead through flat, flat, flat fields. And above our heads are canyons, mountains, and rivers of clouds.
We passed a sign declaring the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I never knew the prairie in the Little House Books was South Dakota.
We brought along the book Roadfood. Through it we found Bob’s in Sioux Falls. I have to tell you, I now know that I’ve never truly had sweet corn before. We had no need for dessert after having an ear of fresh picked goodness.
Last night we stayed with my Mom’s sister. Mom was the oldest of ten kids. Aunt Gemstone is one of the middle five girls (I know I should know the exact birth order, but I’ve never been able to remember it without help). As we visited and she gave me travel tips we realized genetics make strange quirks even stranger.
  • She also hates to get cold in the winter and avoids showering when possible.
  • We both need to fidget in the car. She used to chew her nails, I still do. She suggested using a baby toothbrush instead of chewing my nails to stay awake.
  • We both drink chocolate milk on roadtrips because it sooths our stomachs.
  • Of all the aunts, her eyes are the most similar to mine. Mine shift from gray to green to blue depending what color shirt I wear, but around the rim is a dark, thick border.
Why would such things be genetic? I’ve never hung out with her enough to have learned any of those behaviors from her. It made me want to have more time with her to find out what else we have in common.
Tomorrow we get to play in the Badlands and the Black Hills. We’re going to skip Mt. Rushmore and go see Crazy Horse instead. I met a guy from West Virginia who was a blast consultant for Crazy Horse so I want to check it out.
We’ll get to the Grand Tetons Sunday night and have Monday for hiking. There’s a doggie day care (Riley’s Pet Garage) in Jackson so we can leave Muttola while we hike. Anyone have suggestions for hikes in the Grand Tetons?


weigook saram said...

I'm envious. It sounds like a great road trip. I love your descriptive details. I could really see the landscape.

It's funny what's genetic. In my family it's losing things/ getting lost.

Have fun!

bg's Little Sis said...

The trip sounds amazing, I love it when the fun in the destination is more in the travel it takes to get there. Loved your descriptions of the flatness like Weigook I could see it in my head, good stuff. Now I'm hungry too.

As I type you are probably hiking, I hope it's great, great great! Can't wait to hear more, but don't want to rush what sounds like a wonderful trip!

OTR sister said...

Aunt Gemstone! Ha ha. Cute name.

Aimee said...

As someone else said, I love your descriptions.

I *loved* the Little House series. I've gotten my husband hooked on the TV series (which I also loved as a little girl). I didn't realize (or don't remember) that the prairie was South Dakota. I knew it was in that vicinity, because of the trips to Minneapolis.

Hmm. A guy from WV who was a blast consultant for Crazy Horse. Makes perfect sense to me. ;-)

Enjoy the journey. Once you get there, the craziness will *really* begin.

snickollet said...

I loved the Badlands. I drove through there late at night and the landscape reminded me of what I imagine the moon to look like.

I visited Mount Rushmore and it's kind of a tourist trap. Interesting and cool in its own way, but I think you were wise to skip it in favor of something to which you have a personal connection.