Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Mighty Wind

A mighty wind blew across the prairie on the last day of our first full week of nonstop travel as we head to Alaska. And a mighty cold wind it was. Had it been a tail wind, I probably would have had to run with the engine brake on. No such luck, as for most of the day, the wind hit us head on. I was happy to figure out eventually that it was the wind and not some mechanical problem that was retarding our forward momentum so much. Never had it quite this bad! But we pulled into Rapid City, South Dakota where we will slow down and absorb some R&R for a while. Rapid City is a great city. Some have asked why take R&R here. Because there is so much to do within shooting distance of the working ranch we are staying on for this holdover stop. Mt. Rushmore. Custer State Park. Crazy Horse Memorial. Boot Hill and Deadwood. Bear Country USA. Sturgis (where they have the huge motorcycle rally and a big museum). The Badlands. WALL Drug. Spearfish Canyon. Needles Scenic Highway. Lots of world famous caves. Gold mine tours. Black Hills Gold "factory" tours and jewelry outlets. Devil's Tower (Wyoming). Even a GPAA mining claim for members is nearby. And a whole lot more. Besides, the city is excellent for strolling and some of the shops are the "best in class" you will find anywhere, like Prairie Edge Trading Company, where you will find authentic Native American buffalo robes and hide dresses and tools, and ceremonial artifacts and jewelry. Clicking on this link you will receive a native American tongue greeting.

The last of the snow is melting in the hills, despite the cool temperatures that seem to be hanging on. Heavy, heavy rain last night will surely help to finish it off. The Prairie Puddles, as we call them, that look like lakes but are only melted ice and snow that hasn't yet been absorbed into the thin prairie soil will be getting bigger before they get any smaller. The ducks love them! The thunder storms that accompanied the rain that came through last night made the coach, which is sitting on a concrete slab with the jacks down feel like a cell phone on "vibrate" mode on a glass coffee table. Interesting, neat, and a bit unnerving all at once.

Lots of pronghorns (the "antelope" of the old western songs) and pheasants everywhere, but what we enjoy seeing most in this part of the country are the herds of buffalo. People ALWAYS ask me how I get so close to open range buffalo for my shots. I have, but don't use for this, a telephoto lens for my Nikon. That would be like shooting porcupines at close range with an assault rifle. If you want my secret for great buffalo pictures, CLICK HERE. You won't be sorry you did! But, please, this is a trade secret, so keep it to yourself for personal use only.

On the way here, we passed the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead. When we passed here in 07 en route to Alaska, we did a piece on Little Coach on the Prairie. Linking back to some of theses posts will keep me from having to photograph all the same things again. "Newer is Gooder." As I write this, we are traveling this path approximately a week earlier than we did for for 07 trip. Shortly I hope to begin a post segment called "This Time Two Years Ago." Please watch for it, especially if you plan travel to Alaska any time soon(er) or later.

I mentioned the wind coming in fast and furious! Now I am just smart enough to know you don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, you don't mess around with Jim, and you don't spit into the wind. But that song was playing heavy on my mind as I (tried) to walk around the coach for an inspection at one pit stop. I decided to spit WITH the wind. Just for fun. When last I saw "IT", it was already three miles away and going over the grass horizon line.... And speaking of FAST, we'd like to welcome aboard about a thousand new readers in just the last three days, who came to us through links from Mike and Lou Busby at www.chickengold.com and from an article Chris Guld placed on her personal blog (Blogging To Alaska), her Geeks On Tour site, and her widely followed writings on RV.NET (Blogging To Alaska). Hope you will all find something of interest here and ride along as we venture back to our most magical place on earth- Alaska! Our thanks to our dear friends for their support and encouragement!


The view from our RV pad at Hart Ranch, a 13,000 acre working cattle ranch just outside Rapid City, SD, where they rustle rv's as well as cattle.

9 comments:

James said...

We know about the wind in the Rapid City area. We were parked at the Ellsworth AFB Famcamp a couple of years ago. Woke up in the middle of the night and the moho was rocking back and forth. Woke up next mornin' with torn slide toppers. A little duct tape and off we go. I enjoy your blog, keep it up with lots of pictures....

Angela said...

I am interested in including a map on my blog similar to yours...in fact, I have already figured out how to make the map...I just can't figure out how to embed it in my blog. Sure would appreciate any help you could pass on to me.
Thanks,
Angela
angelaquilts2@aol.com
PS We are about 2-3 days behind you and basically heading the same way!

Greg said...

James, Angela, Thank you for commenting on the blog! Angela, I use Google Maps for all my maps. Create your map while signed in. Save your map and click done. Above your map in the upper right hand corner, click on LINK. CUSTOM. Copy HTML text. Copy to a map widget from your blog provider (I use Google Blogger) That's the fast answer...and I'm not really the one to help you with that, as it's not my expertise at all. Please do yourself a favor. Find my LINKS on the left hand side of the blog. Click on Geeks On Tour. For 39 smackers a year, you can become a member and have access to Everything those guys do (on line)in the way of tutorials for folks like you and me. They are excellent and will walk you step by step through anything you would like to learn about blog features and much more. They also have a free newsletter, sample free tutorials, featured articles all over the web. It's a great investment and a great resource. Every time I wish to add a new feature, I first take the tutorial and then go for it. Failure rate? ZERO! If you're not so sure about on line stuff, give them a call and order a DVD of the tutorials for your library. I keep mine handy at all times. And their FORUM is excellent too!
Hope this helps you in some small way.
Are you headed to Alaska? And will you accept a free panning lesson from yours truly???

Glen said...

Have a good trip. Looks like I'll be right behind you. Were headed for Alaska from Texas next Monday ( may 4 ). We are also workamping but between Kenia and Sewart through Sept 15th. We considered applying for a workamping position at the same place your going.

Mary Williams said...

I'm one of your "New thousand" ....have enjoyed reading some of your back posts as well. We loved our trip to Alaska - back in the olden days of 2001 - still haven't made the return trip. At Hart Ranch, say hi to Kathy Payne (Activities director) for us - and coming next week to the gate at Custer SP, Duane Miller. Enjoy the Black Hills - also one of our favorites...........Mary and Tom Williams at Palm Creek in AZ
www.geocities.com/maryw_43537

robinson@att.net said...

Hi Folks,
Hope the wind has subsided. I can relate to that as we have traveled across country several times. I received info abour your blog from the Geeks. I'll check in from time to time to get insight into your travels. We are scheduled to head to Alaska next summer. This year we are headed to Calif for the birth of our first grandson. On our way we will visit our 14 month old grandaughter at Camp Pendleton. We live South of York Pa I guess that makes us neighbors. we travel with a Hamradio and APRS, I'll send you the link when we head out for Calif.
Safe Travels
Russ - WB3FQI-9

Greg said...

Welcome Glen and Mary too!

Glen, are you a prospector? GPAA? Have you been to Chicken before? Hope you'll keep in touch. Like yo get to meet you if possible...

Angela said...

Greg, thank you for the lead to the geeks...I will check them out. We are in Des Moines and hope to be in Sioux City tomorrow. I am avidly reading your posts about what to do, see, and where to stay in/near Rapid City...we have never been to this area of the US and are very much looking forward to it. Yes, we would love a "panning lesson." It is definitely on our list of things to do, and we don't have a clue. Would you also recommend where to go for mining.
Thanks again
Angela

Greg said...

Come to Chicken for your panning session! Along the way, there are lots of opportunities to do some "tourist type" panning and educational opportunities. Like El Dorado Mine tour in Fairbanks, which is excellent in all respects. Gold Dredge #8 also in Fairbanks we did NOT like very much at all. But, real mining, hit or miss mining, get down and dirty mining- that is another story. You do have the opportnity for that in Chicken as well. Meantime, I suggest you join GPAA- for about 70 bucks you get a gold pan, a video or two, some patches and decals, and most importantly,the Miner's Guide- a phone book sized list of every club owned property in the US where you can go and "mine" on your own or at outings with a group. The LDMA is an extension of that GPAA, the same only includes lots of properties across the country where you can also camp and mine. So pick and choose what works for you now. I'll be happy to show you the "ropes" in Chicken if you like! If you decide to join GPAA please let them know how you heard about them...