Things to read...

If time is short, I'd suggest reading at LEAST The Prologue and Legend of The Pinto Bean Posts!

Friday, June 13, 2008

You sir, in the hockey mask and machete, could you help me a moment?

Well I've made it to Rapid City, South Dakota which is farther than many people predicted the Bean to ever make it! I must admit though that tradgedy was narrowly avoided today. Earlier this morning, I came close to being killed when my alarm didn't go off. See, I knew that I could get in a good two hours of shuteye, and I decided to take advantage of it. I just set the steering wheel straight, the alarm on, and cruise control at 65mph and planned to wake up before the first curve in the road... Seriously the straightness of the roads of southern South Dakota is a little disconcerting. There should be a hill or SOMETHING, ya know? After you get across the Missouri river, the scenery changes to rolling hills, but the road still goes nearly arrow straight. Finally after several hours of driving, I made it to the Badlands.

I must admit the Badlands were a little different than what I expected. Somehow I pictured miles upon miles of barren desert, John Wayne and the whole nine yards just over the next ridge. Instead I got a miniature Afghanistan, with lots more green. Apparently the Badlands formed as erosion from wind, rain, and global warming started eating away at the prairie a few thousand years ago. Unfortunately, there were no former vice presidents around to champion the cause of the prairie, so it has slowly eroded at a rate of about one inch per year. The result is what appears to be towering hills of rock, ravaged by the winds of time. Among the jagged peaks and outcroppings are huge gullies and crevasses that would make the perfect backdrop for any of a dozen westerns. The odd thing however is that as you get closer you see that it isn't rock at all. Essentially it's dried mud. The up close view reveals that the facade is very cracked from the arid air, just like a dry lake bed in the vertical. Some of the hills are still topped by green grass and scrub trees. I say this was like Afghanistan because of the jagged and rugged nature of the hills is similar. The main difference is scale. The hills of Afghanistan tower well over 10,000 feet, and these were but a few hundred. If anyone is ever curious as to why we can't find Osama, come to this park, raise the hills by 15 times, and multiply it into a state the size of Texas, and you'll maybe start to understand.

Anyhow, tomorrow I plan on terrorizing the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. I think I may feed the Rockstar some Gatorade to ensure he has plenty of marker in him to get every tree here. From there I hope to get to about Billings, Montana as I make my way up towards Glacier Nat'l Park! Sorry if this post has been a little lackluster, too, as I've been feeling a little under the weather today, so here's hoping the passes soon!! Check out the photo albums on my MySpace for lots of trip pics!!!

10 comments:

Veteran's Wife said...

Hi Daniel! Chuck Ziegenfuss pointed his readers in your direction and I'm glad he did. If you don't become a doctor I think you should be a writer. Traveling across our country has always been my dream so I'm really enjoying your stories.

Try Vitamin B to ward off the mosquitoes. It works! Get a B-Complex and double up on the dosage for about 3 days before stepping back to the recommended amount. You can OD on the stuff and break out in a rash so don't over do it. Anyway, I think the little critters don't like the smell coming from your pores and they stay away. It even worked on the mosquitoes in Alaska and they are tough!

If you cruise through Orange County, CA on your way to Texas give us a shout. We would love to take you to our local veteran's club then buy you dinner.

Happy Trails!

Anonymous said...

Hope you feel more rejuvenated today, maybe it's that mountain air! Or you just need a day off.

One thing you said about Afghanistan -- I was so surprised when they would have pictures of the soldiers there and all the terrible fighting and the bad conditions -- and then you see in the background how beautiful the country was itself. The mountains and the land just looked gorgeous, but then there was the war.

You've got to believe any place called The Badlands is just that.

Kath

Ed said...

Welcome home Warrior. If you ever get up to NW Wis look me up. Quinn out.

HollyB said...

D-
Just finished your 3 most recent posts. Great writing as usual. If Med School and Brewing beer don't work out as professions...you can always become a storyteller.
I'm looking forward to more.

callee said...

I'd do as veteran's wife says and double up on the Vitamin B, especially since Montana has skeeters the size of horses. Seriously. Enjoy those mountains on your trip through MT.

Brewmaster Todd said...

Daniel, It's the beef man! It was like a snooze fest at the brewery Thursday. We all ate way too much and paid for it. Flush it out with some Badger porter and move on to the great western plains.
Be safe,
Todd

potandkettle said...

Hope you start feeling up to par again soon...

Be safe.

JimandJanet said...

I heard a story about spraying Listerine around a campsite for keeping mosquitoes away, but I wouldn't bet on it. I'm starting to feel like I know you, from reading your amusing stories.

Anonymous said...

I understand your title being that Amber and I drove east acroos SD. We went to Mt. Rushmore from Nebraska. We intended to get a hotel just past MR, but we couldn't find one that didn't look like it was harbouring serial killers. Seriosly. We finally found one in Murdo, SD! Several hours after our original stopping point.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I drove through South Dakota a few times and just about went crazy from the straightness of the roads and the lack of other cars and it just seems to go on forever... which is when a cop materialized out of thin air (seriously there was nobody around) to bring to my attention that i was going over 100mph....

It gets a bit more interesting in Montana. The mountains are gorgeous. Have fun!