March 20, 2016

Sunday, 3/20-22/2016
In 1984, A Gentleman of Stratford was given a reading: "All seemed to think I was on to something. But if it's so good, why is there still so much work to do?"
Colorado State Line to South Dakota State Line

    Wyoming. US 85 is the Sand Creek Massacre Trail and Yellowstone Road in Cheyenne. Cheyenne at 12:45, population 90,466 or something like that. Leaving Cheyenne at 1:05 (all on the outskirts), Next Services 74 Miles. Rolling country, blue sky with cirrus, not much of habitation, a couple of houses then nothing for some distance. A pumping rig out in a field, pumping very very slowly. Wide empty 74-mile stretch of empty highway, a low range of hills up ahead. Goshen County at 1:41, temp 51, yellowish fields, wood fence to my left and wire to my right, nothing out here, no house, no cattle, nothing, pastureland or prairie or whatever. Nice rock formations off to my left, a thin finger of rock on top of a rock ledge, not spectacular but nice to see again, cliffs way off to my left. Hawk Springs elevation 4394 at 1:55, temp 58. Cold Springs ahead, 2:17, temp 55. A lot of small circular storage tanks on their sides, Chicago Northwestern 2 passenger cars and a caboose, big white vertical cylindrical tanks with pyramidal tops and pipes going up and ladders, North Platte River, 85 north to Lingle, Gary's Gun Shop, Community Drug, leaving Torrington at 2:21. Leaving Lingle at 2:29, speed limit 75, a lot of cirrus and contrails but still a lot of blue sky.
    The town of Lusk at 3:12, the Covered Wagon Motel, the Outpost Truck Stop and the Outpost Caf, where I had cheese soup (surprisingly pretty good) and a diet Coke. US 18 and US 85 to New Castle, your typical Western town with its square facades, Rawhide Drugs, Silver Dollar Bar, a brief detour.
    No Services Next 85 Miles, I have just about half a tank of gas. The road is a bit high, looking over rolling prairie to my left, another wood fence like connected triangles going some distance, gullies off to my right, some kind of evergreen with something that doesn't look like needles, a tower rock to my left, more cliffs to my right, chalky white cliffs, a big rectangular rock on top of a promontory, now into very rolling country, not particularly spectacular but still pleasant after that endless prairie. No house but a bunch of black Angus, less cirrus in the sky, 3:53, 61 degrees, a shack out in the middle of nowhere, some long grayish rock buttes up ahead, another old windmill with a vane sticking out, not doing anything. A lot of Closed When Flashing signs on US 85. Fortunately none of them have been flashing. Old Woman Creek. Back to yellow prairie and grassland, some solitary trees, some small gullies, black Angus, wire fence, no rock formations, low mountains ahead of me.
    Leaving 85 for US 18 East at 4:25, temp 62.


March 20, 2016

    Into South Dakota at 4:42. There was a family at the sign so I took a couple of pictures for them and they took one of me in front of the sign. Edgemont at 4:51, the Sunrise Ranch 6 miles to my right. Railroad line and some old shacks to my right, a long line of 15-20 gondolas. Into the USA Stay Hotel in Hot Springs SD at 5:29, 59 degrees, odometer 126753. $15 worth of $1.949 87 octane at Big Bats 4 and a mediocre pork barbeque and fruit and iced tea at JP's Family Dining. And now to try to catch up on everything.

Monday, March 21
In 1984, A Gentleman of Stratford was given a reading:
"All seemed to think I was on to something. But if it's so good, why is there still so much work to do?"

Hot Springs SD to Rapid City
    Up around 8:00, quite a spread downstairs. I wound up with ham, eggs & cheese, yogurt, cereal, half a banana, a cruller, biscuits & gravy, coffee, apple juice (also had cranberry, orange juice, ice water, toast, muffins, and some other stuff). Blue sky out there with quite a bit of cirrus.
    On the road (US 85 north) at 9:31, 51 degrees, odometer 126758. Mailed some stuff off to Penny then past the Shaman Gallery, Daily Bread Bakery & Cafe, Morning Sunshine Coffee, Red Rock River Resort Hotel & Spa, Artisan's Market, Canterbury String Shop, an old factory building, a big old Victorian style house red with white ornate curlicues on its porches, Black Hills Meat Company Buffalo Jerky, Dale's Family Restaurant, a casino, Historical Log Cabin Motel Est 1929, Cold Brook Recreational Area, Badger Clark Road. Rolling country once I'm out of Hot Springs, which was larger than it seemed at first, a lot of pines, a lot of yellow grass, looking down at a house below the road surrounded by pines, 3 horses.
    Wind Caves National Park at 9:53. No caves in sight, just yellow grass and stands of pines. Buffalo Are Dangerous Do Not Approach. I then saw 3 or 4 buffalo and 2 coyotes. Got to the Visitors Center after the 10 o'clock cave tour left. Next one was at 1:00 so I got back on the road at 10:06, temp 61. A ground squirrel or marmot sitting up in the middle of the road scampered off, actually sort of a cross between a scamper and a waddle.
    Black Hills National Forest at 10:12, pretty much out of the grasslands, rolling hills, yellowish rock, a lot of pines, pleasant country but not spectacular. Several hillsides where there apparently had been a fire that went over the road, no needles, tops broken off and the white wood showing through. There are islands of pines untouched by the fire for some reason. Rock formations to my left, a large rock that looks like it had chocolate syrup poured down it. Cattle grazing as I approach Pringle (pop 112, Where Nature Does the Carving Rushmore Caves) at 10:21 on The George S. Mickelson Trail, old wagon out in a field, thick rock fingers jutting up from the ground, some old unpainted wood buildings in good shape and some old farm rustic machinery of some kind, Beaver Den Drive, Golden Willow Parkway, a good 2-lane road, fairly wide, rolling hills on either side and lots of pines or some other kind of evergreen, nothing spectacular, some thick rock pillars alongside the road, Coyote Run, a couple of bicylers going the other way. 10:32, into some real mountains, some interesting rock formations.
    Welcome to Custer pop 1860, the Museum of Wood Carving, French Creek Firearms, Espresso and More, Bobkat's Ice Cream, Chief Motel. $9.00 cash of $1.799 at an Exxon. Mile Hi Motel, Wrangler Family Dining, Rock Shop, New Outlook Salon, Carson Drug, Casino & Gas.
    The Crazy Horse Memorial Highway. SD 244 to Mount Rushome at 11:10, temp 62. Some large flat clouds in the sky right now, not cumulus and not cirrus, just large flat clouds but still mostly blue. Big rock cliffs towering over the road to my left, big rock sentinel to the right. Goodbye, Mount Rushmore. $28 to get in. So I turn right onto US 16A and go under a bridge then a 360 degree turn to go over the bridge I just went under. And then I do it again on another bridge. They are called the Pigtail Bridges. And there’s Mount Rushmore far away.

Then through the Doane Robinson Tunnel. A great windy highway through another tunnel after another Pigtail Bridge, this tunnel actually being two short tunnels with a slight gap in between them.     At 12:05, I stopped at the Norbeck Overlook and I’m glad I did because I found I should have turned left when I turned right after Mount Rushmore (I also had another view of Mount Rushmore from the Norbeck Overlook) so I turned around and headed back.
    So it was back to 244 and taking US 16A east into Keystone pop 377 at 12:23, Good Time Photo, Rattlesnake Shakes, Trading Post, the National Presidential Rock Museum. Through Miners Gateway Tunnel, which is basically a rock bridge over the road, Bear Country USA, Powder House Lodge. Off 16A to US 16 at 11:28, temp 68. At this point, past Rockerville (or something like that), it had become a divided highway with a pretty good-sized median, still mostly blue sky with a lot of clouds, past Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns, the median now a concrete strip.
    Rapid City at 12:41, temp 71, pop 47,677. The Rushmore Casino. The Howard Johnson’s in Rapid City at 1:12, temp 73, odometer 126849. Nice-sized room, 2 beds but a small bathroom, sink outside the bathroom with a fair-sized counter, refrigerator, desk, a second-floor room but the back entrance is level with the parking lot.
    Then I took a short walk downtown, the corners with statues of presidents, perhaps every one. I saw those of James Bunchanan, JFK, Taft, Martin Van Buren. The motel had free popcorn and drinks (soft drinks or beer) in the evening.

Tuesday, March 22
In 1960, I was cast as Tranio in NYU’s The Taming of the Shrew.
Rapid City to the Nebraska state line     Up at 8, a gray day. Quite a spread at the motel--coffee, apple juice, Rice Chex, bagel and cream cheese, yogurt, biscuits & gravy, a blueberry muffin with strawberry glop on it. There were also waffles, donuts, toast, and maybe some other stuff.
    On the road at 9:42, temp 47, odometer 126849, totally gray day, no cloud outlines visible. On to I-90 east at 9:46 into slightly rolling grassland, small houses.
    Wall Drug Country at 9:58. 10:10, Free Ice Water at Wall Drug, slightly rolling empty prairie country, a farm house, naked trees standing alone, meandering creek bed, some green among the brownish yellow of the land. The Shooting Gallery at Wall Drug, Wall Drug Mining Company, Wasta at 10:21, some trailer homes, speed limit 80, real nice little canyon off to my left, the prairie falling off sharply to the Cheyenne River. Railroad off to my right heads off into these rolling yellow hills dotted with pines, very pleasant country. The westbound lanes of I-90 are on the other side of hills, a bit of a pond in the median, which dips deep down into a gully where a creek sometimes flows lined by leafless trees then back up some distance to the westbound lanes.
    Getting off at Wall at 10:36. Not a hell of a lot to Wall, a dirty old South Dakota town with a triple track railroad. Wall Drug, a lot of buildings, a lot of cheap junk, Wall Auto Livery, Deadwood Historic Main Street, back onto I-90 at 10:57.
    Passing the road to the Badlands and Wounded Knee, a big brontosaurus to my left. Jackson County at 11:10. Rolling yellow prairie with naked solitary trees, some nice winding gullies, creeks and ponds, still an overcast sky with no cloud definition, side road parallels the highway on the right, the railroad long gone. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a big pond or reservoir off to my right.
    Into the Central Time Zone at 11:53, now 12:53. Little water birds, not ducks or gulls, down there in a pond to my right.
    US 83 south at 1:08, temp 45, gently rolling prairie, not a house in sight, a nice little creek winding through the plains, black cattle in the distance to the left, on the right goats (though they may have been antelope, I didn;t get a good look), then several fields with bales of rolled hay scattered around them. Looking down now at a little pond to my left, to the right a farmhouse with a rusted tin roof that looks like it;s abandoned, a lot of waterholes along this stretch of US 63, really nice country, rolling, brown hills ahead of me dotted with pines, what looks like a mud flat over there, what may sometimes be a lake, White River, 3 or 4 horses in a field. Hills have flattened down a bit, sky still overcast but brighter, a junkyard with cars and trucks, some interesting hills way off to my left, then back to rolling hill after rolling hill with deep valleys in between them. The town of White River population 595 and the Dollar Days Casino at 1:35, temp up to 50. A hillside of black Angus crowded up against each other in a field where there was plenty of space for them.
    Welcome to the Rosebud Indian Reservation at 1:48, more black cattle, the sky brighter.
    US 83 joins US 18 at 1:53. Welcome to Mission at 1:56. Soldier Woman Art and Gift Gallery, Starlite Snack Shop, a trailer in terrible shape and a lot of junk scattered on a lot alongside a house, other houses pretty nice and in good shape. A hawk flew across the road at 2:16, just before the Rosebud Casino at the Nebraska border.