Today I decided to get myself to the doctor to check out my ears and dizziness. And as I surmised, I have a myriad of things happening in my ears because of the virus and was prescribed nose spray and anti-nausea meds and more over-the-counter decongestants. But all is well, I am feeling much, much better and glad to have had a doctor take a look just to rule out anything that might hurt my hearing.
But the trip to the urgent care had us leaving a bit later than we wanted. I was sorry to say good-bye to Deadwood and the sweet hotel and the even sweeter people we encountered all over the area. I chatted with a couple from Minnesota over breakfast and we swapped road trip stories. It is very satisfying to meet fellow travelers that enjoy the open road as much as I do and are eager to share delightful finds.
One such man was sharing with us his sighting of bighorn sheep at Badlands National Park so we eagerly pulled into the park in search of the surreal landscape dotted with wild sheep. And we weren’t disappointed! There they were walking along the road, and perching beautifully on rock pinnacles as if they had been waiting for our arrival.
We also laughed at the prairie dogs that watched us on their hind legs and then like puppies, flopped all the way flat on their bellies on their dirt mounds, legs splayed out, and tiny tails wagging.
We drove the circle of the park, trying not to stop too often as we had another long day of driving to get across South Dakota. Going from west to east we are aware that we keep losing an hour and instead of arriving for the night at 7pm, to our dismay, it is 8pm.
But we can feel the pull of home and we must be over halfway there now. Driving this vast country is incredible, the scope, the landscape variety, the magnitude of beauty, it’s downright incredible. Good night from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
In Custer, Wyoming
I’m feeling like a Queen Bee sitting in our luxury room at the Celebrity Hotel, with Herbie the original Lovebug (from Disney movie fame) a few walls away. It has been a super day and I’m feeling extremely lucky. First off we had many belly laughs, so I know I am feeling better. It was a lovely drive to Crazy Horse Monument. Sharing this area with Audrey has been special. She loved Crazy Horse too, and we both like it more than Mount Rushmore, even though it is not going to be finished for a hundred years or more. The non-profit nature of it, the heart behind honoring the Native Americans, plus the shear gumption of one man taking on such a legacy while knowing he would die before seeing it even close to being finished. (read more in my blog from 2012, Lost my heart in the Black Hills…) But we did see a shaggy mountain goat at Mount Rushmore so that added to the presidential fun.
After getting our fill of rock sculptures in the beautiful Black Hills we pulled into Deadwood, South Dakota, our destination for the night.
In checking into our hotel, we were asked if we would like to be in the main building rather than the cheaper annex that I booked and the wonderful gal at the desk handed us the key and pointed the way for us to check out the room. Now let me explain, the hotel is also a tiny casino, one of the reasons I chose the annex building, but in passing the bright and noisy slot machines we went through a door into another world. It was quiet and beautiful and the room immaculate, with a bathtub and glass shower to the ceiling. We were sold and did an about-face and went back through the casino to tell the gal that yes, we would love the room.
Saloon No. 10
Deadwood is the quintessential wild west town and dates back to the 1800’s and the crazy gun-slinging days of Wild Bill Hickok. We explored the town and went into cutest and oldest saloon which held the chair that Wild Bill was shot in. Yep, that’s this town and it was crazy fun to sit and imagine the days of Annie Oakley, gold mining, sheriffs, cheating at poker and horses tied to hitching posts, while sipping a beer.
Tearing ourselves out of the old-time reverie we went back to our hotel and each got $5 to put in the penny slot machines. That lasted us about 45 minutes and then we were back to this moment of me feeling like a queen in my fancy hotel room that only cost 79 bucks! It’s been a day to etch in the memory banks.
Good bye to Yellowstone
Each day I keep hoping to wake up and feel back to my normal happy, healthy self. We had to move on from Yellowstone, whether I felt up for it or not, we have a large country to cross. So I was up early, feeling not so dizzy or nauseous, but not up to par either. We had a long day of driving and such beautiful scenery and thank goodness we are listening to a great audio book called The Book Thief. And as lousy as I felt, the book was a reminder that my troubles are worthless when compared to the plight of the Jews in WWII.
Audrey did the bulk of the driving out of the park and I felt good enough to take over later. But I was trusting my gps and not at the top of my game and we ended up on a road that was closed and had to retrace back about 20 miles and miss Big Horn National Park.
Then we were sent over the Big Horn Mountains and what a long and winding road that was, complete with dense fog for 10 minutes. We finally started to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all! The road closure, the two major mountain passes, rain, me being sick, now the fog to deal with, this was not the adventure I had hoped to share with my darling daughter. But I must say, it will be memorable!
We limped into Gillette and found a place to crawl into bed and lick our wounds, only the electronic keys wouldn’t open the door to our room. Standing there with all our luggage we had just lugged up the stairs since they had no elevator, we tried both keys several times back and forth getting ready to wander our weary way back to the front desk, when two gals exit the room next door. One said “You just gotta finesse and wiggle it a little, like a man.” I guffawed and thanked them as Audrey magically opened the door with a finesse and wiggle.
I think I am feeling better and am determined to awaken tomorrow with new vigor.
Sometimes you have all the luck and your life is charmed, sometimes you hit a large pothole in the road. Today I was at the pothole. I woke up with the room spinning wildly around while my eyes were closed. Thanks to Mr. Hitchcock we all know the word VERTIGO and I was gripping the side of the bed while it spinned. Welcome to my morning. I did a quick google search and deduced that I most likely have an inner ear infection brought on by the virus I have been fighting off.
I did my best to climb out of bed and grip the walls to stay upright. Getting dressed was an effort but I took my time, after all I am in Yellowstone National Park, I can’t stay in bed!!! Audrey and I walked toward the visitors center for some advice on road closures and halfway there, I sadly turned to Audrey gave her a hug and said, I can go no further, please continue on without me.
Back in my room I took Advil to bring down my fever and I slept and pouted in fitful bouts, while the room continued to spin. Audrey returned after half a day out on her own and I decided I might be ok for a drive to Canyon Falls, it was the one place I really wanted to see this time around as I missed it on my first visit.
I just love seeing these huge beasts surrounded by cars
On our way to the gorgeous falls we saw many buffalo, elk and the surreal beauty of the park and it’s steaming wonders. But I was still feeling miserable which made me sad.
The gnome made his proud appearance as the small builder of this gateway of antlers in Jackson Hole, WY
I contracted a cold somewhere along our travels and have been fending off succumbing to it’s persistent annoyance. But today I was dragging around feeling sorry for myself that for my favorite part of the trip I felt rotten.
Audrey downloaded a Johnny Cash playlist and we heard him singing on our way into Jackson, Wyoming…
I’m goin’ to Jackson, I’m gonna mess around, Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson, Look out Jackson town.
Even though it’s not quite the same town that Mr Cash was singing about, we stopped for a quick lunch while sitting on the bar saddles at the Million Dollar Cowboy Saloon. We have been wanting to do some horseback riding, but this is as close as we have gotten to a horse thus far. And though still smiling, I was definitely not in the spirit to mess around.
The weather was overcast and cloudy so the Grand Tetons weren’t shining their usual brilliance today, kind of like me, but they are still such a stunning range to behold. We kept driving to get to Yellowstone and were surprised at the amount of snow still in the park. We did watch the obligatory Old Faithful Geyser spout and wandered around the beautiful Old Faithful Inn.
We met a couple at dinner who had been forced out of their first dinner venue, called The Bear’s Den which was evacuated when someone inadvertently set off their bear spray canister. Can you say irony? Bear spray in the Bear’s Den? I guess the smell was awful.
We are hitting the sheets early tonight in hopes of resting up my virus-infected body. We are looking forward to seeing some wild beasts tomorrow.
Kathy, Lori and Audrey happy to see each other!
One of the best things about road travel is the people you meet along the way, some old friends and some new. Today was full of old friends in Reno, Nevada, Kathy and Grandma Blume. After wonderful visits we packed the car and set out for destination Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
We had about 7 hours of driving and while filling up the gas tank the spout spit gasoline onto my leggings and as much as possible I soaped it off in the public restroom. I smelled of gasoline the rest of the day. We didn’t have time to do the trip in one day so we stopped for the night in Twin Falls, Idaho, under a beautiful rainbow.
After checking into a roadside hotel we went in search of Shoshone Falls outside of town., taking along the gnome from my mom. Definitely a wonderful view at sunset and a recommended place to lay our heads for the night and I look forward to the mountains tomorrow.
The fringe boots are back as I am making the transition from winter to summer and kicking off the season with another cross-country road trip. The boots are somehow synonymous with my road trips, so that, like Pavlov’s dog, I am starting to drool for adventure and they make me imagine I am Sacagawea exploring the wild pioneer tundra. I wrote about these boots in one of my very first blogs (What’s with the boots?), and they still get comments daily in my travels.
Normally I am a solo traveler but this time I am taking the west to east ride with my youngest daughter to drive her car back to our small Western Massachusetts town from Seattle. We started with a quick detour to California to see my mom for Mother’s Day. She gave us a garden gnome that will accompany us in the car and may end up on a few adventures as well. We are on a time schedule so our meandering will have more structure than I prefer, but we are looking for fun and unexpected delights.
Our first National Park stop will be at Yellowstone. Audrey has never been there and so it’s at the top of our list of places to see. I am interested to compare traveling with a daughter to traveling alone and am hoping for many adventures to waddle across our path and have you all join us too!