A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Big Pheasant, Tiny Church and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Middle, Eastern and Northern
South Dakota

The days were nice at the grasslands then a one day of 99 degrees was forecasted.
Time to move on.

We went back north through Pierre and they had these flags lining the bridge that crossed the Missouri River. I was half way across before I got the camera out and ready so I missed half of them.

The Missouri River. 
If people would quit jumping off these bridges I could get better pictures.

Huron, SD
In this small town resides the World's Largest Pheasant.

It cost almost as much to restore it as it did to make it.

Think it needs some more work done on it.

Henry, SD
Back in 2012 Sinbad and I came through this area and I had this tiny roadside chapel marked on the map to go see.  But once we were in South Dakota the chapel was too far out of the way of our route so I scratched it.  Now here it is 6 years later and Beans and I would be going right by it.  The highway had a little jog in it to continue on north.  It was a mile later I realized I should have went straight on for a couple of miles to see the chapel.  Ah, but now I was in the land of no turn arounds - narrow farm roads.  Once again I didn't get to see the chapel.  Oh well, I've seen others and at least the little town of Henry doesn't try to pass it off as the World's Smallest like many of the others do.
Here's a picture off of the Internet.  I won't be coming by this way again...for sure.

De Smet, SD
And then there is yet again another house Laura Ingalls Wilder of The Little House on the Prairie fame supposedly lived in.  I've seen about a half a dozen of these places she lived in from Kansas all the way up into Minnesota.  Really, that girl got around and every town is capitalizing upon it.  After seeing the second one I realized they were all just tourist clip-joints (except for the Kansas one) and I quit wasting my money.  Gift Shop - right there is a warning to scare off the wise.

It was a long day of driving with scenery like this.  There just simply isn't anywhere to pull off and stay for the evening.  So we kept on driving.  Back in the day I could drive and drive and drive. 
 But now, not so much.  Beans and I were tired  when I finally stopped, well past tea time.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Bean's Gets a Two-Fer

Fort Pierre National Grasslands
South Dakota

Our first day here Beans gets a normal sized mouse.  
Maybe not like the monster rat from Camp Flagler, but she's not picky.  
Anything that moves is fair game.
Notice the mouse's mouth is wide open in terror.

Come on, run away.  Do something!
Geeze Dad, these South Dakota mice aren't any fun like the ones out west and in the desert.

Nope, I think I'll just lay down and die.
It just expired from shock and fright most likely.

Back home, Beans laid down to rest after the hunt.

The next day is when she got her two-fer.  She came out from the tall grass with a large mouse that had a smaller mouse hanging from it.  Two mice in one catch!  It was a mother with a nearly full grown baby attached to mom's teat!  There may have been another youngin' or two having breakfast that let go early on, but like the out of control hot air balloon and the one guy who held onto the rope too long to drop off safely, that is what this mouse had done.  It was just hanging off mom then finally got shook off into the grass.  There was a bit of blood on the grass and I suspect it bit off mom's nipple. Ow!  In the meantime Beans is dragging me away with the mother mouse in her mouth so I was never able to get a photo.  It all happened so suddenly.  Beans dropped the mouse several times to play with it and then it finally ran hiding away in the grass where Beans never found it again.  
So mom lived but is missing a nipple but she has a few spares.

Back home after the two-fer hunt. 
This is a different photo on a different day from the one above.

The Department of Agriculture that manages these grasslands have laid down this matting in helping to establish new growth.  Beans uses it as her highway for hunting.

I tried to get her to pose on top of the hay bale but that's not something to try to do in the middle of a hunt.  She got right back down, so no good photo was to be had.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Fort Pierre National Grassland

South of Pierre, South Dakota

The quest for propane took us 100 miles to the east from our intended route to the town of Pierre.
With that accomplished we traveled 30 miles south to this National Grassland preserve.
This was nice and served as a good place to rest up after some long days of driving.

Once settled I needed to stretch my legs and did a hike around Leir (or Lehr) reservoir created by Richland dam, built in 1934-35 all with just horse and mule power.

I was curious about traveling through the prairie grass like the pioneers had to do crossing the Great Plains.  The grasses range from one to two feet in height.  It wasn't just a matter of walking normally; I had to pick up my feet much like walking in snow.  I imagine a couple hours of this would be very tiresome.  I cannot imagine days, weeks and months of walking through prairie grass.  
You could lose a child in this stuff.  

There were pretty things to find along the way.

Ah, a turtle making his way across the earthen dam. 
He didn't trust me enough to poke his head out very far.
Just go away.  Please, just go away.

I'm sure there are many different prairie flowers to be seen in all those miles they crossed.
The bugs and flies I stirred up while walking were an annoyance to say the least.
I even picked up a tick.  

        It would be demoralizing and heart braking having to face this the first thing every morning.
                            Those poor pioneers.  What a tough generation of people there were.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Camp Middle of Nowhere

Highway 61
Survey Valley, Nebraska

This highway went due north through Nebraska.  There wasn't anything much in the way to stop for the night the entire way.  Finally one of those Points of Historical Interest showed up.  
Out of desperation and both of us tired from driving we stopped.

This will do.
And it did.  I was very peaceful and quiet there.

Wait Dad.  Let me see if it is safe to cross the road.
We were there for about 15 hours and I bet
 maybe a dozen or two cars and trucks were all that passed by.

Looking north, the route for the next day.
But when morning came I saw the propane tank was down, approaching empty.  
There was nowhere in our travel plan northward to get propane.
A change of plan was put into effect.  

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Nice Log Cabin

Arthur, Nebraska

Arthur Nebraska is situated pretty much in the center of the state.  
Population 123, so said the sign coming into town. 

If you recall the other log cabin I found in Mew Mexico, this one is a huge improvement upon that.

The front room had a ceiling which had a loft that could be accessed from the back room.

I thought I had a photo of the doorway leading into the back room.  Guess not. 
 I am standing in it for this photo.

The other side.  My guess the back was used for storage and the front to live in.

 A pretty nice cabin but unless I had a need for the extra room, 
that other cabin would have served me well enough.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


One of those roadside oddities we come across from time to time.

This is supposedly made from all automobile parts 
but some pieces do not look like they came from a car or truck.

Elk hunting is a big thing around here so the reason for the art piece.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tornado Shelter

St. Francis, Kansas

I remember seeing one of these on a trip many years ago with Sinbad.  It was in a campground in Missouri, Arkansas or the like.  Can't recall where exactly.  This one was right here in our little city park camp.  How nice.  The sign shows it is rated to 250 mph wind speed.

  Those vents are open to the outside.  Just imagine the increase in air pressure and the noise.  I could see daylight around the edges of the door.  That other shelter I recall being completely sealed off from the outside.  This one was better in the sense it had places to sit and a container with some survival supplies like a first aid kit, a flashlight, snacks, bottles water, etc.

And in the corner just in case the tornado scared the whatever out of you.

The lady in the museum told me this part of Kansas has rarely ever seen a tornado.   But the storms coming down off of the Rockies to the west are pretty intense.  Hail is a big factor here.  One time hail came down in the shape of daggers, not round balls.  Thin narrow sharp blades of ice.  Ooo boy!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Cheyenne County Museum

St. Francis, Kansas

St. Francis is located in the far northwest corner of Kansas.  The reason for going there is their nice free city park for travelers which also included showers.  Yippee!  
Just down the driveway was their newly remodeled county museum.

Their claim to fame is astronaut Ron Evans of the moon landings is from St. Francis.  
I dawdled around in the front part too long.

For as I walked through the doorway to the portions in back...
Whoa!  I should have packed a lunch!

I will say this was probably the best historical museum for small towns have been in.  It wasn't overwhelming with too much stuff and everything there was nicely staged.  
I just took a few photos of many settings they had to look at and enjoy.

The kitchen back in the day was the heart of the home.
You ladies think you could manage?

A bit further in time maybe this is more meaningful to most of you.

I took this photo because when I saw that hospital bed, a long deeply buried memory surfaced in my mind.  It was the early 50's and polio was all the rage.  For some reason my mother took me to a hospital to be tested.  If there was something wrong with me at the time or she just wanted to know everything is fine, I don't know.  I just remember being placed in one of those beds and abandoned for what seemed the better part of a day.  I don't remember any doctors, nurses, any poking or prodding, inspections, injections...nothing.  Just lying in that bed all alone.  That is all I remember.
I was discharged with a "There is nothing wrong with little Johnny".
Boy, did I ever fool them.   

How many of you had one of these contraptions play a vital part in your careers?

Something of a more upbeat in memory lane.

And now to bring you back to reality.  They had a basket back in the day to cart your corpse out of the home in.  I did not know.  The upright table is a mortician's cooling board.  The body was placed on the board to cool down.  The board would be placed on ice if possible to speed up the process.

Oh the things you learn on this blog that you'd probably just as well not know about.