A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Noisy Camp

 Edgely, North Dakota  pop. 585

This I guess was classified as their city park camping place.

The park was across the street.  
For such a small town they had quite an elaborate swim center.
I didn’t venture any closer for a photo.  
It would look creepy for an old man taking pictures of little boys and girls in a swim center.

This monstrous grain storage facility was across the street.  It had some sort of ventilation system going on constantly.  It was like being near those huge air conditioning units at Walmart. 
 Imagine the sound of a waterfall.
I guess the residents get used to it.
There was another one but smaller behind us, behind the trees shading us.
So we had stereo white noise sound going on.

Despite the noise from the big blowers I still fell asleep for a nap after having a cup of tea when we arrived.  An hour later I was woken by the rumbling sound of distant thunder.  Must be a severe storm coming our way.  Kind of groggy for having napped too long I got up and discovered the sound was from this locomotive nearby.  Sitting there idling it almost shook the ground.  This went on for an hour or so then they shut it off.  Oh well.

Five a.m. the next morning I was woken up by the rumbling thunder locomotive again.  Really?  At five in the morning?  I guess they were just working on some sort of repair.  The grain ventilators were still whirring away also.  Okay, that’s enough!  We left before the sun was up.  Drove seven miles to a rest stop.  Parked.  Sipped some coffee and ate half a granola bar, laid down and fell asleep for two hours until a cat decided to walk all over me.  
Get up Dad. I’m hungry.

This little guy lived where we were parked at Noisy Camp. 
Oddly Beans shows no interest in rabbits.  If they bound away she just looks. 

- comment reply -

The L. Frank Baum living in Aberdeen came from Wikipedia.  It said “notable people” whatever that means.  Said he was a resident in the 1880’s.  It is the same with Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Little House on the Prairie author.  There’s a dozen places that lay claim to her just because she stayed there for a short time.  Also I know I could have got the book from online used book sellers but having it shipped to where I don’t know where I will be and just when is a problem.  Stay tuned for an update on the quest.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Corner Book Shoppe


Aberdeen, South Dakota

One of the good things about being in a large town is the increased probability of it having a bookstore.

Aberdeen did.

What a cute little book store.

I opened the door, the little bell overhead tinkled and I stepped inside.

“I’m in heaven.”  Yep, those were my first words.
Long ago I dreamed of having a little book store.
The reality though is I have no idea how to run a business.

The little shop was made up of several rooms for after all it originally was a home.

I had a nice visit with Linda who kept shop for the owner two days a week to have something to do in her retirement years.  I ended up telling her that this was the most I have talked with anyone in months.
I was exhausted.

I was able to find a Lee Child I have yet to read.
But it was the one Michael Connelly I do not have was what I really wanted.
The search continues.

Back at Walmart for the a cup of tea and a rest I checked off my purchase on my book want list.  I realized then I should have given Linda the three books I have read and wanted to give away.  I don’t like just throwing then into a Goodwill bin.  I’d rather a used bookstore have them.
So when we left Aberdeen the next day I went by The Corner Book Shoppe and gave Linda the books much to her delight and mine too for I’ve been carrying them around since Twin Falls, Idaho, last year.

L. Frank Baum who wrote The Wizard of Oz was from Aberdeen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

An Unhappy Workplace


Aberdeen, South Dakota (pop. 28,495 - third most in the state)

This town was along our way which was nice has it had a Walmart for a big resupply and place to stay.

Driving through town it was lunch time and I wheeled into an Arby’s for something different.

I gave my order to Mariah and she asked if I wanted anything else.  
“Just if you give old people discounts” I said.  
“Only on drinks” she replied.  “Besides, you’re not that old.”
“Okay then. How old do you think I am?”
She studied me for a moment and said a number.
“Why thank you. You made my day.  Add eleven to that.”
“Well I was close” she said.
Girl, when you’re my age eleven years isn’t close.  It is a gift.
What a sweet girl.

But as you can see Mariah doesn’t look too happy.  None of the employees (looked to be around ten at least) in there did.  I stood back and observed while waiting for my sandwich.  There was a lot of tension going on behind the counter.  You could just see and feel it.

French dip sandwich.  
Very good.

We spent the night at Walmart and did the big shop in the morning.  I decided to just stay a second day in Aberdeen.  No need to rush off.  A day’s rest is always nice.
After putting groceries away we went across the highway to a home supply, Menards, to see about getting something to put into the back window to let the air in while keeping a cat inside when open.  
No luck.
By now it was lunchtime.  I went back to Arby’s.  Now Heather was at the window slumped over.  Heather looked bad, as if in pain.  I saw her favor a foot as she stepped back from the register.  I asked.
“My leg is swollen.  I should go to the hospital.  But she don’t care.”
Who’s she I asked.
With a nod of her head she said “The manager.  She doesn’t care.”
I told her she should go.  Her wellbeing was more important.  We were kind of whispering back and forth so I said no more not wanting to get Heather into trouble.  

I got a Rueben this time.  Oh my goodness!  Delicious.

I thought about Heather while eating.  Working in a toxic place like that with so much hostility isn’t worth it.  Yes, I observed some more while waiting for my Rueben.  You could just tell everyone working there was not a happy person.  Two sat down at a table for a break.  A guy and girl.  Neither smiling.  Neither talking.  They just looked as if they were sitting there silently conspiring.
Heather should just tell her manager “I’m going to the hospital.  Bye.”  If she gets fired, so be it.  It would probably be for the best anyway.  And it’s not like Heather couldn’t get a job elsewhere.
Every fast food place along the boulevard had ‘Now Hiring’ on their sign boards.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Let’s Go to the Drive-in Movies


Redfield, South Dakota

Admission is $7.00 per person.
Kids under 11 are free.

I know nothing about either of these features.

You want something from the snack bar before the movie starts?

If you gotta go potty you better go now.

The current owners acquired the drive-in in 2014 and converted it over to digital with laser projection.

These speakers look original.  
You remember using them?
You can tune your car radio to 90.3 FM also to listen.

No one is here yet.  Where do you want to park?

Up close...

...or back here?

Wake me when it’s over.

Built in 1953 the Pheasant City Drive-in was the fourth one established in South Dakota.
Five drive-in theaters survive to this day in South Dakota.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

A Much Needed Mood Improver

 We left the wanton destruction of the Fort Thompson Recreational Area, myself in a general funk and Beans so upset she puked up her breakfast.  Our next stop would be the town of Miller (pop.1500) sixty miles away.  They had city park camping.  I wasn’t expecting much. I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

Crystal Park.

My oh my, what a pleasant surprise.  Just what we needed after twenty-four hours of being immersed in what we had just left behind a couple hours earlier.

That’s me, always skating on the thin ice of modern life (Jethro Tull).

The usual playground equipment all shiny and new looking.
Yes, they did have a nausea inducing spinner-go-round.

Everything looked new and well-cared for, unlike what we had just left behind.
Not one bit of graffiti.
I thought I spotted some litter.  Upon closer examination it proved to be a leaf.

These bricks were saved from the old city hall by the girl scouts to make this fire ring.

Best horseshoe pit yet to be found in our travels.
Never used.  The paint on the stake hadn’t even been chipped by a ringer.

Volleyball court too looked like new and unused.

Cool a tornado safe room.

I remember seeing my first one years ago.  I think it was in Minnesota.  I was fascinated by it.

I am still fascinated by them.  
Of course I wondered what it would be like to be inside when a tornado roared through.

A shower!  Okay, I am a happy traveler once again.
Let me tell you this was the best shower I have ever used on the road as far as I can recall.

The camp area was nice with hookups too all on a donation plan.
I left a donation and complemented them on their nice park and lovely shower. 

- comments reply -

I agree the same sort of vandalism and destruction exists in many other places we have been in regardless of the racial make up.  Usually though it is most prevalent in large metropolitan areas which we avoid if at all possible.  This instance just caught me unexpectedly considering Fort Thompson has only a population of around 1300 with 96% representing one ethnic group.  Yet, I stand by my observations about most reservation land.  Sorry, but I cannot help but see what I see considering we are passing through what would otherwise be termed as “wilderness”, not urbanized land.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Indian Reservation Land

 Fort Thompson, South Dakota

We went to an Army Corps of Engineers Recreational Area along the Missouri River.

A.C.E Recreational Areas are always nice.  

Unfortunately this one sat within the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.  

It appears the Corps have all but given up due to the vandalism and trash scattered about.

This is not surprising considering the people who live around here.

I have been through Indian Reservations in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, most every state that has them and I am inclined to use the words “without exception” every single one of the reservation lands I have been through were thoroughly trashed. 

I remember one in particular in the Four Corners region - 
that is where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet.

As soon as we crossed over the boundary where a sign stated this is such and such Indian Reservation immediately the litter alongside the highway began.  Beer cans, soda pop bottles, dirty diapers, plastic bags, empty boxes and cartons, tires, car parts and pieces, mattresses, sofas, chairs, appliances, etc.
And so it is with most all reservation land I have passed through.  It is appalling. 

The pit toilet by the boat launch.  Both were missing their thrones.  Why would you steal a pit toilet?
One hole was covered with a trash can lid, the other stuffed with a plastic bag full of trash.

One had a swallow nest.  See the babies?

We ran out of shade so moved over to the campground area.
There were twelve sites, not one had a picnic table nor a fire ring.  Either they have all been stolen or the Corps had long since removed them so they wouldn’t be stolen.
But they had shade and we were happy.

In case you thought conditions couldn’t get worse, the camp area didn’t disappoint.

This from Native Americans, a group of people who you would think above all else would respect their land, Mother Earth, more than anyone.
The tribal elders for the Crow Creek Indian Nation should be ashamed.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Oacoma Flatts


Oacoma, South Dakota

We crossed back over the Missouri River from Chamberlin to Oacoma for some free camping.

It was hot so we stayed in the shade of the trees by their city park in the distance before moving over to the dispersed camping area.  I got to watch the guy cut that grass with his John Deere tractor and grass cutting machine he pulled behind it.  Very entertaining.

I also watched a woman cut her lawn, which was all that lighter green beyond the dark band of green.  She was using a gas lawn mower pushing it up the slope to her house then dragging it back down to the dark green band of grass.  She was at it for three hours, back and forth, back and forth.  The woman had to be in her sixties at least from what I saw of her when I walked by on my morning walk.
Most people have riding lawn mowers but not her.   She wants the workout.  Bless her heart.

There is a rock embankment along the river shoreline much to Bean’s delight.

We had a nice little spot to back into.

Severe thunderstorm warnings began to come in repeatedly that first late afternoon.

Watching the sunset.

Then they started in with the possible tornado warnings along with all the other nasty stuff associated with severe thunderstorms.  So what did I do?
I took a bath in the Missouri River watching the show in the sky.
One of those never-to-be-forgotten moments in my life.