Tuesday, May 26
Today I left the farms behind and went into real prairie -- exactly the flat, completely treeless, featureless expanse of grass that you think of when someone says "prairie". That is, when I could see it at all through the billboards. South Dakota is a regular billboard jungle, the kind of thing the humorist meant when he wrote
A later note-- it wasn't until about a year after this trip that it dawned on me that I was not driving through a landscape of miles and miles of grass-- those miles and miles, fenceless, houseless, virtually roadless, were wheat! Green with spring and looking just like grass, but wheat. Farming on a Brobdignagian scale that blows my mind to this day. Not fields of wheat -- unending landscapes of wheat! My God, the farms must be measured in square miles rather than acres! Wow!
Tomorrow I will wind my way up through the Black Hills, then over to Devils Tower (the giant "tree stump" you will remember from Close Encounters), and then through Wyoming via backroads, leaving the Interstate behind.
(Having said that... I could not upload this page that night because the motel phone would not connect, and this morning I revisited Mt Rushmore by morning light and avoided the Visitor's Center in favor of various road turnouts. That gives you a much better experience of the carvings and I did appreciate it after all.)
The plastic wrapping on the whelping box finished disintegrating today, leaving bare wood bedizened by a few ribbony streamers of plastic and droopy swags of duct tape. Weather report said thunderstorms, so I stopped at a Home Depot-type store, bought a proper tarpaulin, cut the rags off the box, and redid everything as best I could. Hopefully the wind will not rip this tarp to shreds and it will shelter the box from the weather. Even more hopefully, my re-strapping will hold and pieces of the box will not strew themselves over Wyoming and Utah. My wrap job is getting a tryout right now, because a terrible thunderstorm is raging overhead. I'm amazed the furbeasts are taking it so calmly!
Another wierd happenstance today... I saw a Golden Retriever, a Poodle, a Rottweiler, and 2 other Keeshonds! One a shaved fellow en route with his family from New Hampshire to Oregon, and the other here in Keystone, SD at the foot of Mount Rushmore.