Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Random Observations

Tumbleweeds, tumbling.
  • The High School's team is "The Chieftains." They do not, apparently, play Irish music, just football.
  • There are tumbleweeds. Real, live, tumbleweeds, stuck up along barbed-wire fences. They are actually very pretty and not menacing, "The Outer Limits" notwithstanding. 
  • A casino is a great place to get a decent lunch for an unbelievable price. Bowl of home-made soup, sandwich, drink and good salad bar—$5.
  • Casino=Any place with a slot machine/video poker.
  • Is there any place on the Las Vegas strip where you can get live bait, 24/7? And I don't mean sushi...I mean minnows or shiners. 
  • Defying all known laws of man and the universe, the Golden Buffalo manages to serve both Coke and Pepsi products. I was so tempted to order both just to see what would happen, but then I remembered that I hate coke products and I know what would have happened. 
  • There are deer, only they are mule deer (I believe) which are different than the eastern deer—surlier and scruffier looking. 
  • A mule deer. Outstanding in his field
  • The hotels/motels in the area have rules posted about not cleaning fish in rooms, not keeping bait in rooms (minnows, I guess) and offer freezers for your game. Not a mint on a pillow to be found.
  • Where in our neck-of-the-woods you would see quads and ATVs, here you see snowmobiles. Plus quads and ATVs. 
  • Roll up to a four-way at my destination. On each of the four roads, there are multiple stray dogs lolling about in/on/near the roadway. Not a pack; simply a number of individual dogs, each in their own space, doing their own thing. My brain recoils. 
  • There are buffalo. Or bison, I'm not sure which; I took lots of pictures of them while they milled around just on the other side of the fence across the road. 
  • Then I saw a sign that said in big, bold letters " HALF A MILE AHEAD!" Well, that sounded good to me, and was pointed in the direction I was already going, and sure enough, there was something a half a mile ahead. The Buffalo Interpretive Center. So I stopped at the interpretive center because I saw another car there. But then I noticed there was like a foot of unshoveled snow on all the walkways to the center, and then I took a good look at the other car, and noticed how the snow in the parking lot  had been plowed in front of its wheels and there were no tracks through the snow, so who knows how long it had been parked there....bottom line, it was called the "Buffalo Interpretive Center," not the "Bison Interpretive Center," but then calling something a buffalo wing doesn't make it not chicken, right? Maybe by the time I leave I'll know which they are.
  • There is no place I would rather not ride a motorcycle. Too open, too exposed, too many abrupt drop offs, too many hypnotic roads for the few stretches of twisty. 
  • This "timezone" stuff is whack. Tomorrow I'll try another one.
  • Pheasants. I almost ran over a bunch of them, which is hard to do because as I may have pointed out, you have to be deliberately trying to not be paying attention to have a motor vehicle sneak up on you here. Apparently killing birds is a big business out here (the camouflage-and-scatter-gun kind, not the motor-vehicular kind), what with all the lakes and rivers and the Central Flyway for migratory waterfowl and what-not. Anyway, besides all the money to be made helping tourists murder Canada Geese (my goodness, people pay to do that? When you can just walk around any office park or golf course in Northern Virginia with a tennis racket?) apparently pheasants and/or grouses are also all the rage. Besides the ones I nearly squashed, there were another—what's the official term for a large quantity of pheasant/grouse?—metric shit-ton of them working their way through the adjacent cornfield. And periodically, a group of several pheas-ouses would take flight and advance a few-score yards over the corn stubble, then another few would advance past them, and eventually I realized they were simply playing checkers, jumping one another to the finish line. 

  • The distance from Sioux Falls to Pierre is the same as the distance from Reston to Roanoke, plus or minus a mile.
  • I cannot imagine what would make someone decide this was a great place to settle. The Sioux moved into this area only after the Europeans crowded them out of the southeast (first) then the forests of the upper midwest (later). Various waves of migrants moved through looking for/running from various things. But when you stand on a hilltop in the grasslands and realize there is nothing between you and the wrath of an angry, hostile universe except a few stalks of big bluestem and some scrub, you might best think about moving on. 
  • There are no decent places to stay because the Legislature is in session. Lockup your daughters children everything.

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