Fishing, Floundering and Freakish Speed

No riding for me this fine day, i had a dream: fish in montana. An easy dream to realize when you are in Montana.

Maddog, Abercrombie and I head out to breakfast. We have eggs, dutch cakes, and some other foods.

Abercrombie heads off for two half day rides. We head fishing. We get momma Bear to give us a Camaro.

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We have fun. We ride up to Big Sky, run into a moose, and snap a few shots. We head back to get a new rod.

We head fishing, a dream realized. Results from the fishing is 2 broken rods, 4 lost lures, 0 fish and nothing but a boat load of good memories.

We drive back 0 to 60 and onward.

We’re planning a night out in big sky to celebrate a birthday – congrats erina.

Ride, roam and remember is the mantra for the evening.

Dinner is done. Rocking on the chairs, and having a good time.

Rides, Ridiculous Food and Raucous fun

When I travel I like to consider I vacation with a gourmet equation. Gourmet foods. Fantastic sites sounds. Great friends. All combined to equal exceptional experiences 🙂

I am in awe. We have one upped the equation. New experiences. New friends.

We arrived at the dude ranch at about 4 in the afternoon. We pop out of the vehicle. Say hi. Meet the managers. Grab a drink. And chat.

Maddog grabs the the keys and asks for a spotter as he backs up the van. I know he’s got this, but I do my duty. You’ve got 6 feet. You’ve got 3 feet. You’ve got 1 foot. 6 inches, ok stop. The Maddog guns it 5 inches in reverse. Perfect.

We talk with matt marnie and Erina. The wonders of the horseback riding, the legends of the food and the wranglers situations are shared. I think to myself this is awesome.

We head to cocktails, dinner, and an evening of libations. We hang with the staff, wranglers and other guests. The rum, the beer and the soda flows.

Around the fire, Erina, tim and Brian sing for the moment, country, classic and songs which make the night melt away to reveal the milky way.

Amazing…

I turn in. The night was the best night of sleep I had in months.

I wake and shower. Breakfast is in 30 minutes; it is the only thing on schedule. Ken and I go to breakfast. Maddog is knocked out in a benadryll and allergy coma.

Abercrombie and I ride through Yellowstone the manager Chris, and the packer Jacob. The history of what happened to West Yellowstone in the 88 fire was shared. The incredible history and sites were shared as we got a behind the scenes look at the ranch.

We return and grab the bear spray, see a falcon, and head off for a long hike to the top of a switchback trail. Amazing. We hit the top, and share some hopes and dreams as we look across the vistas of gallatin and yellowstone. Montana is wonderful. We hike down, and make it intime for gourmet pizza for lunch.

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I begin to mentally prepare for a horseback ride with E, Kim, and Ken. We head off on an easy trail. Wonder through, learn about the horses, and wonder at the landscape and forests.

I sum up my experience this way – i hope Colonel does not work on the do un to others, as you would do to them. I love animals, and hesitated to take control until the very end. An walk and then a trot and finally you find me dismounting, amazed, in awe, and happy.

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I amazingly was not soar. Abercrombie was fine too, he was so pumped he signed up for two more rides.

Thanks Kim and E.

We all sit, chat with Marnie, E, Ben, and the ranch managers. We leave the lodge, and sit and watch the stars. The day was done. We were satisfied.

Rules, Rushmore, Rapid City and more

We always begin the day consuming mass quantites of food. Monday found us in no different of a position. Steak sandwiches with mushrooms and onions on english muffins.

Delicious and satisfying, we sat for a moment baking in the early sun of the badlands. Time to go…

We put our camping gear in our tough totes and begin packing the van. Maddog, in the most brilliant of ideas, decides to ratchet the door open to keep it from continually slamming shut on the person packing the van. The ratchet went from the tire to the door. ( anyone see any foreshadowing? )

We clean up the site, throw the totes in, loose stuff rolls out the side doors. Another light bulb turns on. Maddog thinks to level the van. Twist the Key. Vroom. In gear. The beast ain’t moving! But the door is!

Shoot! shoot! Some sensored words come flying out.

I look back at the van, door at 90 degrees to the van. I call out everything ok? More sensored words. More and more…

I walk back to the drivers side. I see the ratchet, i see the look. I hear the call for the surgical instrument to fix the situation. A hammer should work to get it loose. Some tense minutes follow, maddog fixes the situation. We close the door. It works. We laugh.

Maddog laughs. As he says he owns this one. Not any drop of blame to share. A complete classic.

We finish the packing and take a path out.

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We are dirty stinky men with one agenda item – a swim.

We drive for horsethief lake. We dive in. We surface. We beach ourselves like sea lions. We are in awe, beauty, water, fish, and mountains in the distance. We dive in many times more. We chat with fellow travelers on a roadtrip across the rockies.

We head back to the van, and drive up to Rushmore. We park a top the super strucuture, and face the amazing vista. We grab sandwiches and drinks and chat. America is grand. We walk around the views, grab gifts and ice cream. We are satisfied with our choices.

We head to Rapid City to the Firehouse Brewery. Dinner and drinks were phenomenal. Service was grand. I get a caffeinejolt, and we head to our next stop in Deadwood.

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We end up at the Hickhock Hotel in a Suite for the night. We ended up parking a half mile away because of the size of the beast.

We headed out at five, 167$ lighter, and ended up at Pistol Petes for Breakfast.

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The breakfast was fantastic. Highly recommend it is in buffalo wyoming.

See you next in Montana!

The Loop

After our lazy start, we decided Sunday was the perfect time to do Sage Creek Road to the Badlands Loop, and back to Wall ( we needed ice ).

As one drives through the natural wonders blow you away, the beauty of the animals, and the wonder the wagon trains must have seen as they moved westward.

We stopped by the visitor center, only to learn we went into the shop/restraunt; the real place was next door. I pop on over to the store and purchase topographical maps of the park so i can see the wonders.

Returning to the car, i looked up to see people climbing down a rock that i originally thought was 1000s of feet tall. The rock turned out to be 50 feet. The perspective in the park is amazing.

We cruised on through one of the entrances to the park, and stopped at a store outside the first gate on I90, we grabbed gifts and trucked back to Wall.

As we were driving, we could see the miles of storms in the distance. We sped our travel to Wall, grabbed ice and a few other things for the meal.

This meal had high anticipation. No getting caught by buffalo today, i head down a shortcut road to avoid the bison blocking our pass.

We get back to camp and prepare a meal:
Filet mignon
Mushooms
Onions
Potatos

The meal was delicious.

As we leaned back after our meal, we see the stars and walk in wonder. North star, big dipper, orions belt, little dipper and a perfect view of the milky way galaxy.

Excellent!

I’ll send photos to the blog today.

Breakfast and the Day

Before we head to bed we take a moment to see the stars,the galaxy and breathe.

It’s a good day.

….

Abercrombie and I wake and walk up to a peak. The morning is so beauticul and interesting. A breathe of fresh air…

We walk back through a river, a field of sage and mint, a wonderful walk, and a good time.

Abercrombie and I get back and make some wonderful eggs, mushrooms, kielbasa and cheese scramble.

We relax and meet four German girls who are interested in brewing coffee. They are doing their own trip across the country. We recommend our favorites from last year – horse thief lake, rushmore, and other wonders on our way.

Rule A

We head out in the afternoon to Wall. The itinerary was the store, view the vistas, and gas up.

We drove part of the park loop. Stopping every now and then to take a photo.

Abercrombie, first time with a telephoto lense, sets up a shot. Out of focus. Maddog thinks Pablo should give a tutorial. I step on the running boards ready to walk to the passenger side.

Rule A. Make sure you put the van in park. Rule to superceed all other rules.

Thanks maddog! i throw in park and give a quick lesson.

We drive, take photos and enjoy the scenery.

We head off to Wall Drug. We do the touristy thing. Gifts and the like.

Abercrombie grabs a five cent cup of coffee. I grab a vanilla soft serve, and maddog gets a choclate malt.

We fill up with ice and gas.

We come back to the national park. Use our pass to enter.

We head to the campsite and were stopped by the buffalo in the road.

We watched Harold and Kumar and cooked the food.

A priceless day… Photos coming soon…

Hand from heaven

Ok. 1 am Saturday.

Blam. Bam. Crack.

I see right through the tent walls a white flash. I hear the tat, tat, tat … Ever increasing.

I text maddog – dishes are done. We left some out overnight.

My heart is racing…. I tell myself. Calm the heck down.

10 minutes later i fall asleep to the tat tat tat.

I wake up again to the second storm. I check the ground under the tent. Everything is still dry.

Crack. Blam. Bam.

Tat tat tat

Flash.

I hear a car alarm go off. The disarm. The slam and see the folks finding shelter in their car.

My hand is shaking. I find keys. I find shoes. I am ready to run and open the truck.

I text maddog stay low. I get the reply i am.

I tell myself to calm down.

I fall asleep to the tat tat tat of the rain.

The final storm of the night rolled in irty minutes later. The final cracks of thunder… The tat tat i fall back asleep.

Wow….

We wake up and comment about the hands of heaven reaching down and slapping us awake in the night.

Pancakes and hashbrowns… We reminise of the night.

Omaha, Rain and delays

Day2. Drive. Drive…

We cannot live with a point of honor unfufilled. Maddog and I think Abercrombie, “we’re coming for you.”

As the miles peel away, 1400, 700, 300, we have a sneaking suspiscion that the weather is going to conspire against our pickup. 3 hours until omaha and the pickup, we see clear driving until the afternoon…

But wait there is more, Maddog mentions we should check the connecting flights arrival time. Wait did i read the United website right? He’s not to depart until 3:40!

We’ll be five hours early. Five precious hours for steaks, food and fun.

Maddog and I detour to walmart – supplies sandwiches and mini monster cars. Sorry, Marnie i can only hope to contain him, not prevent him purchasing another vehicle on this trip.

We wonder through walmart and view the wondets that fully describe the awesomeness of walmart – five pounds of tater tots, bulk kielbasa, bottled water, fruit, and other groceries. Somehow we forget the cars, and make a beeline to the door, load the cooler with ice and food.

We move the vehicle to the shade. Maddog and I begin to chat about cracker jack planning and timing. We get the brainstorm to call united to check on the flights status. It’s ontime!

Shoot. We’re lucky. We are 20 mins away, and making a sandwich.

Abercrombie rings and we drive into action. 10 minutes later maddog is stopping short, and rolling past abercrombie.

We head out of the airport, ac on full, we accept our conditions of lacking comfort for only so long. We see the time tick by to the 4 pm hour, and we head to Omaha Steaks on 96th street in omaha.

We, the rag-a-muffin trio, waltz into the store; honestly Pablo can cut one hell of a rug. The staff try plying us with the special aged reserve. 199 for 4 steaks…. Um Um Like No!

We settle on the modest set of eight premium cuts of steak. It was one fortune, and a treat for the Animals as Abercrombie treAted us to our first dinner planned meal.

OK. Check life task list #1238901 done. Buy steaks from omaha steak in omaha.

Now, to go get a real steak. I heard and read about Gorat’s. Famed for being the steak house of warren buffet, and i heard they had cherry coke.

We change, thinking we had a need for a high class appeal. Wow. I would say we were wrong. Not exactly the first.

I head into what at best would be classified as a dilapitated rundown steakhouse. We had previously decided if the place was ok to eat, i would stay inside. I brought Abercrombie in, we assess the situation ( yes from the days of cpr classes) – hopeless.

We tired And ready to eat. We wait, sit and order.

Steak – medium, filet small cut
Steak – omaha sirloin, medium rare
Steak – medium rare, filet brontonsourus size

The steaks were just Ok, but hit the spot.

Satiated. I begin driving the beast. We ride up onto rte 29 north… Route closed.

Maddog help! I shout. You figure out the route, i am going to fill up the beast. Abercrombie volunteered to get the needed ice.

I begin to fill up. The register reads 10 gallons. The air becomes heavy with the impwnding moisture. the air darkens with the oncoming storm clouds.

We think the weather is going to be bad. Maddog looks at his phone and sees a weather system the size of the state of Nebraska.

The register reads 22 gallons. The double click, the fill up is done.

Abercrombie is putting in the ice. I hear the thunder in the distance. We break the ice and throw it in the cooler.

The water and the wind come. Water accumulates around the streets surrounding the gas station. We stay under the station awning.

Bammm! Station loses the power.

Pablo decides this is the perfect time to use the facilities. I enter the station, and ask the attendant. He says, you’ll never believe it is on the outside and the right. ( right in the storm )

I walk out the station and i am drenched to the core.

I hand over my glasses and the hat that almost blew away.

I hunker down, and walk to the facilities. When i said the power was out, they forgot to mentionthat included the bathrooms power. It was needless to say interesting as i proped open the door and gained some light from the outside as the rain and wind pounded away.

Ok. Time to brave the elements once again.

I return to the van. Soaked. I do a quick change while we wait. We wait. We wait. We wait.

Maddog plotted the eight hour route to Fargo. Nine stops, countless conversations and we make it for breakfast in Fargo. We feel terrible. We have slept little since home.

We rock on from Fargo. Badlands or bust!

We arrive relax and make new friends.

On our way… We’re coming to you Omaha

OK

So we, Maddog and Pablo, are on our way. We left fashionably late at midday.

To start our trip, i pulled the maddog aside and whispered these sweet words:

Rule 1: no talking about the trip
Rule 2: make rumors about 1

One quick knuckle bump, and we agree.

We head to Cumberland Farms, fuel up and start the trip. The odometer read 130121. Our caffenine tolerance fueled as well ( red bull)

I begin driving and we go ipswich to elmira. 6 hours 30 min. Leg 1 down.

We begin calculating the drive… Omaha in 12 hours. 1 fillup

Thus rule 3…

Don’t let maddog do any road trip calculations ( for that matter garmin too)

Maddog just fueled the beast. My turn to nap.

Have a nice day! (thanks A and D)

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