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.

The Guys Trip – New Hampshire 2011

New Hampshire – July 2011 – a set on Flickr.

Trips, this time it is best referred to as a weekend getaway, often start with the tedium of traffic.  Our trip started with a detour, a snag of the magic ezpass transponder, and our drive towards the White Ledge Campground began.

Rockstar managed the tunes. Draco managed the directions.  I managed to find some nice traffic to drive through.

Traffic, while painful, is not bad when you have old Bessy. Bessy gave us the perfect view of the AC Cobra driving next to the van (in traffic).

The time and the miles passed.  We found the entrance.  For some reason, one cannot easily input the GPS coordinates into the Garmin.  I wished I had copied the information from the Recreation.Gov site http://www.recreation.gov/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70440 or http://maps.google.com/maps/place?q=White+Ledge+Campground&hl=en&cid=10740925173900668762

We entered the Campground and ended up at the Campsite #9. We checked in with the guardian of the site. Now, normally I don’t speak about the Ranger or Guardian of the site, but wow, I recommend reading the reviews on Google.  They are dead accurate.

The Guardian mentioned the following:

  • The Riot Act – What is appropriate and inappropriate noise levels et cetra
  • The Wood Problem – Big Problem with Importing Diseased Wood

After we had setup our tents, he came over to have us place our tents in different ways and areas because they infringed on the natural environment.  I can respect it, but man, it felt we were being checked up on for the Riot Act and the Wood Problem.  Note to others, just don’t bring wood, it’s really dangerous to the health of the Forests.

Once the Guardian left, we setup a fire, food and time flowed by finally reaching Midnight, and time to call it a night.

Night One is in the books.

I wake up at 8, fall back to sleep and finally rise around 9.

We jump into the Van.  We drive:

  1. We drive through Conway
  2. Up through Gorham into Berlin
  3. Back through Gorham and Berlin
  4. The Mount Washington Auto Road
  5. Back down Mount Washington
  6. Through the Kangamangus
  7. To Sabbaday Falls 
  8. Back through Kangamangus into Conway into North Conway
  9. To Pirates Cove Mini Golf for an awesome 36 holes of mini golf
  10. Hannafords for Bacon, Grill Lighter, Tater-Tots and Gatorade
  11. Back to the Campsite

Wow, a full day of driving…

We gathered wood. Matt cooked steak tips. I cooked Tater-Tots on the Camp Fire.

We eat, we play cards, we sit in front of the fire.

What a day! Time to sleep.

Sunday we decamped and headed home.  We drove 360 miles round trip (16 on Mount Washington).