Thursday, June 4, 2009

day twenty-five: From Custer, SD to North Platte, NE

Prairie dog babies talkin' trash
Michael going in to Rushmore
Driving into Rushmore
Black Hills National forest
Sand hills of Nebraska
The Sand hills are too pretty for one picture!

The morning dawned with no rain.  This was a great improvement over yesterday’s cold, wet finish.  We rode a short twenty miles to Rushmore to see the four presidents (did you remember their names?).  As we came up to the mountain there were signs which said no standing or stopping pre-sumably because the faces are visible from the road.  Mike and decided  after spending $20 a piece for the privilege of riding through Yellowstone that we’d recoup some of our expenditure on this park.  So, I walked up to the face of the mountain toward the road and snapped a few shots.  I don’t know but I thought Lincoln looked tired.  After the viewing we rode back down the mountain to Custer.  Here we planned a short stop to look at the map before traveling on.  Before traveling on as I said, I decided to get one of the falls I owe to Bud Shevick out of the way.  I chose the street in front of the town’s courthouse as the place and that time seemed perfect.  I was once again standing still- not even moving at low speed.  Anyway, that’s over!

We left Custer via Hwy 385 headed south.  About an hour later we crossed into Nebraska, our 20th state.  Mike and I really had no idea what to expect of Nebraska.  My preconceptions were flat and boring.  I was wrong in spades!  We rode through 200+ miles of rolling grassy hills called the Sand Hill area by Nebraskans.  Meredith and I had a debate just for argument’s sake about my usage of the word “wasteful” regarding God’s creation we’ve experienced going out and now coming back home.  Mere’s disagreement with my term was based on its connotation of wastefulness or the idea that something better could have been done with what was wasted.  A better word is maybe the word “extravagant.”   This word can also have a negative connotation but I mean it in the profusely exaggerated, decorative or showy sense.  He seems to be extravagant in spreading the beauty, not only in national parks, but everywhere, even in common places like today.  I did some math while I was riding (I know, dangerous!) and Mike and I could look in any direction at numerous times during the day and see over a million acres of land with no town, city, burg or village.  This land is beautiful in a large and lonesome kind of way.  While there were no towns for miles in any direction, there were numerous “grass-conversion-units.”  These come in many shapes and sizes and are called by many names- Hereford, Angus, deer, antelope, etc.  If you want company out here, these are your choices.  We saw a great variety of animals today.   We saw more buffalo as we came through the Black Hills National Forest, with antelope, prairie dogs, deer, coyote (1) and a snake.  We took many pictures of wild flowers as we watched trains pass an old roadbed where we took a break.  This was a great day for riding.  Tomorrow we plan a “ground covering” day.  As a matter of fact we plan to repeat this for the next three days to get us closer to home.  Between here and there we have no big sites to see until we get to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  If we have time, we may try to see Gettysburg.  Even though I’m a big Civil War fan I’ve never made it to this battlefield- we’ll see.



  1. "grass-conversion-units"!! I love it! I'm enjoying all of the descriptions you guys are putting down on blog, and look forward to hearing the stories that didn't make the cut.

    Alan, I've decided to swallow my pride and admit that I was wr-- , um.. wro-- well, that I was inaccurate in my count of your drops, so I hereby release you from having to do that again. Thanks for working on it, though, and thinking of me.

    BTW, I think Levi and I saw that same coyote in Nebraska when we were coming back from Wyoming - was he on the right side of the road?

    Drive safely and enjoy!


  2. Bud, the coyote was on the right side of the road and he was very sill. do yo think that it was a statue put there to fool innocent travelers or those addled from falls?


  3. We are near Gettysburg now through Sunday, 6/7.
    We drove up to Hershey,PA for a high school graduation. The Shenandoa Valley is beautiful also. Gmom, Dale, Emma and Katie are with me. Any chance of crossing paths? We drive back early Sunday.

    Another word for wasteful/extravagant: prodigal
    God demonstrates his excessive, limitless, prodigal grace to us daily. I am thankful, along with y'all, that He is showing you how riotously creative He is!


  4. Dilly points out that wacky weed grows wild in Nebraska. Matt discovered this several summers ago. I think he was turned on to it by his bible teacher and/or coach at WCA.(Jerry and/or Mike Ediger) These statements are accurate even though the conclusions they lead to are not.

  5. Mike and I have been wacky enough without use of any additives! Thanks for the good word. "Prodigal" is exactly what I was searching for. Mike and I rode about 625 miles today and are in Columbia, MO. That still leaves a long haul for tomorrow. Seeing the Tingles at Gettysburg looks unlikely but don't give up on us yet. We are rising early and putting miles behind us in a good effort.