Thursday, August 15, 2013

militia, tornado, antler, child

So now I'm writing from Belle Fourche, South Dakota, only I'm not really writing, I'm more just telling my mother I'm alive.

So if you are my mother you can stop reading now and continue on with your day.
For the rest of you, I want to tell you that I chose to drive the long, empty swath of the North Cheyenne Reservation long after dark, and decided in retrospect it may not have been the most relaxing choice. Bucks with enormous antlers roamed the sides of the road, hundreds of them. They looked slowly up as I passed, so close to my side mirrors that I could see their big lips moving up and down as they chewed. The look on their faces was that of such strong indifference it seemed almost aggressive, although that is a linguistic impossibility.

My fears for this particular route could so far be summed up like this: militia men, militia men, militia men, tornadoes, tornadoes, tornadoes, and certain neighborhoods of Chicago. I'd like to update that compendium to include a curious or perhaps nefarious deer in Wyoming that extends its hoof into the highway, causing a bloody derailment and my swift but agonizing death by antler bone right through the coronary artery.
Also, mysterious night children.

Because as I was thinking about the deer and the antler in the heart, I passed a row of police cars on the shoulder with their lights flashing red and blue and a mob of children, all without shirts, running up the road at full speed, pairs and pairs of brown legs flashing by as I slowed to a reluctant crawl.

Between that and the antlers and the heat lighting shimmering around us in all directions I decided that my parents were right and I should have stopped for the night at a decent hour.

But with no choice now, no gas or hotel, I drove another 150 miles, passed three giant Halliburton factories, white walls, white tubes, white light, white steam churning into the sky, and I finally saw the lights of a sprawling town in the distance, population 5,026. Never has their been a traveler more grateful to be in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.

Especially since I've never been to South Dakota. Now all that's left is the other Dakota, and I'll have been to all of the lower 48 as well as Alaska. As for Hawaii, I've given up on that. Hawaii is where perfectly happy people go on their vacations with their perfectly lovely partners, and I'm too busy yanking the bone out of my chest to get involved with such things.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find your COURAGE just awesome.

Kitty said...

Come to hawaii girl.. You have a place to stay

SmithShack71 said...

Wow @ the sights.
I'm up watching some falling stars. I hope you're sleeping well.
My car once was surrounded by buffalo and their calves. A couple of them bumped the car with their heads. It shook and was not fun. Yet, I laughed. BUT, while they were wild, they were also enclosed on a range here at LBL. Land Between the Lakes.
Yeah, Melina, you've got huge balls. And you know I mean that in the most kickass way.
I believe you are but I have to say... Stay smart, safe and enjoy this ride called life.
xo
Angie

SmithShack71 said...

Wow @ the sights.
I'm up watching some falling stars. I hope you're sleeping well.
My car once was surrounded by buffalo and their calves. A couple of them bumped the car with their heads. It shook and was not fun. Yet, I laughed. BUT, while they were wild, they were also enclosed on a range here at LBL. Land Between the Lakes.
Yeah, Melina, you've got huge balls. And you know I mean that in the most kickass way.
I believe you are but I have to say... Stay smart, safe and enjoy this ride called life.
xo
Angie

Erin said...

Ahahahaha! I've totally been in that horror movie late night driving before. Mine involved too little sleep and hallucinating deer carcasses coming from under a large hooded figure riding on a very small bicycle.

6512 and growing said...

Chalk driving through a plains reservation at night to adventure. The details here, wow. I enjoyed imagining this drive from the passenger seat of your writing.

Sarah Beth said...

I know the route you drove well. That road was well traveled on my many road trips to and from Iowa for grad school. And Motel Camp. I laughed when I saw that picture. It reminds me of my favorite road trip to Iowa where I had my brother as a co-pilot. Delirium was setting in at Motel Camp, and Belle Fourche was a welcome sight. To bad we were crazy and decided we could make it all the way to Rapid City.
Be safe on your drive and enjoy the sights.

Rachel @ Existation said...

Dude, no, you FIND yourself in Hawaii. That place has my soul, forever and always.

Amanda Buck said...

Oh my gosh you are too funny! Love your travel posts. By the way, if you ever travel to Duluth, MN again I'd love to meet ya:-) Perhaps over a cup of coffee, tea, or even a good brewhouse beer;-)

mountain girl heidi said...

I LOVE that stretch of highway on my drive to/from Montana. That wide open expanse of land and sky is just amazing. That being said, I've only ever driven it during the day, and I can imagine that it's a nightmare at night. Right after our wedding, my husband and I left Jackson Hole, WY in the wee hours of the morning, and we passed many many many antelope standing on the side of the road or in the other lane, staring into our eyes. It wouldn't have been so bad had my car not been fresh out of the shop from hitting a deer 20 minutes from my parents' place on our drive to MT for our wedding.

marinj said...

Your pictures are stunning! I was also disappointed when I got to the end of your post, I wanted more! :) As always, you keep me glued to the screen until I have read every last word and I always have this longing to be more adventurous, live a more carefree life and fly by the seat of my pants more after I read your posts. You're pretty cool. :)

Anna said...

I love that your traveling with moms super dorky bike that somehow you ended up with. Nice touch. I've still got your keys.

beersincannes said...

LOVE the picture of the bike!!!



Anonymous said...

I just did the drive from Seattle to Rapid City 3 weeks ago, and made the same erroneous decision to cut through the Crow/Cheyenne reservation. After the most disgusting road trip bathroom at the Crow Agency, there was no cell service, no landlines and my 6 year old had to drop an urgent load in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully the girls at the grocery in Ashland took pity on us and offered their facilities. Belle Fourche seemed like a diamond in the rough after our trip through the reservation. As for Mt. Rushmore & the Black Hills: beautiful. Great history and kind people. Did you hit Wall Drug on your way east?