Gaining a day called for a touch of re routing & altered potential stopping point as we headed for the Badlands of South Dakota. The day started out ok as we passed through yet another town called Boulder (just how many can one country have & I think we have now been to most of them) in our bid to avoid driving through downtown Denver, the weather started to turn a bit nasty.
Electric storms & heavy rain seemed to dog us & Denver was so large that we found we still had to navigate its outskirts. Google maps committed us to a section of new freeway which to our alarm proved to be some sort of toll road & given the volume of traffic & no discernible exit.
Driving in relentless rain is tiring so common sense prevailed & we found ourselves in the Cheyenne KOA for the night.
Once parked up the rain seemed to abate long enough for my buddy to utter something like ‘seems to have eased off a bit’ & took off for a long hot shower. I like a good shower so initially wasn’t concerned that she had not returned. Time flies when flute playing & hadn’t noticed the skies darken or the full blown electric storm kick off until Martha was literally rocking in the wind. Internet & phone signal were erratic & certainly not weather to be out in your nightie in so seemed like my mate was trapped in the wash house. Hours later a knock on the side of the van heralded her return accompanied by shouts of ‘let me in’.
Momentarily the temptation to sing ‘oh dear what can the matter be how long to be stuck in the lavatory’ were shelved, as grudgingly alighting from my bed grumbling that the side door was not locked I had failed to appreciate a small lake had formed beside it. Had my flute playing annoyed the weather gods? Don’t know but as she climbed through the drivers door I think I narrowly missed receiving a rigid sigmoidoscopy with it!
Next morning we woke up to a different world where the skies started to clear & we continued our quest for a gawp at the odd & unusual punctuating the journey.
‘Chimney Rock’ has long been used as a distinctive landmark however the original Native American name was replaced for fear it would offend the pioneers. Rattle snakes were the chief creature for us to avoid here & luckily none appeared so off we set set to Bayard where upon we were diverted by a sheriff down the backroads where cheery bunting prevented us from entering several roads. While google maps had a melt down trying to re route us we finally found a bunting less road to try. However our escape was once again thwarted by official looking folk on horseback.
Pioneer Day was clearly a popular celebration that we had inadvertently stumbled into & out of but did explain why the entry to the Chimney Rock visitor centre had been free that day.
Alliance home of Carhenge was next to make comparison to Stonehenge which not a million miles from were we live in the UK. Slightly brilliant in a barmy sort of way we chatted with the lady in the shop about the history & purchased a couple of keepsakes.
In my role as re router I realised we could with a minor detour visit Wounded Knee. Neither of us were completely au fait with its history & so decided to stop discovering a profoundly sad story of where the recording of events is largely in the hands of those writing it. Sadly it has taken a long time for the description of ‘Battle’ to be revoked & replaced by that of Massacre of Wounded Knee, the more accurate account of events there. Sobering stuff & makes you stop & think what other versions historical events that you have taken for granted to have been impartial accurate recordings are as it transpires not.
With the Badlands fast approaching & the light fading we were suddenly aware that we had not yet fixed any where to stay. Bolding knocking on what seemed the correct trailer for the site manager the man who answered embarked on the strangest dialogue of the trip but thankfully found us a pitch. It appeared that these spots were prone to flooding so with fingers crossed that a ‘no flute practice’ had appeased the weather gods we parked for the night. If we hadn’t been washed away then we were in pole position to embark on the scenic loop drive the following day.