To The Duke

To The Duke

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cactus Country Publishing

In June High Hill Press took our fifth wheel and traveled on the Oregon Trail from Kansas City to the western border of Wyoming. It was an amazing trip. We walked in the ruts that the wagons of our ancestors drove deep into the ground on their trips west. We sat on the banks of the Platte River and walked the same earth that Buffalo Bill Cody walked in Nebraska. We toured museums and scrounged through junk shops looking for old books. I found a few.

When we got to western Nebraska we decided to detour for a week or so and visit Deadwood, South Dakota. We stayed in a campground at the edge of Custer State Park and got up early one morning to do the wildlife loop in the hopes of seeing buffalo before the traffic jams started. We did. Hundreds of them surrounded our truck. I know this sounds strange, but when a big mamma walked up next to my window, I swear she stopped and looked in at me with that wise brown eye of hers. I was almost overwhelmed with how magnificent I thought they were.But even though they were beautiful and I felt some kind of kinship, I kept my window shut.

Woman Hurt By Buffalo At Custer State ParkBuffalo in Custer State Park, SD | Favorite Things | Pinterest

Deadwood was also amazing. And we spent hours at the Crazy Horse Monument. Another day at Mount Rushmore and our visit to that part of South Dakota was complete. I came away with a strange feeling that the people who live there now are much like the adventurous pioneers and gold seekers who first settled there in the 1800's. They have that devil may care spirit. You can see it everywhere. It probably isn't a place for a middle-class boring old couple to retire, and I wouldn't because of the winters there, but it was invigorating to visit. We actually think we're going to go back and work at Crazy Horse next May. I'll let you know.

The rest of the trip was wonderful, tiring, amazing, and sometimes surreal. We stayed a week in Riverton, Wyoming in the center of the Wind River Reservation. We visited a ghost town called Atlantic City high up in the Wind River Mountains. There the Mormon Handcart trails cross the Pony Express Trails and they all dissect the Oregon Trail and overlook the Continental Divide. Then we headed to Yellowstone, on up to Montana to visit Little Big Horn, down to the Devil's Tower, and then on in to Cheyenne. By the time we drug ourselves back to Missouri, with a huge case of altitude sickness, we were tired yet still excited about everything we'd seen. Just like a family reunion where Uncle George wants to show you pictures of his vacation every year...I'll share a few of ours here.

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