Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Week in South Dakota

South Dakota was a week of rest and visiting.

There is nothing like driving across the plains. While driving from the ranch (grandma and grandpa’s) to my aunt Beth’s I would see herds of antelope an a hillside and then go over another hill and see a herd of deer… the words from Home on the Range were always on the tip of my tongue. I attempted to photograph some of each. The antelope, however, were not very cooperative. During my time in SD I saw everything from the back of pickups loaded with neon orange clad pheasant hunters, to Harley-riding bikers. But my favorite has to be the skies that take your breath away. I have attempted to capture them and hope that I can do them justice.

Tuesday Grandma and Grandpa went to town for a doctor’s appointment and I stayed home part of the day doing laundry, blogging, and reading a little. Then I drove over to spend the rest of the day with Beth and Terry. Grandma and Grandpa came home that evening with an appointment to be at the hospital the next morning for Grandpa to get hernia surgery. So my plans to leave the next day suddenly changed. I picked up Beth the next morning and we headed in a little after Grandpa and Grandma. We spent the day at the hospital as moral support for Grandma as well as Grandpa. His surgery went well and he opted to stay the night in the hospital instead of make the hour + drive home. He claimed it felt like a horse kicked him with both feet. And he would probably know… I took Beth home and I went back to the ranch. They made it home early the next afternoon and I was surprised to see Grandpa walking so well. He took it easy for the next couple of days. Saturday was a beautiful 60 degree day and I could tell he was getting a bit stir crazy. I packed up to leave and said my goodbyes to Grandma and Grandpa. I then drove over to Beth and Terry’s for lunch and to tell them goodbye as well. I finally headed out about 2.

My one goal was to get my oil changed in Sturgis. With that accomplished I decided to see if I could buzz up to Mt Rushmore or Crazy Horse. The sun was setting behind the Black Hills as I was getting out of Rapid City and I found a church parking lot to indulge in my photo habit. It was getting dark, but I decided to continue toward the Mt Rushmore since it was closest. As I wound around in the mountains it was an awesome site to come around a corner and see the presidential faces lit up. However, I opted not to spend the $8 to park for 15 minutes while I took quick pictures before heading toward Spearfish and my bed for the night. They did have a pullout so you could see Washington’s profile so I drug out my tripod and attempted some night shots. I couldn’t resist getting the entire monument so I found a wide shoulder on the way down the mountain that I could see the whole monument and pulled the tripod out again. I buzzed down the mountain and back toward Rapid because I knew I was being rude if I didn’t check in with my host for the night (one of Mom’s cousins) and had no signal until Rapid City. Once I called I learned that they planned to eat dinner in 20 minutes and I was at least 45 minutes away. They promised it was no problem to wait for me, but I felt sheepish anyway. I hurried as much as I could (which isn’t hard when the speed limit is 75). I made it in time to jump in my host’s truck and go a couple of miles to his son’s house… who incidentally brought his bride to Shady Acres B&B in Alaska a year ago for their honeymoon. We had a fun evening of chatting and catching up.