Post 1518: Black Hills adventure, part 2…


As iconic to South Dakota as Mount Rushmore are these bison in Custer State Park. The rains that day cleaned them up nicely. Ordinarily, they are dusty, even muddy from wallowing in, erm, “buffalo wallows“. They clean up nicely!

We saw several individuals and small herds of bison throughout the park, with this one being the largest (and fortunately) closest to the road. There are signs reminding visitors not to get out of the car or get closer to the bison to photograph them as they are wild animals and dangerous.

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Spot the wild turkeys in this photo if you can.

six wild turkeys

Still difficult to see, there are two hens in the first two “circles”, starting on the left; possibly two hens, definitely one in the “circle” right of the tree; and a big tom in the far right “circle”! Trust me! We had the benefit of seeing movement to help us spot these rascals. 


Count again, and you see even more turkeys. There are at least ten in this photo.


White-tailed deer are another beautiful creature found in the park! 


Adventurers need to eat, so we stopped at a bar and grill somewhere – Keystone maybe – and had a delicious club sandwich with root beer. Marianne wanted a nice hot coffee, but this was a bar afterall! The air conditioning was set at a very cold level and that coffee would have been very welcome.

I showed Marianne the photo I took of her while we waited for the sandwiches, which came with excellent french fries that we didn’t expect. She thought she looked terrible in her photo, so I took a terrible photo of myself to even things up. Ha! 

It was getting late, so we set course for Custer to see the last major sight of the day, a stone sculpture that as planned will stand as tall as a forty storey/story building…


…the Crazy Horse Memorial, as seen from the viewing room at the back of the visitor center. We didn’t have time to take the bus up to the top of the mountain, but that will be on my bucket list for future day trips!


Here’s a better view. It has reached this stage since initiation of carving in 1948, and completion surely will never be in our lifetimes. The face of this famous Lakota leader and some detail on his arm and pointing finger are completed, with the head of his horse scheduled for the next work. You can see a painted horse head slightly obscured by a pine framed by the two people on the right. 

Here’s a further enlarged view of the sculpture. For scale, notice the construction equipment on the flat surface (the arm). It is staggering. You can see the horse head more clearly, too.

lakota leader

Then we drove to Hot Springs, where I made wrong turn, tried to turn around, and smashed my car into a decorative boulder on the edge of a parking lot. After many trying minutes (the accident happened after everything was closed down), we managed to arrange to have my VW Golf Sportwagen towed to Rapid City to the VW dealer I bought it from, and to take a $200 taxi ride back to Alliance. (I told you this day was an adventure!)

But that’s another story, one that’s still unfolding. I wiped out the radiator and the front spoiler. So much for taking Marianne to Panhandle historic and paleontological sights! Gee! We didn’t even get up to Carhenge, which is a short drive from where I live.


Post 1517: Black Hills adventure, part 1…

My Dutch friend Marianne and I first visited the Mammoth dig site in Hot Springs. There were restrictions on photography during the tour, then I forgot to take any photos after when the restrictions were off. Good grief! I’d be fired from my job if I were a reporter!

It was raining when we arrived thirty minutes before opening time, but the woman who turned out to be our excellent tour guide opened the door and let us in, where we could wait on a bench in the lobby till the official opening.

After the video, tour, and a little time to select agates and other small souvenirs, we drove to Custer State Park (photos above) where smoke from park fires earlier was cleansed from the air by the mist and rains of that morning. Everything was glistening, magical! 

A prairie dog town (photo with Marianne, above) provided a glimpse of the wildlife to come. The leaves on deciduous trees had begun to turn, turning the landscape into a festive one.

Apparently, these burros are seasonal at Custer State Park if I understood comments from a South Dakotan responding to our description of an “encounter” with this band of beggars! 


After a long drive through the Black Hills glistening in rain and light fog, we arrived at Mount Rushmore. Believe it or not, there is a carved mountain in this photo! It was pointless to pay the admissions fee to view more of this, so we turned south to see one last major sight and any wildlife we could view along the way.

[to be continued]



Post 1516: Dougy’s short visit…

Dougy came for a visit.

“How ya doing?”

“See ya!”

Now that was a short visit!

Post 1515: Dougy finds something of interest…

“What!? What!? What!? This wasn’t here before!” Doug’s friend Marianne brought gifts from Amsterdam, a Vermeer calendar and a photo book on the canals of Amsterdam. When Dougy discovers the wrapping paper off the gifts while snooping on the table, he knows one thing: It deserves a look, maybe a sniff and a taste!

“Just as I thought. Not food for kitty boys.” Dougy sated his curiosity for the moment.

Dougy leaves the table to find other mischief to get into. (I saw you on the table, Douglas James Thomas! You know you aren’t supposed to be there!)

Post 1514: Andy plays peek-a-boo!


As you can tell from the bleached out look of these photos, Andy was in a dark spot, and he was sneaking peeks at me.

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“Where’s that Andy!? I can’t see him.” Peek!


“Sure wish I knew where Andy is. I think it’s time for kitty treats!” That was sufficient to get him to reveal himself. Shake the kitty treat package, and Andy  comes running. Dougy does, too.

Post 1513: …detente?

Poor Dougy! Still locked out!

Then Marianne came through the door. Dougy let out a sad little “meow” when she leaned toward him, but was a big kitty boy and let her pet him.

Perhaps he’s adjusting. Earlier, when Marianne and I were talking and she was standing too close to Dougy’s ottoman (by his reckoning), he fiercely scratched the ottoman to let Marianne know, “It is MINE”

Gracious! How rude!

Post 1512: Locked out!

Dougy is anxious. Why Because the guest bedroom door has been closed all night! He wonders he going to get his beauty rest if he can’t sleep on the guest bed. Good grief! It’s almost 3:00 AM!


Nope! Still closed.

Dougy tries to make the best of it, but he checks that door regularly for change.


He comes back to the ottoman to ask me in Cattinese, “Mrow~mrow.” He wants me to answer when the door will be open again. Dang it!


[My Dutch friend Marianne arrived late yesterday afternoon after a very long day’s travel. We decided the kitty boys could handle being locked out of the guest bedroom for the night if it meant she could get a good night’s rest. Andy had no problem with it, but Dougy is impatient to get back in.]



Post 1511: spit polishing the place

I confess to being a lousy housekeeper, a factor in how much effort I have to make before my Dutch friend Marianne arrives today.

Add into the “poor housekeeper” factor two Persian kitty boys, and you have a wastepaper basket full of hair mixed in with the normal dust in the carpets. And that’s just two of four rooms worth!

I need mention, too, that I found two dried poops, one dried vomit, and one wet poop in the guest bedroom – of course! – that would have been just one wet poop if I actually went in there more often. Ugh!

I knew about one dried poop and moved a litter box yesterday to the bathroom because there seems to be a problem “finding” it where it used to be by the bureau.

I nearly finished vacuuming the guest bedroom and front room when Andy came in to inspect my work. Behind the glider? A bit sloppy, Doug! But the broken scratcher that the kitty boys like to use as a box surrogate and scratching post met his high standards.

Have to finish cleaning, so, as much as I’d rather play on the Internet, I better get to it! 


Post 1510: In which we prepare for our Dutch friend!

Dougy’s blocking the bathroom door and Andy’s on the table – bad kitty! The kitties wonder what’s up.

The kitty boys take turns coming in to check up on what I’m doing, then leave to their guard positions.

“Why, I’m doing lots of washing and cleaning in preparation for our friend Marianne’s visit from The Netherlands by way of Maine, kitty boys. She’ll arrive in Nebraska on Wednesday. I think you’ll like her!” I explain.

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“Fine!” Andy tells me in Cattinese, “But don’t forget it is ‘feed the kitties wet food time’. NOW!”

Yes, kitty. I’ll fix your meal soon. First, I’ll start the next to last load in the dryer, and the last load in the washer. Your meal’s almost waiting for you!



Post 1509: plucking mats…

Andy was busy grooming today when I noticed something I’d not seen before…

…he was plucking mats off his legs. I’ve tried to do this for him, and he resists. Can’t wait till next week when the kitty boys finally have another grooming appointment. Those mats are tedious for them and for me, especially since they don’t co-operate with me and let me trim them out!