Monday, 4 September 2017

Day 5: Rapid City SD - Billings MT

Pretty much another transition stage today.  Out of Rapid City and up into the Black Hills, which hav a very interesting history if you are interested in hist. which few boys are.  It would seem that in 1868, the U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, establishing the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River, and exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever.  "Forever", in this case, turned out to mean "six years" as in 1874 gold was discovered, The Man took the Black Hills back and kicked the locals out on their collective ear.  This led to all sorts of unpleasantness, especially if you happened to be George Armstrong Custer, the world-renowned military berk.

The Man then filled the route up from Rapid City with all manner of tacky tourist tat, at least as far as Mount Rushmore where, as noted yesterday, I did not go.  But you can see it from the road.  It still looks like this:
Famous rock group The Presidents of the United States of America
I was actually looking for the so-called "Pecker Rock", which is supposed to stand next to SD-244 just past Mount Rushmore and resembles a CDC, so I could photograph it and enhance the reputation of YACF for smut.  But having not seen it on the first pass, I decided not to bother going back and looking again, so instead here is Horse Thief Lake:
Next stop the Bear's Tipi1.  No, Emily, I do not wish to go back to Rapid City, because that is in totes the wrong direction.  Take me out of them thar hills in a westerly direction, if you would be so kind.

After coming out of the hills it turned all hazy.  I suspect this was due to distant wild fires filling the atmostale with crud rather than any low clouds or Exhalations of the Earth.  Not much else to see here either; a reversion to the standard Plains mild lumps with cows on them, the odd stand of Ponderosa Pines and the occasional mile-long coal train.  Alas I was too slow to get a photo of one of these as it approached the town of Newcastle...

To demonstrate the murkiness of the prevailing, here is the Bear's Tipi from not really all that far away:
You had to get up close and personal before you could make it out clearly enough to see whether it's made of mashed potatoes, by Richard Dreyfuss:
If, in fact, it was made from mashed potatoes it is unlikely that there would be mad people like this anywhere near it:
And thence to Billings, via the same route as in 2005.  Which, I recall, had a smooshed deer every mile or so as a result of empty cattle trucks bombing along US-212 at 90 mph.  Today there were far fewer smooshed deer and the mighty rushing headwind ensured that no-one was bombing along at 90 mph no matter what they were driving.  Hardly any cattle trucks anyway, with it being a bank holiday tomorrow.  The game of "match the distance on the fuel readout to the distance left to travel" went hopelessly wrong and enforced another stop chiz.  Nearly 300 miles with nothing worthy of note to look at.  I did go past the Little Bighorn battlefield, but I went there in 2005 as well and stopping would have merely confirmed that George Armstrong Custer was at least eight of the BRITISH Army's eleven officially recognised types of fucking idiot.
"I've got a great idea", said Custer.  "Let's abandon the high ground where Mr Larrington is standing with his camera in 2005 and chase the Indians down that valley where... oh! Shit!"
On Porcupines: Any fule know that when a porpentine is fretful, its quills stand on end, thereby ensuring any wannabe predator gets a faceful of pointy spikes.  But according to a notice in a rest area somewhere in rural Wyoming, a fretful porpentine will actually climb a tree to escape from danger.  I did not know this.

On Telephones: Last year my phone Just Worked over here.  This year I switched it on after getting off the plane and it chirpily greeted me with a "Welcome to USAnia" text from Giffgaff.  But it has subsequently lost interest in being a phone and resolutely refuses to find any networks.  Billings has a population in excess of 100,000 people.  There will be mobile phone networks here.  Any ideas gratefully received2.

  1. AKA the "Devils Tower".  Stupid white men.
  2. Yes, I have tried switching it off and on again, poking various things under "Settings", and foul language.

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