The Badlands -A Thirty Million Year Study Of Erosion 

September 18, 2017

It was the Lakota Indians who populated the area of the Black Hills of South Dakota to first call this place “mako sica” or bad land. It was a story of extreme temperatures,  lack of water and very rugged, exposed terrain. The unique geography was formed when soft sedimentary rock was extensively eroded in a dry climate by wind, ice and snow. This resulted in a vast scenery of sharp spires, deep gullies, and ridges making up the “Badlands”.

It is ruggedly spectacular, multi-colored and seemingly altogether inhospitable.

But on closer look, there is of course a long history of life in the Badlands, both human and otherwise. There is a rich and diverse variety of plants and wildlife. Coyotes,  butterflies, turtles, vultures, snakes, bluebirds, bison and prairie dogs abound.

We personally came across Bighorn Sheep and Prairie Dogs aplenty, and saw more than one sign warning of rattlesnakes.

Much of the land was homesteaded years ago, but it was a harsh life and many of the early settlers gave up their stakes after years of hardship and near starvation. 

Some of their descendants today however, live on area ranches and run good size herds of sheep and cattle. Surprisingly there is a good amount of native grassland which support ranchers without their having to supplement with other feeds.

The area was established as a National Monument by Presidential proclamation in 1939 and designated a National Park in 1978 thus preserving the scenery, wildlife, and indigenous plants found in the over 244,000 acres of the White River Badlands. It’s there for you and me to see and enjoy. We’ve done it, now it’s your turn!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

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Amber Waves Of Grain

September 17, 2017

I never really visualized the ‘Amber waves of grain’ made famous in the favorite American patriotic song, America The Beautiful till we drove through Eastern Washington, the Idaho panhandle, Northern Montana and South Dakota. It’s miles and miles of wheat fields and prairie grass. Believe it or not, it is beautiful.

It seems like a large part of farmers’ time is spent growing food for their animals -hopefully enough to last through those long cold winters. You see these big rolls of hay harvested, rolled into these circular bales and left out in the pastures for harsher times, all over the place.

BTW, speaking of long cold winters, we hit a 3-day spell of rain and 30-40 ° weather, in mid-September! This is tough to take for us Hawaii-kine guys. Once we left Kalispell, Montana it turned unseasonably cold. We ended up driving longer many days than we really wanted to but the towns we were driving through were small, small and offered not much reason to stop for the night.

But Sturgis, South Dakota is world renown for everything motorcycle, especially Harley Davidson. Luckily we missed the annual Sturgis Rally held the first week every August, or we would not have been able to find a motel, hotel, campsite, or any other place to lay our heads because the population explodes during that time!

A really sweet Indian Motorcycle

The  normal population of Sturgis is around 8,000 but during the rally, sometimes known as the Black Hills Motorcycle Classic it swells to 750,000! Like I said, we weren’t sad to miss those crowds and we’re looking forward to the Badlands National Park tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


The Pie Hut & Other Finds

September 14, 2017

Before we left home we did some research, namely where to eat! It’s one of the best parts of road tripping after all. We found an online guide to US Hwy 2 which is one of the main East-West (or in our case, West to East) highways crisscrossing these great United States. The online guide is called Moon’s Road Trip USA, the Great Northern Highway 2. It’s gives you a short narrative of the towns you’ll be passing through, the main attractions or not, and then they provide recommendations on bars & restaurants. A quick cross reference with Trip Advisor and away we go.

The Pie Hut was not mentioned in Moon’s however, so it’s a lucky thing I spotted it out of the corner of my eye and amidst all my navigator duties. It required a quick U-turn, but the pies are mainly for the driver, so no harm, no foul. The place was lunch-time packed and they serve awesome sandwices too, but we managed to walk out with a whole strawberry-rhubarb pie!

Anyway The Pie Hut was in Sandpoint, Idaho. That was just for snacking. By dinner we were in Kalispell, Montana and Indian Nickel Charlie’s came up #1 for eats in this town.

At this point we’d only been on the road about 4 days but we’ve figured out they give much bigger portions here on the mainland than at home in Hawaii. With that in mind I ordered a chef salad and Mick ordered a rib eye steak. Lotta good that did. There must have been a quarter pound of cheddar cheese and an equal amount of ham on my salad! 


Oh and did I mention the gambling?
About 25 years ago when we last travelled this area I don’t remember any casinos, but now they’re everywhere. We didn’t go into the casino at Nickel Charlie’s, but I won a free beer (great microbrews everywhere too) at the bar in the “One Shake-a-Day” game. You roll six dice. Five of a kind wins the pot ($412 at that time). I thought the odds heavily favored the house, but what the heck, it’s only 50c so we each took a turn. Mickey went bust, but I rolled 4 threes & a six. Voila! One free microbrew for the lady.


Unfortunately the next day was the day we’d planned to make The Drive To The Sun into the West side of Glacier National Park, but there are several forest fires all over the place and they just closed the park and evacuated West Glacier. Bummer! I remember the spectacular views from years ago so this is very disappointing. We woke up today with the plan to drop down and try the East Glacier entrance, but the weather had changed. Now besides the terrible visibility from the smoke, it was now rainy & cold. Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes with travel. Tomorrow we’ll start toward Mt. Rushmore (may take us about 3 days), and hopefully it’s still there with all the lefty-prog America haters tearing down our historical monuments trying to change us into their socialistic, communist paradise.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


Frank’s Diner- Once An Old Pullman Car, Now Spokane’s Favorite Breakfast Spot

September 13, 2017

Car NO. 1787 (downtown car), a Pullman, served as a presidential car until it was replaced in 1931.

Stranded in Seattle at the height of the depression, NO. 1787 found a new home. Frank Knight, the brother and sometime partner of Jack Knight of Spokane, bought the presidential car and converted it into a diner car in 1931. They spent $1 million dollars in refurbishment and have done a great job. Today they hold the distinction of being voted the best breakfast in the Spokane 18 years running!

  

Their fried green tomatoes

The counter area of the dining car

We’re sort of boring, me anyway, and usually end up getting the same old thing for breakfast: 2 eggs over easy, toast and hasbrowns since they don’t normally serve rice with eggs like we get at home. But from the photo of the fried green tomatoes above you can see I should have splurged. By the way, you also get your choice of gravy and/or fried onions on the potatoes which I did partake of. Yum! Oh yeah, there were a few pancakes thrown in too.

Needless to say we skipped lunch.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


We Arrived at Seatac (Settle-Tacoma Airport) Early

September 11, 2017

This may be a first. We arrived in Seattle almost an hour early, which is good because the flight was not all that comfortable. Alaskan Airlines does NOT provide blankets or pillows ~even in ‘clasé primero’. This is very disappointing for me because I’m always cold on airplanes. And of course the food as usual, in first class sorta sucks.

I have to say good ole Hawaiian Air is much better, but the bummer is having to going through Honolulu (adding at least 2 hrs to your total time) as opposed to Alaska which flies direct from Kona to Seattle. On Hawaiian Air you get FREE meals, no matter which side of the curtain you find yourself, every bit as good as in 1st class on Alaskan. And by just buying “extra comfort” seats you get a blanket & pillow too. Lesson learned.

So we get to the hotel, just a quick over-nighter till we pick-up our rental car the next morning. Short story – we miss the fresh air provided by wide-open windows that we get to experience every night at home in Waikoloa. Naturally the windows in the hotel don’t open. The AC is either too cold or not cool enough and the only blanket on the bed is a 3-inch thick down duvet. Bottom line:  not a terribly comfortable night.

Nevertheless the next morning about an hour outside of Seattle proper we’re amongst big beautiful trees. The sky was clear blue, at least until we descended Steven’s Pass (less than 5,000 elevation at the crest) where the smoke from the local fires reminded us of the vog at home, ugh!

Still we’re on the open road and we’re managing to cope with the situation among the pretty big beautiful trees, and all of a sudden it got a lot easier:

That’s right, Washington State has pretty much a carté blanche on all things pakalolo, as the sign says. At home I’ve recently been using a fairly mild CBD oil to help me sleep, (Hawaii has legal medical marijuana) so I figured, what the heck and we stopped. Show a photo I’D and that’s all there is to it.

Front Street in Leavenworth

The rest of the day was good and when we reached Leavenworth, WA with a wide variety of local micro-brews and lots of good German food we decided to spend the night. And a good night it was.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


I Second That Emotion

September 9, 2017

Here I am the day before blowing this pop stand called the Big Island. Yes, island fever is a real thing. I get so tired of the same restaurants, the politics and even some of our neighbors-ha! But you can imagine the day before departure you’re running around like a mad-man, doing laundry (I insist on changing the sheets just prior to when we leave so when we get to come back it’s not only our own bed, but also clean, crisp sheets), counting out our vitamins, printing our boarding passes (crap, no pre-check this time!) and packing for not only me, but also Mickey. He’s one of these ‘just stuff it in there’ kinda guys, then he wonders why his clothes look like he slept in them. I have a method and it works!

So I’m wondering if I’ll have time to post just one more blog before I leave and then switch to a travelog to give all of you a rest too. Then I came across this on YouTube from Candace Owens, aka Red Pill Black one of my favorites on Twitter, and problem solved. Oh but let me explain Red Pill Black. Red pill = accepting truth, which could be harsh & difficult, or Blue pill, meaning maintaining our blissful ignorance of the world. And Candace Owens is black, hence Red Pill Black.

Anyway, I couldn’t agree with Red Pill Black more! I second that emotion. According to Vanity Fair movie theater attendance is at a 19-low. They brought it on themselves. Most people, except their own kind are sick of them pontificating to everyone. They are perhaps the most out of touch people in the country ~except for politicians. And more and more people can really do without either one!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu. This trip is from Seattle -> via Old Hwy 2 (an east–west U.S. Highway) spanning 2,571 miles. We’re only going as far as Detroit for a family wedding.


Food For Thought While We Wring Our Hands Over DACA

September 6, 2017

Lots of distraction these days. Hurricane Harvey has been taken off the front page by category 5 Irma, where by the way U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed an emergency order allowing the seizure of private guns, ammunition, explosives and property the National Guard may need to respond to Hurricane Irma.

Wow. Never let a crisis go to waste. This also happened during Hurricane Katrina and it did not end well. Thankfully the NRA has threatened to sue if they don’t back off.

After the gun grab during Katrina Congress later passed the 2006 Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act, which was meant to prohibit future confiscation of weapons during an emergency, but the progs never give up on disarming us.

Sorry, I got distracted. What I meant to talk about today was the danger of an EMP attack by Iran or North Korea. Ryan Mauro of Clarion Project talks about it here:

Keep your eye on the ball folks ~but which one? Scary.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


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