It's now Thursday 22 May and we are in Mitchel, South Dakota. But I'm still behind the 8-ball as far as relaying our journey! Quality Inn here is ok as far as the room is concerned. But the staff that greeted us left a lot to be desired! Especially as far as charging us for our room. She quoted $55.00 and proceeded to charge $69.00 -- and had already swiped the credit card. She was pretty vacant and just explained that she had made a mistake with the charge. What a bimbo! She did, however, manage to reset the wireless high speed Internet connection! Part of her problem may have been understanding Neil's British accent -- however, it did not make a good impression to find her on Facebook, eating something gooey out of a jar when we came back from dinner that night! Oh, yes, the weather has turned. Low temperatures (50s') and rain predicted for the rest of our journey. So Yellowstone, The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, as well as Custer's Last Stand may have to wait for the Future.
Back a few weeks now to Yosemite: Yosemite is more than words. My friend Christine describes it as a cathedral and I think what man has in mind when building or visiting or praying is Yosemite. When man goes over the top he creates something like Las Vegas, but when God goes over the top you get Yosemite!
Our biggest mistake was going on a Saturday -- and on a beautiful Spring day Saturday at that. But as it wasn't a holiday weekend and schools were still in session, we thought that we'd be ok. And if we hadn't made that 'mistake' we'd have missed consumating my own personal pilgrimmage.
It was probably in the summer of 1934 that my father, who was at the private school Loomis, was lucky to be invited and able to go on a tour of the west. The only details that came down to us as children were the details of his trip to Yosemite. The master at Loomis who took the lucky few boys also took his camera and all my life there were on the wall of our house photographs that were taken at Yosemite. But a very special photograph came to light -- to me at least -- because of my friend Christine, wife of The Vicar!!!
When my father and she met the bonded immediately because of their spiritual and mystical enthusiasm for Yosemite. My father quoted a passage from Psalms (which to my undying regret, I cannot remember) and these two lovely people gazed mystically into each other's mystical eyes and were forever bonded! As a result, my father eventually sent her a beautiful book of black and white photographs of the Old West. Included in the book was a photograph of Himself aged 15 standing on a promentory over an abyss.
Many years later my father with my mother was at last able to return to Yosemite. My mother had described to me his emotional response to once again seeing before him 'El Capitain'. I put 2 and 2 together and made 5.
Back to the present. After a lovely 6 days in Minneapolis with my sister and brother-in-law we set off again on the road this past Wednesday the 21st of May. That day we managed to reach Mitchell South Dakota and by morning the rains came! It is now Saturday -- and Memorial Day weekend -- we are in Butte, Montana and it has been lashing rain for most of the time since leaving Mitchell and heading for Rapid City. Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse were a washout. Deadwood was surprisingly successful because the rain subsided and we were able to look around and impressed and unimpressed. We then headed out toward Montana via a shortcut through the corner of Wyoming. Just in time for the rains to descend upon us in Belle Fourche, SD. Very uninteresting countryside until turning west at Broadus, Montana and heading for our next destination, the site of Custer's Last Stand.
Neil is now looking forward to returning 'home' to Olympia. If the weather calms down tomorrow I am hoping to get him to agree to a sidetrip from Missoula to the Buffalo reserve about 30 miles north. And then I'll continue with the Saga of Yosemite.