Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

The Badlands Photo Extravaganza

Sometimes it’s best to just show a place for what it is, and not distract with words. I haven’t been here for three decades, and although the people-herding side of the Badlands National Park has changed a lot, the natural features have not.

Read more…

Camping on the Rim

This is, in point of fact, where the antelope play.

This is an optimal camping site. A little intimidating at times, but pretty much great. The views are something else, and the nearest neighbors are at least a half-mile away. It’s a toodle to get to the highway leading to Wall, but the trip is quite convenient overall.

The weather here is the conundrum since, so far, it’s either/or. It’s been either sunny and peaceful with a slight breeze, or it shows off just what a thunderstorm can be all about. With the Mighty Furd’s nose pointed westward, that’s usually just a little off of facing the wind. The weather warning yesterday was for a thunderstorm with high winds, and it delivered.

Despite being just a little off in orientation, well, I’ve never yet seen the clear vinyl window flaps bulge inward like they did. Fortunately, the Velcro strips keeping them in place held well, but Velcro is not really airtight. As a result, both roof vent covers seemed determined to jitter their way open to let the air pressure out. Didn’t matter how tight the mechanism was cranked. I finally got the bright idea to Read more…

The Nature of God – Part 9

[If you are just now stumbling onto this post without having read the various parts in this series from the beginning, I strongly urge you to go back to the start and continue on from there through each successive post. None of these individual entries stand on their own, and you may wind up with little but confusion and unanswered questions by starting here. That is easily done by entering “The Nature of God” in the search box on the home page, which will list links to all available parts.]

This is a short post along the same lines of healing as I described in Part 7, except it’s less embarrassing. Headaches are highly preferable to talk about. Perhaps a couple of years later, I was pulling into a production facility for my new employer, and another migraine headache was signaling an impending strike. I’d frequently had them since high school. Fortunately, they weren’t the cluster type, or accompanied by puking or curling into a fetal position. They were more ordinary migraines. You get flashing blind spots in your vision and can’t see to read or drive safely. The only way to see straight ahead is to glance off to the side and use your peripheral vision as best you can. Then you lose your appetite, and a deep, attention-absorbing constant pain sets in, and brightly lit areas become hell to be in. No pain killer could dampen it back then. You needed to lie down in silence, with something over your eyes to completely block out the light for several hours. It was difficult to fake being Read more…

Wall, South Dakota

Ugh! The view out my screen window was like an RV park just for tenters. And this is after some had already moved out!

My second night at the Sage Creek Campground was much like the first: crowded, with lots of chattering going on until all hours. It obviously appeals to many, but it’s not my favorite camping experience.

The window view out the other side was better, except for more vehicles packed in close beside the Intrepid.

After a mediocre night’s sleep, what’s a budding hermit to do? Move out. I headed for greater metropolitan Wall. Despite a cloudless sky, I had to go to an alternate location on my list but do it in a timely manner, since storms were predicted to arrive about 2 PM. In sufficient quantities, rain can make trail passage difficult, and my alternate location is known for mud in wet weather. Downtown Wall offers Read more…

Buffalo in the Badlands

I offer for your amusement this very brief video (about 40MB) which I captured with my Pentax DSLR on the road to camp.

During filming, the optical eyepiece is blocked out and the rear LCD display shows what is being captured. In bright sunlight, that’s a problem. I could only make out what was land and what was sky – pretty much, anyway. Afterward, stabilization in software helped with the result. Looks like I’ll be unpacking the ancient Canon digital tape videocam while I’m here. It has an optical eyepiece.

This place hit 85 yesterday, then a low of 48 last night. A severe thunderstorm skated past in the late afternoon and early evening, but it was far enough off to the south to merely rumble in the distance. The campground was pretty well packed out with young Read more…

Entering the Badlands!

Not too much of this in Illinois, I must say. The scenery is great, but the lack of tire-swallowing potholes is a bit unnerving.

The start of the day saw the Mighty Furd being refueled at a Sinclair station, seeing as how it seems to like Sinclair diesel fuel best. In airing up the tires behind the station, their system got both fronts to 75 PSI, but the couldn’t top 70 after that. I could hear the inside air pump re-pressurizing the tank, but it didn’t make much difference. The station next door didn’t have any air supply, so I popped the Ford’s hood and hooked up my Viair pump to finish the job. The new ARB digital pressure gauge thingie worked better than I’d hoped for, but I’ll save that tedium for another time.

Did I mention lots of bikers?

After quite a few miles through Buffalo Gap National Grassland, I hit the eastern-most entrance to Badlands National Park. My America the Beautiful Senior Pass netted me entry and a very helpful brochure with map. This being a Wednesday, there were lots of visitors, the majority being refugees from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally still ongoing. Most of the drive through the park is on the paved Badlands Loop Road, which has oodles of viewpoints distributed Read more…

Kadoka, South Dakota

Nestled into the weeds, awaiting a thunderstorm.

Not much to report here! This gas station is at the northern border of Kadoka, and as I write this, the trucks are just starting to trickle in along with the first few raindrops. The high was 90 today, though it was predicted to be 85.

The oil and filter change went well, although you can always tell a dealer that doesn’t regularly handle diesels. I paid a few shekels less than normal, but the “service engine soon” light came on in the dash as I made my way out, so I gingerly looped right back and told the service guy that I hoped it had nothing to do with oil! Actually, there’s a separate light for an oil pressure problem, but it took me a few minutes to recall that. All I could think of was a Midas Muffler dealer my son once worked at, and a Mustang that came in for an oil change. The guy pulled out and made it a few blocks before the engine started screaming and locked up. No oil. (Nope, my kid didn’t do the change.)

At any rate, two guys lifted the hood and checked what would normally be touched during a routine inspection. It seems there’s a sensor in the air filter housing, and the mechanic forgot to reassemble the plug for it. Problem solved. They took it out for a test run before handing it over, just to make sure the light was going to stay out. From there, I stopped for a couple of food items and set the iPhone for a travel center that was two hours away and offered hot showers. Meanwhile, The Garmin GPS was set for Kadoka, my next overnight.

Shower done and heading for Kadoka, I passed what looked like a nice little travel stop, but the GPS wanted me to go 8 miles farther and then head north. So I did. By the time it wanted me to go down a 1-lane “highway” that wandered all over and had badly broken pavement, I knew I’d been had. The destination it highlighted for me was located miles off of I-90, and in the next town over. I then keyed in GPS coordinates instead of a street address, and it took me back to that nice little travel stop. Sheesh. The iPhone had no issues with the same street address, so I think I’ll be a little more suspicious when using the old Garmin unit, hey? Adventure!

By the way, cellular service may be nonexistent at the next few campsites, so don’t be surprised if the posts suddenly seem to stop. Be surprised if they continue!

Mitchell, South Dakota!

The view out of my passenger-side bunk window.

I guess I won’t bother asking for guesses as to where I’m overnighting this evening. Mitchell is a good-sized town and, as there appears to be a Ford dealership a half-mile away, I’m considering a timely oil and filter change. I’ll take a look at the place tomorrow morning before beginning the next leg of my journey, to see if it is worthy of my esteemed presence. An oil change might take awhile, so I will have to remember to take my walking stick with me in order to beat off the showroom sales personnel while I wait. This has worked in the past, usually by merely posing at bat. A few blows about the head and shoulders always convinces the more aggressive remainder. Dressing down also works quite well, as long as it is down so far that a $20 loan approval looks unlikely. Wrinkled shorts, a stained T-shirt, and one missing sandal have always worked so far. Sure it’s embarrassing, but since this isn’t my home town, there is no unwanted fallout. Once the service has been completed, I’m outta there!

I’m going to hijack my own thread here, which if you look at past posts on this blog, is not unusual at all. Most of my trip that began in March has been Read more…

National Museum of the US Air Force

2/3rds of the way in from my parking space, the lobby of the museum beckons. Hangar one is on the right.

You may find this delayed post to be worthwhile. Just south of Dayton Ohio, this museum is certainly the best aircraft museum I’ve ever seen and, just as certainly, the most expansive. I got there at noon on July 3rd, and although every car parking slot was filled, the RV section a quarter of a mile away at the outskirts still had spaces. What a mob! Plus, groups of cadets were assembled outside in an area peppered with stone markers dedicated to the various Air Force and Air Corps units who served during wars. The lobby was bustling but not unduly so. Once in hanger one, no issues. Plenty of acreage for everybody.

I’ll begin near the beginning. This is a Wright Military Flyer replica (1955) of the one that first flew in 1909. The Wrights first flew in 1903 and that is considered by most to be the first truly controlled flight, as opposed to momentary hops off the ground. It used wing warping instead of ailerons to control side-to-side tilt, a feature which has been reinvented in much more recent aircraft. They were the first to create a practical means of 3-axis control, making fixed-wing flight practical. This was flown for two years by the US Army for two years as a flight trainer. It crashed and was rebuilt several times before it was retired and replaced by what would become more conventional designs.

Let me just sum it up: incredible. There are four extremely large hangars packed with aircraft, both on the concrete and suspended by wire overhead. When I say extremely large, I mean that they had a B-52 bomber packed into hanger one, along with many other large bombers and cargo planes, no sweat. Somehow, even the fighters seemed larger than they do when Read more…

The Nature of God – Part 8

[If you are just now stumbling onto this post without having read the various parts in this series from the beginning, I strongly urge you to go back to the start and continue on from there through each successive post. None of these individual entries stand on their own, and you may wind up with little but confusion and unanswered questions by starting here. That is easily done by entering “The Nature of God” in the search box on the home page, which will list links to all available parts.]

I used to watch this guy on television who did miraculous cures right there on camera, in a big auditorium. People on crutches and in wheelchairs walked, cancers were cured, and all manner of illnesses and ailments were done away with. It was impressive. All he wanted was for me to send in a little money to support his ministry. Then after a while, he went off the air. I found out later that he was convicted and sent to prison for mail fraud. Sometimes, people who seek out a career in ministry do so for the wrong reasons.

I had my own minor ailments, none of which I cared to publicize, because they weren’t anything to brag about or mention at a cocktail party when the whining about medical nuisances began. Still, they kept me Read more…

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