Birthday Road Trip Leg 4

Saturday, August 6.  We were all exhausted and slept in a little bit this morning.  But a new adventure awaited us so we loaded the car and said goodbye to Rapid City.  If the mall had been on the way, we might have stopped there so that Bubba could say farewell to Abraham and his buddy.  She’s still upset (and blaming me) for being lured in on the Seacretspa salt.  But, we didn’t pass by the mall so that bon voyage will be left to the imagination (perhaps we should censor it first).

We were excited because our car was headed west today.  We would be back in the beautiful state of Wyoming.  But first, we had one more stop to make in South Dakota.  As Bubba puts it, “It was time to welcome the Lee crew into Sturgis.”  As we walked down the busy street taking in the ambience of the rally we became very aware that we were little fishies out of water.   Our fair white skin with no tattoos was covered modestly with our bright colored clothes.  We contrasted with the ample leathery skin that was only covered by tats of the bikers.  Motorcycles overrun the town and my chant became, “Don’t hit the bike, don’t hit the biker,” because the bikers reminded me of fire-ants.  If you step on one, others will turn on you and bite you.  We did see a bike topple over a rider and his chick while at a stop sign.  They were both okay and probably suffered more bruised prides than bruised bodies.  Although his woman didn’t look too happy with him and she looked like the type of woman who could make his life miserable if she wasn’t happy.

A co-worker asked me to pick up three shirts for her husband and friends so we made our way to a tent to buy shirts.  I bought one for myself to wear on future birthday road trips hoping it will start many conversations.  Just a side note:  my shirt is a very conservative, modest choice.  While picking out the shirts I realized how noisy hundreds of bikes are while going past the shirt tent.  We headed back to the car after that because other than purchasing shirts, there wasn’t anything else we could participate in.  I threw my package in the back and jumped in the driver’s seat.  Before I turned the key I looked at my friend’s note about the shirts.  We got the wrong sizes!  Bubba and I had to run back the three blocks and exchange shirts.  The salesclerk/tent entrepreneur was very friendly and helpful.  By the time I got back to the car, I was ready to leave Sturgis for good.

We left South Dakota and entered Wyoming with the traditional Wyoming woot-woot.  Bubba instantly could breathe easier.  Our next stop was a rendezvous with aliens.  We were going to Devil’s Tower.  By the time we got there we were physically tired from the rest of our trip that we were content to snap a few pictures.  We chose not to walk any trails around the monument.  The only place to eat at Devil’s Tower was a KOA restaurant just outside the federal grounds.  It took over an hour for our food to come and we had one unhappy and hungry Bubba.  Her grandpa wasn’t very thrilled either.

I found out that Bubba had no idea what “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is.  How could I have failed so miserably?  She didn’t know “North by Northwest” either.  Both movies should have been prerequisites for this trip.  I plan to rectify this situation with a movie night.

Another souvenir t-shirt purchase (making 3 in total for me this trip) and we were on our way.  Our car pointed southwest reminding me that I will soon be home and back in the same routine.  A thought I tried not to dwell on.

We arrived in Buffalo around 5:30 and are staying at Motel 6.  It’s small but clean and probably the nicest motel we’ve stayed in the whole trip.  The check-in clerk looked at my information and said, “You’re not far from home.”  But we are far enough.  This motel doesn’t have a swimming pool at all.

For dinner, we decided to try a mom-and-pop place.  We were all a little worried because so far, our restaurant choices haven’t exactly panned out.  Our room had a guide for places to eat and we chose Dash Inn Diner.  I wasn’t too hungry so I asked if NJ wanted to share a plate of nachos with me.  She agreed and we got the Big Horn Nachos.  The clerk asked if we wanted full or half size.  Since there were two of us sharing we thought we better get the full size.  Our number was 72, so I sat down and waited for our number to be called.  When it was, I jumped up to get our order and there waiting for me was enough nachos to feed a family of four plus the family dog.  The locals in the diner laughed at me as I carried our heavy plate of dinner back to our table.  Everyone pitched in and helped eat and we managed to not waste too much.

Afterwards, dad called an old coal camp friend who lives in town and he insisted on showing us the whole town of Buffalo.  It is pretty but I wouldn’t want to live here.  Too small for me.  Dad’s friend suggested we take a different route home tomorrow than the one planned and we considered it.  The only reason that enticed us to take the alternate route is so that we could go swimming in Thermopolis.  But that would mean an extra hour in the car so I think we vetoed that.  But only tomorrow will tell for sure.

It’s another quiet night as I am the last one up.  This time tomorrow I will be back home and the road trip will be over for another year.  So maybe I’ll stay awake for a while and hold on to the vacation just a little longer.

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