The Longest Dirt Road In the World

(I’ve mentioned this adventure a few times so while I recover from my cold , I thought you might enjoy seeing the original post. Call it a Re-Run)

I believe this was the day after Mount Rushmore. Sandy had wanted to see some Native Americans and I suggested we take a drive to Badlands National Park. The White River Visitor Center is staffed by members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Looking at the Park Map it seemed that the visitor center we wanted was on the southern part of the park. Sandy had also discovered that she had left her souvenirs from Mount Rushmore in the gift shop and wanted to go back there to see if they still had them there. She had her receipt so I figured we could go to the visitor center and then back track to Mount Rushmore.

This was the first morning that we didn’t have a tour scheduled so we didn’t have to rush to get up. We decided a break from Jimmy Dean was in order and we walked over to the Perkins Restaurant next door for breakfast.

Southern End of the Badlands

After a leisurely meal we headed to the car and south to find the Visitor Center. It was a little confusing at first but eventually we arrived and true to the advertisement it was staffed by Native Americans.

The displays were wonderful and the staff great to talk with. They answered all of our questions. One of the staff said they were having a Pow Wow at Pine Ridge and suggested we go there next. We could see Wounded Knee at the same time as they were all in the same area. We just had to drive across the Pine Ridge Reservation.

I left Sandy to get directions and headed out to the car. I met another Native American Staffer on the way in. He stopped me and said “Snow tonight”. I laughed and said “ Oh no, I hope not!” he laughed too and just said “ Yes, snow.” Sandy and I laughed about the snow predication as we climbed into the car.

Sandy said to take a right onto a dirt road that ran right past the Visitor Center. We had learned that because the reservation is considered a sovereign nation , that they do not get federal funds to maintain roads or other infrastructure. Therefore almost all of the roads on the reservation are dirt. Still, this one seemed to be well maintained and graded so we set off at a fair clip.

Pronghorn racing through the field

As with everywhere we had been so far the scenery was just amazing and there was wildlife everywhere. This continued to amaze me because seeing wild animals out like this during the day just doesn’t happen in the northeast. Spotting a deer during the day is unusual in spite of road kill to the contrary.

Deer by the roadside

Now remember it had rained hard the night before. I’d had the pleasure of driving from Mount Rushmore to Rapid City in the dark and downpour. So Sandy and I are chatting as we drive along this dirt road when all of a sudden it was mud. The car swished about a little and I made note to watch more carefully for the puddles. Most of them didn’t look like much but looks are sometimes deceiving. Sure enough, we began to hit more and more muddy patches finally hitting the biggest mud puddle of all!

Muddy road

I tried to swerve around it but it covered the whole road and the car just slid sideways into the middle of that mess. Water flew everywhere and our white car wasn’t white anymore. There was even mud on the sunroof. With a little fish-tailing we were able to get ourselves out and on our way again but first I had to stop to laugh. It was the funniest thing that had happened the whole trip and it really tickled my funny bone.

Our muddy White car

I don’t know how long we drove but it seemed to be forever. I pretty much figured we’d gone in the wrong direction but we’d been driving for so long that I wasn’t going to back track. Sandy said the Staffers probably saw us drive off in the wrong direction and said something like “stupid white women”. Well after that mud bath that just hit me funny again so I had another laughing fit.

Just as we were joking about being lost on the reservation forever we bumped onto pavement. We drove through a small settlement and then saw a sign for one of the main roads. As we pulled onto it, Sandy said she wanted to get out and kiss the pavement. That set off another round of giggles.

Longest Dirt Road in The World

I did take a picture of the dirt road. It seems to go on forever. In additional to the road just going on and on, there’s nothing on it. There are no little villages or stores or gas stations or signs. You just drive. It must have been what the first settlers experienced when they began to cross the prairie.

I should mention too that we made it back to Mount Rushmore and Sandy went into the gift shop where she had made her purchase last night. She showed her receipt and they replaced her souvenir.

But we never did find the Pow Wow. Going to one is now on my bucket list for a return trip but we had a lot of fun driving the “Longest Dirt Road in the World”.

Next Post: Thunder Falls

Mount Washington Cog Railway Photo Contest

A couple of updates  to start: The first is that I didn’t hear from the bank today. I was told they would call me to pick up my new card and set up my password. Maybe it didn’t come yet. Or…maybe they forgot to call. I think I’ll drop in on the way to work in the morning.

The second update is the dinner. As always my friends Diane and Joe served up a wonderful meal along with great conversation. Diane was the chef of the day and since its soooo hot we had chicken salad… very excellent chicken salad but the crowning glory was her desert. It was a lemon pie that was like a chiffon with whipped cream. It was so smooth and light. As I said in the beginning, a wonderful meal but it’s really the company I enjoy. Diane and Joe are both warm friendly people with lots of interesting things to talk about. Last night topics ranged from consignment shops and thrift stores to gyms, spas and workouts, to blogs and vacations and travel.  The evening just flew by.

I was even honored with a visit from Maxine, their very pretty cat with lovely green eyes. I wish I had a photo of her but Max is a bit photo shy and only approached me when the camera was out of reach. Still I’m just honored that she was willing to come out to “say hello” as she usually hides or sleeps most of the time when I am there. Maybe she’s mellowing as she ages.

Now to the main point of the blog. This morning I had a few minutes before work so I was checking prices on the places I want to go in New Hampshire. The Mount Washington Cog Railway is definitely high on my list.

The Price of an adult ticket is $62.00 (gulp!) but of all the places I’m planning to visit, that is the most expensive so I guess that’s not too bad. I’ve certainly spent more on tours and trips but I guess I think it’s expensive because it’s close to home. I don’t think twice about something like that when I travel like we did to Sedona

 or South Dakota.

But as I was reviewing the web pages I spotted another Photo Contest.  At the end of the Season, a winning photo will be chosen and the photographer will receive a ride for two passengers in the cab of one of our new eco-friendly, biodiesel locomotives next year! Now that’s interesting and unlike a far away prize, I live close enough to be able to use it! So it looks like I have 2 photo contests to try now.

And lastly my travails with computers and money continue. Today as I went in to enter my time worked so I can have a paycheck waiting for me after vacation, the computer system locked me out. That was at 10:30 in the morning. When I left work at 9 pm  HR, payroll and IT were still working on it and I was still locked out. I have 1 more day of work before vacation so here’s hoping they get the problem resolved. At this point I can only shake my head and laugh. I have never in all my life, with all my ups and downs financially,  had so many little annoyances in such a short time in the money department. It feels like an obstacle course. As long as these money issues  stay small like this I can handle it!

Well, time to wrap up this post. Can’t wait to get back to the travel stuff! As you may have guessed , this is just “filler” til I have a chance to get “more places to go and things to see.” Thanks for hanging in with me during this interlude.

A Little bit of Trivia

A friend of mine is a college professor who works with foreign students in an ESL program. ( English as a second language). I happened to run across a quiz on Travel in the USA that is geared to the ESL student. I figured as I travel around the USA and was born here that  I’d Ace the test. Ha! I won’t tell you my score but I will say it wasn’t 100.

Let me know how you do on it.:)

1) At this tourist attraction in Washington D. C. you can find Lincoln’s Bedroom, the Green room and the Red Room.

  • A) The White House
  • B) The Smithsonian Institute
  • c) The Museum of US History

2) Which of the following is NOT a borough of New York City?

  • a) Manhatten
  • B) Queens
  • C) Long Island

3) Which state legalized gambling in 1931

  • a) California
  • b) New Jersey
  • c) Nevada

4) What is the smallest US state?

  • a) Hawaii
  • b) Rhode Island
  • C) Washington D.C.

5) At this famous monument located in South Dakota, you can see the faces of four US presidents.

  • a) Mount Rushmore
  • b) Yellowstone
  • c) Mount McKinley

6) Carmel is a romantic, beach resort in __________?

  • a) Florida
  • b) Hawaii
  • c) California

7) What is the capital of California?

  • a) Los Angeles
  • b) Sacramento
  • c) San Francisco

8) Jazz Music comes from this city.

  • a) New Orleans
  • b) Atlanta
  • C) New York City

9) This is the longest river in the US.

  • a) The Colorado
  • b) The Missouri
  • c) The Mississippi

10) What State is the Grand Canyon in?

  • a) Colorado
  • b) Arizona
  • c) Nevada

Ok now. Have you got your answers?

The correct answers are:











How’d you do?

Writer’s Block

Well it was bound to happen one of these days. I set a pretty ambitious goal to post something 6 days a week. The biggest problem is time. There is lots to write about but I like to give you up to date information and pictures. In fact, I subscribe to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words so if I have no pictures, I have no tales.

The past few days were a combination of things including weather that kept me from getting much exploring done. I didn’t even have much time to take pictures for my photo blog. I had my car in for maintenance so with no wheels to get around I missed being out and about gathering stories. It still need some more work too so I hope it won’t be tied up too long. After all I have places to go and people to see and things to do and then tell you all about it all here!

I asked Scout if he had any new tips and he admitted he hadn’t put anything together. He said he could have some in a day or two but by then I should be back on track.

I thought my friend Julie would bail me out with stories of her recent trip to Arizona and California but she had the day off so I haven’t caught up with her at work yet.

My cuz in Florida is going to share her experiences on trip she took to Ireland but she’s still putting that together. I have another co-worker that went to Ireland as well but I haven’t set up a time to get his stories yet. My fault on that one.

My friend Diane still has many, many stories and pictures to share but again I dropped the ball and didn’t leave myself enough time to get together  with her.

Another friend and co-worker, Jay, just got back from his rafting vacation but we haven’t had a chance to chat about that in any detail yet. I can’t wait to see his pictures and he says I can share them here. That will be a treat for us all, I am sure!

Well, sometimes it seems I spend more time making excuses and if I’d just taken that same time I would have had something to write but it’s just human nature, I guess.

I will be on my work schedule now for the next 2 days so I won’t have any time to go anywhere but maybe I can dredge something out of the archives that you might enjoy.

Or maybe I should remind you that you’re welcome to contribute too! I love your comments but you can also share you travel experiences too. Don’t be shy. Sometimes a fresh voice is just what’s needed. In the meantime I’ll share some photos from some of my jaunts. I’ve written about all of the trips shown in these photos but selecting the pictures makes me think that there may be more stories in them to share. Something to think about.

Well enjoy the pictures until I get my next post together. Remember my next trip is fast approaching and we know there will be a lot of things to share from that.

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WOW Another Monday!

I dropped the ball today. I usually take time on Sunday to prepare a post for today but instead I went “gallivanting” out to Plymouth Harbor to take pictures. Apparently while out there I caught a cold that has settled into my lower back..OUCH***..But enough excuses..Let me ramble on a little and you can comment with your cheers and jeers .

First Plymouth Harbor is  a pretty little harbor. The Mayflower isn’t out of winter dry dock yet so it was pretty quiet. I like their sea wall. It isn’t just this cement wall rather it’s made of stone and cement. There are rocks set in the top row that kind of point up. It reminds me of a moat on a medieval castle. I think it’s mostly decorative.

 I got a couple of nice sunset pictures. The sunsets this time of year seem to be more pastel than red.


When I got home I was reading one of my travel magazines that came Saturday. There was an article about Arizona ...Arizona for all seasons… so I checked that out. It covered the whole state and since we won’t have time for the southern end , south of Phoenix, that section was merely interesting but not useful for our upcoming trip. The northern recommendations involved mostly road trips and did hit some of the high points we have planned. One place that came up in the article and in an article in Popular Photography was Canyon de Chelly. I wish we had time for that but I think this trip is going to be packed to overflowing. We’ll have to see.


And the last but not the least thing I want to mention was an article in the same Travel Magazine about The Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. Sandy and I were there last June and had a wonderful time. In the article this family was there for  2 days…1 weekend….48 hours and they saw, according to the article, everything we saw in a week!

There are pictures with the article too. They even went to Crazy Horse Memorial.

 Like us they used Rapid City as their base but they didn’t mention much more about the city than that. They went to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial (We only drove by Crazy Horse) Wall Drug, The Badlands (can I assume they mean they drove the Badlands Loop?)and Custer State park. They mention seeing buffalo, antelope, big horn sheep, the Beggin’ Burros and prairie dogs…Ok I got all those with my camera too and I bet they didn’t get a prairie dog with a flower either!


 But to do it all in 48 hours? I like the way we did it much better. Even if the authors think we were slow it seemed like we had full days so I wouldn’t do anything different.

Well, that about wraps up my travel thoughts for the day.

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Not much to say about the spring trip until we start booking and that’s going to be soon. I’ve started exploring options for the 2012 trip but that’s still in the early, early stages..not ready for publication so I’m not sure what we’ll talk about tomorrow but I’ll think of something. Toss out some suggestions if you like. Maybe they will get my creative juices flowing. Maybe Scout has some tips up his furry sleeve.