Across The Wide Missouri
Jul 11, 2009
|We left Deadwood and drove across South Dakota to Chamberlain on the Missouri. We had some time to kill because it worked best for us to plan to see Tom and Janet after this weekend, and thus stayed three days. I'm glad we did. We had a very pretty campsite on the Missouri river with good neighbors and good hosts. Actually, were the place not booked solid for the weekend due to unlimited speed power races on the river, we'd have probably stayed a few more days.
A few neat things:
We ate and played darts at a local place called "Charley's." In addition to having a good time playing darts (e.g., I finally won a few games!), we had a lengthly chat with a very stout young man that is a letter carrier as a regular job and a firefighter in the mountains when his volunteer unit is called. His job is primarily trucking in water, but he told us about the guys that actually assault the fires and how they do it. We listened in blinking amazement to stories of half-mile-long teams of guys fanned out along access roads, in blistering heat, wearing 35 lbs. of protective gear, 30 lbs. of shovels, sprayers, etc., charging straight up mountains into walls of flames blasting foam and watching each others' backs. And they do it in 12 shifts until the fire is controlled; often to return from around the state to do it all over the next week when lightening or some dumbass starts another fire. I now have more respect for those huge firetrucks we saw in the Deadwood parade. Any place they can't reach, guys have to hike to. Lordy..
As we were driving east, at least 15 miles west of Chamberlain, I saw two giant wind turbines on a distant hill. They were so huge that, even from that distance, I could see one of them turning and one fixed. When we went up to the overlook over the river, I noticed that the huge turbines were "right behind us" and went to see if we could get a closer look. It turned out that from there, they were only three miles away. We drove up a dirt road and saw them up close. Wow! They are part of the "Prairie Winds Energy In Motion" project. The guys working there let me look inside. So cool! (Update: We saw literally hundreds more of these turbines as we crossed Minnesota. Big project!).
Note: The picture of the plaque explaining Jefferson's mandate to Lewis and Clark is difficult to read. Basically it says that their mission was to:
1. Find an all water route to the Pacific Ocean.
2. Establish friendly relations with all Native Americans
3. Impress the Natives American with the power of the "White Fathers"
4. Record vocabularies of all Native American languages
5. Record all fauna and flora
My comment to Jefferson would have been.. "Uh, Tom, I mean Jeff, I mean Mr. President, is that all we gotta do?? That it?? Cool!! That leaves me time to take friggin tap dancing lessons in my spare time!!"
We decided not to hang around for the boat races even though we could have "boondocked" in a site with no hookups. Would have enjoyed that, but too much hassle. Besides, we wanted to get a bit farther east.
On toward Sioux Falls..