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Messin' Round With Boats


"There's nothing in the World quite like messin'...simply messin'...Just messin' around with Boats."
--Wind in the Willows


Was it Mole or Badger said that? Maybe Ratty? I knew I'd regret giving away all my books.

Anyway, I discovered today that somewhere along the highway I lost the cover off my Kayak. Nothing blew out, but of course it was full of water. Nobody around here sells the things, so I'll be bailing for a while, even if I don't get out on the lake.

Went to Wind Cave today. 104 miles of cave beneath 1 square mile of surface area, or so they tell me. I saw an hour's worth of it, and the best part was the 51 degree respite. My core temp is still too high from a summer in Texas.

Went by an oblivious Buffalo on the side of the road in Custer State Park. People were stopping about a foot from his nose, rolling down their windows, and taking pictures. This particular Bull could apparently not have cared less. I asked a ranger about this indifference later, and she said "The Bulls are exhausted from the Rut. They've all about had their fill."

In other words, the tourists can take their snapshots till the cows go home.

The prairie dogs did their sentinel thing, and what passes for a line of traffic around here was suddenly stopped by a herd (covey?) of wild turkeys crossing the road. Silly things look like large brown feathered squash, and have about the same intelligence. I've sometimes thought Wild Turkey might someday get me in a car wreck, but I didn't have to come to South Dakota for that.

And Now, Folks, I wish to announce the End of the Quest. I found my SNOW! Real snow, not hail. I was coming south from Sylvan Lake on Hwy 89 when it first appeared in the ditches. Within a mile it covered the road, drifting 6-8 inches deep. I wasn't lucky enough to catch it falling, but there it was.

I pulled over in someone's driveway. I made a snowball and threw it at a fencepost. I cavorted. I did a little dance. With the slightest encouragement I would have made a little snowman, but there was none to be had, and passing drivers looked at me like I was a lunatic.

So I got back in the truck and rolled stately through the snow. The glistening vapor rising from it hid much of the road ahead for about 3 miles, and then it was gone.

In celebration I ate some prime rib in Custer, which was only so-so, but definitely improved by the moment. I drove back to Hot Springs singing along with Freddie King, through a sunset like the end of the world, and since the bathhouse was open I had a half-hour's soak under a storming sky. Lightning finally drove me inside. I swear if just the wrong woman had come along just then, I might have gotten married.

But as it happened my luck held. Somehow I got back to the trailer, fell into bed, and slept as sound as Julius Caesar.

At 7 am Sunday morning, it was 47 degrees. Better and better.


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