31 August 2006

good times

It's been an interesting week already.

*Don't look now, but Real Salt Lake is tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in MLS' Western Conference. All that talk from Mr. Pastorino is coming to fruition. I KNEW IT, even when the team was losing left and right. Although I almost jumped on that Fire Coach Ellinger bandwagon.

Anyway, I'm not counting unhatched chickens, but it's been interesting so far.

*I finally got Gina on a bike last night. Gina isn't really fond of bikes, so I've been whispering bike positive messages into her ear while she sleeps. Yesterday she put in 7 or so miles on the Miyata. It doesn't fit her, but I'll buy her a bike if she'll ride it.

*I got an email at work today from a customer who wished to share his frustrations about the poor design of our company website. He actually called it "the most frustrating and worst I have ever seen". You can be the judge of that. It doesn't fill your huge screen, but neither does this.

I should point out that I am completely responsible for the website (apart from the catalog and order entry sections). No one else has ever touched it. I wrote every last bit of the code for it, did all the graphics, and wrote 90% the content. And I sort of hate it.

*Sunday evening, Gina and I went to see An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein. Afterwards we shortly discussed how theater is a much more demanding form of entertainment than television. In fact, it sort of makes me uptight and nervous. Perhaps I should drink more.

The show was very entertaining.

*I'm back on a 2000 calorie a day diet, though I haven't actually hit 2000 calories a day yet. I'm being completely anal about tracking everything on fitday, including inputting the nutritional information of absolutely everything I eat. Two baby carrots are noted. It's the only way I'll stick to it.

I'll let you know when I'm a 160 pound stickboy bike racer.

*I found out from my pal Steve Pastorino that he'll be in Indianapolis in January for the MLS draft (or something), and we've made plans to visit Brugge Brasserie while he's in town. I've already suggested that he use his draft pick on me; we'll have to see how that goes. I haven't played well in over 30 years, but I haven't given up hope yet.

*I've added more links at the left: A link to Jon's sister Becca's blog because I have a feeling she'll never update it, and I enjoy the company of Jon's siblings, at least Erin. Sarah seems to be pretty ok too. Becca seems to be the skinniest.

There's also a link to quiet american, which is a blog that features 1 minutes audio clips of anywhere else. Speaking of that, here's 45 or so seconds of silence I recorded while on top a mountain pass in Yellowstone.

*Oh yeah... new albums from Clinic, The Rapture, and Justin Timberlake leaked. I don't know if they're good or not yet, because I haven't had time to get through them. Let me know if you need a hookup and I'll direct you to the nearest record store. Piracy is theft.

*I'll be in Trenton Illinois this weekend for those who like to know that sort of information.

30 August 2006

Dear Tennessee

If you happen to live in Tennessee and have mentioned a visit from me, please email me at mike @ ridehorsey.com with your new address.

Please keep in mind I am only kicking ideas around at this point. Thanks.

29 August 2006

Yellowstone Wrapup

Because my vacation ended over a month ago, and blogger just ate my somewhat detailed writeup, here's a wrapup:

*We saw Old Faithful go off around 4 or 5 times, not because we were particularly interested in Old Faithful, but because the Old Faithful Lodge area was a good place to pick up food or take a shower. After taking a shower Brent stepped out of his stall to find an old man pissing into a drain in the floor, despite the fact that the next room contained a wall of urinals. He exclaimed "Dude, what are you doing?" and the old guy didn't even look up. Old dudes: They piss where they want to and they don't give a damn what you think about it.

*We did a couple fantastic hikes, including Mystic Falls and another one to some lake out in the middle of nowhere. These hikes are highly recommended because you end up out away from everyone else and it's almost as though you've got the whole park to yourself. These hikes are not recommended if you're with someone who decides they need to take a 20 minute restroom break while you're eaten alive by bugs WHO LEAVE YOU WITH BITES THAT STILL OCCASIONALLY ITCH OVER A MONTH LATER.

If you're going to hike, take a bug spray bath first. And then maybe drink some, just in case.

*While driving back to our campsite one evening, we came across a giant buffalo walking down the road directly in front of our vehicle. We took a picture, and slowly paced the buffalo, waiting for him to walk out of our lane. He began to do so, crossing the center line, and that's when I noticed the car coming towards us in the opposite direction. Wanting to alert the other driver that there was a buffalo in his or her lane, I began flashing my lights. Instead of slowing down, the driver continued on at her 45 mph or so pace and ran right into the buffalo.

You can imagine that's pretty traumatic, but it's even more unnerving when the buffalo rolls onto the car's hood, puts a horn through the windshield, bounces off and starts running back at your car. He narrowly missed our stopped vehicle, ran around the passenger side, and then continued to stand in the road directly behind us, apparently unhurt.

The woman got out of her car, which now had a crushed hood and smashed windshield. When we pointed out that we had tried to warn her, she said "Oh I didn't even see you." So somehow she missed a giant buffalo and a Ford Explorer with flashing lights. In hindsight, we probably all would have been better off if the buffalo had gone through her windshield. I don't mean that, and I'm glad everyone was ok.

*After Yellowstone we headed south to Grand Teton National Park, which we just drove through. Then we stopped in Jackson Wyoming, stayed a night, had some good BBQ, and drove back the next day. And that sucked. The end.

28 August 2006


When is a century ride not a century ride? When you're too dumb to look at the map. Or the route isn't clearly labeled. Or both.

For those who aren't familiar with organized bike rides, road bike routes are often marked using labels known as "Dan Henrys", which are named after their inventor. Basically they're just circles with lines in them painted directly onto the road surface, and they're pretty self explanatory. They look like this:

If you are looking for them, they are everywhere; you'll come across them on almost any decent length bike ramble. If you are assuming they would be pretty easy to follow, you're right. Saturday we should have been riding in dunce helmets, because when we hit mile 90, we looked up and realized we were back at the start of our loop.

We first wondered if it was possible that the route wasn't actually 100 miles, then tried to figure out where we had missed a 10 mile loop. What we didn't do was get back on our bikes and ride 5 miles out and back. Once you're done with a long ride and off the bike for good, you really don't have a lot of desire to get back on. In the end we just shrugged our shoulders and went home. Looking at the map now, we think we missed a loop right after the final rest stop.

We won't be back to the Wabash River Cycle Club and Columbian Park Zoo Century Ride next year. While is was by no means a bad experience, it wasn't exactly a great one, either. My riding partner was surprised and frustrated with the amount of hills, and we were both a bit confused about the choice of roads (not exactly the smoothest choices). I understand that in order to make a 100 mile loop you often have to pick some roads that aren't the best, and I don't like to make excuses on the bike. It was a fine experience, I just think that perhaps there are better options in organized century choices. Oh well.

As an aside, I'd just like to know where the young people are on these rides. It's not very often I see someone my age or younger, which also means I can forget about seeing any young attractive ladies. Everyone likes young attractive ladies.

* * * * *

Fulham won 1-0 this weekend on a goal by Jimmy Bullard. Mr. Bullard is leading the team in goals with 2. This was Fulham's first win this year.

Real Salt Lake were destroyed in New York/New Jersey by a score of 6-0. They were probably due, having not lost in 5 games. Hopefully they'll shake it off and resume their push to the playoffs.

* * * * *

Thanks for the comments and vacation suggestions, everyone. I'm still kicking around a few things, so if you have any other ideas, let me know.

25 August 2006


Weekend plans:
Drive up to Lafayette, IN, check into the Red Roof Inn, get five or so miles in on the bike, eat a decent meal.

Wabash River Cycle Club Century Ride. The forcast calls for 30% chance of thunderstorms. It should be an adventure. That'll be my second 100 mile ride this summer. I probably deserve a new bike. Like this one. Or this one. Or this. In the meantime I've been looking at $400 bicycle wheels. I'd imagine I'll end up buying them, they're supposed to make neat swooshy noises.

After the ride Saturday I'm going to head back to Indy and attempt to check out the IndyFringe festival activities, and possibly An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein. Then I'm gonna crash out.

I'm going to catch up on all the English Football I've missed. Fulham isn't on Saturday, so I guess my plan to catch all the games was misguided. Then I might cut the grass. Maybe clean up the house. Maybe punch a baby.

Other Updates:
The Miata is on hold. I've test drove it, but I think the fact that I've wanted one since I was in Junior High led me to overhype it a bit. Not that it's a bad car; I still want one. If fun and feels dangerous. I'm just not so desperate to own one that I'm willing to increase my car payments. And it's nice to have a truck to haul bikes anyway. So I'll wait until I've paid down some things... I'm kind of excited about getting some long-time debts paid off. It feels very adult.

I've been looking at my remaining days off from work, and I think I can take another mini-vacation. Gina has no days off, so I'm probably going it alone (unless someone is willing to join me, and I'd be superglad to have company). Current considered options are Washington DC, Great Smoky Mountains National Park... anywhere I can drive in less that 16 hours, I think. Any suggestions? Maybe I should just get on a bike for 5 days.

24 August 2006


If you're around the age of 30 or so, you may be aware that there is a Transformers movie currently in production. You may also be aware that Bumblebee, who was previously a VW Beetle, is now a Chevy Camaro. This may upset you. If that's the case then it's time to get a grip on your life.

But I'm willing to bet that most folks aren't aware of the massive backstory that goes along with Transformers folklore. For example, consider this tidbit of information from the Optimus Prime entry on Wikipedia:
...the Ark was discovered by the terrorist Cobra Organization, and all the Transformers inside were reformatted into Cobra vehicles remotely controlled by the Televipers. In this storyline Optimus Prime turned into a Cobra HISS tank. In this storyline it was Optimus Prime who was able to get a message to Wheeljack about, alerting GI Joe to where the Cobra base was hidden.
What? GI Joe and Transformers together? That's some sort of childhood supercollision, the type of thing that would happen when all you had were GI Joe guys and all your buddy had were Transformers. These things didn't mix. Optimus Prime doesn't belong on GI Joe aircraft carrier. Snake Eyes doesn't drive Jazz. Lady Jane doesn't have romantic liaisons with Wheeljack (well she does at my house, but I was a weird kid).

In a way, I feel like I was robbed of exciting playtime opportunities. But this reminds me of the weird rules that were set up in the imaginary world of an action figure packed childhood. For example, was Storm Shadow a good guy at your house? Apparently he was in a lot of houses, because in the GI Joe universe he eventually officially made the switch. According to that website, he also "used the Arashikage Mind Set to turn Snake-Eyes into a killing-machine and send him on a mission into Borovia". Impressive stuff.

Reading through all this now, maybe I do remember some of the details. Maybe we weren't as clever as I thought we were. But nowhere in any of these stories do I see any mention of GI Joe Commander Duke being buried in a plastic collector spoon case casket, so that one I keep for myself.

* * * * *

I found this while doing research for this post. And I thought this post was bad enough.

23 August 2006

entrance to yellowstone (i'm not done yet)

After leaving Bear Lodge we headed across the endless nothingness of central Wyoming on the way to Yellowstone. While nowhere near as irritating as Kansas*, the middle of Wyoming is no picnic. But it passed quickly enough, and before long we were on what was labeled "a scenic bypass" on our way through Cody Wyoming. Cody is the Rodeo capital of the world, so we stopped in at a Taco John's for lunch before getting the hell out of there*.

After Cody things moved pretty quick, and the scenery was already pretty fantastic. After spending 6 or so hours in the car, when we finally reached the east entrance to Yellowstone, we were quite excited.

That excitement didn't last long, as the first thing we encountered was a 30 minute wait for road construction. Although the car in front of us was allowed to pass, we were stopped and ordered to wait. This lead to an onslaught of insults from the mouth of our driver toward the worker controlling the flow of traffic (though not directly to her face). Being that he works road construction, I'll assume he knew the ins and outs of traffic control and was in the right. In any case, our frustrations were quickly diffused with a combination of Vanilla Oreo cookies and Slayer. In no time we were moving again.

We traveled along a very rough road that appeared to be built into the side of a cliff, noticing first and foremost that most of the forest around us had been burnt. It's quite strange to encounter the largest forest you've ever seen and to realize that the whole thing is burnt.

In fact, the most surprising thing about our whole trip was the amount of burnt forests we saw. Almost everywhere we traveled, and on both of our hikes in areas of the park separated by at least 50 miles, we encountered large burn areas. It's not how you'd picture the park at all. But in all those burn areas new growth had started. As I learned from a National Geographic special last evening, the reason the forest is able to repopulate is just another example of the genius design and adaptation of nature.
Lodgepole pine and jack pine rely on the pulse of flame through their crowns to melt away the waxy bond that holds their cones closed; their seeds then fall to fresh ash below, where they can take root without much competition. (Nova Online wrote it better than I ever could.)
It wasn't long after we had entered the park that we encountered what was to be the first of many buffalo (including one that served as an anti-car weapon - details later). By the end of our trip in Yellowstone we had come to take the buffalo for granted, often speeding past while others stopped to take pictures.

We had hastily booked our first nights' stay at Canyon Lodge cabins, and really had no idea what to expect when we arrived; reports on the internet ranged from frightening (no amenities, bear attacks, naked gay dudes breaking down doors and blowing each other in front of children, I wonder if my Mom reads this) to just ok (A/C, a bed). After arriving and putting away our bags we immediately were introduced to an Elk who had stopped by the front door of our village cabin for an afternoon visit. I took it as a good omen. For the $60 per room we were quite happy with the accommodations, despite the fact that the heater didn't work in one of the rooms. I'd definitely stay in the Canyon Lodge cabins again.

Because we still had a decent amount of daylight left, we headed to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, where he hiked to both the lower (bigger) falls and the upper falls. I took the small hikes as a personal challenge to my incredible fitness, and did my best to put on an epic display of hiking/climbing speed and endurance. Although no one was impressed, I did manage to outhike a lady in a foot cast.

After all that I have no idea how we spent the rest of the day; perhaps someone else who was there can refresh my memory. My guess is that we drove around a bit and ate.

* * * * *

*Mike's Guide to Kansas: DON'T.

If Kansas is looking for a motto, I have one to suggest: A house. A telephone pole. A cop writing a speeding ticket. Nothing for 6 miles. Repeat for 7 hours. KANSAS!

*We may have not been at the Cody Taco John's. I don't remember this part very clearly now. It could have been any town along the way.

22 August 2006

fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Two off-duty police officers on a cross-state bicycle ride for charity died today when they were hit by a truck in western Indiana, a state police spokesman said.

A box truck collided with the group of riders about 12:30 p.m. on Ind. 63 near Perrysville, about five miles east of the Illinois border, the Vermillion County Sheriff’s Department said.
State police spokesman Sgt. Ray Poole confirmed that two riders were killed. Their names were not immediately released. Three other riders were injured.

The officers were taking part in a 13-day bicycle trek across the state to raise money for the survivors of fallen officers.

More at IndyStar.com.

21 August 2006

things are looking sideways

See what happens when you talk up Wayne Rooney?

Fulham began their Premiership campaign with a thud as Man U went on a 12 minute goal-scoring bonanza that left the Cottagers completely shellshocked and bewildered. Man U is going to be a monster this year if they continue with the sort of effort that had Sunday. It was like watching an MLS All-Star team against Chelsea.

Ok maybe not like that at all.

Speaking of monsters, have you seen the play of the new RSL? Sunday's win against Houston makes for four straight, and just two points out of the last playoff spot. Or three out of third place. I didn't catch this one on the tv because it was on HD.net, and I don't get that channel (though I'm sure I could for just another $12 or something).

Aside from a lot of soccer this weekend, I attended the Indiana State Fair (which is really pretty worthless unless you're into fried foods) and bought some jeans at an outlet mall. And I ate Indian food and rode a bike. And cut the my grass. And looked at a Miata (probably developments on this in the coming week, I'm guessing...)

18 August 2006

alright alright

So the premiership starts tomorrow, but Fulham aren't on 'til Sunday when they'll be taking on Manchester United at Old Trafford. I'm looking for a Fulham win, of course, but I'll also be happy to watch Man U, who I'd never admit to rooting for, but I do enjoy watching. Wayne Rooney, who is by far my favorite player to watch, will be playing in the game before a 3 game suspension starts with Man U's next game.

And why do I enjoy Wayne Rooney so much? Because he has the best motor of anyone I've ever seen play, he actually works back and helps out on the defensive end, and although he's got fantastic skills, he's not really that flashy a player. He just keeps his head down and works. And occasionally punches or stomps on someone's balls.

Here's four minutes of Mr. Rooney at work. Highly recommended.

I love guys that work like this, and although I'm not that familiar with Fulham signing Jimmy Bullard, I've heard he's a guy with a huge motor. I'm definitely excited all around. Check out Jimmy Bullard!

I don't know what's going on there, but here's Jimmy Bullard with underwear on his head.

I don't really have anything to add after that.

Still here? Those Beasley to RSL rumors?

The Beasley rumors are rampant – but they didn’t come from any of us… pretty funny actually. We’d love Beas. But he’s not coming back this year, I don’t think.

I don't know who wrote that.

16 August 2006

ladies and gentlemen, bruce arena.

SI.com: Who do you think should be the next U.S. coach?

Arena: I don't care, and it's none of my business.

SI.com: You care about the U.S. team, don't you?

Arena: Oh yeah. They're going to win the next World Cup, from what I'm told. So I wish them the best. Because we did so poorly over the last eight years, I'm sure they're going to win the next World Cup.

Read the whole thing here.

15 August 2006

back to bear lodge

When I last left off telling you about my vacation, I has just visited Mount Rushmore, where I uncovered a terrorist plot to poison the North American supply of Oreo cookies. Today I'll be telling you about a place called Devil's Tower, or Bear Lodge, depending on who you ask and/or want to offend.

As we made our way into Wyoming, we left interstate 90 and took a scenic route that was suggested by the local bike shop owner. Although central Wyoming is largely lacking in green scenery, our route on state highway 24 led us through some small mountain ranges that wouldn't look out of place in a Busch Beer commercial.

Somewhere near Hulett Wyoming we rounded a series of bluffs and discovered Devil's Tower out in the distance. As you can see from the first photo, it truly stands out against the landscape.

After stopping to take several photos (and to allow Mr. Franey time to find some things to throw) we hopped back in the Explorer and finished our trip to the Tower.

After setting up our tents at the small campground on the park grounds, we drove further up to the visitors center, did a small bit of reading, and began the hike around the landmark.

Before whitey came to Wyoming, Devil's Tower was known to the Native Americans as Bear Lodge (among other names) and was considered a holy site not unlike Mecca or Jerusalem. In 1870-something Colonel Richard I. Dodge led a geological survey of the area and coined the name Devil's Tower, which stuck. Of course that pissed off the Native American groups that considered the area sacred, but attempts to rechristen the rock Devil's Tower/Bear Lodge even as recently as 2005 were met with opposition. Just ask Wyoming representative Barbara Cubin, who argued that a "name change will harm the tourist trade and bring economic hardship to area communities". That's perhaps the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life.

After climbing around on the boulder pile surrounding the rock, our hike took us completely around the tower. On what I suspect was the Southeast face we stopped to look through a couple of pipes that were mounted to point out the location of the historic wooden stake ladder that was used to climb the tower way back in the olden days. A word of advice: even if you can see the ladder, it's not worth seeing. But the tower itself is a fantastically amazing statement in weirdness. Although the explanations for its formation attempt to clear up how it got there, it's unfathomable to think that it was once completely surrounded by land that has now receded (one theory). It's quite easy to see why Steven Spielberg chose the site for a film about aliens; It truly seems like something from another planet.

After completing our hike we headed back to Hulett to find something to eat. Our first attempt proved worthless as we had arrived just in time for the closing of an establishment, so we crossed the road in hopes of finding food at a run down hole in the ground bar. Although we didn't find anything to eat, our host and bartender suggested we try the White Tail Creek Lodge, so we took off in a jiffy.

The White Tail Creek Lodge staff was quite cordial, and our waitress told us about the scene near Devil's Tower during the filming of Close Encounters ("There was a lot of that barbed wire everywhere and they closed the roads") while the local proprietor prepared us some fantastic steaks. After dinner we spent a short while watching an old Mike Tyson fight at the bar, and then headed back to our tents.

Our night of camping was not without strain, as the heat and heavy damp breathing led to an extremely moist tent, but I awoke the next morning and stepped out to the scene of three deer making their way through the campground. I spent the next hour watching them and waiting on everyone else to wake before we packed up and headed to Yellowstone.

Further research after our visit has increased my interest in climbing Devil's Tower, although the practice is frowned upon by Native American groups, especially during the month of June, which is considered a holy month. So there's always that to weigh. And the fact that I've never climbed anything.

In case you're wondering, the top isn't large enough for a regulation soccer field*, though apparently it's close to football field size. I doubt anyone would jump out of bounds to avoid being tackled.

* * * * *

*Regulation Soccer Field is a standard unit of measure.

14 August 2006

easy e visits the trenton looking glass sportsmans club

Some folks never seem to leave high school, a fact that became painfully obvious within the first couple of hours of Gina's class reunion. It was a night complete with drunken dance/grinding, kids trying to impress each other by blaring horrible music, behind the back hookup attempts, and smarmy assholes* watching from the sidelines and running commentary. My 10 year reunion seemed to go so much nicer, but perhaps that's just revisionist history.

I received more than one comment about my pink shirt, including "A pink shirt? You know you're in Clinton County, right?"

To which I responded "Yes, but I've been out of the county."

Earlier Saturday morning I had biked the worst 60 miles of my life, during which I ran out of water, drank too much water, and considered pedaling into traffic more than once. Well, not really, but it didn't go well. I've got a century ride (100 miles) coming up in two weeks and I'm afraid I'm nowhere near ready. Ah, but there's an amazing power in perseverance! We'll see how it goes.

I guess Frank Black was in Indy Sunday night, and I should have went. I saw Frank something like 6 years ago at the Duck Room in St. Louis, and it still ranks as a very memorable experience. Not because he did anything fantastic; the band was just tight and I'm a fan of Frank's solo work anyway. Another missed opportunity, I suppose, but I was tired anyway. Did anyone go? How about you, Dave Huffman of Trenton Illinois? Your house is large enough to present a Frank Black concert. Congratulations on your high ceilings*.

Let's open the floor to conversations about class reunions. How did yours go?

* * * * *

*this would be my role.

*smarmy asshole part II.

09 August 2006

In news you don't care about...

I've added Sentanta Sports to my satellite television package, bringing my monthly bill to a ridiculous $80 or something. BUT, I now believe I get EVERY Premiership game. EVERY GAME. I think. Including Fulham's opener at Old Trafford against Manchester United. So, I think that's pretty fantastic. And so does Directv, who keep getting more of my money.

mount rushmore / buffalo jump

Warning: Pun-agraph

After the evening spent in Deadwood, SD, we jumped in the Explorer and headed down Highway 385 past Pactola Reservoir to Mount Rushmore. As we made our southernly approach, Mount Rushmore suddenly appeared in the cliffs ahead.

Although I had previously been warned by my friend Dave that Mount Rushmore was perhaps not worth seeing, I can honestly say that I was quite impressed. Although the four presidents don't perform any tricks, they look quite impressive up there. And while it's not as large as I had expected (though it's by no means small), it was interesting to know that the original plans for Mount Rushmore included full busts of all the presidents. It was only after work began that Gutzon Borglum abandoned those plans, which explains why the carving of Washington has lapels*. Another not so well publicized detail of Mount Rushmore is that the presidents have quite a view to look at, as you can see in the second picture.

After walking the trail around Rushmore we decided to pass up the Crazy Horse Memorial and make our way to Devil's Tower. It crossed my mind that perhaps it didn't make a lot of sense to carve a giant figure in the cliffs just 30 or so minutes from the most was is probably the most famous giant figures in the world, though I understand part of the reasoning for the location is that Crazy Horse is located on sacred land. In any case, I thought that Crazy Horse was a treat better left for my next trip out west.

Before we left Deadwood we had a conversation with a very enthusiastic bike shop owner, who helped us plot out a route and suggested checking out the Vore Buffalo Jump. The buffalo jump is basically a large hole in the ground that plains Indian groups used to capture and slaughter large groups of buffalo. By running the buffalo over the edge of the sinkhole, the Indians were able to easily (comparatively, anyway) provide food and other materials for use in everyday life. The jump was discovered by workers when construction of interstate 90 began; Due to the huge amounts of bone material, they suspected they had found something a lot more sinister. The interstate was slightly rerouted and the land was donated from the Vore family to the University of Wyoming in 1989.

The day we visited we were greeted by a pleasant young lady at the mouth of the jump. She explained that she was a volunteer and then went into the history of the site. After a brief explanation she sent us down a path to the dig site at the bottom of the hole, where a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable man explained how archaeologists use what they find at the site to determine who used it and what types of tools they used. The amount of bone material found in just the 20 by 5 foot dig was quite impressive.

If you ever find your way on the road to Yellowstone, don't pass up the Vore Buffalo Jump. Although it just looks like a hole in the ground, there's quite a history there, and the folks at the site are very informative. Perhaps we repaid the karmic duty that we brought onto ourselves by skipping Crazy Horse.

Of course it wouldn't be long until we stomped all over that again, because our next stop was Bear Lodge (otherwise known as Devil's Tower). Until next post...

* * * * *

*This information came from Dave Youngman, and if it is incorrect, then perhaps I am a poor listener. Or perhaps he's a poor teacher.

04 August 2006

03 August 2006

free icewater

Most people have heard of Wall Drug because of endless advertising. The nearer you get to Wall Drug, the most advertising you'll see. Wall Drug even advertises its own advertising with billboards that read "WALL DRUG SIGN ON A BUS IN LONDON" or "WALL DRUG BILLBOARD IN TOKYO". This has proven to be a powerful marketing tool, as Wall Drug is perhaps the most well known tourist trap in America. Naturally we had to stop by.

Located in Wall, South Dakota, Wall Drug was opened in 1931 and was a popular stop for tourists who were drawn in by the offer of free icewater. The free icewater tradition is still offered today, although the water doesn't come with ice(!?) and is self-served in a paper cone.

It is hard to miss the amount of parking available for Wall Drug, along with the Wall Drug RV park. The building (or series of connected buildings) takes up a whole city block, and is filled with not only a pharmacy, but a church, a restaurant, and animatronic t-rex head, and thousands of square feet of cheap plastic crap.

According to the wikipedia entry, Wall Drug spends as much as $400,000 on billboard advertising every year. They also give away free bumper stickers ("ONE FREE PER FAMILY") and deserve to burn in hell.

The best part, if there is one, about Wall Drug is that it's filled with old people and foreigners. And when that's your best feature, you've truly earned the tourist trap designation.

So here's to Wall Drug. Blah.

02 August 2006

probably not work safe...

I haven't watched this yet because I'd had warning that it's not exactly work related material... Anyway.

01 August 2006

na na na na na na na na badlands (sung to the theme song from "batman")

hacksaw jim franeyAs we continued our trip across South Dakota on I-90 we took a slight detour through Badlands National Park. Here's a little info about the park from the National Park Service website:
Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States.
You might think that people are drawn to the park because of its sharply eroded buttes, but I think that's only half the story. On the day we visited that park was filled with Russian people. I would venture to say that it was perhaps the largest gathering of Russians ever on United States soil. I suspected that they were up to something out there, so I went on a short hike to investigate.

Unfortunately, all I could turn up was a deer. You can imagine my dismay. Fortunately enough, I was able to divert my frustration with the murder of several Commies.

In any case, Badlands was well worth the visit. There are plenty of caverns to hide bodies in and you can easily blame any "accidental" deaths on gravel slips or unsafe climbing. Especially when all the witnesses only speak Russian.