Sunday, October 12, 2008

From Platte to the Badlands...

Over breakfast, we had a great visit with Cousin Joe Tegethoff's sons, Ben and Joe, Jr. about farming, weather and life around Platte. They get 20 inches of rain per year compared to our 40 inches! Makes quite a difference in how you farm...Joe, Jr. had a beautiful crop of soybeans growing, but the rain came a couple weeks too late, and they dried up, as did his potentially record yield. By now all the soybeans were off, just the corn was left -- but that day it was raining, so corn harvest would have to wait. That was no problem, according to Ben and Joe, who said that any day it rains is a "glorious day"!

After breakfast, we packed up and drove out to Ann's house -- "drive 12 miles out of town until you get to the oil (a chip seal road as contrasted by mostly gravel ones); take the oil north 2 miles, turn left for another 3/4 mile..." Ann is Ben and Joe, Jr's. mom, and the wife of Joe, Sr. who passed on a number of years ago. She greeted us with coffee and cookies on the table. Karen Tegethoff, another "outlaw cousin" , as she put it : ) came by, and after a bit Sarah Veenstra, "the real cousin" also came. We had a great visit around Ann's kitchen table, some reminiscing, a fair bit of laughing, and passing around pictures of kids, grandkids, and even a few great-grands! We'd be chatting along and mid-sentence, Ann would stop and say, "Look at it pour out there!" We came to understand that a soaking rain is quite an event around Platte. I felt a little jaded, as I hardly noticed it at all! : )

Our enjoyable visit ended with us following Sarah to her home in New Holland, just 3 miles away -- practically next door by South Dakota standards! Sarah and her husband, Sam remodeled and added to a house "in town" and created a lovely home with an upstairs that can serve as a bed and breakfast, which is popular with hunters during the fall. Sadly, though they planned to spend their retirement years in their "Dutchmen's Den", Sam passed away not long after completion of the house. Sarah is such an ambition woman! She still milks mornings at the farm her son has taken over. Her house is spotless. She is busy on the farm, with the school and church. She cooks for the hunters that stay there, and she has done an amazing job of keeping up with family photos and scrapbooks. She had just returned from a trip to Alaska with a friend who is also a widow. It's obvious that she misses Sam terribly -- but she keeps her life full, and continues to be a gracious lady. I so admire that!

By the time we were done with our visits, it was lunchtime. A quick burger at Boom's Drive- In, and we hit the road. Our goal was to make it to Rapid City that night, and to drive the Badlands loop on the way. We enjoyed a stop at the Lewis & Clark Exhibits in Chamberlain. They had a replica of a keel boat. I was surprised to see how large these boats were, and can't imagine portaging them! They said the men often expended so much energy that they required 9 lbs. of meat each day! (Makes my stomach hurt just thinking of it!)We crossed the Mighty Missouri there, and it wasn't long before we drove out of the rain. By the time we reached the Badlands Loop, the skies were clearing.

Oh, the amazing Badlands! We had been impressed with North Dakota's Badlands -- but these are much bigger! You're driving along the sweeping prairie, and suddenly the land drops away next to you, and there are the spires and cliffs of the rough and rocky Badlands below. We enjoyed the road through this National Park. It descends from the upper prairie, winding through rocky passes to the lower prairie where you can see "The Wall" of Badlands spires circling around for miles. Then you climb again to views of the expansive upper prairie, and suddenly, it drops away again on the south to more beautiful Badlands...Such a curious phenomenon...How did they get there? They continue to erode and change all the time. We read that in 45 years, some places in the Badlands had receded a foot, as compared with the granite of Mt. Rushmore, which they say will wear down only 1/10 of an inch in 1000 years! If you ever have a chance to take this side trip, do it! It's worth the extra time!

The prairie drops away to Badlands...

The Likkel's head back to the car after a stop at a windswept scenic overlook -- our first stop in the Badlands.

"The Wall"
"The Yellow Mounds of the Badlands"

Then it was back to I-90, and pushing on to Rapid City. Study of the map, and info from one of the trusty rest areas (They are so well-stocked in the Midwest!) led us on a route that bypassed the city and rush hour, and brought us straight down to the little touristy town of Keystone, only a couple miles from Rushmore. Though off-season, it was still busy there, and we felt fortunate to nab the last couple of rooms at the Holiday Inn Express...We were ready to get out of the car and relax!

1 comment:

Ridge said...

It's so fun to see these pics and to reminisce about Frannie's and my trip thru this same area way back in 1971! I thought this area was so frascinating. I LOVED the Black Hills, did you get a chance to drive thru that?

xxoo Ridge

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Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (