Detour improves tour


Ironically, after yesterday’s Big Thunder mine tour, it was thunder and lightning that woke us up at 5:30 AM. We packed up our campground and hightailed it out of there just as huge raindrops let loose.

Over breakfast at a local diner, we listened to a group of elderly men catching up over their Friday morning ritual. I caught snatches of conversation…about losing $11 at Bingo and the six inches of rainfall (!) that drenched a town the day before.

Then one man, who was obviously hard of hearing, asked his friends if he could recite a poem. They obliged and he launched into an eight-stanza poem about a blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I vowed to find that poem again as it so reminded me of my own grandfather and here it is:

After breakfast, we got back on the road only to learn that the National Weather Service had issued a severe storm alert warning people to stay inside due to baseball-sized hail. To skirt the storm, we decided to take a detour through the Badlands National Monument. It was an otherworldly landscape of sculpted spires and striped dunes as if the innards of the earth had been exposed for continual erosion. Barren and raw, yet richly beautiful…that was the Badlands.

Let’s hear it for detours.