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Friday, June 12, 2009

Wind Cave and a Tick Trick

Our last day in Custer! First we took the kids to the Pet Motel, and then set off for Wind Cave National Park. Joyce promised I could see one cave, and this was it because it had the easiest walking tour advertised of all available caves.

As was the case with Stupor 8 every other morning, we missed breakfast as it was always over by 9 AM. This is a tourist/vacation area, so why? Obviously we are looking for logic where none exists. Therefore we were hungry and there’s nothing between Custer and Wind cave except smoky cowpuncher bars. Even the park has no food. Luckily, Hot Springs is just beyond it, so we made cave reservations and drove on into town. All we really went there for was lunch, and Joyce did some grocery shopping, too. Then we drove back to the entrance, and Joyce, seeing how far it was to the elevator, wimped out, so I went by myself, and this is what we saw:

And here are a few pictures I took, but the ones on the site are much better. Anyway, these prove I went!

Our ranger may have been slightly deranged, or maybe a little burned out. He had some really good stories, but not much of a delivery. The hike through the cave itself was only a quarter mile, but we saw some genuinely unique stuff down there. I love caves, so I recommend it, and any other cave you can get into, anywhere.

I wasn’t gone more than an hour, and there were only five of us on the tour, yet I somehow managed to hook up with a woman who is currently stationed where Joyce and I were married: Mildenhall AB, England. So I had to drag her to meet Joyce as soon as we came up out of the shaft. She knew all the places we knew over there. Just a real funny coincidence.

The rest of the afternoon we just spent driving through the parks back to Custer, looking at all sorts of animals, and scaring Joyce, who thinks all bison have her name on them, or something. Ever since that lion stared at her in Kenya, she’s been like that: just so close, and no closer.

Retrieved the kids and ate out in yet another restaurant advertising game. I know we’re bad to fuss over how darling bison are, and then eat them, but it’s a local delicacy, and I wanted to try it. Suffice it to say that bison and elk are both very rich, and a little goes a long way. I promise not to eat them anymore, unless I return to South Dakota.

That evening, we found a tick on Ollie, despite our monthly precautions. Joyce freaked and I looked it up on the internet. I know petroleum jelly will suffocate them and they will fall off, but Vaseline Lip Balm wasn't fast enough for Joyce. So we put that on while I looked. Lo and behold, if you massage a tick in a circular manner, it will get dizzy and lose its grip (you don't want to pull off the body and have the head stay attached). They promised it would take no more than a minute and bingo! No more tick. It next tried to latch onto me, but I managed to stop it before it got a grip. Here is the video.

Next: another weird mad dash across the Mount Rushmore State.

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