Shades of American Graffiti

When I was in high school my Dad decided to buy me a car.  I guess he got tired of me always asking to borrow his, or worried that I’d smash it up or some such thing, although I never put a scratch in any car the entire time I was in high school.  He had a 1957 Desoto at that time.

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 It had fins the size of airplane wings and looked like it could take off at any moment.  It had automatic pushbutton drive to the left of the steering wheel so it was a cinch to drive – no shifting or popping the clutch (which was fun).  It was a hardtop, so you could be really cool when you were dragging Broadway.  We’d roll down all the windows regardless of the temperature, push the button into gear away we’d go.

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Back then it was not a standard feature to have air conditioning in your car – it had to be special ordered.  I vividly remember one very hot, steamy summer night when my Dad had given me his car and a bunch of us girls decided to drag Broadway.  We rolled up all the windows and PRETENDED we had air conditioning so we could be really cool.  How pretentious – and stupid.  All we did was sweat like pigs and besides that we couldn’t hear what the guys were saying to us when we passed.  Duh!!

Dragging Broadway was the “Thing” to do back then.  Broadway was about seven blocks long in our city, and the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night.  A good place to burn up a tank of gas, but then it was only 32 cents a gallon back then.  You’d eventually meet up with a carload of guys (that you knew of course), park your car and pile into theirs.  Then it was off to some fast food joint for a coke and a burger, or maybe even out to some back-country road if they happened to have some beer.

Then my Dad decided he would buy me my own car – and THIS is what he bought me.  I didn’t have any input at all – he just came home with this one day and told me it was mine.

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It was a 1951 Nash Rambler with a six cylinder with a stick shift on the column – the epitome of style, aerodynamics and speed, huh?  I just about died from embarrassment because I thought it was so ugly.  But then, what the hey, it was wheels and  most of my friends weren’t even allowed to borrow their dad’s car.

So – take what you get and make the best of it.  The thing my Dad didn’t realize though, is what an impression the fold-down seats would make on all my friends!  Okay – get your mind out of the gutter, now!  By this time I was dating Ole, (and he had a 1949 Ford) and most usually we spent our time with several of his guy friends and their girls.  So with fold-down seats it could turn into quite a party – now I TOLD you to get your mind out of the gutter, didn’t I???

I remember one night in particular – very cold and snowing – and the guys had managed to get some Buckhorn beer for $1 a six-pack.  There were Ole and me; his two next-door neighbor girls, Jean and Sue; several of his buddies, Junior, Ronnie, Donnie, and Dennis, and a couple of others girls I can’t even remember at this point.  We all piled into my Little Nash Rambler, Ole popped the clutch and we sped out of town sounding like a little sewing machine, headed for some back-country road to drink that Buckhorn.  When we found a suitable spot we flipped those seats down and all sat in a circle and had a high old time until the Buckhorn was gone.  Needless to say, my car became known as the Party Car, unbeknownst to my Dad who I’m sure didn’t take those fold-down seats into consideration when he bought me that car.

Big Brother had to suffer through a Nash Rambler too, when he went to college.  His was a 1949 up-side-down bathtub.  But it had lots of potential – -

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At one point he and a buddy stored a beer keg in the cavern-sized trunk, ran plastic tubing through the interior of the car up to the dash, and hooked the tubing to a handle so they could draw beer out of the spigot – how convenient, huh?

Of course back in those days the consequences for being a minor consuming consisted of a slap on the wrist and being sent on your way.  Not the case nowadays – fortunately.  When I think of all the things that COULD have happened I cringe and I think of just how lucky we were.  My heart goes out to all the parents who have lost children under these circumstances or any others.

So car interests continue for us – Ole now has his favorite little ’29 Model A coupe that he loves.  The only problem is that Model As were made only for skinny, short people.  You have to turn into a pretzel to get in and out and it’s not uncommon to be rubbing thighs as you go down the road.  Then there’s the ’40 Ford coupe that he’s street rodded and on occasion takes to the drag strip to burn a little rubber.  My favorite, though, is the ’51 Ford convertible – red with a white top.  It’s a big boat, holds 6 people comfortably, and belonged originally to a high school friend of ours, so we’ve got a long history with that car.

Love, Lena

The Bermuda Triangle of Socks & the Poop Truck

Two socks enter the washer but only one comes out, never to be seen again.

Fortunately Ole wears the white crew socks made by Hanes with the red lettering across the bottom of the toe.  So when a sock goes MIA, its leftover mate has to find solace with the loner that’s already in the drawer.  After this has happened frequently enough I have to go out and buy Ole some more socks.

Now where do you suppose those MIA socks go?  There are a lot of theories out there – the Bermuda Triangle of Missing Socks is definitely one.  They’re sucked into the black hole of Sockland to enjoy the remainder of their life not being tramped on by some person or stuck into a big boot for the day where they can’t breathe not only due to tight conditions, but can you imagine the foot odor down there?

Maybe it’s the sock company’s marketing ploy.  Every other sock is made from a type of fabric that’s designed to dissolve when put into the dryer.  If we didn’t have this problem who would buy so many socks so damn often?

Then again, maybe they flip over the side of the washing machine tub during the spin cycle, worm their way down the drain, and in our case into the septic tank.  Ha!  Fooled them – there’s no escape from the septic tank until it gets pumped.  (I have another story to tell you about THAT).  Possibly they thought they were city socks and would go down the sewer pipe and eventually reach the ocean where they could work their way to some sandy beach and lay in the sun to get bleached perfectly white again.  That is if some octopus or giant squid that was collecting socks for all their tentacles didn’t accost them. Anyway, solving that mystery is just too much for my brain today.  Just in case you’re wondering I’ve been doing laundry and Ole’s missing more socks.

Now, on to the septic tank story.  This might be an information overload for you so if you’re easily offended you may want to stop reading.  If you like a good chuckle – keep on.

I have a cousin who used to run a septic tank pumping business.  Now this cousin has a really warped sense of humor, but he is so very funny.   He called his truck The Poop Truck, and on the side he had painted “Your shit is my bread and butter.” When you run a business like that you are kind of on call 24 hours a day.  If someone runs into trouble, which frequently happens in the winter, you need to go to their rescue right away so they can get their system up and running again before everything freezes up.  Can you imagine trying to thaw out a 2000-gallon septic tank?  It’s not easy.

So late one winter afternoon he got a panicky call from a local resident (an elderly bachelor) whose tank was full and could he come out and do the job.  And of course, he did.  Back in those days you could empty The Poop Truck out in a farmer’s field if you had permission from the farmer.  So Cousin was out in the field, spraying the contents into the air.  It was a cold evening so he was sitting inside the truck waiting for the contents to empty.  When it did, he went to the back of the truck to clean the hoses and put things away when he happened to glance up into the trees.  There, covering the trees like Christmas balls was an array of brightly colored condoms swaying in the breeze!  They remained there for the winter, easily viewed from the road that went by, until the trees got their leaves in the spring.  I guess he received a lot of questions about where that load came from, but he respected his customer’s privacy and only snickered when the question came up.

All for today – Love Lena

Looking through the Bugs on the Windshield

We got home tonight about 7 o’clock.  As I sit here tonight reflecting on the last 10 days thinking about our travels and the people we met, as usual, it couldn’t have been better.  Even though we didn’t do a lot of riding like we used to, it was still a great time and the people, in general, were pretty great. 

One of the wonderful people is a lady named Robin who is the waitress/bartender at the VFW in Deadwood.  The VFW in Deadwood is the only place that we found that didn’t raise their prices sky high during the rally, and the employees always had a smile for you when you walked in the door.  Robin is by far the friendliest waitress and most attentive during the rally that we have found.  Next time you’re in Deadwood, please stop by and tell Robin we sent you.  While all the other restaurants/bars/saloons raised their prices exhorbitantly during rally week, this was always a place you could go to get an excellent meal and a good drink at a fair price.  And you don’t have to be a vet to get in.  They love everyone.  Thanks, Robin, for wonderful lunches and a great visit with you and all the local people you introduced us to. 

Saturday night we decided we really needed to take in the “night life” of Sturgis on Main Street after dark.  Well, let me tell you , it was pretty tame compared to previous years that we’ve been there.  Or maybe it was just that by 9 o’clock both Ole and I were ready for our jammies, a warm glass of milk and bed.  Darn, I hate it when that happens (chuckle).  So we headed back to the campground and proceeded to batten down the hatches for the storm that was approaching (again).  It didn’t show up as predicted, but later during the night started with lots of thunder booms and a lightening display that was pretty spectacular.  No wind though, just very heavy rain along with the lightening and thunder.  Naturally, Ole slept through it and I was up comforting the dog and the cats.  One more night with not much sleep.  Oh, well – - – -

So this morning it was up-and-at-em, packing up things from the week anticipating a trip home.  We pulled out about 9 a.m. and headed north, leaving all the excitement of the Rally in Sturgis.  Let me tell you – South Dakota really needs to do something about their highways.  They are extremely narrow, no shoulder and very rough and broken up.  Very difficult to drive on with a wide-body RV – one wrong turn of the steering wheel and you’ll be down in the ditch and possibly rolled over.  Not a fun thought with a 40-foot motorhome pulling a 12 foot trailer.  Ugly.  Really exciting when you meet a semi-truck with extra-wide mirrors hauling some heavy kind of load from the oil fields!!  Next year I think we’ll stick to the interstates all the way even if it’s longer. 

As we headed north we discussed the idea of driving along the Enchanted Highway, a place we haven’t covered in our travels.  Now, neither of us knew just exactly where the Enchanted Highway was, so I hopped on the internet once we got into an area that had service, to get a bit of info.  Discovered that there is NO highway number for the Enchanged Highway – I guess you just have to take a good guess.  Well, we guessed right and headed north out of Regent, ND along a 34 mile of stretch that holds a number of metal sculptures all done by a local farmer just because he wanted to do it.  He receives no monetary reimbursements other than what people choose to contribute.  His work is fantastic and depicts wildlife in the state of North Dakota.  If you have an opportunity, turn off of I-94 at Exit 72 and head south toward Regent.  At Regent stop in his shop and visit with him – he’s an extremely interesting person, and besides that – he sells ICE CREAM in his shop!!  Believe me – it really hit the spot. 

Then – once we hit the interstate – 4 hours later we were pulling into our driveway where our daughter and son-in-law were waiting to greet us along with Beau Dog, their German Shepherd and Daisy’s buddy.  It was so good to give them both a hug and be welcomed home. 

Traveling is always so interesting and wonderful – but getting home is always great too.  Now to knuckle down tomorrow, get out of vacation mode and on with life.

Click on the link to see new video. 

http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=1266bc7d884fd46c05a46a9&skin_id=601&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=email

Love you all, Lena

 

 

EEEKKK!

Well, that wasn’t EXACTLY what I yelled as I raised the middle finger on my left hand and shook it at the stupidity that had just crossed in front of us on the Harley.  We were riding down the turning lane to make a left turn (fortunately at a slow speed) when some idiot and his stupid girlfriend, riding in the left lane going through Sturgis on Lazelle, must have decided the traffic was too heavy and they wanted to turn around.  Well, folks, these two idiots made a U-turn right in front of us across the turning lane, and nonchalantly motored the other direction.  They hadn’t even looked to see that there was a bike coming at them in the turning lane.  Karen and Dave were following us and I heard Karen yell a few choice words at them also.  He just looked over and gave us a $h – - eating grin like he had gotten away with something.  Meanwhile, Ole had to slam on the brakes, my backside lifted up off the seat and I grabbed Ole by the “love handles” in order to stay on the bike.  I am so tired of the stupidity and the attitudes of some of the bikers down here that some days I don’t even want to come back.  And it seems to get worse every year.  Or maybe I just get older and more crotchety??  Nahhh – that couldn’t be. 

There are these things called Common Sense, Bike Safety and Bike Etiquette.  I may not ride my own bike, but I’ve put enough miles on behind Ole over the last 20 years to know what’s what.  As of yesterday there have been 9 fatalities related to the rally, most of them due to stupidity or the inability to handle the motorcycle due to inexperience.  This is NOT the place to come and “break in” your new motorcycle.  Thanks for listening to my rant – - – -

The Rally is coming to an end and the campground is starting to empty out.  Our friend, Jerry, left yesterday, Karen and Dave left this morning along with Don and Brandon.  So our little village has disbursed and we’re here alone.  We debated leaving this morning also, but Ole has a tendency to want to hang around until the “last dog is hung.”  So I guess we’ll motor around a bit today, although not too far as the sky is rather ominous again today.

We were up in Deadwood yesterday buying truffles at the Chubby Chipmunk when the storm clouds came over the moutain very rapidly and billowed to the point that they looked like they were exploding.  The process was beautiful and quite interesting, but it meant we were in for a storm and had 11 miles to go down the mountain and then heavy traffic to get through before we were back to safety in the campground.  We made it ahead of the storm, which proceeded to open up and dump copious amounts of rain and hail – AGAIN!  Fortunately, this time the hail was only the size of nickles instead of baseballs, like it was several years ago.  Ole parked the bike under our awning to protect it, but parked it toward the end of the covering.  Now the awning, which is 24 feet long, is always put up at an angle so that when it rains the water runs off instead of pooling on top of the awning and breaking things from the weight.  So it’s actually like an eave with no downspout.  The “lack of the downspout” caused all the water from the awning to fall like a waterfall right onto the back seat of the bike – it’s SOAKED – and guess where I get to sit today!!  I’ve done it before in situations where we’ve gotten caught in the rain unexpectedly – and believe me – it’s not comfortable walking around with a wet backside all day. 

We’ve got our reservations made for next year, 2014 and also for 2015 – two years ahead.  Hopefully us old duffers will still be getting around good enough to do this.  (No comments from the Peanut Gallery, Burl!)  We always make reservations a year in advance, but 2015 is the 75th anniversary of the rally, so there will be a large attendance.  And after all these years we definitely want to get back into the same campground.  Ross, the owner of Lamphere Campground, runs a pretty tight ship.  I have seen him escort campers out in the middle of the night if they don’t follow the rules.  It’s nothing like the infamous Buffalo Chip, where the only rules are no dogs and no glass containers. 

New video attached – just click on the link below.  I haven’t taken a lot of pictures this year I guess because I’ve been here so many times.  But I do love to “people watch.”  There are some interesting characters around. 

http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p=1265ca98df1ab49283db263&skin_id=701&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url

Well, Ole’s getting anxious so I guess I better get my ducks in a row so we can go find another adventure!! 

Love, Lena

 

 

 

And the Party Begins

 

Sunday morning Ole was taking Daisy for her “morning constitutional” as he does every morning.  He walked around the corner of one of the tents in the Tent City next door to us and heard this awful gagging noise and then heard a lot of “liquid” hit the bottom of the trash can.  Get the picture, Folks?  There stood Hillary, one of the gals next door, puking into one of the 55-gallon barrels that serve as trash cans around here.  She managed to pull her head out of the trash can long enough to say to Ole, “Everything was fine until I had another drink this morning!”  Now I won’t say Hillary is a Party Animal or anything, but – - – -  she spent pretty much the remainder of Sunday and most of the day yesterday (Monday) in a horizontal position trying to recover!  Uffda.  This morning (Tuesday) she’s vertical and looks much healthier. 

Long time friend, Al, arrived Sunday night.  He thought he was going to surprise us but his Better Half, Sherry, posted on Facebook that he had taken off for Sturgis.  He arrived just in time to have a full blown turkey dinner with all the trimmings that Karen had put together.  You see, we REALLY rough it when we’re camping.  Yesterday afternoon (Monday) Buddy Don and his son Brandon arrived and set up ther domicile in our camp site.  Don lives in Arkansas, so he had quite a ride. 

Yesterday we rode down to Rapid City and stopped at the Harley shop there and on our way out proceeded to get rained on and hailed on.  But then it wouldn’t be the Black Hills if you didn’t get wet at least once.  We were here one year where we were caught on the highway in a rain storm.  That time I poured a cup of water out of each boot when we got back to camp.  We got wet in places we didn’t even know we had.  A couple of years ago we were caught in another storm but managed to take refuge in a car wash in Deadwood.  When we got back to camp there had been hail the size of baseballs that that had fallen.  That year we had over $15,000 worth of damage done to our RV.  And we came out good compared to a lot of others.  So the weather in the Black Hills is always exciting.  If you don’t like it just wait five minutes. 

Unfortunately, there are always fatalities during the rally.  Sunday the Needles Highway was shut down for a number of hours due to an accident that killed a rider and his passenger.  He apparently had a medical issue of some kind and didn’t make one of the switchbacks.  Went off the cliff and down into a ravine.  If you’ve ever been on the Needles Highway during rally week, it’s bumper to bumper bikes and would be extremely difficult to get an ambulance up the mountain.  There was also another fatality down by Hill City – a pickup came off a side road and broadsided a biker.  He lived but his passenger was dead on the scene.  Unfortunately there’s always those folks who get a new bike, have probably never ridden before and think they need to break it in and learn to ride at Sturgis.  There’s a lot of stupidity down here and in many cases too much alcohol and too many drugs behind the handlebars.

Speaking of drugs I noticed that the Sons of Silence and the Hell’s Angels were in town yesterday.  It’s unusual for more than one gang to be in town at the same time.  There seems to be an unwritten rule that they’ve each got their own day so most generally there’s very little trouble in town – let’s hope it stays that way.

New video for your viewing – click on the link below. 

http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=1263aa875109579fe4452fd

Love, Lena

Ole’s New Boots

“Ole, if you don’t get some new boots pretty soon, those things are going to rot off your feet and you’re going to have to walk barefoot on the rocks,” I said.  Ole, being a VERY conservative Finlander, not wanting to spend ANY money if he doesn’t have to, (he’s so tight he squeaks) thought his boots were just fine even though they had holes on the sides and his socks showed through!!  I have been after him for 6 months to buy new boots, but you know how that goes – NOT!  So today we went to the Harley Shop in Sturgis and I told him if HE didn’t buy new boots I was going to buy them for him and he’d have to put up with whatever foo-foo fancy choice I made.  He’d have to wear them because I was going to throw his old ones in the trash!!  I meant business, can you tell??? 

Well, while Ole was trying on boots (he must have realized I meant business) I was busy shopping in the baby department of the Harley Shop.  You know, this new grand baby we’re going to have this fall in going to be the best dressed baby biker ever.  I had SO much fun shopping. 

When I was done I found Ole sitting on a chair by the door enjoying a cup of coffee and visitng with the security guard.  I heard him say that he was currently drinking a $300 cup of coffee.  The security guard said he didn’t believe that because the coffee was FREE.  Ole said, “Oh, but you don’t understand – my wife is going to be a grandma for the first time and she’s SHOPPING and by the time she’s done it will easily be a $300 bill!!!!”  “Oh,” said the security guard, “I understand now.”  Well, Folks, it wasn’t QUITE $300, but this little gal is going to be the best dressed baby biker ever!

But – Ole did get a new pair of boots and I’m going to throw his old ones in the trash tomorrow.  So there . . . .

Spent the remainder of the afternoon people watching in downtown Sturgis.  Extremely interesting, but wouldn’t you know I forgot my camera so no pictures in today’s entry.  Sorry.  Just new boots and lots of baby stuff!!!

Love you all, Lena

There’s a Blizzard in July

Well, Folks, it’s that time of year again when Ole and Lena make their annual journey to Sturgis and the Blackhills Motorcycle Rally.  Preparation, of course, began with getting the motorhome ready as it hasn’t been used since last September. 

I walked into the motorhome for the first time and found little pieces of white stuff on the floor – small amounts in localized areas, but stuff that didn’t belong there nonetheless.  So I vacuumed it up and went on about my cleaning business.  We eventually took off down the road, the Harley tucked securely in the enclosed trailer, Simon and Lucy, our two kitties, snug in their beds napping the trip away, and Daisy, sprawled out in comfort on the davenport.  So you see, we have quite a houseful when we travel. 

Daisy, our 12-year old German Shepherd, suffers from severe arthritis in her hips and lower joints on her back legs.  She’s been receiving doggie chiropractic treatments and acupuncture from Dr. Brad at the Casselton Vet Clinic for some time now, along with an occasional steroid shot.  Dr. Brad has worked wonders for her – otherwise I’m sure she wouldn’t be with us any longer.  So on our way west we stopped at the clinic and Dr. Brad made a “house call” to the motorhome and gave her two more steroid shots so she could be comfortable.  She took it like a champ and we motored on down the road.

The trip was uneventful – just as you want when you’re traveling with a big rig.  We landed in Medora late in the afternoon and “set up camp,” if that’s what you call it when you’re in an RV with all the comforts of home.  

Ole pulled the rig into place and  I got up from my chair to walk to the back of the RV, “Ole,” I yelled.  “What in the world is going on here – it’s the end of July and there’s snow INSIDE of our motorhome!”  Ole said he didn’t have a clue, but with all his technical experience and knowledge he would follow up on it and start checking to see if we had a snow machine in our ceiling.  It didn’t take long to find out why we had “snow” on our carpet once Ole started troubleshooting. ”Turn on the air conditioner,” he said.  So I flipped the switch and we instantly had blizzard conditions. 

I thought I had been so smart and managed to keep the mice out of the RV over the winter.  I used something called Cab Fresh – and it worked great.  Never a sign of a mouse INSIDE the RV anywhere.  And besides that, it even smells good.  BUT – this winter the mice decided to take up residence in the A/C ducts in the ceiling.  They apparently thought the styrofoam insulation up there was a tasty treat so chewed it to pieces.  When I turned on the A/C and the fan started you can’t imagine how many thousands of little beads of styrofoam came blowing out of the ceiling ducts and into the air.  And just in case you didn’t know – those little pieces of styrofoam seem to be statically charged and they stick to EVERYTHING!  Poor Simon and Lucy were even covered!!  Lucy wasn’t too happy about that.  If I could have read her mind she would have been saying, “Get this @%$#* stuff off of me!”  And Simon, off in his own little world of kitty dementia, (he’s 23 years old)  just stood there and looked helpless.

So after an hour or so of vacuuming we were finally able to sit down to a bit of  a toddy and some hors d’oeuvres. 

Daisy had a tough day so occupied the davenport. 

 We’re packing up and heading for Sturgis this morning – see ya’ll there!!

Love, Lena

 

 

 

 

We Should’ve Moved to Alaska!

Uffda,” I said to Ole this morning when I looked out the window.  “I think we should have moved to Alaska because the weather MUST be better up there than it is here.”  We’ve had 10 inches of heavy wet snow in the last 18 hours and it’s still snowing.  The weatherman says it’s supposed to snow throughout the day and then we’re supposed to “host” another “snow event” on Wednesday!  (I just love the way he puts things, don’t you?)  By that time we’ll be up to our “patooties” in snow again and it’s the middle of April already.  I haven’t seen green grass in such a long time that I went to Menard’s the other day and stared at their fake grass carpet – at least it was green!!

Ole and I took a little spin around the countryside the other day – out in the old neighborhood.  It gave Daisy a chance to sniff along some new ditches and investigate some new rabbit tracks.  I guess we were so busy with our own buyout and move when it took place, that we didn’t pay attention to how much the rest of the neighborhood had changed.  Driving along the country roads that follow the Buffalo River we saw numerous building sites now vacant.  No sign of there ever having been buildings there other than a leftover driveway entry and some trees.  The driveways have been dug up, smoothed out and covered with a straw/grass seed mixture.

The interesting thing is that it’s hard to see and think about all these vacant buildings sites, many of them having been lived on for many, many years and never having had water issues until these later years, where families were raised, friends visited and life stories evolved.  Now there’s not a sign of life.  Now, you may ask, does it bother Ole and I when we look at our old building site?  We lived there almost 40 years.  Not in the least!!  We have both said that all we feel is a big sense of relief.  This year we will stay high and dry and not have to have nightmares anymore, or lay awake listening to make sure the sump pump kicks in so the basement doesn’t flood.

Just as an example:  We had a 35 gallon barrel sunk into the basement floor that served as our sump hole.  During one period of high water we had TWO 3/4 horsepower sump pumps in that hole and the water was pouring in so fast that both pumps were running nonstop.  This went on for several days until the water started to recede.  One of us had to be downstairs watching the pumps at all times.  We didn’t dare leave them because if one had quit the basement would have taken on water in a matter of minutes.  Ole, being the smart man that he is, also had two more pumps sitting by in case of emergency.  Now think about it – would you miss something like that?  We sure don’t.

So my sympathies are with the poor folks that are facing this dilemma again this year.  But I must clarify this – my sympathies are with those folks who would like to get a buyout and move on with their life and can’t get one.  Then there are those stupid idiots that have the option of a buyout and have turned it down.  They are the ones that expect the city/county to come in and rescue them, or to build flood protection around their homes at the taxpayer’s expense and then sit on their butts and do nothing while the protection is being put in place.   We have several friends who, in the past, have volunteered to throw sandbags to build these dikes.  More than one of them said that there were homeowners who sat on their porches and watched the work being done – never lifting a finger to help and MAYBE bringing a pot of coffee out to the workers.  Enough said – you get the drift.

Well, that’s enough of a rant for today, Folks.

Lena

OLE DOESN’T HAVE TO BUILD AN ARK THIS YEAR

“You know, Ole,” I said, as we sat comfortably looking out our patio door watching the freezing rain fall on Saturday morning, “two years ago we would have been panicking and rushing out to the shop to start building our ark!”

Ole responded, “Yah, Lena, but two years ago we would have been on the downside of the flood by now.  This one is really going to be a late hummer what with all this cold weather we’ve had.”

Yes, Folks, there’s a lot of catching up to do in the Ole and Lena saga as far as flooding goes.  Two years ago Shane Mercer from The Forum contacted me and asked me to write about Ole and Lena’s adventures with the notorious flooding in the Red River Valley.  At that time we lived on the banks of the Buffalo River in Minnesota (a tributary of the Mighty Red) and had dealt with severe flooding for about 20 years.  Shane contacted me again this spring and asked me to write in anticipation of severe flooding in the area.  I happily informed him that Ole and Lena wouldn’t be having any of those dreadful, stress-inducing opportunities this year as a year ago we had received a buyout of our property and had moved on to drier “digs.”  Believe me, Folks, when we were house hunting I wouldn’t consider looking at any property that was even CLOSE to any form of water.  All I’m willing to deal with at this point is a puddle or two in my yard!!  Ole does need some place to float toy boats in other than the bathtub, you know.  (That’s just a joke, Ole, just a joke.)

In my conversation with Shane, he asked if I would be interested in writing about the flood from a different point of view – a former victim and what my thoughts and emotions would be as I watch the flood progress.  I guess at this point I don’t know if they’ll be interesting or not, but I’ll put them down on paper (the computer screen) and see where they go.

I do have some opinions on things that are being done in the area to get the water into the main channel of the river faster – imagine that – a Norwegian with an opinion.  But we’ll cover those at a later date.  I’m sure some of them won’t be real popular, but that’s too bad.

Norwegians are a bit on the nostalgic side, you know, so I went back and looked at some of our flood pictures from previous years.  I guess I shouldn’t have done that as it really sent chills up my spine.  Yes, going through a flood is wearing and extremely stressful, but you deal with it as you have no other choice.  You just keep going because you have to.  But to sit and look at these pictures now requires the use of a Kleenx to wipe the tears away.  And we were always fortunate enough to keep the water out of our house.  I can’t imagine how it would feel to have your basement and/or main floor go under with the dirty, stinky, silty river water.

Here’s a couple of shots of what we were able to leave behind.

 

The damage that is done is heartbreaking, and the time and effort and energy that is expended afterwards to clean everything up is astounding.  I think back to these days and wonder how we ever managed to get it done year after year.  I’m SO thankful we won’t have to do that this year.

Love you all,

Lena

 

You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd

“Ole,” I yelled from the back of the bike.  “What in heaven’s name (I used different words but won’t print them here) are you doing?” as I grabbed onto him for security.  He was weaving back and forth on the road dodging piles of buffalo poop.  Obviously, there had been a recent crossing of a good-sized herd of buffalo and I think every one of them had left a large deposit on the asphalt.  Believe me, you don’t want to drive through one of those piles because 1) they’re large, 2) they’re slippery, and 3) they STINK!  So as a result that old Roger Miller song came to mind, You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd, and you shouldn’t be driving a motorcycle through one either.  That was a couple of days ago, and I still can’t get that darn song out of my head!

We arrived in Medora on Sunday evening, and after setting up camp we took a spin through the park.  Apparently life has been very good for the buffalo herd as it seems to have become quite prolific over the last year.  There were buffalo ALL OVER.  We didn’t see much else other than prairie dogs and a few wild horses.  Sorry, Gang, no pictures on this leg of the trip as over the years I’ve taken so many pictures of the wildlife in the Badlands I certainly don’t need any more. 

You see, I have a looooong history with Medora and the Badlands.  Ole and I make it a mandatory stop every year on our way home from Sturgis and wherever else we decide to go after Sturgis.  It’s always nice to kind of wind down with some easy rides in a place you know well and are comfortable in.  We don’t do the musical anymore and we don’t do the shopping thing – just the scenery thing – and never get tired of it. 

I remember very vividly the first time I ever saw the Badlands.  I was a little girl of about 4 or 5.  As I’ve written in previous blogs I grew up as “trailer trash” http://oleandlena.areavoices.com/2011/03/27/life-as-a-gypsy/  (please no one take offense if you live in a mobile home, it’s just an expression) and lived the life of a “gypsy.”  (Here again, please don’t attack me for being a racist.  Those of you who’ve read me for a while know about my run-in with a college student a while back because I used the term gypsy.)  http://oleandlena.areavoices.com/2011/03/29/life-as-a-gypsy-part-2/ (Make sure yo read the “comments” on this post).   My father was a road construction worker and we moved about following the work.  We were in the process of moving from one location to another and the Badlands just happened to be on the way.  My father, who loved to travel and explore new areas, decided to drive through the Badlands instead of around them.  He had a 1953 Hudson Hornet at that time, a large heavy car, and was pulling our house with it, an 8 x 32 foot trailer house.  The road through the Badlands at that time was very narrow and covered with scoria, a red rock that’s found in the area.  My mother was terrified as he pulled this trailer house around all the curves, up and down the hills, and hung onto the passenger door handle with her right hand and the edge of the front seat with her left.  She would gasp for breath each time we made a turn around a sharp curve.  Me?  I just placed myself on the floor of the backseat and hid my head under a blanket so I wouldn’t have to look, although curiosity got the best of me periodically and I peaked.  Times are different now – the road is wider and asphalted, although the curves haven’t been straightened out.  But that just makes it all the more fun on a Harley. 

Following our ride we decided to stop at the Little Missouri Saloon for a toddy and possibly some summer.  Two drinks came to $15.50 – WOW!  I guess we won’t do that again.  I think they’re charging New York prices or something.  Dinner was delicious – $45 for 2 burgers, one with onion rings and one with hash browns.  We decided that the next day we would eat what we had in our fridge in the RV. 

We spent Monday dawdling around town taking in a few of the tourist traps – I’m not much of a shopper but went looking for some polished agates.  Medora used to be full of stores that had polished rocks for sale, but none to be found this time around.  The shops seem to be catering to a classier type of clientele than me and carry lost of high end clothing and household goods.  The town is full of specialty stores and sadly, I only found one good old “junk” shop that had the old cheapo tourist falderol.  But of course, no polished agates.  Oh, well.

We’ve really suffered this leg of the trip – no satellite TV!!  Our camp site had several large cottonwood branches hanging in just the right location so we couldn’t get a signal.  We had to tough it out and listen to the satellite radio – one of my favorite stations carries all the old radio shows back from the 40s and 50s – My Friend Irma, Fibber Magee and Mollie, Life of Riley – I’m sure a lot of you folks don’t remember them.  But I grew up with them (so did YOU Burl, so no remarks about age, okay?) and still really enjoy them. 

We’re on the road home this morning.  Ole promised Daisy that she would be able to sleep in her own bed tonight – she showed all those big fangs and smiled!!

That’s all until next time.

Love, Lena