Quest for Capa City May 18 2016
We awoke below Bear Butte to the melody of the Meadowlark, which should of course be the national bird if not the State Bird. There is no sound that is quite as soothing or comforting. It was Sitting Bulls totem. This will be our last day, as Mrs O must be back by the afternoon to teach her Yoga Class. Her disciples cannot make it without her. Hell, I can’t make it without her. She is my enabler.
Our first stop en route home was right next to Bear Butte, a certified organic farm. We took the tour with 15 pre schoolers. It is probably one of only two west river in South Dakota. Then it was on the real treat, the Museum at Ft Meade. Such a lovely setting and the buildings and old stables made of stone! Another National Treasure with rich history. I did not know it was the birthplace of the National Anthem. This was the post for what was left of the 7th Calvary after their massacre on the Little Big Horn River. I have often wondered what it was like for the average soldier in that engagement. Most of them were just Irish immigrants with english as their second language. They had little training both in horses and weapons. Led by egotistical Officers and ordered by mislead legislators. The ordeal must have been terrifying! Watching their comrades slowly be slain and then hacked to pieces by the heathen. The lot of the soldier never changes. So ends another saga of the lonely libertarian among the sea of socialists.
Quest for Capa City May 17 2016
Still reeling from Capa we awoke in our new Capitol city Pierre, pronounced Peer. Population wise it is quite small for a capital some 18,000 people. We camped by the river and discovered there are many bike trails almost 50 miles around town. The city provides free hook ups and sewer/water for campers and RV’s. There are statues of all the former Governors around town and far more than usual monuments and such to Veterans of the various wars. The Capital building is very nice granite and marble with copper dome. We went in and there was hardly anyone in the whole building. Of particular note, next to the building is a lake filled by a flowing artesian well. The volume is very high and it comes out at 92 degrees, 5 degrees warmer than the springs at Hot Springs. The Lake never freezes and up till the last year or so there was quite a flow of natural Gas such that they ignited it and it burned. They called it the flaming well and around it are memorials to all the soldiers and sailors. Very cool. Just think, if they fracked that well they could once again re ignite this wondrous feature. Due to having to work all morning after coffee on the electric trailer brakes we were low on time, and decided to save other parts of the Captiol for another trip. We refilled with propane in the truck for $1.05 a gallon plus tax. So happy to be saving the environment and saving money too.
On a hunch (I get those) I wanted to head north to Gettysburg and then West across the Cheyenne River Reservation. The land on the East side of the river is distinctly flatter and heavily farmed. Mile after mile of plowed fields. Gettysburg was a highlight. There we found the Medicine Stone. This stone has long been revered by the Indians. This is what is called Mudstone, and at one point was actually mud. In the stone are the footprints and hand print of a human. The primitives looked in Wonder and attributed it to super beings or Super power. We look at in wonder as a real record that man has been in this area for a very long time. I have seen this same thing at a sight in Colorado where the prints are side by side with that of a dinosaur. The stone originally was along the Missouri River, and when they damned the river it would have been inundated, so they picked it up (quite big) and moved it to Gettysburg where they built a museum around it.
We crossed the river and headed West. On this side of the river it is all range land, miles and miles of hills and grass. This Reservation is obviously not Ogallala!! The ranches and towns were prosperous and clean looking, no wild packs of dogs. The end of the day after sailing our craft across the sea of grass we ended up on the Belle Fouche river outside of Vale. We camped on a dead end road where the bridge over the river is closed. The sign on this rusting bridge says 1900 making it 116 years old. The massive timbers seemed very sound to me, and I personally would not have trouble driving our ship across, but it was heavily blocked. The Belle Fourche is a happy little river with monstrous cottonwood trees that probably saw amazing things in their lives. In the distance to the south is Bear Butte. It is a remarkable feature of the land and the site of great gatherings. The Dakota nations would gather here to slash themselves, dance, blood let, promote pain and sacrifice to their Sun God. Currently, every year there is a great gathering of Bikers to Music, drinking, dancing, drugs, and sex, a great debauch. Truth be known, Humans just need an excuse to gather and socialize. A long day in the saddle but very scenic.
Quest for Capa City May 16 2016
Nothing could prepare me for Capa City. And now that I have been there things will never be the same. I must first recap some events and thoughts from the previous day. When we first started out on the quest while driving down the Res road we came upon a very rare opportunity. A mother Badger and her cubs crossing the road. We of course stopped and took pictures of these rarely seen and fierce creatures. They’re eyesight is poor which allowed me to get close but they’re other senses told them of my presence and there was much hissing. When the mother began to come towards me it was time to leave!!. In the town of Midland we experienced the typical curiosity and cordial and affable manner characteristic of South Dakotans but visitin took on a new level such that when we engaged in conversation it often would be extended periods time and the telling of entire life stories. This of course is not a problem being on vacation but it seems to indicate a tremendous need to socialize even it is with complete strangers. Another peculiar thing is the very large number of men over the age of 90 that appeared in great health, lived alone and drive all over town!! In fact, the local massage therapist is a 90 year old man!! Could it be the healing waters? I thought about calling my mother in law in her 80’s and telling her that Midland was ripe with available suitors. She however is strung too tight for South Dakota. It must be a Lerman thing, like her daughter my beloved who is greatly concerned about coffee stains on my socks?? Who looks at socks anyways?? You gotta love em tho.
We called ahead to Philip (now in his 80’s) the only occupant of Capa and the apparent owner of the town and got permission to come visit. We also tried to get into the local museum but it was still winterized. It means we will have to return!. It is a 10 mile drive along the Bad River on a dirt road and I decided to run the last 4-5 on the warm sunny day while Mrs O went ahead. Amazingly the place we stopped we met Rick again and while visiting Philip drove up on his way into town. It all worked out so well with Mrs O getting there and doing her sadhana while I ran and Philip did his business in Midland and returned.
Cape city is in Jones County. It is the least populated place in all of South Dakota with less than 1 person per square mile!! It is Heaven on earth and the Bad River Valley is by far one of the most beautiful places i have ever witnessed. Capa City has little left in the way of buildings, and they are all dilapidated, The church, pool hall, school, teachers quarters, and of course the hotel among a few. Philip in his 80’s is friendly and full of stories in detail with names and dates many which pre date his birth in the 1930’s. He is content to walk the road to the junction and drive his old chevy which is on its 4th engine to town for necessities. It is quiet and sublime and the free flowing artesian well puts out water around 119 degrees. He leases it from the Railroad for $75 a year and uses it to bath, laundry, as well as drink. We will return to explore more but our time was short and did not even get to visit the two cemetery’s (catholic and protestant, they would not be buried together). The Bad River road for the most part follows the river and the railroad tracks through this very sparsely inhabited valley except where ranchers have blocked the road. One being Ted Turner, who owns massive amounts of land and fields his large herds of Buffalo. The particular place where the road is diverted up on the divide was heavenly with rolling grassland for miles as far as you could see. It was mostly a one lane dirt road but the Ranger pulled the Casita with no problem as we gazed in wonder. This is truly the undiscovered country. Already my mind is thinking how I can buy some riverfront property in Capa.
We wandered into the junction with the Mighty MO river and Ft Pierre the place the Mountain men decided to land (Lewis and Clark as well). Amazingly it is also where the earliest europeans (French trappers) also landed and decided to claim this country for France (despite people already living here). They left a lead plaque in latin in the 1700,s stating such which was discovered by school children in the recent past. It was the basis for the French claim to a huge chunk of north America which the U.S. paid Napoleon for in the louisiana purchase. This same place is now the Capital of South Dakota Pierre, pronounced peer. Mrs O and I decided to get some mexican food and take in a movie, Captain America Civil War. It was long but entertaining and the basic theme of freedom of choice and the fact that government does not always serve the people was right down my alley. Loved it. In the dark we found a place to camp by the River and fell into blissful sleep dreaming of Capa City. Tomorrow we will check out the Capital and head north to Gettysburg and then West thru the Standing Rock Reservation to Ft Meade if we get that far.
We are camped on the outskirts of Midland, South Dakota, a few miles from the imaginary line that man has made to determine time. tomorrow we will cross it and loose and hour of our life just like that. Rick Rhimer gave us permission to camp on his property next to the Bad river. So named by the Lakota whose ancestors camped on its banks and where swept away in a flash flood. This is gorgeous country, rolling and sometimes rugged hills verdant with the kiss of spring rains. There are trees along the river but the divides are sky country, wide, open and endless prairie. Rick told us many stories of his family history. They came like so many immigrants from Europe. In his case Russia, where his great grandfather had been a cossack and forcibly drafted into the Russian calvary. He was known to have the ability to vault 4 horses after jumping and placing his hand on the rump of the first horse. Rick himself had grown up on horseback, breaking and working as a cowboy. Like most pioneer families his was a big one, he being one of 16 brothers and sisters. Back then you could breed workers cheaper than hiring them.
We met Sally Nurney here in this small hamlet. She is an old friend of Rajni’s on her way back to Boulder from the North East. We selected this town because it has hot thermal water, the result of a well drilled some 1800 feet deep. Indeed the water comes to the surface at 119 degrees and is cooled before you soak in it at around 106. The healing benefits touted by the proprietor are truly amazing. Vicki, the now owner operator hails from South Carolina. She stopped some 5 years ago in route to visit her children and agreed to help operate the establishment temporarily and never left this mecca of healing. It was a very delightful afternoon with yoga in the town park and then the relaxing soak. Previous to getting to this point Rajni and I had started the journey going east and north thru the Pine Ridge Reservation and some 40 miles of gravel road. Mrs O now sings the praises of the petroleum industry and nice smooth asphalt roads!! NOT!!!! Next was Scenic, a town apparently purchased by some religious group. The only thing open was the relic dilapidated city jail. This town and this area is checker boarded with the poorest excuse for a National Park next to Death Valley. The “Badlands” is the most ridiculous mis use of the National Park system and is beyond me. like Death Valley it should have remained simply public land with the possibility of multi use now and in the future. Obviously there was legislation and gerrymandering to get federal tax dollars and paving roads that would never be paved by any sensible local population, including the indians. I refused to pay and was allowed to pass thru to far better scenery and useful lands. On the border was a closed historical site of a homesteader soddy, (house made from pieces cut from the sod of the prairie). Rajni and I talked about the hardships and suffering endured by our ancestors in the development of this vast country. The stories are amazing, and it is must have been a worse existence combined with the promise of liberty and land ownership to drive people to go through what they did. In the end the few that survived did not really reap any benefit, but their children and heirs certainly did. Tomorrow we plan on finding Capa City. The answers are there to be sure.
May 15 2016 Quest for Capa City
The ides of May and the O’s are finally back on the road in a quest to find the legendary Capa City of South Dakota. We have made repairs to our vessel the Cassita and the journey continues as the two lovers seek adventure and enlightenment in life’s journey. The weather is chilly and rain is in the air. We will probably be without internet access most of the time so the blogs will come in chunks. This is a short excursion of 4 days with our new family member Kiowa the hound dog. Who knows what awaits us on the plains east of the Paha Sapa our new home. I have converted Verde our Ford Ranger to run on Propane to extend the life of the engine and be more envionmentally sensitive. Its cheaper too!!! Stay tuned fellow adventurers.
Casita Chronicles BH summer of love
We met with Lance and went over the property. We have decided to put an offer on the property and will do so on Monday and then head back to Boulder. We took a drive out to Buffalo Gap a small town 12 miles away. There is so much to explore here despite having been here so many times in the past. The afternoon we did maintenance on the casita and moved the camp to the hot springs where we did yoga and soaked and
Offer submitted and accepted!! Exciting and scary at the same time. We made the drive back to the Republic of Boulder County to our little stone cottage. Going to miss this place NOT
Casita Chronicles BH summer of love
Today we walked the property we are interested in. It was the same we thought it was the previous day. We are happy with it yet we want to look at other property as well. We lazed around the park swimming napping and then Kara showed up. Kara we had met several years ago thru Scot Von. She grew up in South Dakota but spent a great deal of time in Denver. She is an expert in land purchasing, remodeling, and investing. She has made the move to Hot Springs remodeling an old hotel and recently purchased a local mesa she is making into a holistic retreat and one of the hot springs in town she intends to eventually transform. She also was recently elected onto the city council! Her energy is dizzying. She took us on a tour and gave us solid advice. She is letting us stay and plug into electricity on the bluebird mesa. We also visited Lune whose family operates the only chinese restaurant in town. He is the boyfriend of Brin Scot Valentines daughter. He and his brother also gave us much information. We feel very welcome here.
June 9 -11
Coffee on the mesa with a beautiful sunrise and rainbow and by end of coffee a thunderstorm and rain. It rained all day but we enjoyed looking at property in town. The afternoon I ran and Rajni rode her bike up to cold brook reservoir. A delightful area right next to town with camping, swimming and ?? We went out that evening to Pringle to the open mic where Clay played and sang. Just driving thru wind cave national park was a treat both ways with buffalo and deer in abundance. Thursday was rainy but we went to Edgemont to look at the town, enquire about wells that we were told were hot and check out some stone from a torn down building. We met the mayor and ate brunch. In the the afternoon we checked out some more properties and ran into Lance while searching for the old quarry. He suggested we look at his property for sale in town so we did. Rajni loved it and we called the realtor to show us the interior. More on that later. It looks very promising. Rajni is having reservations about making a move to South Dakota but we are pressing on.
The sun came out and a wonderful run up hot brook canyon. We worked on getting information regarding property and Kara’s projects to pay our keep. I soaked in the warm springs on Kara’s property – very nice – hope to get Rajni over there. We went out with kara and Clay for steak dinner on our bikes. A wonderful day in Hot Springs South Dakota
Clay took us out to canoe the Cheyenne river. It is in flood stage but very doable. In fact little paddling was needed to coast down thru the beautiful pristine country. It passes thru the wild horse sanctuary and abundant wildlife including bald eagles, golden eagles numerous snakes and a beaver to name a few. We dumped the canoe twice. The second time Mrs O swimming to the opposite shore requiring her to swim across the river with her paddle. This event took place at the one waterfall where another group was attempting to surf the Large wave created by the fall. Of note was the side trip up cascade creek that is spring fed. Its water is crystal clear and we could see the fish easily. Where it intersects with the muddy Cheyenne was a distinct line demarcation between the two. We got a roasted chicken and had dinner at Kara’s warm spring soaking and discussing the future. We plan on leaving on the morrow but will have a last look at the properties we are interested in. Two movies have been filmed in this area, Crazy Horse and Hidalgo. Life is interesting here in the city of stone. ps found a great rock outcrop that could produce some nice building stone!!