My Two Bits

Stephanie & Lindsay’s Excellent Adventure (Part I)

Back when our friend Laura first got the role in Fiddler on the Roof I (Lindsay) joked with her about coming up to see her… well, it was partially a joke since I figured hubby would be home for both of the weekends. But then around the end of March/first of April 2008, I was talking to Stephanie on the phone and I mentioned the idea and that since hubby would be gone away by then AND that since it was my birthday weekend I was seriously thinking about doing it.

Stephanie replied ‘Dude! Rightious Idea! I want to go too!’

Lindsay: ‘Dude! Let’s go together! We could meet at the Rapid City Airport!”

Stephanie: “No Dude, You fly to Sioux Falls and I’ll pick you up and we’ll DRIVE to Deadwood!”

Lindsay: “That’s brilliant, rightious and awesome!”

What followed was each of us getting our ducks in a row; Lindsay getting plane ticket, Stephanie making sure her hubby was going to be in town; etc. Both of them emailing Dustin The Wind (Laura’s hubby) for hotel ideas, arranging for him to take her to lunch that Friday at Diamond Lil’s to find a table all ready occupied with 2 of her fellow DSW nerds. :p

For a month they each squirmed in eager anticipation of their brilliantly rightous surprise plan and finally the week arrived!

And guess what? Mother Nature decided to make it more interesting…..

Phone conversation:

Lindsay: “Dude! It’s supposed to start snowing up there Thursday night!”

Stephanie: “No probl-em-o! My car is all wheel drive and I’ll put the ‘snow box’ in the back! And we can check with Dustin from the Corn Palace and elsewhere along the way to see how bad it is there. If we get as far as Wall Drug that’s over half-way so if it’s okay that far we should be able to make it the rest of the way, if not, we can always get a hotel room and get up early the next morning for the last part of the drive and still make it in time for lunch!”

Lindsay: “Sounds Awesome! Then let’s play it by ear. Worse comes to worse we have to turn around and go to your house and we’ll just have a good visit and do some fun stuff there.”

Stephanie: “Yeah, or one night in a hotel on the road and then on to Deadwood!”

Mother Nature wasn’t the only adverse condition the two adventurer’s would face. Mechanical problems next ensued.

Phone Conversation Wednesday afternoon (4/30)

Stephanie: Hi, It’s me. I’m in a rental. I took my car in to be checked and the brakes, calipers and pads have to be replaced and it won’t be ready for a couple of days! Good news is I have the rental which I’ll leave with Marc and we can take his SUV, but it’s front wheel drive, but we should be okay.

Lindsay: Alrighty then! See you tomorrow afternoon!

And so the adventure began…………

Stephanie picked Lindsay up at the Sioux Falls Airport Thursday (5/1) and the two were quickly on their way westward on I-90.

Seventy-Two miles later they stopped at the Corn Palace to let Zoom II have some fun, take some pics, stretch their own legs and grab a Subway sandwich/wrap. Zoom tried to eat some of the corn off the palace but Stephanie prudently restrained him.

Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD

Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD

Corn Palace, Mitchel,l SD

Corn Palace, Mitchel,l SD

Corn Palace Mural, Mitchell, SD

Corn Palace Mural, Mitchell, SD

Stephanie & Zoom, Mitchell, SD

Stephanie & Zoom, Mitchell, SD

Phone Conversation:

Lindsay: Dustin? Lindsay. We’ just left the Corn Palace….How’s the weather there?

Dustin: It’s bad, but not stopping anyone. You should be fine.

Lindsay: Awesome! We’ll check back when we get near Wall, SD.

about a hundred miles later…….

Lindsay: You want me to drive? I don’t mind the rain….

Stephanie: That’s snow too.

Lindsay: No way!

Stephanie: Yes way. See? It’s just melting right before it hits the windshield. See how it’s different?

Lindsay: Should we turn around and go to Jasper?

Stephanie: I think we’ll be okay, but I better drive since it’s getting on the roads and you aren’t used to driving in snow/ice.

….. about 80 miles later our two adventurers arrive at Wall Drug, famous for it’s free Ice Water (not to mention it’s world-wide weird signs…..)

Wall Drug, Wall, SD

Wall Drug, Wall, SD

(this pic taken saturday may 3 on return trip cuz it was snowing so bad on thursday that zoom wouldn’t get out of the car to pose)

While inside the store picking up a couple of souvenirs Stephanie calls Laura…

Stephanie: Hey Laura! You guys okay? I’ve been watching the weather channel and you’re getting snow! Are they still having the play?

Laura: As far as I know! We’ve got rehersal still tonight, so we’ll see what happens.

Stephanie: You still have power?

Laura: We didn’t this morning, but we do now. Thanks for checking on me!

Stephanie: No problem. We’re having tornado warnings here in Jasper!

(Stephanie, of course, already knows there was a loss of power. Dustin told her. She just wanted to know if it had come back on. And her hubby, Marc, had already told her about the tornado warnings at home so she was reasonably well0-informed about the weather where she was *supposed* to be)

and at the same time Lindsay calls Dustin for a weather update…….

Lindsay: Dustin? Lindsay…. it’s snowing pretty bad here, what’s it like there?

Dustin: It’s still bad, but you should be fine.

After filling up the SUV the two resume the rapidly deteriorating journey with one thought in mind: Getting to Deadwood!

Nearly 100 miles later they are making excellent time considering the snow and ice and sail through Rapid City and on to the exit for Deadwood. This is when it really becomes fun… it’s a two-lane highway and all up hill………….. and curvey…

The Last 10 miles (Deadwood, SD)1

The Last 10 miles (Deadwood, SD)1

Up The Mountain Still

Up The Mountain Still

Still Going Up The Mountain....

Still Going Up The Mountain....

The View On the Passenger Side

The View On the Passenger Side

this last 10 miles took nearly an hour, our valiant driver (Stephanie) battling the icy road and the continual precipitation………

Finally a successful arrival IN Deadwood, about 7:30pm mountain time, and check in at the hotel. Next bit of a pitfall is that the room is across the road from the main hotel and the parking lot is full. No problem, the guy at the front desk says to park behind the hotel (up a steep hill) next to the public library (the lot entry takes you back down an incline….), which Stephanie does. Then with the help of the front desk guy they move their stuff from the main lobby to their room across the street. An ‘okay’ room, nothing to write home about.

By this point and nearly faint with hunger (despite ‘puppy chow’ and beef jerky nibbled on in the car…) the two bundle up in coats and snow boots (which Stephanie brilliantly brought along) and make their way on foot the block or so to the Martini Bar and Restaurant above the No. 10 Saloon.

Stephanie: I’ll have the Dirty Bitch.

Lindsay: A Warm Apple Crisp for me!

The martoonies half gone and their Buffalo Burgers in front of them , they chow down. Next is the walk back, but wait! The martoonies have our adventurers feeling quite fine, so, they stop at the corner and make a cell call (they have forgotten they are in mountain time zone by this point… and even if they had remembered they wouldn’t have cared….)

Teri (who is in Eastern Time Zone): Hellllo????

Lindsay: Teri! Hi! Google South Dakota Webcams *right now* and view the ‘Deadwood’ one! *wild giggling*

Teri: Ok

Lindsay: See us? We’re waving at you!

Teri: All I see is a car.

Lindsay: Go to the other Deadwood Cam! We’re waving!

Teri: I don’t see you!

Lindsay hands phone to Stephanie and takes off up the middle of Main Street in the swirling and building snow wildly waving her arms and doing a jig…

Lindsay: Can she see me now?????

Stephanie chats with Teri, disconnects the call, recaptures Lindsay to the sidewalk and they return to their room and beds.

About 5:30am local time Lindsay gets up to go to the bathroom and hears weird ‘beeping’. Silently and what she thought was with great stealth she parted the drapes to see……..

Lindsay: HOLY SHIT!

Stephanie: What time is it?! It’s so bright!

Lindsay: LOOK!

TO BE CONTINUED……………

First Sight....

First Sight....

Happy Birthday Lindsay!

Happy Birthday Lindsay!

Is that... a TRUCK?!

Is that... a TRUCK?!

United We Stand …. In the Baggage Check Line…..

One Friday last (2007) November I began my weekend western adventure. Unfortunately for a 6am flight the airport/airline ‘requires’ you to be at the airport two hours prior to flight time in order to ‘check’ your baggage you aren’t going to ‘carry-on’. While this is all well and good the least the airline could do is have employees there to actually check said baggage in.

Since it takes me approximately 1.5 hours to drive from my home to the New Orleans Airport this entailed a home departure of 2:30am for a 4am arrival; which thusly meant a 1:30am wake-up alarm. Ugh. Considering I didn’t actually crawl in bed until about 1am I didn’t get much snooze time before the bells started ringing.

Right on time, at *exactly* 4am I presented myself at the United Ticket counter with my bag I needed to ‘check’, my e-ticket in hand as well as boarding passes printed at home via ’speedy online check-in’. But what is this? No friendly United Customer Service Agents are manning the counter. A few more passengers trickle in and join me in line. A passing TSA agent is flagged down by one passenger and asked if he knows why no one is attending to business. His reply is “Oh, they start about 4:30.” Ugh.

Promptly at 4:15am two nice looking ladies in United attire manuver their way around the ‘cow lanes’ (you know those roped ‘enter here’ lines), totally ignoring the now 30 or so passengers/customers, step over the baggage scale and behind the counter to disappear though a convenient doorway to ‘the back’. All of us standing in line breath a sigh of relief with the expectation of being attended to soon so that we may suffer the humiliation of barefeet and exposed buttcracks to get through the security checkpoint on time for the flight. These things *do* take a while when a couple of hundred people have to practically strip down to run everything through x-ray machines and step through metal detectors without setting them off.

But, woe. The Agents don’t reappear at 4:30. No. It doesn’t happen. Over the next 45 minutes the line behind me grows substantially, seems United has 3 or 4 flights of airbuses scheduled to depart at 6am, so now the line consists of approximately 300 passengers. At 5am the two ladies reappear from the back, smiling and laughing with their steaming cups of coffee in hand. (They are very lucky I didn’t try to steal it from them, but I was by now deep in the throes of a nicotine fit and unable to perform such a complicated feat). Slowly they begin, one is quite efficient dispatching the First Class passengers, about 6, quickly while the other plods along and hasn’t even begun processing us lowly Coach passengers (the other 284 people standing there, me included). First Class Mama stands there purposely ignoring the fact that she *could* assist the Coach Clown. Ugh.

Needless to say I eventually got my bag checked and headed off to the Security Entry (after having to carry my checked bag to the x-ray machine and dumping it for anyone and his brother to be able to go thru – not the wine! please not the wine! – since you aren’t ‘allowed’ to lock your bag just in case they see something on the x-ray they would like to liberate). Security was another adventure, remove the shoes … no problem, except for the fact that knowing my belt would have to be removed to get through the metal detector I hadn’t bothered to put it on and when i bent/squatted down to get my shoes to put in the tray my jeans nearly fell off – since I put them on (now 3 hours prior) they had stretched a bit – providing my fellow passengers with some entertainment.

All cell phones, laptop, shoes, coat (don’t you love traveling by air in the winter and lugging a coat you can’t fit in your luggage?) purse, laptop bag, and 1 quart ziplock with makeup, eyedrops and perfume in it, in the trays – 3 of them (!) – I proceed to the metal detector with my passport/id and boarding pass between my teeth and my hands clutching the waistband to my jeans to hold them up. New Orleans is seriously understaffed and only had one detector to walk though, but two lines for scanning personal items, and a family of about 8 jumps in front of me. Oh that’s okay go ahead. but…. they didn’t have their id’s and boarding passes… they put them through the scanning machines… oops but each of them then proceeded through the detector only to set it off because of cell phones they were carrying that they didn’t put through the scanner. Doh…..

I finally got through the thing and able to gather my things up and arrive at my gate after the plane had already started boarding. Knowing the aisle would be blocked and no sense in heading down the jetway yet I began re-organizing my bags and donning my belt. When I finally walked up to the agent to scan my boarding pass I was given a dirty look and a mumbled comment about how I should have been there earlier, that that’s why the 2 hour check in prior to flight is required.

Just goes to show you can’t win for losing. I won’t even go into the fact that you can’t have your tweezers in your carry-on but if you are served a meal during your flight that the airline provides you with a serated blade plastic knife…