We finished our drive through eastern Montana and arrived in Rapid City, South Dakota sometime late in the eve. We reserved Patchy’s first tour motel ever. For $38. The arrangements were about what one would expect. We were safe and clean, however, and headed out the next morning for some nature.
In the morning we hustled the hour drive to Badlands National Park. After paying at the welcoming kiosk we noticed a number of prairie dogs either locked in cages or running loose in a fenced area adjacent to the ranger station. We thought this was strange. We saw a large bull snake at our first stop off. A hike along Castle and Medicine Root Trails revived us from the debauchery that was the Rolling Hills Inn of Rapid City and sent us nicely on our way to Sioux Falls. All three spent an undeniably charming evening with Travis, our couch surfing host, at his downtown apartment. Midnight snacks included apple slices, peanut butter, and shots of bourbon.
This morning was all about getting snacks before our drive to our first show in Deborah, Iowa. We arrived and reunited with Dani and Ian at the Hotel Winneshiek and met our evening’s hostess, Liz Rog, the town’s fairy-like queen. We performed uniquely and well to an appreciative crowd in the beautiful old hotel’s lobby. Midnight snacks included yeasted and buttered popcorn, steamed garden green beans, and a cabbage stir fry. Ian and Sara and Dani stayed in Liz and her husband Daniel’s rustic cabin built by their ancestors six generations past while Jacqui and Dan slept in the cozy main house. Ian and Sara stayed up late into the night philosophizing.
All awoke to Liz, Daniel, and our friend Steve-Scott Marty singing a song about cuckoos in the morning. Dani, Sara, and Ian (hereafter “The Pynins”) went for a burly morning run in the cornfields to return to a breakfast of garden squash, roots, and pancakes with homemade maple syrup. Much butter was consumed. The day was spent visiting neighbors in the forest. Ian and Sara got to try an antique accordion in the garden. Lunch was served and all departed with heaps of Love from Liz and Scott-Steve Marty.