Saturday, June 10, 2017

What Is This Place?

What is this "blog" thing and what am I supposed to be doing here? 

Hi.  I'm apparently back.  It was a very nice break.  As expected, on the couple of occasions I had fast internet I wasn't prepared with a bag of tricks to try and post things, and the rest of the time I had slow enough connections to prevent that or was busy with the trip. 

So what was the trip? 
South Dakota is somewhat exotic country for an old Florida boy (while not born here, I've lived here since I was 3).  Even the flat country is hillier than here, and the black hills were beautiful. 

The trip was largely planned by dear daughter-in-law (DDL).  Son, DDL  and precious granddaughter (PGD) live in Indianapolis.  We had talked about going there over a year ago, but some things came up and the trip was put off.  Late last year, DDL asked if we were interested in joining them on a trip out there.  We've never joined them on a trip anywhere.  After weighing and pricing lots of options, we eventually decided to fly up and meet them along their way.  We flew into Sioux Falls, SD, on Friday.  One of the things that became apparent once we started planning was that flights from our little town to that little town tended to leave here in the afternoon and arrive in the evening, ours was at 9:30 PM, while flights back tended to leave early in the morning (like 6:15 AM) and arrive here midday.  That would make it inconvenient for them to pick us up and then head directly out of town.   Eventually a plan was hatched and schedule made.  Son and DDL looked at lots of options for things to do, and see, along with places to stay, eventually finding a place outside Rapid City through Airbnb.  None of us have used them before, but we were all up for trying something new. 
View from the back porch.  In the evening, we'd have deer in the backyard, along with visits from wild turkeys and rabbits. 

Son is a freelance writer while DDL is a research biochemist in the pharmaceutical industry, so she's conditioned to wake up early for work while the rest of us aren't.  As a result, we tended to get going around 8 and out of the cabin by 9 or so.   Our first day there was a trip to the Sanford Lab at the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, northwest of where we were staying.  (The people in town are quick to point out the city name is pronounced with a long "E", not like the dense, metal we make boolits out of).  The mine was founded during the Black Hills gold rush in 1876, but was bought a hundred years later by Barrick, one of the biggest gold mining companies in the world.  The mine is now one of the premier particle physics research facilities in the world.  It was here that one of the first searches for solar neutrinos was carried out, in a tank deep underground filled with dry cleaning fluid.  The experiments revealed that only about a third of the expected number of neutrinos was found, the solar neutrino problem.  Today, they're involved with the study of neutrinos in attempts to better understand the dark matter / dark energy problems with the standard model of cosmology

The only bad part of the tour was that we weren't allowed down into the lab.  Part of it is 1890s technology, and part of it is modern particle physics lab. 

The next day we visited Mt. Rushmore, that's my photo, not stock (obviously - they shoot on bright, blue-sky days).  The day might have been a bit cool (under 80) and gray, but it made for low contrast, well-lit photos.  We also visited the Wind Cave, and Badlands National Parks along with places that just don't exist around here.  For a couple of people interested in rockhounding, the trip was lots of fun.  PGD was generally delightful, but definitely outside her comfort zone at times.  Like most five year olds, (I think) she'd have no interest in something she'd never heard of, like going into a cave, and then love the tour by the time we got out. On the other hand, doing things she had done before, like "gem mining" in water, were on her must-do list from the start. 

The only world news we've caught in the last week was a little in the hotel last night and what other bloggers have posted about.  It will take me a little while to get back to the usual blather.  Once I remember what the usual blather is. 


  1. Looks like you had an interesting and restful vacation.

  2. If you drove from Sioux Falls then you went through Wall, S.D. on the way if you took I90. Everybody needs a Wall coffee cup. I'm a hoosier for now but grew up in Minnesota. You were traveling through some beautiful country. People too often forget the wonders of flyover country. indyjonesouthere

    1. We saw 200 miles worth of signs for the Wall Drug store but never went in. And, yes, on I-90, except for going to the Badlands NP on both the way in and out.

      It is really beautiful country there.

    2. If you ever do go into Wall Drug, pack a lunch and a spare pair of shoes. It is not a short walk from one end to the other...

  3. Don't bother trying to remember the usual blather; it isn't worth the waste of time.