Tag Archives: Badlands National Park

Puppy Tales, Part 28


Never mind the human being in this picture.

This blog post is about the pooch. That would be Toby the Puppy, our 2 1/2-year-old road warrior.

My wife and I spent nearly two weeks on the road. We traveled in our Dodge Ram pickup, which was hauling our 28-foot fifth wheel RV.

Our trip began in Amarillo; we went to Allen to see our granddaughter Emma, her parents and her brothers; then we spent a night in Enid, Okla.; we spent another night in North Platte, Neb.; we spent four nights near Rapid City, S.D., where we did our share of sightseeing; a night in Lusk, Wyo.; and three nights in Colorado Springs, Colo., where we visited friends and saw some more sights.

Toby rode along. He was nothing short of spectacular. He hiked with us on trails in the Badlands, the Garden of the Gods and on a mountain path to Inspiration Point in the Rocky Mountains.

He sleeps most of the time when┬áhe travels with us.┬áToby is not one of those puppies that likes to stick his nose out the window. He much prefers to cuddle with his mother when I’m at the wheel. When she’s driving, he’ll ride on the console between us and he might decide to spend some time on my lap.

Toby doesn’t require a lot of, uh, “bathroom breaks.” He powers through it all. He waits until we stop for our own breaks. Then he┬átakes care of┬áhis own business.

A member of my family has a dog that apparently gets car sick. The pooch’s queasiness in a moving motor vehicle makes it difficult for my family member to drive long distances with his dog. I truly feel sad for that situation.

This is my way of giving thanks that we were able to accept our new family member who makes traveling so easy.

Bless the National Parks System


This is the latest in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on upcoming retirement.

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. — Many of us gripe about some aspect — or perhaps all aspects — of the federal government.

I intend here to sing the praises of the National Parks System.

We arrived at Badlands National Park packing what’s called a “Senior Pass.” What does it do? It gets us into any federal park site for free. We’ve had these passes for some time now, but it’s a serious blast being able to wave one of them at a park ranger, enabling us to enter one of these parks without paying a fee.

We came to Badlands to see a site we’d seen more than 40 years earlier. We blasted through the region in the summer of 1973 with my wife’s mother and stepfather, and our then six-month-old son.

It was hotter ‘n hell the day we came here then. It was in mid-July, after all.

We walked into the visitors center at the eastern end of the park. I told the ranger behind the counter that the park was “more beautiful than I remembered. That was more than 40 years ago.”

“Well, the park has eroded┬áone inch per year since your last visit,” he said. I did the math quickly in my head and responded, “So, we saw 43 inches less of it today than we did back then. Is that about right?”

Yep, he said. “How long will it be before the park disappears?” I asked. He answered, “It will take about 50 million years for that to happen,” he said. “Fine, then I’ll see you on the other side when that happens and we’ll talk about how┬ábeautiful the Badlands used to look,” I said.

Full-time retirement’s arrival will allow us to partake even more of these sights on our journey through North America. If only the Canadians would allow us into their national parks for free.