Tuesday, August 24, 2010

South Dakota - Commodes and Horses

When we got back from the Badlands National Park yesterday evening, we discovered the commode was broken. It was late and we were tired and so we decided to deal with it in the morning... this morning.

What a fabulous way to start the day!!!

I read the commode user guide (yes, there is such a thing) and, after doing a little online research, I figured out that we needed a certain repair kit to replace cables and some other parts. I also discovered there is an RV parts supply place just a couple miles south of the campground.  So I called them to see if they had the repair kit in stock and they did - we were in luck!  Well, that is if you consider it a lucky thing to have to pull a commode apart. I won't go into detail here, but it was most unpleasant. Ugh. Anyway, I had the commode fixed and re-installed by 11 AM.  Not bad, eh?  And, after a very hot shower with lots of soap, I was refreshed and ready to go horseback riding.

We had 2 PM reservations with Paradise Valley Trail Rides in Nemo, South Dakota and so we left the campground around 1 PM to have plenty of time to get there. Uh, sure... unless your GPS is trying to navigate you over streams and up undeveloped mountain sides! Well after a while, it was evident that we were not heading the right way. So I called the stables and a very patient man gave me proper directions. Once we got going on the correct roads, it was a beautiful drive through the Black Hills National Forest - and we were only about 15 minutes late. They did not seem to mind.

Lynda and I were interested to learn that a good many of the horses in the Paradise Valley stables are mustangs that were saddle-broken by prisoners. These horses are branded with numbers that, if you know how to interpret them, will tell you where and when the mustang was captured and what prison system gentled him.  The horse that I rode was named Felon and we thought that was very appropriate, considering his origins.

Anyway, our wrangler took us on a one-hour ride through the Black Hills over some of the same territory traveled by Custer and his troops.  He was knowledgeable about the area and shared his personal opinion as to how poorly Native Americans had been treated  - he definitely has a great deal of sympathy for the Native Americans, and so do we.

Although we usually enjoy longer rides, we had signed up for just one hour  and it was a good thing! I've been having trouble with sciatica for a some time now and, although it has never bothered me before when I've been riding, it sure did today. Who knows, perhaps the girth of the horse or the shape of the saddle set it off.  Not wanting to cut the ride short or cast a shadow on our little adventure, I didn't say anything but I was very glad to get back to the stables!

And so here we are hanging out in the Trek, watching movies and eating popcorn. Lynda has done some laundry, we've had some good food for dinner, and the commode works.  I just don't know what else a person could want!

Tomorrow, we're going to visit the National Presidential Wax Museum, perhaps take a run down the Alpine Slide in Keystone, check out the Cosmos Mystery Area, and visit Bear Country USA. It's going to be a busy day - stay tuned!

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