Memorial Day Monday, May 26, 2003. Lets remember those that have fought to keep us free!
Leaving Sturgis, the Interstate passes by the National Black Hills Memorial. The cemetery is well manicured and flowers have been placed at the headstones.
The traffic is surprisingly light heading out of Rapid City for Mt. Rushmore. Leaving Keystone heading up the steep grade, Mt. Rushmore comes onto view and there is a small pull off to take a quick picture.
Entering the park, I pull far to the left next to the barrier out of traffic, to get a quick picture. Before I can, a Ranger pulls up and asks me to leave. Handing him "The Card" and explain quickly what I was doing, "Sir, I asked you to move!" "Can I kneel down and take a quick picture?" "NO! I told you to move!" I won't bore you with details, but he proceeded to tailgate me until I left the park. I ONLY WISH I HAD GOTTEN HIS NAME and write his supervisor about his rudeness.
Proceeding out of the park, I stop and am able to get a quick picture of Crazy Horse.
Heading south towards Nebraska, I am pleasantly surprised how light the traffic is.
Entering Nebraska (State #20) there is a strong wind blowing and clouds are starting to build. Heading south on 17 towards Scottsbluff, the road is wide and straight with gentle rises and turns. The speed limit is 60 mph. There is nobody on the road. In the next 30 minutes I see maybe 12 cars. #13 is Sergeant Folkers, Nebraska State Trooper.
Presenting "The Card" he takes a minute to read it. Smiling, he looks up and said "the last time I stopped someone famous, it was the former Nebraska football coach, and I almost got tarred and feathered over that one." There might be a chance.
After exchanging paperwork and signing the ticket, I'm on my way. First Ticket!
This is not my day.
The bluffs rise 800 feet off the valley floor. Mitchell Pass, in Scottsbluff. This pass was used as the only east/west passage for the Oregon Trail.
Heading west to Cheyenne, Wyoming, there is a dark, severe looking cloud ahead. It looks nasty and I think it could lead to a tornado and hail. As the miles go by, the cloud passes to the South. There are cars stopped, looking at the cloud. Large raindrops begin to hit the windshield. I am praying there won't be any hail. There is no place to hide.
A few miles further and there is evidence of pea size hail laying on the still white ground.
All of a sudden, I get that lucky feeling.
Cheyenne, the streets are empty and I get a picture of the capitol and the Union pacific control tower over the switching yard.
Getting back on the interstate, there is an emergency broadcast for Tornado and severe hail, up to 1" in size. Now I am really feeling lucky. Fortunately that cloud is off to the East. There are other storm clouds ahead, but none like this one.
Heading south towards Denver I enter Colorado (State #21) Traffic is heavy, but moving nicely.
The Downtown/Coors field exit is ahead. Traffic is heavy enough, I don't want to chance taking a picture of Coors Field. Up Broadway and to the Capitol.
I find it interesting, that on both the Wyoming and Colorado capitol, the flags are not at half mast.
Leaving Denver and heading for Colorado Springs, there is an accident ahead. 45 minutes and three miles later, I'm past. Pulling into Colorado Springs, its dark.
This has been quite a Memorial Day to remember. Rude Ranger, First Ticket, and fortunate enough not to get hailed on!