Locked in Keystone

Carrie Ingalls Swanzey, Keystone, South Dakota

OK, it’s me again! I’m back! Didja miss me? Awww! I missed you, too! I am so glad to communicate with you all again that instead of ignoring you, as I usually do, I will now answer your FAC’s (Frequently Accessed Comments), in the order that they were received.
#1 to Alisa: I will get a dog, and soon. I like dogs. They come when you call, and if they don’t, you just don’t feed them until they do. I think this time I’ll start with a puppy, now that I’ve figured out how to train them. By the way, I’m FINE, just fine, even though Belle tried TWICE to sever my femoral artery. Thanks for your concern, everyone.
#2 to Shan: The cooler was filled with vegetables, because they are illegal in South Dakota, except for corn smuggled in from Iowa or potatoes from Idaho (no, you da ho!), or anything else, like mushrooms or onions, that may be used to smother a steak. We ate a lot of vegetable sandwiches, and McAdams hooked us up right; we had lettuce and other leafy things from her garden, and cucumbers, sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes, cheeses, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, and a bad-ass garlic-guacamole hummus, that she made while she was a tad tipsy. We had fresh cherries, blueberries, peaches and melons – McAdams has some real nice melons, I tell you what – and wine and crackers and another couple of bottles of wine. We picnicked all across the state and went to bed happy and full every night.
Speaking of picnics, one of the best ones was our first stop on the road, in Montrose. SD. We were just cruisin’ down I-90, lookin’ at the corn – there’s an awful lot of corn between Nebraska and Iowa – when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this enormous, 60 foot bull’s head, surrounded by these weird skeletal guardians, rears up out of the gently rolling landscape. Some might just scratch their heads and say. “Hmm, that’s odd,” but not us! We are much more intrepid than that! We investigate, driven on by the kind of wonder and curiosity that makes America great! We climb that mountain just because it’s there! We shoot men in Reno, just to watch them die! We cross the road to get to the other side! Also, I had to pee; I have a bladder the size of a walnut. This turned out to be Porter Sculpture Park, a place so wicked cool, I’ll make it it’s own post, but suffice it to say, it was a fantastic, bizarre first stop, and we stayed for lunch with Wayne Porter, sculptor and vegetarian, who pronounced our sandwiches the best ever, on account of that “weird green stuff.” More on this later. I mean on the sculpture garden, not the hummus. I don’t think I’ll be mentioning it again.
Our first destination in South Dakota was Keystone, population 311. It was once a boomtown of over 1,000, because it was a gold mining center, and there are still remnants of mines and shafts and all kinds of 1800’s stuff. Its claim to fame is that Carrie Ingalls, perhaps the least interesting Little House family member, and certainly not the wilder one (get it?) lived there as an adult. Nowadays, Keystone is a tourist resort, because it is just down the road a piece from Mount Rushmore. McAdams, who wanted to go on vacation on the cheap, booked us a ‘chalet’ that sleeps eight. She’s tough to figure, that one. When I think of a chalet, this is what pops in my head:

I was very excited. Unfortunately, our Swiss chalet turned out to be more of a piss shacklet. Sandwiched between a Chinese food restaurant that appeared to be a front for nefarious drug deals and a biker-friendly Holiday Inn, the shacklet had been the home of an elderly lady and her obviously incontinent little dog. It looked more like this:OK, not really, but still it was not what we expected. Or paid for. And it stank, like small, old dog pee, the worse kind if you ask me. Small, old dog, ASPARAGUS pee*! And it was kind of scary, and the tv only got four, fuzzy channels, two of which were always showing All About Steve**, and the hot tub*** on the deck that we were promised was directly beneath the big picture window of the Chinese drug restaurant, and the only bathroom was in the kitchen****, and we were scared to sleep in the bed so we had to sleep on the couches in the living room. I suggested we go into town, or perhaps another town all together and check out our options, but McAdams is not one to admit defeat or change a plan once she’s committed to it, so she spent the rest of the trip telling me how great it was and how much she grew to love it. Silly McAdams. Keep believing the things that you say are true…

* Did you know that everybody’s pee has that particular asparagus odor, but, according to Web MD, a magazine I perused in a doctor’s waiting room, only 22% of people have the ability to smell it. Not only is this the kind of fact I see fit to remember, but this stat puts me in the top quartile of competent urine sniffers! Moreover, I have to admit, I kind of like the smell, and that puts me right up there with great thinker and recounter of minutiae Marcel Proust, who said the stalky veg “…transforms my chamber pot into a flask of perfume.” Food for thought y’all!
**All About Steve sucks, but you probably knew that already. One of the other shacklet channels showed marathons of House. How come nobody told me I’d like House?! That guy is one cranky, drug-addled, self-absorbed, self righteous, emotionally crippled, son of a bitch! I can’t believe I haven’t dated him yet!
*** Of course, in her quest to prove how great the shacklet was, McAdams insisted on trying out the hot tub. It took two days to fill up – I won’t even mention the energy and water that wastes – and, of course, after ten minutes of making friends with the folks revving up their engines in the parking lot pf the crack den Chinese place, she was ready to get out. “Refreshing,” she said, and then spent a half hour in the shower scrubbing vigorously and sobbing quietly, convinced that she’d contracted a deadly staph infection.
**** The bathroom/kitchen combo was my favorite part of the shacklet. I’d go in there with a book and a few minutes later, McAdams would rap softly on the door. “I’m just in here making a snack,” she’d croon. “Can I get you a sandwich?”
Good times.