Day 36: Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

After bringing in some of my stuff last night out of my car, stuff I normally just leave in there until I really need it, I realized how much I love having one spot for a week. This morning I was able to go through many bags of extra stuff (lots of things that I just doubled up on so that I had it when needed eventually), along with finding things like my selfie stick, and so on, that I can use for lots of the National Parks coming up.  It just felt SO GOOD to go through my stuff, making sure what needed to be charged, and to lay it all out so I could see what I would need next. I didn’t realize how MUCH I needed to do this, and it helped to refresh my brain on so much that I had brought for this and that.

So after my Christmas morning of a treasure hunt through my own car, I headed out to Keystone. Loved the fact that it was literally 15 minutes from my Hotel, and I found a TON of cool things I want to see along the way! I had a train ride to catch, the “1880’s Train” to be exact! Booked online back in April, I was able to choose my seat for the way to Hill City and the way back. One hour each way, it sounded like a beautiful way to see the Black Hills.  I was on early enough to get some pics before the cars filled up, and then a family sat down around me. Then two ladies joined my row and the one in front of me, and she offered her seat so they could sit together (kindness) and then we wound up talking the entire hour and bonding like crazy! We are positive we are kindred spirits…Tracy, thank you for being so kind and fun, it made my day.

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The train takes you to Hill City, another small town that I had to find something to do until the ride back to Keystone at 2:30 p.m. I don’t remember a sooner return time, but if there is a choice, I suggest take it. It was literally 3 hours to explore the town, problem is, there really isn’t that much to do or see in that time window.  I went and ate at “Alpine Inn” – it looked inviting and it was German food. Embracing my heritage, I just went with it, and got a great table by the window, so I just settled in and ate for about at hour.  Corn chowder, Diet Dr Pepper, breaded pork chops with red cabbage, German potato salad, sauerkraut, bread and for dessert? Rhubarb Napoleon…. OMG. It was ALL incredible, probably one of the best meals I have had on the trip thus far!  It was so nice to just lean into the moment and memory being made and BEING OK being there solo. I know some don’t do well with being alone when dining, I have my phone and my thoughts to keep me company…and Walter, I’m good. I HIGHLY recommend this place to eat at for lunch or dinner, it was excellent and the prices were completely reasonable.

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After a walk thru town, I headed to the Train Station to hang out until boarding again. I did find some more stickers for my luggage, it’s my choice of souvenirs this trip. Apparently Big Foot has been seen in the Black Hills…I am ALL about it!!

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I then met Chris and Karen at the Station and we chatted the entire hour until we needed to head out. Such sweet ladies, and they gave me a new term for something I am dealing with and I will FOREVER be grateful for it.  I enjoyed the ride back to Keystone, falling asleep on and off from the busy day I had had.

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On the way to my car, exploring Keystone, I came across the old time picture places. I had had the idea yesterday that it would be fun to get my pic taken with Walter in that kind of setting…for a good memory, but an even greater laugh.  Yep, I don’t give a flying fart what people think- IT’S FUN. Remember fun?? What we all had before the World kicked us in the rear? I just decided before this trip that I was going to do what I wanted to do, people can love it or hate it. But “I” am having a freaking good time, and sharing it is just a way to inspire you all to go and have your own amazing adventure. Muppet or not.  So I walked in, told them it’s just me and my Muppet, they loved it, and voila, the pic was born.  I wanted to be an outlaw cowgirl, I am tired of being the goody two shoes, it was time to be a bad ass. So there ya go, that’s my best bad ass, you’re welcome. P.S. They had fun dressing Walter for it.

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A long day, a great day, new friends made AND I got an invite to their Restaurant in Selma, Alabama…so you know where I will be headed when there!  Also one of my new gals wants to do lunch in Iowa, so you are on girl, watch for my text when it get’s closer.  A run to Walmart for supplies and I am a happy camper to have had dinner while downloading pics.  I be looking for GOLD tomorrow, what be in them thar hills?  Join me to find out!

1880 Town South Dakota

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