(Bozeman, MT) — Once again, I’m driving a school bus across the United States. This should come as no surprise, because, well, that’s what I do. I woke up this morning in Kadoka, South Dakota, home to Badlands Petrified Gardens, one of the state’s numerous old-style tourist attractions. Many of these, according to the signs, are “Rated #1!” By whom they are so rated is never mentioned. But Roadside America describes the Petrified Garden as “…a grassy compound, hidden from non-paying customers behind a high fence, dotted with petrified wood stumps, logs, and piles. Unfortunately, as usual, I can’t stop to enjoy the wonders of stony stumps, logs and piles. I have a school bus to deliver.
Sometimes, though, I see things that are inexplicable, at least to me.This morning, for example, I was heading west on I-90. About 20 miles east of Rapid City, I saw an enormous cloud of smoke ahead on the right. As I got closer, it looked like a fireworks store had exploded. There was a fairly sizable fire in back of a metal building… and every couple of seconds, a colorful display of rockets or something would shoot skyward from the blaze. I was a bit tempted to take the exit that obviously led there… but realizing immediately that would be poor judgement on my part, I kept going.
A few months ago, in a money-saving effort, I switched from Verizon to Boost Mobile as my cell phone carrier. It does save money, but in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and parts of Nebraska, there’s no cell coverage at all. I made a mental note to Google “Rapid City, fireworks,” to see what showed up. What showed up was nothing. Not a word. So, as usual, I have no idea what that was all about, and probably never will. I guess I’ll just have to live with that.
Tomorrow night I’ll spend in Spokane, if all goes well. I don’t think there are any exploding fireworks stores or anything petrified on the way. But there will be something I won’t be able to explain. There always is.