A Wild West Adventurer Part 3 Homestead and Beyond
by Laurie Pedrick
Day eight of the adventure had arrived. Our original game plan for this whole trip was rapidly approaching.... to see the family homestead. I contacted Brian, the rancher who leases the homestead to let him know we were on our way. After we chatted a bit, I let him know that we understand fire danger and that we had the GPS coordinates to locate the property and got his permission to enter. Our route took us through Belle Fourche (pronounced Bell Foosh) which is the geographical center of the United States. Now this may seem a bit odd - but when you take into account Alaska and Hawaii, this truly is considered the center. Some folks say the Belle Fourche considers itself the center of the Universe! We had a great chat with the folks there at the Welcome Center and even showed them a portion of our collection of Vapur bottles so they can order some up for the Visitors Center.
We of course, purchased our collector pin and a few other things and then made our way north to the Mackey road turn off to the homestead. We were able to locate the property without much trouble and the truck and camper handled the road (and I use that term loosely!) well and we got out and walked the four corners of the property, using a handheld GPS and the photo of the property from the Harding County Assessors office. The surprising thing about the property is that there are really just the couple of natural gas wells..... did I forget to tell you I am a gas heiress? Sure I am, along with bunches of relatives whom I have never met! There was something truly moving about being on this patch of ground. I grabbed a few rocks to take home to the kids and to Caitlyn and Catherine Powell.... After taking the GPS coordinates in what we think are the four corners of the property and taking photos of the wells and other things we realized we had been there for over three hours.
With regret, we had to move on and get to our next stop... Theodore Roosevelt National Park. For a Sunday night the campground was pretty full. We got one of the few sites remaining and while JP started the leveling process, I walked the fee envelope back to the kiosk at the entrance to the campground. On my way back I noticed there was a very large pile of dung alongside the road. I looked towards the camper and a very large bison was headed my way. Of course, I had no phone, no camera, nothing to record this event! I called quietly to JP... Look at the buffalo! He thought I said something else like I'm walking a buffalo and said to me very funny.... I said... no, look around the backside of the camper..... then he saw him too. Sadly, the cameras were in the truck as were the phones, so no shot of this buffalo.... that would have to wait for the next day.... if they would stand still for their close up.
Can't add pics right now - site will not let me. Sorry.