Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Buffalo, marmots and turkeys, oh my!

First of all, an apology for not blogging last night. I got home from Peyton's t-ball game and I had a headache that sucked the very life out of me. So, tonight, I bring you a really stupid vacation story.

Even though we skipped Arbuckle Wilderness as we pass through Oklahoma, I promise we saw our fair share of animals from the car as we drove around. (For those of you who missed the humor there, Arbuckle Wilderness is a drive-thru animal park.)

I was telling Peyton about all the animals that we saw, and she sadly says, "I wish I went with you." My response was, "no you don't. We were in the truck for a long, long time." My nieces are not good on road trips to Dallas.

Well, like a bunch of four year olds, we made a list of the animals that we saw along the way. As pathetic as it sounds, making this list was a highlight of the trip.

  • mule deer
  • whitetail deer
  • pronghorn deer
  • antelope
  • buffalo (I do believe the song "Home on the Range" was written in this area. We definitely saw the buffalo roam while the deer and the antelope played.)
  • turkeys (Why did the turkey cross the road? No seriously, was that the same turkey we saw crossing the road right here earlier today, or is this a turkey crossing instead of a deer crossing?)
  • pheasant
  • an eagle (Well, it was a very big bird in a very big nest that we think was an eagle, cut couldn't tell from the tip top of its head.)
  • chipmunks
  • prairie dogs
  • ferrets (well just one searching out a prairie dog)
  • red squirrels (as opposed to the brown ones in Texas or the black ones we saw in DC or the albino ones at UNT)
  • rabbits
  • big horn sheep
  • mountain goat (Which I heard and read multiple times is not native to the area. Nine were brought to the area from Canada for a special exhibit at Custer State Park, but they all escaped. Now over 300 populate the Black Hills region.)
  • plain old woolly sheep
  • llamas
  • yellow-bellied marmots
  • woodchucks
  • burros
  • and of course your every day cows and horses

(Personal note to Misha - all these parentheses tonight are included just for you!)

As you drove through Custer State Park, you are supposed to see the buffalo. We see the sign to the Wildlife Loop after driving partway through the park. We acutally end up taking the loop on the far end becasuse we didn't see signs for the end closest to the entrance we came in.

The loop was 18 miles, and so help me, I thought it was never going to end. I was tired of riding the hills and curves, and I didn't think we would get through it. I realized we were also going to have to go back through the area we had already gone through. I absolutely thought we were going to be stuck in Custer State Park and not get out. I had seen enough buffalo roaming, and I was ready to get out of the truck, but of course couldn't (my boss' husband - shout out to Terry - warned of the number of people that get killed by buffalo getting out of vehicles each year). I was close to an anxiety attack being stuck both in the truck, and in the park.

Oh, to be a mountain goat from Canada and escape the CSP.

What did not help is that we were getting low on gas which sometimes freaks me out after a trip through Arkansas one time. I had warned Dad on the trip not to get less than half a tank if we knew we would be going through the middle of nowhere, but I wasn't freaking out yet about that. Mom was on the verge of hyperventalation enough for all of us. You'll be glad to know that two days before we arrived, the gas pump (a pump at the gift shop, not a gas station) had opened up for the season and we could get gas.

That night, after the trip through the park, I seriously dreamed that I was going on a trip to the zoo. At least I saw tigers in the dream and not deer and buffalo.

And because we only took 733 pictures with our three cameras - that is why I still need to sort through and decide what needs to be printed - of course, I have animal pictures to share with you.

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