About five years ago in mid-November, I went on an impromptu road trip up to North Dakota and Montana from Texas, and back by way of Colorado. This trip began because I was playing around on the interwebs and my friend Dalton (who was living with me at the time) came in to shoot the shit. I mentioned I was bored. Here’s how that went.
Me: I’m so bored lately. I may end up on the news.
Dalton: Well, what do you want to do?
Me: Road trip. Definitely a road trip.
Dalton: Okay. Where to?
Me: What’s something you’ve always wanted to see?
Dalton: *thinks for a few seconds* Mount Rushmore! Let’s go to North Dakota!
Me: ….It’s in South Dakota. I’ve been there before…but okay. I’m in.
By 4 a.m the next morning, I had mapped out our trip, we were packed up, I had a house/cat sitter, and we were on the road. Now, you may think leaving in the middle of November to drive north is a bad idea. And you’d be right. But that’s a story for another day. This blog post is not that story.
On our way to South Dakota/Mount Rushmore, we learned quite a few things. Like, four 20oz. Sugar Free Red Bull energy drinks in a day will give you the ability to smell sounds. Or that if you give your friend Dalton your DSLR and free reign, you’ll end up with some very interesting pictures. South Central Nebraska smells like urine all. the. time. And you should never try to pet the buffalo. Or bison. I’m confused about how the names are or are not interchangeable. Don’t send me information about this. I’m willfully ignorant on this matter and don’t have time for semantics. I mean obviously I don’t–I didn’t even bother to Google this shit.
Anyhoozles, in South Dakota, not far from Mount Rushmore, driving north on highway 79 (around Buffalo Gap of all places), you’ll just happen across a nature conservancy where buffalo/bison just roam free. And by roam free, I mean you might just find one laying in the middle of the road, not giving a tinker’s damn where you gotta be. There’s signage telling you about the place, you have to drive slowly, and the buffalo are very aware that you’re in their house, son!
Regardless, as soon as Dalton saw the buffalo in the hills surrounding us, walking or standing along side the road, bee-boppin’ across the road, he perked up quickly.
Dalton: Oh. My God. I want to pet a buffalo!
Me: Pretty sure that’s a bad idea. They’re not pets and this ain’t Arbuckle Wilderness.
Dalton: Just pull up alongside one and I’ll pet it.
Me: No. It’ll probably charge the car or at least kick it.
Dalton: Then let me get out real quick. I’ll run up to one, pet it, and run back.
Me. ….I’m pretty sure that running towards a buffalo will get you fucked up.
Needless to say, Dalton was disappointed and slumped in his seat, obviously thinking that I was just an asshole or, at the very least, a wet blanket. However, less than two minutes later, we passed a sign that advised people to not attempt to interact with the buffalo because they are “very dangerous”. Thank you, sign. You made Dalton realize I wasn’t just trying to kill his lifelong dream of trying to snuggle a creature that weighs 100 times more than him and could kick him to death in a matter of seconds. I mean, best case scenario, he would have petted one and been okay. Worst case–he would have tried to saddle one and ride it into battle.
Regardless, I still felt bad that Dalton couldn’t pet a buffalo–so once we were a safe distance away, I stopped at an informational sign so he could get a picture of him with buffalo in the background.
Dalton was satisfied. He had a picture with the buffalo. I was satisfied. No one was a greasy spot a buffalo had stomped to death. Dalton had his own way of celebrating.
Sometimes you find yourself regretting the decision to keep your friend from petting the buffalo…
Until next time…