Day 6: Pierre
6 June 2015
Finally, we'd gotten some rest, though that sun gets hot early when you're in a tent. Griffin Park was our little paradise, and we left the tent set up while we explored Pierre. Nick went to meet his aerial photographer friend, and T and I just saw what we could of the town.
I started a "Doors of Pierre" project:
Then we went to walk one of Pierre's island parks, overlooking the Missouri River.
I actually didn't know Aurora too well before this trip. I'd interacted with her a few times, but found her strange. The dogs I'd grown up with roamed fields and brought back dead things (or at the very least rolled in them), and often didn't care about you or make much noise, unless someone was invading (UPS truck). Aurora, from what I'd seen, was a loud, sporadic little thing that went nuts upon arrival to T's apartment. From the time T and I moved into the room in the shared house, until we picked her up just before this trip, she'd stayed with one of Teysia's older friends. I didn't know how to handle a dog that wasn't mine, wasn't country smart, and that me or my family hadn't trained. So I was hesitant to have her off leash, I was never really sure what commands she knew, or what words she'd come to know, her typical behaviors, her triggers, etc. Well that all changed, for sure, over the next few years. This trip was the beginning.
I actually spent a lot of the trip pretty annoyed that we had to have her along. Her accompaniment made everything more complicated: we couldn't leave her in the car in most situations, but we could rarely take her into establishments of any kind, and National Parks have a policy that dogs must stay on pavement. If the trail isn't paved, the dog isn't allowed at all. So, yeah, I bitched and moaned about it a bit throughout the trip, but now she's one of my very best friends. And honestly, one of the only things I've found myself thinking since winter broke is how I wish I could take her on another trip like this. She's 10 or 11 now, so I want her to have that life again. This apartment living, residential city-walking, strip-of-grass-by-the-curb, pay-to-enter dog park bullshit is killing her, and me. I saw her run for the first time at my mum's and I never want to see her confined like she is now. I honestly don' think the vast majority of people should have dogs for that type of reason, and I probably won't have one again for a long time because I won't be able to be good enough to a dog. They need to be dogs!
After a shopping trip at walmart, we came back to cook. We had new neighbors, in a great eurovan. I talked with them a little, mainly about their van. I had said how nice it was and that I'd always looked at the Westys, but the Eurovan would be nice, too bad they're closer to $40k than $8k for the older campervans. They had decided the better engine and reliability was worth it to them. If you ask me now, first, I'd kick my 16-yr-old self for not getting that $2,000 Westy back in… 2008? Oil leak? Buy a new engine for that price! Anyway. Here in the US? I'm looking at Astros and g20s. In Europe, yeah, a T5 - they're mad cheap and nearly ubiquitous over there. Much nicer than a DIY converted van. But, that's a dream even now. So, they enjoyed their little living room while we cooked out on the aluminum table.
We eventually lie down, stomachs full, ready to get up at 4am to hit Badlands before the masses.