Highway 212 to South Dakota

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

400 miles or so East of Ennis, we are now finding ourselves in the middle of another incredible cluster awaiting to be discovered as we have never been here before. I am looking at a local map and still hearing all the names this one seasoned traveler we came across enumerated to no end. My States were for so long limited, and today for the first time I am realizing how enormous this Country is becoming to us. Needing to be in Denver mid month, we can only stay here about 10 days, and already wondering what decision to take as to where to go. “No decision” in such instances are always my best ones. The primary object these past couple of days and reason for not stopping as often as we normally would, was to seek for Ron Dakotah, my “Sheepherder Wagon Friend” as I call him. A good thing it was, discovering route 212 in the midst of a Journey I would like again to recreate for more reasons than one.


Route 212 goes right through, first, “Crow Indian Reservation” and then on jumps into “Northern Cheyenne Reservation”. The landscape changed so suddenly to mild rolling hills, a deserted solitude as far as one can recognize and an oppressed feeling came on upon me. It was raw land as I see always more than what I lay my eyes. “Raw” was it from the lack of green? or raw was it from the past memories lingered in my presence? I felt still the thumping of the ground, the sound of some some distant drums reaching me, the smoke past was no more, there was nothing too look at, only feel as all is long gone even the ground itself laying there having absorbed the past bloodshed had lost it’s own soul. Cows have replaced the buffalos, the wild horses, and like black dots on the horizon I could only fool myself as maybe seeing a mirage, a figment of my imagination.

blue tepee blue tepee

We came across some tepees for sale, nice and bright colors and inviting a bit toward this more modern world present. As the miles however went by I could not see anymore bails of hay, a prosperous ranch maybe here and there, only broken down structures with no colors, no shapes, barely standing as if this would be their last year up, just as the numerous white tepees which went by on the wayside so suddenly in years past. There were no wagons surrounding what barely could have been called homes now, only junkyard cars one could only wonder if there were even ever new at one time.

red tepee red tepee

So much seems to have been lost, right and left there was nothing up to even have invited the modern day traveler as I myself wondered what they themselves saw. I was thinking maybe they were irritated about the complete lack of cell service which I found a great feature to for a while be separated from the present technological world of mobile e mails and text messages. Maybe they did see a bit of the reality past.


A modern old tepee was still standing, uninviting to most, however awakening my own curiosity. Maybe a present day gathering space it was for a few short years as I stepped on mostly garbage and torn up ill fated magazines. Why here? How could this happen when looking at the structure I know someone, many for that matter, had spend more than a few hours of drawing, planning and building. Where did they go as next store only stood a local resemblance of a Grocery shop adorned with heavy metal gates and bars across it’s door and windows.


How many drums resonated within? Dancing, laughter, hugs and embraces. How come they moved away? Where they cries and tears rejoining the path now overtaken by the growth non cared for? I had to go as I was sinking in this despair perfectly knowing that maybe all things must come to an end sometimes, a notion however that has slowly changed as maybe all is resemblance to an end but not in it’s true form.


We passed “Custer National Forest” where the green trees suddenly took shape, “of course”. I was told that Ron was only about 20 miles or so outside of Broadus, a quaint little town I am thinking about returning to spend some time, at least taste their “world’s best milk shake”, (and probably live to regret it…). But the information was wrong. I think Teri who keeps up with him had the map upside down that day, or too much of her delicious cowboy stew the night before, as we went on and on. The give away to find Ron is the trace left behind by the horses. Horse poop… I started seeing some, fresh, I knew I was getting close. Sure enough as he knew I was joining him, there he was by an old fairground with big meadows and plenty of room for a thousand horses. This was just a mile before Alzada, a few before the Wyoming border.


I came upon him after a hard day of his. He uses a bicycle with a little wagon to go to town and flat the tires were. Much struggle I heard, but obviously he had made it back. He found the electric switch to turn on the well for the daily 50 gallons of water for his horses, I think his only handicap besides all his daily logistics was not having a cell service to speak with his Dear Friend Teri… Ah! The “saga” of Ron and Teri… What will next chapter bring?… as I stay out of it, a wise and prudent decision.


A little dinner, a bit of talk, some locals stop by as we all solved the World’s problems including political ones which I only listened to as Ron retreated early to his wagon, I could not sleep much with a full moon out, an incredible sunset, all surrounded by a silence so dear to me. There were not many thoughts going through, only the thought of new Spaces ahead, ones I know as for lack of time we would only skim it’s surface.

wagon wagon

I am a bit tired today, yesterday and the previous ones being an emotional roller coaster. I want so much to thank everyone that has left a comment and the many e mails so positive that it makes me realize today, my path is my own, my words are also, a decision I had taken now almost three years ago. All has been such a boost to my moral, to my climbing these interminable steps one at the time. We need to go on and see and feel and experience this Life that comes along within this beautiful Country of ours.

sunset on 212  

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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2 Responses to “Highway 212 to South Dakota”

  1. Ron Boe Says:

    Ah Broadus. I grew up in Broadus many years ago. Left as a teenager when Dad was transferred to Minnesota but we get back from time to time. Some very good people in Broadus. Kinda odd how the town and area will capture someone from outside and they settle down there. Re-met a childhood buddy that left before I did. He has moved back to the area after all these years. I ran into him while he was working in the attic of the local movie house (owned by another transplant). We had some catching up to do. There are some neat roads around Powder River county and one could spend a good deal of time exploring many of them. You can say that about a lot of Montana but I have a bias towards Broadus and the area. Thanks for the pictures and the memories. I will not be surprised at all to see you back there.

  2. Louise Says:

    Somehow I knew that the rolling plains would captivate you…

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