21.09.2013 - 21.09.2013
Since the flight to Rapid City (stop-over in Chicago) departed at 6.05am from Newark Liberty Int’l Airport we had to wake up in time for our airport transfer at 4am. As we would miss the hotel breakfast the hotel staff had made us breakfast-to-go. We located the check-in desks and checked-in our baggage. But there were a lot of problems printing our boarding passes. The passes between Newark and Chicago weren’t the problem. It was the boarding passes between Chicago and Rapid City that didn’t print as they should. Clock was ticking and the stress was getting to us. But finally we had all our boarding passes. After security check we bought some more breakfast. But the young woman at the register wasn’t in a good mood. Highly pregnant with the corners of her mouth down at the floor, she did not enjoy the early morning as it was (5am). The flight from Newark departed as planned at 6.05am and we got to see a glimpse of a nice sunrise over New York and Manhattan Skyline. Due to a lot of air turbulence the aircraft had to fly at lower altitude than planned.
We arrived at Chicago O’Hare Airport on time (7.35am) and we had plenty of time to find both food and restrooms before the next flight at 9.41am. On this distance they flew a minor aircraft giving a feeling of claustrophobia. But lucky us we only had to fly for about an hour before landing at Rapid City Regional Airport (10.59am). We quickly picked up our baggage and went outside to meet up our transfer to New Haven Ranch. Neither of us was prepared for the heat that hit us outside the airport. The heat broiled at +30 Centigrade which probably would have been much worse if it wasn’t for the wind. So the jacket came off and so did the warm sweater as well.
Two young German women waited for us in a minivan. But thank God all the talking was in English… I haven’t spoken German in years. First we drove to a mall. It had everything from Victoria’s Secret to western stores and a lot of food places. As I understood they brought all the guests here in case they needed to buy something they forgotten at home (western style). I actually bought a pair of flip-flop since my Converse shoes were too warm for this weather. What hit me the most was that all the cowboys were well accepted around here. A cowboy in complete western outfit (jeans, boots, shirt and hat) could walk right in to the mall like nothing else. Back home in Sweden you would get shocked if you met a cowboy in a mall or in e.g. Ikea. I think we were at the mall for about 2 hours before walking out in the parking lot and I realized… we were getting into that car again, that had been in the sun all time! I’m pretty sure it was like +100 Centigrade inside the van when we opened the doors. When it was human temperature again we sat down in the minivan and got to Wallmart. Here we could buy things like tooth paste or tooth brush but also the two German women had to buy groceries for the rest of week at the ranch. My friend and I bought a bag-in-box of white wine to share. Then we headed out for the car that once again had been in the sun and the temperature inside was everything but nice. Even though the car had air conditioning it was excruciating. But we couldn’t do anything about the heat. We left the state of South Dakota and crossed the border into Wyoming. The nature outside the car window changed from city-like to hilly landscape. The nature reminded me a lot of Montana which isn’t that strange since Montana borders to Wyoming. We drove for a while and the last kilometers were a curvy graveled road. And the further we got the more distance between the houses it became.
But we finally arrived at the ranch. The ranch is a family-owned working cattle ranch near the Black Hills in northeastern Wyoming. Since 2003 they have been inviting guests to the ranch and nowadays four generations live and work there. New Haven Ranch is settled on the ground of an old ghost town and 150 years ago the first homesteaders came to the area. They had to deal with rough climate, hostile Indian tribes and the Depression in beginning of 20th century. Many gave in and left. Today hundreds of cows gazes the vast expanses belonging to the ranch every year. The old buildings and machineries have been left out in the domains reminding of old time we only see in movies nowadays. The guesthouse has five comfortable bedrooms with their own bathroom (all with hair dryer, soap, shower gel). During cold days the house is warmed up by boiler and wooden fireplace. For warmer days there’s air conditioner available. Bed clothing, towels and bath towels are included. Snacks and beverages are available 24/7. The ranch butchers their own cattle, lambs, goats and ducks and have also vegetables in the back yard that supplies the ranch with tomatoes, salad and squash among other things. After a ride the guests can sit down at the balcony with a view over Missouri Buttes, play pool or enjoy the Jacuzzi outside.
After a warm welcome from the staff, cats, dogs (a black Labrador named Gauge and mixed breed dog Sip) and the other guests we went down to our room we had for the week. Except my friend and I there were three middle age men from Germany (we soon realized they barely spoke any English at all), a newly-wed young couple from Great Britain and an incredible happy and full of life lady (in her best years) also from Great Britain. My friend and I showered before dinner that was served at 7pm. Spaghetti Bolognese… Yummy! And ice cream for dessert. At 9pm we went to bed.