road trip 2010, pt. 3

Wednesday morning I woke up at 6:22am MT. With no alarm clock. Because my body was telling me it was 8:22am ET. I woke Doug up and we looked outside, and saw this from the porch of our cabin:

After a hearty Poptart breakfast, we took a pic with our beloved cabin...

and then started to leave, but we ran into Lynn, the guy who owns the Lone Butte Ranch. We listened to him talk chatted with him for about 20 minutes. He informed us that the cabin had been rented for the following evening, so we decided to follow through with our original plans and head down to South Dakota after all. (We had been contemplating staying another night in ND and forgoing SD). After our chat, we headed down the "driveway"... (4.4 miles to the road)

... and headed back to Killdeer.

I snapped a picture of what Robert sees when he walks out the front door every morning, mostly for Mom:

Then we went to tag the baby calves that had been born the day before.
That's Robert, wrastlin' the calf to the ground, and Tony, his boss.
They put a tag in each calf's left ear the day (or day after) it's born, then they tattoo the same number in the calf's right ear, just in case the tag is lost over the years. I'd never seen the tattoo process before, and I'd wager that about 90% of my faithful blogging audience hasn't either, so here it is (if you think this is "animal cruelty", you should probably skip this part):

First, put some ink in the inside of the calf's right ear.

Then, take the tattoo machine-thing (pretty sure that's the technical name for it) & clamp down.
This tattoo-machine-thing is similar to a date stamp, but it has needles. They're in pre-set numbers, and you rotate it to the number of your choice.
Very faint in this picture, but if you click on it, you can see the tattoo.

I was amazed by how gentle the Hereford cows were. Especially after growing up with Angus cows, who want to kill anything that goes near their calves. Here's Robert, taking a calf's weight, while the mother looks on inquisitively:

This was a very educational trip for me. I learned that when a purebred Hereford cow is bred to a purebred Angus bull, the resulting calf is called a "baldy", which is pretty much adorable. Tony breeds all his first-calf cows to an Angus bull, so he had quite a few "baldys" running around. They are so sweet.

Here's the little twin calf that Robert had to take to the barn and now feeds with a bottle (so adorable). I'm trying to get Robert to name him "Doug"...

We tagged along as Robert & Tony did other various chores - feeding hay to the yearling bulls, getting minerals for the cows, scooping up a dead cow from the pasture with the tractor (that is not a joke), etc. Then we drove with Robert to another of Tony's pastures.

Then we went back to downtown Killdeer for lunch. We saw the little cafe where Robert goes every couple weeks to check his email, Nana Lil's.

And of course, we had lunch at the Buckskin again.

And then we drove to the Badlands again, to see them in the daylight.

In this picture, I am leaning out of the window of our car as we're driving along, facing backwards to take a picture of the road we drove down, snaking through the hills:

After our scenic tour, we went back to the house & played pool.

Afterward, Doug & I got a few groceries at "Jerry's" - the local grocery store. We went back to our cabin and started getting dinner ready. Robert joined us a bit later for hot dogs, baked beans and fries. Then the 3 of us soaked in the hot tub for a good two hours, just chatting & laughing. Then Robert headed back to Killdeer, and Doug & I turned in for the night!


  1. i love the chronicles of this trip.

  2. Hi there!
    Sounds like you have had quite the adventure. We are glad that you decided to go through South Dakota. Hope you enjoyed your journey.

    Katlyn Richter
    South Dakota Office of Tourism

  3. Shut up! The office of tourism knows who you are! Pretty cool. As are all your gorgeous pictures. I think we should introduce my sister to your brother...stat.

  4. um, famous.
    fascinating post! [although i can't click pics - boo!] love the pics of robert the cowboy!