Thursday, June 14, 2012

South Dakota and beyond... Day One: The Misery of Martin's Cove.

"We can’t know what’s going to happen. We can just try to figure it out as we go along."
~Roger Sullivan

Warning: Be ready for a total photo dump.

On Flag Day, Thursday, June 14th, 2012, KDJ, Katie, Brian and I set out from Salt Lake City to South Dakota in my snug, but (hopefully) comfortable little Honda Fit. We had been wanting to take a vacation and Brian did most of the preparation, with regard to maps, tourist sites to see, and our schedule. All I had to do was drive. :) And if you have ever wondered whether you should make the trek to Mt. Rushmore, the answer is YES! The whole trip was really fun and the Keystone/Black Hills area was really beautiful with much more to do than I had imagined.




Along the way, although I had already eaten, we stopped first in Park City at McDonald's for breakfast (a key component to the first day) since no one else had really eaten anything. Brian and Katie had been dying for me to try something called the McGriddle. I don't typically eat out for breakfast, let alone fast food, so I hadn't tried it (nor even heard about it.) Brian was convinced that I would absolutely love it. :) I ate it. It was really sweet and kind of heavy, but it was just fine. Not good enough to pique my interest enough to eat breakfast at McDonald's ever again, but it was fine.

About five and a half hours along the way we stopped at Martin's Cove, The Mormon Handcart Historic Site in Wyoming. (My first time ever in the state of Wyoming.)


Martin's Cove is about fifty-five miles southwest of the thriving metropolis of Casper, WY. It is located on the Mormon Trail and is also part of the North Platte-Sweetwater segment of the Oregon Trail.

Martin's Cove, Mormon Handcart Historic Site.
Photo found here.

The landmark which is now beautiful, green, and tree-lined, is the site of much suffering and deaths of the Martin Handcart company who were holed up there for five days because of the snow. While we were there, we experience the wind that whips through that area and up and around to Independence Rock. I can only imagine what that wind is like in frigid temperatures. The Martin company lost more than 145 members before it reached Salt Lake City.

Photo found here.

The senior missionary couples from the LDS Church do a great job as tour guides, identifying artifacts, explaining how life in the handcart company was, and reminding us why they set out on this journey in the first place.

Photo found here.

Photo found here.

Inside the Visitor's Center.
Photo found here.

At times when we feel like we don't have enough, or we want the latest fashion trend, or the latest smartphone or gadget, remembering what the families in the handcart company were able to bring across the plains with them is humbling. Not only did they bring very little, but they walked the whole way.

Handcart and contents.
Photo found here.

After our walk around the historic site, I started to feel a little woozy so I sat down while the others looked around outside a bit more, but decided that I just needed to get something in my stomach.

Not so sure about how I'm feeling at this moment...


We ate our previously-packed lunch at some picnic tables under the shade of a few large trees. And then rested a bit more along a the Sweetwater River.



We got back in the car and headed toward Independence Rock. Katie and Brian decided to climb to the top, but KDJ and I stayed in the car. I was still not feeling so great, so I figured I would just rest there for a bit. But rest, I did not. Unfortunately for the other travelers waiting in their cars in the rest area who had to witness, I proceeded to throw up everything I had eaten that day. I actually felt much better by the time Brian and Katie came back, so we continued to drive through Wyoming toward South Dakota.

Unfortunately for me and the occupants of MY car, we had to pull over two more times for that d@&* McDonald's McGriddle to make its way out of me. Unfortunately for the roadside debris picker-uppers, there is a bag of vomit somewhere along the side of the freeway in Wyoming.

Also on one of those stops somewhere in the middle of Wyoming, I took up residence in the passenger seat and let Katie drive. We got to South Dakota in time to see this beautiful sunset.


The rest of the group was hungry for dinner at that point. I, for obvious reasons, was not. The idea of smelling any food made my stomach churn, so I sat in the car. Lucky for me (and for them), they chose not to eat at the McDonald's which was just across the parking lot, as you can see. To be honest, I have no idea where we were and where they ate. I was just happy to be resting in the car.


Brian, despite your best intentions, I think it's safe to say that I did NOT like The McGriddle, and chances are, I won't be eating breakfast there ever again. :)

I have to say that several times it crossed my mind how lucky we were that day to be traveling across Wyoming in a car and not a handcart. If I had been sick like that and had to walk the whole way to my destination, I likely would have been counted among the dead.

(Written July 6, 2013)
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2 comments:

Stella Dobry said...

That sounds terrible. :( :( But now you've given me an idea for our next road trip! Never been to South Dakota... hadn't really occurred to me that it's within reasonable driving distance.

eclaires said...

Stella, the full drive to SD is probably like 10-11 hours. Depending on where you end up staying. It really is a fun trip and totally worth going. Driving across Wyoming is not fun, but getting to the Black Hills in SD is worth it.

In case you didn't notice, I am back-dating these posts because I went in June of 2012. I'm adding more, so you can check them out.