Vacation Time: The Western Swing (Part V)

We left Cody, Wyoming in the morning for a short and leisurely drive to Red Lodge, Montana — one of our shortest drives of the entire trip.  It was a beautiful summer day, with a bright blue sky and high white clouds.  As we drove we encountered, yet again, the spectacular western vistas that had become an expected part of our drives.

Red Lodge is a former mining town that I had never heard of before I started doing the planning for the trip.  I was interested in going there because Red Lodge is home to the Pollard Hotel, an historic hotel built in 1893 that was recently refurbished.  When we got to Red Lodge, it was as if the whole town had been encased in amber in, say, 1920.  The Pollard exuded history and turn-of-the-century class.

After we checked in we drove out of town to find a place to explore the countryside, which has a dramatically different look and feel than the dusty landscapes of Wyoming and South Dakota.  Red Lodge is nestled in the piney high country, and we found a perfect spot with a rushing stream, a walking path that wound through cool pine forested countryside, and interesting rock formations.  It felt good to get out of the car and do some hiking, and even though it was a beautiful spot with national park-quality scenery there was no one else there.  The moment made me feel, for a short time anyway, like a settler moving through virgin countryside in the 1880s.

After our hike we returned to Red Lodge, had a fine dinner at the Pollard Hotel, and explored the town.  Kish and the boys found a fine candy store and loaded up on all kinds of unusual “penny candy,” which helped fortify them for the next day’s drive.  And it was a long drive — our longest of the trip, I think — that took us from Red Lodge, through Montana and the whole of North Dakota, ending in Fargo.  Kish and the boys, gorged on penny candy, dozed as we drove through the beautiful, open North Dakota countryside.  When we got to Fargo we didn’t seen any pregnant police officers or legs sticking out of wood chippers, but we did find a bar that served very welcome cold beer.

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part IV)

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part III)

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part II)

Vacation Time:  The Western Swing (Part I)

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Weirdness In South Carolina

A publicly unknown, unemployed Army veteran who lives with his father somehow pays the $10,400 fee to run for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in South Carolina.  He holds no fundraisers and runs totally under the radar.  Yet he somehow garners 99.970 votes and defeats his only competitor in the Democratic primary by a comfortable margin.  Almost immediately thereafter the news media discovers that he was arrested last year on an obscenity-related charge.

Such is the odd story of Alvin Greene, for now at least the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in South Carolina.  Some people, incuding South Carolina Democratic Congressman James Clyburn, are crying foul.  They think Greene may be a “Republican plant” (which Greene denies), and according to the Christian Science Monitor article linked above South Carolina has a history of electoral weirdness and “dirty tricks.”

What does it say about the South Carolina Democratic Party that Greene’s past and present circumstances were not addressed during the primary campaign?  Why would anyone need to play a “dirty trick” on a party in such disarray that it could not field a candidate that could defeat a candidate who had no money and ran no campaign?  And how in the world could almost 100,000 South Carolinians vote for someone who was such a complete unknown?