And still we don’t know their names…

The look on Mark’s face in panel one is priceless.  Slack-jawed disbelief in the fact that a person could value money over another person!

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But what the hell is he doing in the third panel?  Getting ready to fly??  Doing his Clark Kent turns into Superman routine?  Or channeling Fezzik from the Princess Bride?

Wind Horse? Horse Winds?

This is just getting weird.

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The Horses are all freaking out due to the wind?  The wind has them?  What about the humans?  Are they impervious to the effects of the Tornadic Gusts?  Two references (thank you Google…) Windhorse and Horse Latitudes, is the best I can come up with…  I will let you read up on those… interesting.

And why, for the love of Mike, are you directing your captors to safety, Mark?  It’s your General Good Nature I guess…  Ahem… is there a writer in the house?  This “story” is in need of direction…

What… now they are finishing each other’s sentences??

I don’t know what is creepier… The fact that Mark and Baldy are communicating telepathically… right down to font size and characteristics…

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…or that the windmill blades are shredding like they are made of Papier-mâché…  but then it wouldn’t be able to stick into the side of whatever building it did.

What will be interesting is whether this little brush with jagged metal will drive the evil Baldy away from the saloon and into the church basement where one of two things will happen- they will get hooked into the tunnel system, home of the biblically named Samson the bear, or they will run into the Church Lady and have to answer to her!!

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Again with the gun!

At least we know where the gun is at…  Baldy took it back from Blondie after she fired the warning shots (all crossed-eyed and stuff) to keep Mark from turning Baldy’s head into cauliflower…

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1892, huh?  That’s awfully specific…  What happened in the year 1892 in the South Dakota Badlands?

In 1890 the 7th Cavalry kills more than 250 Lakota men, women and children in what comes to be known as the Wounded Knee Massacre. A solitary stone monument near the town of Wounded Knee marks the site of this tragedy.

In 1892 in Mitchell, South Dakota, a small, 12-year-old city of 3,000 inhabitants, the world’s only Corn Palace was established on the city’s Main Street. It was replaced in 1905 and again in 1921.  But who really cares about that??

The point was made earlier that Mark can and should go wherever the hell he wants to… And why does he care so much for the welfare of those who who would hold him against his will (if he has one) at gunpoint…  I agree.

 

Remember? I’m the bad guy??

Bald head, snarling puss…  I don’t take orders from nobody, see?  And I need a drink, get it?  Even though this town is deserted, there’s sure to be a bottle of rot-gut whiskey somewhere in there, certainly more likely there than inside the church… But Mark knows best…

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I still don’t get where the ponytailed guy with the plane fits into all of this.  Of course that’s nothing new, these stories have so many loose ends they are difficult to track.  Was it also in this supposed story arc that Dirty Dyer made a very brief return?

Only a forelock out of place…

Even in a whirlwind of a literal nature, Mark’s hair is barely mussed up…

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Looks like the ghost town is going to be an ex-ghost town in a few minutes… which reminds me of a stop in the Badlands that I failed to mention- the 1880 Town

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…looks eerily familiar, doesn’t it??

So yea… get underground everyone!  Leave the horses to themselves!  The entire Herd is now left to its own devices!!

And we’re back! Notes from the road…

 

It was a bit Ironic that travel plans would take me to the Rapid City, SD area… Unlike Mark, who flew right into RC, SD and was immediately taken hostage, I got to enjoy a few sites and sights along the way… Not unlike the Leave it to Beaver story arc that had me visiting Toronto for a few days only to discover the ubiquitous nature of  the American Beaver (Castor Canadensis) in Canada!

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Here we get a sense of Mr. Allen’s (shall we say quirky?) sense of humor…  OK, moving right along, slowly…

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I am sure that Johnny is already tired of being the Sheriff’s set up man… delivering straight lines to the Sheriff’s mysterious and ironic responses…

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But enough of this Mark Trail inspired tomfoolery and suggestions of relationships with Grizzly bears that don’t / shouldn’t exist…  Let’s take a peek at some photos from SODAK 2017…

First Stop, The Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD.

Corn Palace

Features  “a-maize-ing” (ha!) murals made of corn!  And Hosts events inside with a capacity of 3,200 seats.  It is also home to the Dakota Wesleyan University Tigers and the Mitchell High School Kernels basketball teams.  Your faithful scribe is featured bottom left with a seemingly happy ear of corn!

Next onto Chamberlain, which, according to its own history has struggled to be a place where people would want to actually stay… but really served as a jumping-off point for many, including Lewis & Clark!

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At the rest stop there is a magnificent statue!  As found on Trip Advisor:  Officially titled “Dignity,” the statue depicts a colossal (50 ft. high) Native American woman holding aloft a star quilt. It was built of steel by sculptor Dale Lamphere, weighs 11 tons, and was dedicated on Sept. 17, 2016. The statue cost over $1 million, and is engineered with pivoting diamond-shaped panels in the quilt so that wind can blow through it and not blow the statue over.  

According to the Artist:  Her Name is Dignity.  Standing at the crossroads, Dignity echos the interaction of earth, sky and people.  It brings to light the beauty and promise of the indigenous peoples and culture that still thrives on this land.  The intent is to have the sculpture stand as an enduring symbol of our shared belief that all here are sacred, and in a sacred place.

Between Chamberlain and Wall, SD, there are over 60 billboards warning the weary traveler of the Drug Store in Wall that features free ice water and 5-cent cups of coffee… Upon arrival though, one finds the greatest of all tourist traps (probably) in the lower 48… enough said.

Wall Drug

And what trip to SD would be complete without a visit to Mount Rushmore?

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…still breathtaking, especially on a clear, sunny day.

We also took a trip to the Crazy Horse Memorial, the scale of which is ridiculous… all the heads of Mount Rushmore will fit into the head/hair of Crazy Horse.  This sculpture was commissioned and started around the same time as Rushmore, but remains a work in progress, accepting no federal monies and relying on contributions.  It’s the work of the Korczak Ziolkowski family, and continues today.

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On the way through the badlands, we stumbled upon the “Prairie Homestead” which offered a glimpse of life in a sod house.  This homestead was established in 1909, was occupied until the 1950’s and features the house, a storm/root cellar, an outhouse (poor fella…) snakes and prairie dogs (white ones, which is a bit of a rarity according to the guides…)

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Finally, and with a sound one can only image, here’s part of what greeted us every morning at our mountain rental, as we shared the trails with a herd of Black Angus Beef Cattle…

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Johnny and Sheriff better wipe their feet before they come inside…