(For those of you who followed our trip to Wyoming on my blog, this post is from the last morning on the way back, in Canistota, South Dakota where we stay every year at a nice little Best Western.)
My eyes open, search for the clock’s illuminated numbers. 5:02 am. Too early to get up in a motel room where two other people are still sound asleep…and too early period. My alarm is set for 5:45, to give me time to shower before packing and having breakfast, not far enough away for me to relax back into sleep.
Lying in bed, I hear what sounds like motorcycles rumbling, then realize it’s going on much too long for that. It’s almost continuous thunder , although I can’t hear the rain over the noise of the air conditioner that we use both for sleeping coolness and white noise.
When I finally go out into the grey chill morning light, the rain’s almost stopped. Walking toward the room with the ice machine, keeping well under the overhanging roof edge,I see what t turn out to be, on closer inspection, lots of little frogs (or toads) hopping along the walkway in the puddles. They’re everywhere, apparently frolicking in the water. Where did they come from in this small, not particularly wet town in eastern South Dakota and where are they going?
Most of the farms we see here are dry land farms, meaning they have no irrigation and are dependent on the weather, so I imagine the rain is welcome, except for anyone who’s just mown hay and is waiting for it to dry enough to bale. As with most places, though, corn and soybeans appear to be the main crops and they can still use the rain.
Last night when we arrived, all the parking spots by the doors were full, so when the downpour starts again when we’re starting load, we, like the Queen, are not amused. Additionally, our two now soaked bikes need to be unlocked and removed from the rack, then the rack put down before the back of the van can be opened. I get one load in before the heavens open, then crouch inside, shielded by the raised trunk until rain begins to blow in. A mad dash for our room leaves my previously just-dried hair soaked, the same for my sweatshirt. Are we having fun yet?
Eventually the rain abates long enough to load and put the bikes back on, although after about five minutes we’re once again engulfed in a storm that holds our speed to 50 maximum on the interstate. Trucks fly by much faster even though safety dictates caution. Where we can usually see long distances, curtains of grey rain and fog limit our vision to well under a mile. It promises to be a longer day of driving than the ten hours we anticipated, but hopefully we’ll soon out-drive the storm. As we drive, I wonder where the frogs went.