Dances with a $52 chili dog

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Believe it or not, I-90 through South Dakota is not a heavily populated area. I learned a valuable lesson about being a lazy ass in Midland South Dakota, and it was not only monetarily cumbersome, I have to hear about it from Mr. Parker for the rest of our jaunt through the mortal coil together. It’s going to be brought up as frequently as the wolf sighting that turned out to be a donkey, and I will wish like hell I had just gotten my lazy butt out of the bunk before we left Montana and gotten something decent to eat.

We lost the inverter in Missoula, and no longer had enough juice to run the microwave. Having something hot and filling wasn’t an option unless I got up, got dressed and went inside to be around other human beings who are not related to me by blood or legal, binding agreement, at whatever early-ass time it was in the morning. (I don’t know, because I can’t tell time past Indiana, so suffice it to say the sun was just coming up.)

I was not feeling it and rolled over while George got up and did all that stuff he does before we go anywhere. He got his daily counter biscuit, and we took off about the time I woke up good and was ready to interact with other humans.

Usually, this wouldn’t be a problem. I keep a lot of food on the truck, but we were on the way home, and had no inverter to run the microwave. We had also not stocked the truck in a week, and hadn’t planned on doing so until we got home. I had some cheese, a few pecans, cold coffee and stale crackers for breakfast.

Four hundred and fifty zillion miles later, we had finally dropped down off desolate cow roads to 90 and were in the vicinity of cooked food. The amount of mileage may be a filthy lie, but I didn’t have a Snicker’s bar to make me stop acting like Maude, so it seemed like four hundred and fifty zillion. I was a little bit crabby and hungry, and probably asked where there would be food more than once.

“I really need to get some real food. Can we stop at the next place?”

“Yeah, there’s a place called 1880 Town up ahead. I’ve never stopped, but they have truck parking. We’ll see what they have.”

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I know him well enough to know that he finished that sentence in his head with, “If it will make you shut up, I will do anything lawful.”

Santa Fe train diner1880 Town is a little prop village with buildings full of stuff used in the “Dances With Wolves” movies. It has awesome reviews on Google, and I’m assuming they are from people who like to look at old stuff and are fully prepared to pay $52 for a chili cheese dog. We love to look at old stuff, but were blindsided by the cost of a chili cheese dog, bowl of fruit, tiny bag of Fritos and two canned Cokes.

Let me state unequivocally that the total wasn’t $52, it was actually $16.50. And although Mr. Parker isn’t a cheapskate by any means, he knew the minute they served me a baby armed size hot dog swimming in chili with beans and befouled with cooked onions that I wasn’t going to eat it, and he had just paid $16.50 for a teeny bowl of fruit and a lunchbox serving of Fritos. And two canned Cokes.

I was hungry, and although I was not happy about the cooked onions and ridiculously fat hot dog, I forged ahead with it. George continued to be slightly grumpy about the fact that we could have gotten approximately 14 hot dogs off the roller rack in the truck stop we had left a few hours before for $16.50.

“You might want to quarter that up and save some for later. Dang $52 chili dog. I’d like to see this place and get some pictures, but I don’t want to pay $20 to get in and have 15 minutes to look around.”

I had eaten all of the mega fat hot dog I could. Can I take a moment and make another plea for regular sized hot dogs to be an option in life once again? I haven’t seen a normal, skinny, snappy dog in years. It’s sad. I digress.

I did enjoy my fruit cup and Fritos, although I felt somewhat like I had been on a rather disappointing school field trip as we were leaving. George grumbled as I threw a large portion of the freakishly large hot dog away – the chili and cheese were actually remarkably good, cooked onions and all. Also, I was ravenous.

“Pay that much for a hot dog, it better have been touched by Kevin Costner himself.”

We looked around a little and definitely decided it would be a place to return and explore, but only when we had plenty of time and our own meals. So here’s the verdict on 1880 Town – looks like it would totally be worth the price if you had time to look at everything, but be prepared for expensive counter food at the train car restaurant. And if you’re me, your husband will rag you about a $52 chili cheese dog forever. So yay.

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