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Red Sky at Night with JB Cornwell | Travels with Daniel
Article courtesy of JB Cornwell

My Grandson, Daniel, is named after my Great Grandfather, Daniel Lawrence Braine. I have written about some of Admiral Braine's adventures here, and there's more to come.

I had the pleasure of transporting Daniel between California, where his Mother lived, and North Texas where he lived with his father, in the late 80s and early nineties.

On one June day in 2002 I picked up Daniel at his Mom's in Oceanside, CA. We took I-15 North toward Las Vegas, but an accident caused a two hour wait near the Nevada line.

"Shining Armor" was an early example of the ML320, serial number 00039, and she had an engineering oversight. The cooling fan for the AC/transmission was under fused at 10a and, in the 100+ degree sun she blew that fuse, disabling the AC/transmission cooling fan. Loss of that fan caused trouble intermittently for the rest of the trip. Mercedes later changed the fuse to 20a and we experienced no more trouble.

We passed through Las Vegas in the middle of the night and continued to Salt Lake City where we were scheduled to visit iboats headquarters.

The welcome we got at iboats headquarters was overwhelming. We had dinner with Bruno Vassel III and IV and a tour of the facility. The people we met were as friendly as our hosts.

We proceeded on the next day to Yellowstone's west gate where we waited in line for a couple of hours. I don't know what the hold up was, but we had a fine time visiting with a couple from England who were in line ahead of us.

Yellowstone was enchanting. We had to wait about an hour for Old Faithful (it was spectacular).

Next, we made for the Little Bighorn battlefield where, in June, 1876 the 7th Cavalry, under a Lt. Colonel named George Armstrong Custer (he was temporary Major General in the unsuccessful war for southern independence) had 220 killed in an ill advised attack on some 1,000 Sioux warriors. They called it Custer's last stand but it turned out to be the last stand of the Sioux.

Next was a visit to The Devil's Tower, a landmark many covered wagons passed in the early 19th Century. It is the surviving core of an ancient volcano whose outer shell has been eroded away. It stands a couple of hundred above the surrounding prairie and can be seen from many miles away.

On to Mount Rushmore, the sculptured portraits of four of our Presidents: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt. It is as impressive as the capital.

Then to the Crazy Horse memorial. The Crazy Horse memorial will be even larger than Mt. Rushmore when it is finished. Crazy Horse was the warrior (not a chief) who led the Sioux in battle, including the battle of the Little Bighorn.

We spent that night in Custer, South Dakota. There were motorcycles everywhere, apparently attendees at the annual rally at Sturgis, South Dakota.

It took 2 days to get back to Dallas via Denver. Passing through the Texas panhandle we got to see our first pronghorn antelope.

(JB Cornwell writes from "The Hideout" in Whitt, TX, and is also an expert moderator, instructor, and fountain-of-knowledge in the iboats.com Boating Forums, where he may occasionally share a yarn of his own.)

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