Friday, September 21, 2012

south dakota

If I told you that Dave and I put a lot of effort into plotting the actual road trip portion of this move, I would be lying. Big time.

Rather than be bothered by travel details, we opted for a more romantic approach. Let's just see where the road takes us, we thought.

Except, I do not drive. Technically, I know how to drive (Dave says that is highly debatable), I just never got a driver's license. So, without the option of sharing driving duty, the entire trip fell to Dave. For anyone, 40+ hours of driving is no small feat. But for Dave, who has relied almost exclusively on public transit for the last ten years, it seemed an especially daunting task. Keeping Dave alert would be key. Our solution? Take the scenic route!

Well, at some point, we decided we could bypass the monotony of the Great Plains by driving above Nebraska and through South Dakota. Because all of South Dakota is like Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands and the Black Hills, right? Turns out, no. That is not the case at all. Had we actually looked at a map at some point, we would have quickly learned that South Dakota is actually 99% flat and man, it is enormous.

By the time we realized our mistake, it was too late, of course. And so we drove on...

Almost as soon we crossed the state line, the lush green trees of Minnesota disappeared and an infinite golden-yellow flatland emerged. Soybeans mostly (we think?), accented by the occasional sunflower field. It was... well, not interesting. At all.

Soon the billboards began to pop up. So many billboards! Actually, I am certain there are more billboards than people in South Dakota. To keep us entertained (no joke), I would often read aloud from Wikipedia (again, wish I was kidding here). The South Dakota entry fails to mention the billboard-to-person ratio, but I'm pretty sure my assessment is spot-on. Also, did you know that South Dakota is the fifth least populous state in the U.S. and the state insect is the honey bee? No? Well, now you do. You're welcome.

We skipped almost every single tourist attraction (Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Mt. Rushmore, etc.) in favor of making good time. We did, however, visit the Badlands and they were... strange. Strange but spectacular.

As we made our way through the park, the formations grew and receded and grew again. With each turn, the shadows shifted and the colors changed. For miles, we saw no one else and the only sound was that of the wind. Seeing the long history of this earth so exposed in the layers of rock, well, it was a pretty humbling experience.

While I did take a lot of photos, I'll share you just these two. Let's be real, no one wants to see a gazillion photos of rocks :)

the badlands // south dakota
more badlands // south dakota

Yes, the Badlands were awesome indeed. But my favorite part of South Dakota? Deadwood. Dave and I are huge fans of the HBO show and it was thrilling to drive through where it all went down. In fact, it inspired us to watch the series all over again. I highly recommend that you do the same. (Or, if you can't get your hands on the DVDs, the Deadwood Wikipedia entry is a riveting alternative, if I do say so myself...)

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