Back on the Road - monday 2008-09-15 0329 last modified 2008-09-15 0329
Categories: Road
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After some time at home, also after some time on a short term contract job, I'm back on the road. From the Twin Cities area, I headed to the southern half of South Dakota. There isn't much in the way of cell signal in general, but there's even less off the major interstate. On SD 44, there's just about none after Platte. When there are only thirty cars traveling in the opposite direction for 150 miles, that makes a bit of sense.

South Dakota's empty enough for a 75mph interstate limit, and empty enough that I've only seen two police cars, neither of which appeared to care a whit about speed. The two largest cities are on opposite sides of the state; the capital is a tenth the size of the largest. Driving through, you might think Wall an important city as Wall Drug advertises heavily starting from the borders - more than 300 miles away. If I have the opportunity, I'll take down one of those signs some day. It won't be missed amongst the plethora that are already up, I doubt anybody keeps track of where exactly the Wall ads go. There's a lot of throwback here, assumptions about those driving the interstate and their desire to see the Reptile Gardens, various and sundry caves, and other South Dakotan wonders. They intrude on some breathtaking, wide-open vistas of plains; and really, who's going to stop off at a cave just because there's a stock picture of Interested Family near the freeway?

The most interesting parts are in the western half. The Badlands, several reservations, Wounded Knee - the historial marker for Crazy Bull has gone missing - the Black Hills, ICBM silos, Sturgis, Mt. Rushmore, the tourist traps in Wall and Rapid City. It could be its own interesting state. West South Dakota and East South Dakota.

The wind gets up high out in the Badlands. Tents were permanently deformed. I have much more respect for tipis and old settlers now. I'd go a bit batty if I had to put up with that much wind all the time.

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