Road Trip, Day One

* WARNING *  Remember when the neighbors used to invite you over to see a slide show of their vacation.  This is that.  Granted, it’s an acquired taste, easier to handle with wine. The next several of these episodes will reflect our most recent jaunt through the great American West.  Several places we had been to before, several others were new to us.  All in all, we circumnavigated 3,852 miles in 13 days.  If you plan on joining us, please fasten your seat belt – we do go through multiple elevation changes.

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[We began our adventure the morning of March 15.  It was tough to leave the shores of beautiful Lake Darling that day.]

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[For all you Jackrabbit fans out there, our first stop was at South Dakota State University in Brookings.  We had driven through a slight SW Minnesota snowstorm to get there.]

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[Because we were already getting homesick, our second stop was in . . . Alexandria!  🙂  ]

3-18-15-28 - Copy 3-18-15-29 - Copy3-18-15-30 - Copy3-18-15-31 - Copy[Coming on down to the Missouri River, the longest river in the United States.  The Mississippi is the second longest . . . which may explain why Missouri beat the Gophers in the bowl game.]

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[My driver, through most of the trip, because she always wanted to be an over-the-road trucker.  Besides, I’m the camera man.  😉  ]

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[The only signs of life (?) for countless miles are the hay bales, making a unique landscape feature.]

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[Moving from one empty 10,000 hectares to the next?]

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[Well, I like ’em!]

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[Miles from Nowhere . . . ]

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[Nowhere’s water tower?]

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[If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen millions!]

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[If you’ve never driven across the South Dakota prairie, this is it.  I called it “In Search of the Elusive Tree.”]

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[Not a Gopher (as far as I could tell).]

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[This is like a hint.]

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[This is one of the places we had been to previously.  (As Rita would say, “It’s bad, bad, bad!”)  Always worthy of return trips.  We did not see any mountain goats this time.]

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[Warning at several places along the way.  No, we did not see any.  Though the weather was mild through the entire trip, probably a little early in the season for much reptilian activities.]

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[Apologies upfront for the numerous “selfies” you’re likely to encounter.]

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[I recognize that person in the middle photo as someone with whom I shared a car.]

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[It is quite the unique and mesmerizing place.]

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[And the Emmy goes to . . . ]

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[The South Dakota Badlands aren’t huge, which makes them all the more convenient.]

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[70 years old and still scrambling around on the rocks?  At home, it’s usually something about arthritic knees?  😉  ]

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[Driving through the park to the . . . ]

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[Visitors Center.  We usually watch whatever movie is playing about the Parks we venture to – gives a good introduction as to what you’re going to find.]

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[Then it was back on the drive-through, watching the heights to see if we could spot any mountain goats or bighorn sheep.]

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[Keep looking . . . ]

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[No critters yet, but another beautiful overlook!]

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[By now the Supervisor has repaired back to the car to peruse maps.  Maps take priority over everything else on these trips – heart attacks, landslides, earthquakes, et al, are trivial in comparison.  In the absence of the Super, “selfies” become a form of providing perspective.  As you can see, my head is as large as half the park.]

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[SNAKE!!!!  No, but did I scare you?]

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[Finally, critter sighting!  I was told they’re not Gophers, but members of the canine family . . . some kind of “dogs”?]

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[Still “in search of . . .”]

3-18-15-107 - Copy 3-18-15-108 - Copy 3-18-15-109 - Copy[And there they are . . . big critters, right along the road way!]

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[Reverse “selfie”?]

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[Even in the camera’s little “screen,” I could tell this one was going to look like a museum display.  But really, they’re real!  A slow drive by and you can almost touch them.  Neat!]

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[Always end with an “end” shot.]

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[So, how do we get out of here?]

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[One last expansive overlook, and we were off to . . . ]

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[Our first overnight was in Wall, South Dakota, you know, home of the billboard famous drug store.  Anyway, Fat Boy’s BBQ was not yet serving BBQ (later in the season when the tourists swarm), so we opted for nachos, enough to feed two small countries.  (Editor’s note:  All food presentations herein are done at the request of the Fat Boys Walking Club, whose members all enjoy a good nosh.)]

If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.  ~  Catherine Aird

Up next:  Day Two.

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2 Responses to Road Trip, Day One

  1. Gretchen says:

    Love the photos. Beautiful. Felt like I was on the trip with you guys. You know how I love that desolate South Dakota prairie!

  2. Jerry Prettyman says:

    Thanks for the memories. Many times spent in that area over many years, living in and traveling that area. Thanks, Jerry

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