Are you thinking about taking a trip through South Dakota? Please allow me to walk you through how that trip will go. . .
The anticipation about seeing Mount Rushmore will get you to Mount Rushmore without too much thought. I mean, dead Presidents carved into a mountain- nothing else quite says “this is America bitches!“. You will note that from the initial angle Abe Lincoln and Ted Roosevelt look like they’re about to embrace each other in a kiss. But from the designated angle they’re much more heterosexual. You’re favorite part will be Roosevelt’s mustache, and the smirk on Jefferson’s face will likely cause you to try and determine what he is thinking. One of the things you come up with will be “I just farted”.
After about seven minutes of photos with all of the pose and angle combinations you can come up with you’ll begin to wonder what you’re suppose to do now. Leaving seems a little anticlimactic. You’ll probably buy a t-shirt and a magnet so that you can often and fondly remember the time you spent with America’s stone fathers. As you leave you should probably thank them for their contributions.
By this time you’ll have likely seen brochures for Crazy Horse, another stone monument that is a mere twenty miles away. And if you’ve spent ANY time in Wyoming you know that our Native history is just as (if not more) important than our American history. Now I mean no disrespect to our Native ancestors but I’m going to give you a heads up right now- the monument is not finished, costs $10 per person to view, and will make you wish you could have those twenty miles back. Take a good look at that brochure because I promise you that photo is more satisfying. And it’s free.
Next on your itinerary is The Badlands National Park. The fifty mile drive and $15 fee is worth it. At just about any time of day I would imagine this incredible creation reminiscent of The Land Before Time is always as breath taking. Take your kids.
Since South Dakota happens to be deceivingly wide, by this time you will likely be looking for a place to sleep. Now believe it or not, motels WILL be booked, so you will need to reserve a room online ahead of time and if you happen to stay in Kadoka, please stay at the Dakota Inn. If for no other reason but that the old man at the front desk will know who you are not because he asked for your name or ID (he will do neither) but because you will be the only person who has reserved a room online- possibly ever. The carpet is alarmingly red but I’m sure they clean after every time someone is killed. There may or may not be dead crickets in your room.
In the morning you’ll be glad that there is a cafe, called CAFE, right across the gravel patch from the Inn. Don’t get too excited though, they only take cash. Just continue onward until you see the next stop for a restaurant. This will bring you to a town that displays more signs reading “An 1880 town!” than signs displaying the town’s actual name. Upon entering this restaurant you might be fooled into thinking you’re about to have an amazing, home-cooked, diner-style meal. And you might be- as long as you don’t confuse them by ordering ANYTHING that differs from the six items on their menu- this includes asking for any item without the meat, expecting cheese, asking for your breakfast sandwich on an English muffin, or drinking the coffee. DON’T DRINK THE COFFEE. And don’t worry, their neighbor doesn’t take as long as you think to deliver the cheese. The American Kraft Singles cheese.
Now South Dakota gets exciting.
South Dakota doesn’t ever get exciting. They have a lot of Amish people (Driving cars. Yes, it seemed weird to me too.) and people who reenact old saloon robbery scenes JUST FOR FUN in fake old towns, and you might think they have a lot of corn BUT THEY DON’T. So now, NOW, you get to drive. Miles and miles and miles. With nothing to look at except for fields. FIELDS OF NOTHING. Seriously, if South Dakota is growing something I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS. And if you’re lucky like me, the rain in south Dakota will tear the paint off your car and then you will have car trouble in Sioux Falls, the only place in that state that even resembles a city. And you might think “I bet they have a lot of mechanics here because they probably have to fix their own cars a lot”, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the repair shop that everyone recommends to you (which also doubles as a home and garden store) will strangely misplace their mechanic from time to time. The next mechanic you find won’t have time for you. But don’t worry, three hours, $300, and conversations with strangely friendly local ladies in the auto repair lounge and you’ll be good to go.
And go you will. Miles and miles and miles. There is one last site to see in South Dakota. The Corn Palace. And if you have more sanity than I did by the time you get there, by all means, stop! I hear it’s a gymnasium on the inside. Which is cool. You know, if you have nothing better to do but shoot hoops in a gymnasium in South Dakota. Possibly with Amish people.
So I get why South Dakota is called the Mount Rushmore state. Their other options were The Amish State, The State That Pretends to Have Corn, or The So-Boring-You-Might-Stab-Yourself-For-Fun State.
Enjoy your travels and God bless America.
-The Monster Queen