Saturday, June 22, 2013


Any good cross country trip, or long drive, is significantly more enjoyable/tolerable with a good co-pilot.

Gus has traveled many miles with me.  He has hiked 270 miles by my side.  He has helped me train for multiple marathons.  He has stayed with me at the Park Plaza, and he has slept out under the stars.

To be honest, he was also the only person, who EVERY time I asked, was enthusiastic about going on a 6,500 mile summer road trip to visit colleges across the United States.

His reward is that every day he winds up doing things that most dogs don't get to do.  When we arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, we went right to a nice park, and checked out the falls.

Then, he joined me at Monk's to watch some hockey, and shared the most incredible BLT spring roll with me.

Lastly he made sure we got home safe to the in-town Holiday Inn.  He got his own Double Bed (which he ignored of course deciding to keep my feet warm instead), and Gus LOVES even the most mediocre continental breakfast. 

My time in South Dakota has been amazing.  It has been nice to take a weekend off from the college visits. It has been nice to see the plains.  This is a part of the United States that I have honestly never been in.  And there are a few things that have stuck out to me.  Firstly, it is flat.  We teasingly refer to Massachusetts residents as "Flat Landers."  South Dakotans are FLAT LANDERS. 

Secondly, people are incredibly welcoming and nice.  When Gus and I stopped in Pierre, the chamber of commerce had a stand set up, and gave Gus and I free hot dogs, cokes, and sent us on our way.

There have been a lot of funny little surprises in South Dakota.  I know that the Corn Palace is probably the worst kept secret in South Dakota, but it was INCREDIBLY fun and informative.  Sure, corn is among my favorite foods, but this place was chock full of playful and  interesting stuff that would make anyone smile.

Camping in the Badlands was also beautiful.  I had heard of the unique beauty of the place, and was excited to check it out.  Storms made my trip shorter than initially anticipated, but I still had a wonderful time. 

AND THE STORMS.  They have perhaps been the most surprising part of South Dakota.  They come on fast, and with a fury seldom seen on the east coast.  One moment the entire sky is blue, and you can see for miles.  Within twenty minutes it can be as dark as night, and it is hard to see five feet in front of yourself.

Sunsets have also been incredible, in both the beauty and the lateness.  Sunsets are happening at 9:00 or later these days, and so if you are thinking about Mountain Time, vs. my friends back on the east coast, it is after 11pm that I am sitting down, and enjoying a snack as the sun sets.

Having Gus along with me also means we stop frequently.  He likes to stretch his legs, and water the local flora and chase the local fauna, so I've been stopping every hour and a half to two hours to give him a break, and check out fun local spots.

It is because of this that I wound up in Sturgis, and immediately regretted not being on the sidecar motorcycle with Gus.

It is also because of these frequent stops, that I wound up in Deadwood, SD.  This town was a riot, attempting the nearly impossible blend of authentic looking Wild West town, and modern functioning village.

NEXT STOP: Yellowstone National Park

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