Day 28: Mad Dash Across South Dakota

A gloriously sunny day — but a good percentage of it sitting in place just barreling down I-90.  Three mediums cups of coffee for me today.  I think a new record.  But I got all the way from western to eastern South Dakota with many stops hugging the interstate on the way.

We started the day in Rapid City.  And one of my goals has always been to replicate the vintage scene here at the Dinosaur Park with my own dogs:

And all my dogs know how to beg, readily, eagerly, easily.  It’s one of the first tricks I teach.  But today, Day 28, I experienced one of those “do we HAVE to, Mom?” moments.  Nobody wanted to do nothing.  I think at least Nik might have — but since he knows a finger signal more than a verbal signal and the nearly blind boy was facing the sun, he hadn’t a clue what he was supposed to do.  Fixie and Grem were on strike.  Grip can only sit up for a couple of seconds since she’s losing a lot of muscle tone in her aging rear end.  Ah well.  I think another trip, another time.


Then, photo-op #2.  I saw this statue in downtown Rapid City last night and knew we had to do it.  But the bronze chair was so slippery from so many human butts previously posed on it, that my guys could barely stay on.  It was like glass.  The statue is of Warren Harding and his Airedale Terrier, Laddie Boy.  There are these smaller than life Presidents on nearly every corner downtown.  I had to shoot quick since it was rush hour traffic just a few feet away and Grem was scoping something.


On with the roadside stuff then.  More Rapid City.  Love this 1970s era sign:


From Hill City.  This guy advertises for Chute Roosters restaurant:


Another from Hill City.  With meshie protective covering:


Several signs from Custer:


And  no I-90 trip through South Dakota would be complete without a stop at Wall Drug:

For those of you that have never been, there’s all kinds of creepy statues — animatronic like these — and others just to pose with:

Photo-ops — like this faux Mount Rushmore and a saddled Jackalope for you to climb on.

And of course, an incredible amount of souvenirs, stuff to eat, and all that.  ‘Tis amazing.  This dinosaur is a fairly new addition sure to give the kids nightmares:


On to Interior to check on the giant prairie dog statue — looking good.

The other times I’ve been there, it’s been deserted.  The gift shop closed.  I had no idea that there were prairie dogs everywhere around the statue.  Maybe they only come out during working hours?  The gift shop sells some kinds of special peanuts or something — you’re not supposed to feed them anything else ($$).  And there were maybe a dozen kids and families there with the critters eating right out of their hands.  The fattest little prairie dogs I’ve ever seen:

And of course, the dogs were enjoying the show…  That’s Grem barking madly in the front seat and Nik jumping up and down.  Grip gets in a participatory bark now and then.  Fix is pretty much wishing we were back in Brooklyn already.


A couple of signs from Murdo:


From Chamberlain:


On to Sioux Falls.  I arrived at dark and was totally unprepared for shooting neon — but knew I had to find the energy somewhere.  It means even less sleep but who knows when I’ll be here again.

Just enough light to make out that one lonely car.  I put the pole sign from this place over at Flickr tonight.

This one has to be a modern sign — but I still like it very much:


I should be able to finish up South Dakota and get started on Minnesota tomorrow.  I thought I was maybe a day and a half ahead of schedule.  Thinking how nice it would be to get back on Saturday morning and have all weekend to get my life together before work on Monday.  But looking at the thickness of these Minnesota and Wisconsin packs — wow, not so sure.  I have a feeling it’s gonna be another killer drive home from Chicago & I’ll be home late on Sunday.

20 thoughts on “Day 28: Mad Dash Across South Dakota

  1. Wow, what a great day! Totally makes me realize we shoulgd get out to South Dakota sooner rather than later. Thanks for the reconnaissance work!
    I love how the pups were acting just like my nieces and nephew when I was trying to take a picture of the 3 of them at Wilson’s diner- someone not looking at the camera, someone posing, someone making a silly face. Guess the pups are little kids at heart. Or old folks who can’t be bothered 🙂
    “Imaginary Friends Stay Free” – I think I’m going to have to get Retro Roadhusband to incorporate that line into a song – or suggest it to more motels, as it sure made me laugh.
    And finally, that Sport Bowl sign is Super Gorgeous- and the lonely car totally adds to the scale as well as the precariousness of some of these places you’re working so hard to capture.
    So happy you finally got some good shooting weather – those colors are wonderfully saturated!

  2. Strong photos today of the sighs, gorgeous blue sky , sun helping out, to make everything POP. Perhaps it’s because I have cats, but just getting everyone in a frame seems amazing to me lol ! Love the big prairie dog . omg the video of the kids cracked me up .

    • I need to start video-ing more. Yes, the past week or so — excellent weather. But this morning, luck ran out. Pouring rain for hours. Might be a good day to catch up on some zzzzs.

  3. DJ, I won’t be in Lanesboro Sunday or Monday, so if you stop by the diner on those days, please at least introduce yourself to Gordon and Val! I mention you so much to Gordon, I really want him to at least meet you once, if only for 10 seconds or so. (I’m headed to Sioux City, Iowa and Decatur City for some diners)

    • I will say hi to Gordon if he’s there when I’m there. Probably Monday. I’m sure you’ve only said good things about me (ha!). Have fun in Iowa — I’m in Spencer, IA tonight. Moving on to MN in the morning.

    • Glad you’re enjoying the doggie pix. Grem bolted from the van, right over my shoulder (about a six foot leap) to chase a rabbit yesterday. Luckily, no cars around. Sheez. Squirrels are gonna seem so boring when we get home.

    • Actually the bracket suggestion that you had didn’t work. But I went to YouTube and used their embed-link function there. Not sure what you mean by “advertising one”.

      • yeah the posting here stripped the script.

        in wordpress you can do
        open bracket youtube space paste-the-link close bracket

        that naming convention should work…

        if you aren’t logged onto wordpress there’s some jive youtube video that came at the bottom of the post above the comments. hate ads! once you log in it disappears thankfully. ugh.

      • The “bracket” method didn’t work. It only left an unclickable link. Thanks for the note about they ad — I sure don’t want that! Must investigate further when I have more time. Which is never.

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