So here we sit at the Best Western in Wall, South Dakota. Still a wimpy non-upload-friendly internet connection, so no pictures to show yet, but they are stacking up like crazy. Fields, rolling pastures, epic riverfronts, Wall Drug, the Badlands... goats and sunsets and prarie dogs too. Just amazing.
We decided to check in here this afternoon after checking with Kristin as to what was worth seeing and what wasn't. But the drive across South Dakota today from the edge of Minnesota, short as it felt, was just gorgeous. We went from corn to rolling pastures, with another epic and sweeping change in landscape as we came across a river, this time it was the Missouri River (I think). Big beautiful Americana, big sky, and land land land as far as you can see, hills past that when you can't see any further. The only thing I've seen that far of that I can remember is ocean, just vast and endless and sweeping.
The other thing that happened on the drive, besides the country breaking open, was my heart breaking open - all in the middle of a mix tape, all music filling the car up and filling me up at the same time. It was like getting tattooed, where the pain gets outweighed by the event that's getting immortalized - I knew suddenly that I needed people around me, friends, and I also knew completely that making out with anyone right now would undoubtedly distract me and maybe ease whatever needed easing - but it wouldn't solve anything. I knew all that logically already, but it was like a wave came over me, and I knew I had to do some serious work if I ever wanted to get better. The pain of going through all of this face-first is better than the perceived lack of pain in standing still... because it's not lacking, at all. It just feels like it sometimes.
So, all music and aching, and then everything got all these sudden rocky structures as we got closer to Wall, and every ten freaking feet it seemed we saw the Wall Drug signs. We decided to stop in, all on the phone at a gas station, map spread out, real honest-to-goodness cowboys with spurs and hats and trucks. Wall Drug itself was... interesting. BIg crazy structures, huge rabbits and dinosaurs and creepy wax figures, every tchotchke you could think of, every everything that said South Dakota or Mt. Rushmore or the Badlands, or motorcycles, or a crude joke about any of the above.
We had a bite, did all the sightseeing that was to be done, and headed off to the Badlands after we fed ChaCha - so amazing. Words don't do it justice, and neither do the pictures. We watched the sunset, encountered packs of mountain goats, heard bison, and just pulled it all in. It was great.
I think we've got about two days left before Seattle. This trip is going quick, but in a good way, so we're slowing it down a notch for the last leg. Tomorrow is Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and then apparently a whole lot of not much coffee. Today the closest Starbucks at any given point was between 32 and 216 miles away. So we're going to hit the little coffee shop at the Wall Drug strip, because they actually had some decent espresso.
Goats! Seriously. A whole bunch, and it was like in cartoons, with collars and bells, I half expected them to be chewing on cans.