Roadtrip Blogging: Sheridan, Wyoming to Sioux Falls, South Dakota (583 miles)

So I up and splurged a little bit, got myself a cabin at the KOA in Sioux Falls, because I figured I deserved it, and because it was only twenty bucks more than setting up a tent in the dark.  So I have real light tonight, not just the computer white, and I have a bed with a mattress on which to put my sleeping bag.  My back hurt this morning, another reason to splurge.  The cabin smells like conifers, there are two windows with matching curtains, and it’s impeccably clean.  All in all, I’m happy with my decision.

Where was I?

Right, so Wyoming.  Sheridan.  Sheridan is a Wyoming town.  That’s all I can say about it.  It’s like any other poor-ish small town, I guess, but set in the mountains, which gives it a distinctly rugged feel.  If by rugged you mean stupid.  One main street, a couple of old buildings, motorcycle repair shops, gas stations, population 15,000-something.  Extremely hostile seeming, so I gave the Shriners guys in front of the gas station a dollar–they were both in their seventies, shiny maroon jackets, with those even shinier conical hats–to, you know, give a gift to the gods and shit, so they wouldn’t strike me down on the highway.  The calculation was simple: give the Shriners guys a dollar and don’t get smitten, or don’t give the Shriners guys a dollar and have your ass handed to you in the middle of South Dakota.

As I said, simple.

But this is an example of the logic of your brain when you’re driving across the country in an untenable automobile:  you are inclined to make bargains with the gods.  You will try to trick them into thinking that one dollar for Shriners was the appropriate price to pay for another day on planet earth.  And when it works, you keep right on doing it.  And that’s how religions are formed, dummy…

Or so I thought somewhere in the middle of South Dakota, going insane.  I was absolutely going madly insane in motherfucking South Dakota.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Black Hills are pretty and all, but unless you like to go to boring oddities-type shit, you’re going to go insane in South Dakota, too.

So first I skipped Mount Rushmore.  I was driving along and considering going–really thinking hard about it.  And then the sign came and said, like, “Mount Rushmore.  Take this exit.  This is the one to take for Mount Rushmore.  Unless you want to go some roundabout way later on, take this one.”  And I just watched it go by.  And that was that.  That was what Mount Rushmore was like for me.

Then there’s Wall Drug.  Funny thing about Wall Drug:  it’s in the town of Wall.  I’d never thought about that even being a possibility.  I just figured, you know, Wall Drug, you know?  Like Wal-Mart, only with another L.  But there you have it, and I was wrong.

Wall Drug is boring.  There are lots of old people and a few German tourists.  They all walk around looking to buy things with the words Wall Drug on them. They’re taking pictures on benches with wooden cowboys.  They’re moseying and dilly-dallying.  There are tour-buses full of them.  And I was one of them today.  I walked around in Wall Drug’s various stores and thought, “Huh, hell of a marketing campaign for absolutely no payoff.”  Their marketing campaign is brilliant.  There are hundreds and hundreds of signs for sixty miles all around talking about fifty cent coffees, homemade donuts, T-Rex memorabilia, whatever, and all doing it in a somehow cute way, while not being over the top cutesy.  But then you get there and it’s just a carnival for people who want to buy useless crap.  I will say that I considered buying one of those Wall Army Knives with my name on it, but they were out of Blogbytoms.

So then I left.

And then I drove and drove and drove.  It rained a little bit.  There were lots of dead animals on the side of the road.  Um.  Lots of trucks, too.  Yup.  A little rain–did I already mention the rain?–ah, I see that I did.  Let’s see.  There were thirty-something consecutive miles of two-way free way traffic.  You know, when you share the same interstate with the other guys, the ones going the other way, because their side’s getting construction done on it.  You know that?  I don’t know what it’s called.  But there was a lot of it in a row, and it was boring, just like the rest of South Dakota.

I skipped the Corn Palace and 1880 Town, too.

So now I’m sitting here in Sioux Falls with a mattress and a sleeping bag and a cabin.  With electricity.  I’ve got half a pack of cigarettes.  I’ve got nothing but time and deadlines.  See you tomorrow.




5 responses to “Roadtrip Blogging: Sheridan, Wyoming to Sioux Falls, South Dakota (583 miles)

  1. Wall Drug is awesome. I went there as a kid and my dad got a real cowboy hat and I got some free ice water. And you really missed out on the corn palace…
    There are also tons of prairie dogs that hang out in the western part of SD and need I mention Mt.Rushmore? I bet you just drove by the Wounded Knee massacre memorial, too. tsk tsk. South Dakota is great.

  2. Mt Rushmore kinda sucks. You can get a very similar experience by stapling a Mt Rushmore postcard to a tree in a rest area and then walking away from it until you can barely make out the postcard.

  3. I have a few points to make here:

    1) I kind of love Wyoming, Sheridan and all. Where else can you see the sunset loom over your entire horizon, mesa off to the side, beef ad to the other, camera out the window, 80 miles an hour (or, at least, as far as you know).

    2) I’ve stayed at that KOA in Sioux Falls! I slept in Ezra’s car, sprawled out in the hatchback drinking Wyoming beer (drive-thru bought!) and reading “The Crying of Lot 49” until I fell asleep cramped between the window and all of my belongings. When I woke up, I was so embarrassed to be sleeping in my car that I discreetly flung the door open and spy-rolled out, only to find a nice old man staring at me from the picnic table between me and his car.

    3) I went to Mt. Rushmore. I kind of didn’t want to, and I still mildly resent the bitch who coerced me into buying the ticket (“It’s worth it—when will you ever be here again?”) but I fucking did it. But this is the great thing about a solo road trip: after 10 minutes I was like, dude, this shit is kinda fucking boring, I’m a get my ice cream and get out of here, and that’s what I did.

    4) So, there’s been a lot of Subar-bashing since last August, but let me just say one thing: that car is 3 months younger than me and I’ve NEVER had it break down on me. You just drove across the most important mountain range in the United States. Fuck yeah. Also, you don’t have a 25 year-old clutch. One time, about 10 years ago, I was faced with the possibility of replacing the clutch or waiting until the car died.
    When he called me up, the guy on the other end of the line obviously had ulterior motives, but he said something I couldn’t deny, and I was sold: “You can’t kill these cars,” he said. “You could shoot ’em with a shotgun and still they’d keep on goin’.”

    And then I forked over a bunch of money so you could make it to the east coast, where I will buy you a drink(s) and we’ll all listen to hip hop at Naomi’s and my new-found James Brown bar. You’ll make it. I have no doubt.

  4. That should say Subaru. Really? I can’t edit my post? What is this shit, wordpress??

  5. Pingback: The Anniversary « Blogbytom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s