South Dakota Trip – recap!

I’ve been home for almost a week now, have finally downloaded the SD pics from my camera & phone, and thought it was high time I regaled you with all the excitement! I already touched briefly on the first part of the trip. I spent Sunday night – Friday morning with my parents in Rapid City (for the uninitiated, that’s in the Black Hills, home of Mt. Rushmore & other exciting things).

Wednesday evening, I borrowed my mom’s car (like a teenager! cool!) and went to visit my friend Steph and her family. Stephanie & I went to college together and hung out a wee bit during that time. She is made of awesome sauce, and I am so glad that she lives near my parents, because that means every time I go visit them, I get to see her, her very cool husband, and her two fantastic kiddos (who are somehow starting 3rd grade & kindergarten today – not sure how that happened).

We had a great dinner (garden fresh! a woman after my own heart!), a lovely post-dinner walk, and then Legos! and Lego star wars! (Lego me is a faceless robber, in case you were wondering). We had so much fun that we forgot to take any pictures. 🙁 So, I made Steph come to my parents’ house the next day for a photo shoot, because it would be a crime to NOT have a picture of the this much awesomeness in existence:


This is obviously before my sudden growth spurt….

Thursday was pretty low key. I worked on homework, went to the farmers’ market with my mom, and made a rental car reservation. Friday morning, I was up bright & early to get ready for my long drive. But first, of course, pictures!


After the photoshoot (we just asked one of the papparazzi standing about, obvs), Mom drove me to the airport to pick up my car. I had a brief moment of panic at the rental car counter when I couldn’t find my license or debit card – I hadn’t used them all week. For a moment I was afraid I’d left them at home, then common sense prevailed – there’s no way I could’ve boarded the plane w/o my license! – and I checked the zipper pocket of my carry on and found them.

I got in my sweet Ford Fusion (ha!) and headed out. I like western South Dakota, but it can be a bit desolate. If I hadn’t been worried about time, I would’ve taken the Badlands loop, but I didn’t want to get to Sioux Falls and be rushing to pick up the architect at the airport!


Rest stop view

I stopped 3 times on my way across the state, and after my first stop (in Kadoka, SD), I discovered that my car had satellite radio! YAY! I listened to a 90s station in preparation for seeing my two other college besties!

I’d been craving Taco Johns since Wednesday night (mmmmm….Taco Bravo & potato oles with nacho cheese), so when I stopped for lunch in Chamberlain, that’s what I got. So nasty. So disgusting. So good.

Chamberlain is right on the Missouri River, and if I’d cared, I could’ve gotten some awesome shots of the river. However, I didn’t care, so you will have to use your imagination:


After that, I drove the rest of the way to Sioux Falls, only stopping once to talk on the phone. (Sure, I can drive 80 mph and talk on the phone at the same time – after all the road’s pretty straight, but I decided that it might be a bit safer to just pull into a rest stop.)

Finally, after driving all day, I got to my hotel, and bestie #1 (Sara & I lived together for two years – practically 3) came to my hotel room! YAY! My phone kept making noises, which apparently sounded like pictures, so there was a “why are you taking pictures of my feet” joke. Obviously, what came next is no surprise:


After an hour or so, she had to head home and I had to head to the airport to pick up the architect! YAY! I hadn’t seen him for over 5 days, and I was pretty excited.

We headed back to the hotel & chilled for approximately 10 minutes before heading downtown to meet Sara, her bf, and bestie #2 (my roommate from my senior year in college & 3 years in LA, Marcy) and her husband for sushi! I was a bit nervous about sushi in one of the most landlocked places you can actually find in the US, but it was pretty good. 🙂


Saturday morning, I finished up my homework, and then headed over to Marcy’s to meet her and Sara for our day of fun! The architect dropped me off & headed out for his own day of fun (taking pictures of old downtown Sioux Falls, and relaxing at the hotel).

I got an excellent surprise when, in addition to Sara, Sara’s MOM also showed up. She is one of my favorite moms of all time (next to my own, of course), and we went out for a lovely ladies’ lunch, and then, to the mall. As we were leaving the mall so I could go back to my hotel, rest a bit, and collect the architect, we ran into my sister! CRAZY!

Saturday evening, we all reconvened at Marcy’s house so her chef husband could make us fantastic fajitas and we could spend the evening watching funny You Tube videos.

All too soon, the evening was over…but not before we got pictures!

Sara, Amy, Marcy

Sara, Amy, Liz, Marcy

I will have to photoshop Steph into one of these pics – she really should’ve been there, right?


Sunday, the architect & I headed over to pick up Liz, and then we drove to Madison, home of one of my mother’s brothers and his family. I hadn’t seen them in a while, and we had a lovely lunch. All too soon, it was time to head to Lake Norden to see my maternal grandparents. We spent an hour or so with them before heading back.


On the way back to Sioux Falls, we drove through Arlington – a town I lived in for five years as a wee lass (Liz was born while we lived there) and we drove by the old house.


It looks so much smaller than I remember (from when I was 7). Then, we drove through Brookings (where I went to undergrad) and drove by the two houses I lived in as a Jr and Sr in college. The architect was not impressed with either.  I didn’t get a pic of my senior house, but when I was a Jr, Sara & I lived in an old Victorian that had been divided into three very tiny apartments. Her bedroom was an addition to the house, and had been build where the porch must have been originally. They didn’t take the original window out when they added it, so we had a window between our bedrooms. It was an awesome novelty for the first couple of weeks, and then it was awesome because when she would sleep through her alarm, I could open the window & shut it off!  🙂

They are (I hope) restoring it now…I swear it didn’t look like this when we lived there…


That night, we ordered room service & I fell asleep EARLY.

The next morning, we went out for breakfast, then headed back to the hotel to pack up. We met my sister for lunch, and then the architect  & I went on one last midwestern adventure. We drove to Minnesota so he could check that off the list. After touring the exciting town of Pipestone, we went back to Sioux Falls, handed in the car, and got on the plane home.

And that is the end of my SD Adventure!  If you stuck with it this long, you are probably from South Dakota and were hoping to see more pictures of yourself.

I had a great time on the trip – it was so good to see everyone! There were friends I hadn’t seen since May 2007 and family I hadn’t seen since who knows when!

I was, however, super happy to be home, in my own bed. Next time, however, I’m going to need a vacation day after I get back before going to work. Tuesday was brutal (sorry for my abrupt exit at book club tuesday night, fellow clubbers! So tired!)

Happy week, all!

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