South Dakota: Great Places and Great Faces

"Cool, I guess, but not as cute as prairie dogs."
South Dakota has more motorcyclists and prairie dogs per square mile than any other place. The prairie dogs bark and burrow, the bikers grow facial hair and transport biker babes. I use the term "babes" loosely here.

There are probably no stranger bedfellows than bikers and prairie dogs, except perhaps soccer moms and saltwater crocodiles. In a cage fight to the death between all four species, my money, surprisingly, is on the prairie dogs, assuming the cage floor is loose soil. Prairie dog bites can spread the plague, and no foe could follow them into their underground lairs. But all bets are off if the bikers have access to a backhoe, or if the soccer moms have access to a Cuisinart.

Perhaps you're wondering how I acquired so much firsthand knowledge of South Dakota, and if you're not, you should be, because the amount I know is alarming. Well, the truth is, I went to South Dakota. So me and Shawn Colvin have been to the state, although she's from there, which makes me better than her.

"Babe, if I had a backhoe I'd smash prairie dogs."
A couple of good friends (see Sam's account of the trip here), me, and my two older kids piled into our minivan and traversed Wyoming, camped in extreme northwest Nebraska, and reached our trip's terminus at Mount Rushmore. I've heard people are sometimes disappointed when they see Mount Rushmore, which tells me that those people hate America and love the Taliban. Personally, I wept when I saw the four presidents' faces. My kids initially did not weep, but they did once I backhanded them in the chops as punishment for not weeping. "Avoid the appearance of loving the Taliban" is our family motto. That and "Jean-Luc Picard Forever."

In addition to beholding Mount Rushmore, we also saw Oregon Trail wagon ruts (definitely worth the 1.8 mile drive off the highway in Guernsey, Wyoming) and Register Cliff, where pioneers etched their names and the year of their passage into a cliff near the Laramie River (they probably should've been conserving calories, but whatever).

I recommend southwestern South Dakota. And so does Shawn Colvin. Great Places and Great Faces are, after all, why Sonny came home.