No, I didn’t forget or give up on this series, even if site traffic already did months ago. We were so close to the very end when Oscars season, two conventions, year-in-review entries, and mood swings got in the way. The cool part is, much like Watchmen, Kevin Smith’s Daredevil run, or the Dangerous Visions trilogy, future generations who read the full work in one sitting will have no idea there was a long, sad gap between installments. Sincere apologies, future internet users, or denizens of whatever replaced the internet, for this intro that may seem superfluous in hindsight!
Tag Archives: South Dakota
Our 2021 Road Trip #18: More American Presidents Cornered
Our previous photo gallery featured statues bearing likenesses of twenty Presidents of the United States of America, highlights from the City of Presidents art-walk around downtown Rapid City, South Dakota. Now we present the rest of them because YOU, the viewers, demanded it!
Wait, no, you didn’t. But I don’t feel like relegating 43 American Presidents to the outtake pile, and Anne co-wrote a joke I really want to see in print. So here we go again!
Our 2021 Road Trip #17: A President on Every Corner
Longtime MCC fans have seen photos of more U.S. President statues in these pages than the average citizen will ever see in their entire lifetime. When your wife is a big history aficionado and the two of you share an inclination toward roadside attractions, Presidential art is an inevitable objective in all your vacation itineraries. But prior to 2021 we’d only seen statues commemorating a handful of Presidents — mostly the popular ones, plus a handful of lower-tier Commanders-in-Chief whose museums, preserved homes, gravesites, and peculiar fan bases we’ve visited. One American city was bold enough to ask: why not bring all of them to life?
Our 2021 Road Trip #16: Rapid City Remainders
IF you’re taking your family on a traditional South Dakota vacation, Rapid City is your target destination. As we found in 2009, its plentiful hotels are a reasonable distance from many tourist attractions — the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, and more. With a slightly longer hop-skip-jump, it’s also a springboard to Deadwood and Devil’s Tower. Rapid City is no Manhattan, but its tourism game is strong.
But we didn’t want to spend our entire 2021 vacation on do-overs. Among our new activities on the itinerary: taking a look inside Rapid City itself.
Our 2021 Road Trip #15: Badlands Backdrop Bonanza
Onur first visit to South Dakota’s Badlands National Park back in 2009, it was hard to stop taking photos. The same held true with our return engagement, which is why they’re getting two galleries. This one features a key difference from the other one: signs of life in the photos besides rocks, nature, and geological beauty. Animals! People! Literally signs! And more!
Our 2021 Road Trip #14: Back to the Badlands
Show of hands: who wants an entry that contains more pictures than words? The sort of blog post you can scroll through in twenty seconds or less and still feel as though you’ve given the author an appropriate amount of attention?
Wow, that hurts, y’all. But maybe we can accommodate.
Our 2021 Road Trip #13: Dignity Where the Roadside Meets the Riverside
The three-hundred-mile stretch of I-90 through southern South Dakota is vast. Really, really vast. Until and unless you reach the Black Hills and the Badlands to the west, the flattened landscape across the central and eastern portions can lose their visual novelty to even the most innocent traveling yokel after about the first five or ten miles. Roadside attractions blessedly break up that monotony here and there — some ironically and some with utmost sincerity. It’s more rewarding when you feel compelled to stop for the sake of art appreciation than out of car-happy desperation.
Our 2021 Road Trip #12: Corn Again in the Kingdom of Cob
Your typical, most famous tourist attractions tend to be singular experiences. You make the trip, you see it the one time, you Instagram it with a trite affirmation tacked on, and you’ve seen all you need to see of it for the rest of your life. The Empire State Building doesn’t add all-new stories on top with all-new features. The Statue of Liberty doesn’t entice repeat customers by changing into different dresses like the World’s Largest Barbie. Mount Rushmore doesn’t rotate the Presidents’ heads and cycle through all 45 of them, because the logistics would require science fiction tech and sooner or later you’d end up with a non-star lineup of Van Buren, Harrison #1, Tyler, and Polk, and attendance would plummet, like that one year the Best Picture Oscar nominees were four art films and a three-hour Brad Pitt nap.
Some attractions benefit from forward-looking designers who realize flexibility is a virtue and construct their dream edifice using a medium that lends itself to creative renewal. Such was absolutely the case for our next stop, a sight both familiar and revamped.
Our 2021 Road Trip #11: When Art Show Animals Attack
We knew a trip to Yellowstone would mean live animal sightings sooner or later. We also knew tourists and animals sometimes don’t get along and mistakes can be made by one party or the other. Rest assured if we’d suffered one of those debilitating bear attacks that grab news headlines on slow news days or trend heavily on YouTube, I would’ve written about it here by now. Bears, in fact, made a point of hiding from us all vacation long. We spotted nary a real bear the entire trip, not even in captivity.
That doesn’t mean all our wildlife encounters were amicable. Apart from driving up and around rainy mountains on Day Four, our scariest moment occurred in, of all places, an outdoor art walk.
Our 2021 Road Trip #10: The Little Falls Before Sioux Falls’ Big Sioux Falls
It sounds confusing but it’s perfectly simple. The city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is named after the waterfalls that are part of the Big Sioux River, around which local civilization sprung up. They built an entire city park around the prettiest part of the river and named it Falls Park, of course after the city’s own natural namesake. That stretch of the Big Sioux has numerous falls of varying sizes along its length. Depending on how far you walk, you can see all or merely some of those falls and enjoy natural beauty in a portion size of your choosing. If you’re short on time, a falls sampler is better than no falls at all.
Also, if you saw a limited portion of the falls and felt you’d seen enough, and nobody had the unsolicited courtesy of mind-reading skills to run up and tell you, “But wait! There’s more!” you might get all the way home from vacation, let three months pass by, revisit your photos, compare them to online resources, and then discover you missed the best parts of the park.
Not that we’re bitter.