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Making Lemonade

Minneapolis, MN—Today’s plan was to squeeze a few of South Dakota’s less time-consuming sights into the 600+ miles between Mount Rushmore and Minneapolis. The first stop was Wall Drug, a drug store cum souvenir stand whose quaint roadside advertising has a blast radius reaching for hundreds of miles. The amount of time we were willing to spend browsing jackalope shot glasses and listening to children wailing about the injustice of being denied miniature, personalized South Dakota license plates did not have an adverse effect on our schedule. The second stop was Badlands National Park. Its acres of bizarre rock formations were beautiful, but these recent Grand Canyon veterans didn’t feel too rushed spending only an hour there. The third stop would have been the Corn Palace if we hadn’t accidentally passed it without noticing until forty miles later.

The remainder of the long drive saw our surroundings steadily relinquish the right to be described as “scenic,” and the threat of traveler’s ennui was imminent. Luckily, Wayne and I are resourceful travelers.

Badlands National Park


Highway exit signs usually name two prominent places that can be reached by taking that exit, one in each direction. We have gotten into the habit of reading the two location names together as one person’s name, and the results are often fantastic, especially for writers of bad fiction trying to figure out what to call their characters. We’ve been writing them down for the last couple of weeks, and today’s route was a treasure trove. I will leave you with some of our favorites.

  • Hercules Stockton
  • Woodland Cougar
  • Vader Ryderwood
  • Aberdeen Tenino
  • Fife Milton
  • Kent Seattle
  • Othello Pullman
  • Tyler Cheney
  • Colfax Pullman
  • Pinehurst Smelterville
  • Anaconda Opportunity
  • Lockwood Roundup
  • Gregory Winner
  • Stickney Aberdeen
  • Fulton Alexandria
  • Emery Farmer
  • Salem Yankton
  • Humboldt Madison
  • Jasper Pipestone
  • Magnolia Kanaranzi
  • Wilmont Rushmore
  • Slayton Worthington
  • St. James Sherburn
  • Madelia Fairmont
  • Huntley Guckeen
  • Easton Frost
  • Wells Kiester
  • Hartland Geneva
  • Dundas Montgomery