Hot Springs, South Dakota

On Sunday, we drove across most of Minnesota, and pretty much all of South Dakota. At nine hours, it was by far the longest single day of travel for us, and I’d say it felt like it. When you talk to anyone about driving across the country, inevitably the subject of interminable cornfields will come up, and while there were some in our drives in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, this was definitely the day of endless fields.

I don’t know much art history, but in one lit class I took, we discussed the aesthetic of the sublime and looked at some paintings. Of particular relevance, we looked at some paintings with endlessly repeating things like columns and arches. I’m sure you can see where I’m going here. The endless repetition of furrows, and on a larger scale, of fields, telephone poles, and ads for Wall Drug Usually when people talk about driving through the breadbasket of America, they describe it as something like “boring.” While I can’t speak for states further south, I can say that “boring” doesn’t do this particular drive justice.

Anyway, we’ve been spending the week in Hot Springs, which is a very small town near Rapid City, notable for being the home of an enormous, well-preserved deposit of mammoth and other prehistoric animal bones. There are a few abrupt, red stone hills in the town itself, so you need to walk up these enormous flights of stairs to get to some neighborhoods.

We wandered around a residential area that was on one of those hilltops to watch fireworks for the fourth, which was nice. Supposedly there was a town-official display somewhere, but if so, it was pretty indistinguishable from the various people who seemed to be setting off fireworks. There was a particularly good set going on the high school football field, but it still seemed to be just a couple people setting them off. The problem with that, though, is that while we got partial views of several fireworks displays, but didn’t actually get a good view of any of them, so we headed home to pack, because tomorrow, we’re driving to Denver!

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