Caffeinated Simpleton

Minnesota to the Dakotas

Yesterday I finished my trip across Minnesota and was really quite impressed by its beauty. In a way that Illinois never did for me, Minnesota broadcast the Midwest, at least for about half the time. It had low rolling hills with large farmhouses nestled at the bottom with the obligatory silo. There were small lakes everywhere, and they made for very beautiful Midwestern farm scenes. I found a perfect one, but unfortunately, I was moving much too quickly to get a picture.

Minnesota slowly flattened into prairie, and by the time I hit North Dakota, it was clear that that’s what I was in. Fargo was not a large town, and by the time I realized it was over and I still needed gas, the nearest gas station was several miles off the highway. I groaned and ventured into the prairie.

This was actually a good thing. It allowed me to get a grasp for what the prairie actually was. North Dakota, at least the part I was in, does not feature the interesting ditches and crevasses of South Dakota. The entire area was perfectly flat. I was cruising at 75 mph down country roads and did not feel for a second that this was too fast. You could see oncoming traffic from literally miles away. Perpendicular traffic was also easy to see, and at first it made me nervous to see traffic that was heading on a clear collision course moving so fast. I quickly realized though that they have stop signs like any other state, and I would be fine as long as everybody obeyed traffic laws.


The town I came on that was supposed to have gas was hardly a town at all. It was a grain elevator and a general store. I came to realize that this was what most of the towns in the Dakotas are, but it was quite surprising this first time. They seemed to be doing construction on the roads, but I couldn’t be sure. There were people working, but there was no guidance as to where traffic should flow. Apparently they don’t get enough traffic to warrant it. I drove through in what seemed to be a safe area and nobody seemed to indicate I was doing anything wrong. I guess I got it right. I got gas, took some pictures of the gorgeous skies, and headed back on my way.

I drove south from Fargo to just outside of Sioux City on I-29, through some side streets around the city, and then west on I-90. I was fascinated to see this stretch of land. As a kid, I was absolutely fascinated by the Sioux. I read every book on them in the local library. It was exactly how I imagined it, and was enthralled.

I made it to the badlands late, but that’s where I was determined to camp. I started into the park and was immediately struck by how beautiful it was. The moon was very full, and the jagged terrain seemed like it was from a different planet entirely. It was gorgeous.

I set up camp in a campground just inside the park. It was more full than I would have liked, but didn’t mind too much. I don’t know much about the wildlife around here, and was relieved to see that people had coolers and whatnot outside. Clearly, predators and pests were not too much of a problem. I set up camp under moonlight next to a dried out canyon as a deer grazed not 20 feet away, seemingly unalarmed by my presence.

This morning I woke to a gorgeous view, which you can see below.


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