Sunday, August 19, 2007

Show and tell time:
Getting to the Black Hills really is half the fun, provided you do it right. Sure, there are tourist traps every 10 miles on the highway, and the drive is absolutely boring as a child in the back seat (as I can attest to many times over). However, if you don't get suckered in at every "world famous" hamburger shop and trinket saleman, you can really make the most out of a 350 mile drive from Sioux Falls to Rapid City.

I always like to stop at the Chamberlain Rest Stop right before the Missouri River. The view is the best on the first half of the trip: The wide part of the Missouri (technically it runs through Lake Francis Case), with a view of both the I-90 bridge and the old railroad bridge. This is then followed by the abrupt change in landscape, as flat farmland filled with corn and beans is replaced with wide open spaces and rolling hills. Towns are more sparse, as are other people. Abandoned silos and barns dot the side of the road, and you really are hundreds of miles from the nearest sizable city. This is a great place to stop, stretch, and prepare yourself for the change.

This time on my trip I stopped somewhere I'd never stopped before: Okaton. I found a webpage that explains some of the history, but the short story is that it's basically a ghost town along the side of the Interstate. Some people decided to make it a tourist spot, which has had mixed results. Still, there's a gas station and a Post Office still there along with the invitation to check out some of the abandoned buildings provided you watch out for snakes.

Main street Okaton, South Dakota -

The other side of the street is endless prairie grass and hills. You really get the feeling you're in the middle of nowhere. For some reason, I'd love to explore more of the area next time.


Post a Comment

<< Home