South Dakota

I have tried to like it here.   Really tried.  E.g. last  Sunday, I got to Sturgis (yes, the home of  the annual August  motor cycle rally) early to enjoy a rare wind-less sunny warm day. I had my mountain bike and wanted to try out trails I’d heard about near Bear Butte Mountain.


Trail, looking at Bear Butte Mountain

It didn’t work.  For one, couldn’t find a pretty trail.  The trails I went on kept ending.  The famous SD Centennial Mountain Bike Trail just didn’t act like a trail.  I really do think I was on it,


I think this is the Centennial Trail 

I’d followed the signs.  I was even willing to try to enjoy the adventure of riding through foot high grass (shorter than the surrounding 2 foot high grass) pathway.  However, when I realized I was increasingly itchy, and there were apparently no-see-um’s (or very small mosquito’s) feasting on me, I turned around.  How naïve of me to go out without bug stuff.  But, it really wasn’t very pretty anyway.

Here’s where I must correct:  it wasn’t pretty:  TO ME.

Earlier , as I was  heading toward my intended route, I was driving down the  (yes) pretty (yes very short)  dirt road I’d biked on the day before. A woman with a horse flagged me down.


She needed help opening a gate so her horse could get through.  I helped her, happy to interact with someone and appreciative of her horsing efforts – after all, l’d  just had my first horseback riding lesson the day before.


This is Booger, the 20 year old horse with arthritis worse than mine, who tolerated me for my first riding lesson:  walking a horse.

Feeling so weird with my dislike of “here” I mentioned to her that it was so pretty now, after the awful SD winter.  She actually said:  “Oh, the winters here are nothing compared with where I just moved from.”  Now you will NOT believe where she moved from:  Park City, Utah!   A Valhalla for winter sports afficionado’s and lovers of nightlife.  My jaw dropping, all I could think of saying  was “You must not like skiing,” to which she agreed and added “This is what I love, I’m a horse-woman


This is from my  winter archives of SD  – THIS  is what she preferred to Park City!


Also from my “winter” archives.  But it was April when we had this blizzard.  This was the view from my hotel window.  Can you tell the snow was blowing sideways?

So there you go, it’s all relative, and all individual.  Anyone reading this might LOVE South Dakota.  This is only my opinion:



I really did try to find a pretty part of Rapid City.  Went up Summit Drive where rich folks live to seek the best view I could find.  This is it.  It didn’t meet my standards.

Yup, boring, even though I’ve made friends and like my work, and LOVE  living in my hotel-apartment,


My Hotel Home

and found out about Bountiful Baskets (a produce delivery service) so now my larder is overflowing with delicious produce.



– Rapid City’s  population is 70,000.  To the east (and there’s a lot of “east”) it’s flat empty windy plains.


Looking East from the Black Hills, in winter

Mt Rushmore is, well, carved in stone.  Not much action there.


 Mt Rushmore – carved in stone

However, I did go  on the twice yearly Volksmarch up to Crazy Horse Monument (a 10 K hike) 2 Sunday’s ago, and that truly was special – but then it was over.


 Up at top by the always work-in-progress Crazy Horse carving – during twice yearly Volksmarch


Crazy Horse – up close

I have to drive at least 30 miles to find pretty places to bike ride, and even when I do, I’m not very successful in my search.

Maybe I’m more place-sensitive than other people.  After all, when I arrived in Marin County (California) I immediately felt like I’d come home, and that feeling didn’t depart until I moved away  19 years later.  Now I feel like I have two homes, despite having no official abode in either:  Spokane, WA and NYC.

I’ve lived in some pretty places that were just fine, but didn’t have that “I am home” feeling, e.g.   Pacific Grove, CA (on the Monterey Peninsula) and Honolulu, HI.  And of course, there are the places I’ve lived but felt I didn’t belong there:  Manila, Philippines for one, and right here in Rapid City, SD.  These feelings resemble a sense of “exile.”  I certainly don’t know where such feelings come from.

So, for me, it’s fortunate that I can resume my “retired nomad” status August 1.  I’ve been making some plans, and entertaining many possibilities, savoring my awareness that  freedom and adventure will soon be mine for the plucking.    I look forward to filling you in as details evolve.

Warm regards,

Retired Nomad


2 thoughts on “South Dakota

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