State #41: South Dakota
State #41 : South Dakota
First State of 2019!!! Last State running as a 44 year old !!
River Rat Marathon: Bike Ride, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k
Yankton, South Dakota
April 27, 2019
TRAVEL : How to get to South Dakota
This was going to be a girls trip with my North Dakota friend Maureen. Maureen and I had a girls trip for State #29 North Dakota and State #16 Minnesota( because she lives there now). I told her this was an unfamiliar white space and she would be guide to this new lands( this is what happens with two sociologist get together). The original plan was to fly to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and she would meet me there. The drive from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls is four hours.
My flight plans was BOS- MSP-FSD. Since I am a poor, privileged flyer I was flying stand-by all the way. From BOS-MSP was no problem. I had a non-stop at 6am. Surprisingly from MSP- FSD it was crazy. I couldn’t get on a flight to save my life. I realized they have smaller jet planes (50-60 seats) and the bigger over 100+ seat flight wasn’t leaving until 8pm that night. Luckily, Maureen( and her dog Pepper) just picked me up from the airport and we drove to South Dakota. These are the things you do to save monies.
WHAT to Do in SOUTH DAKOTA?
My Dakota princess mapped out our travel plans since I wanted to take advantage and explore my time in this state. Tuesday late evening we got into Sioux Falls and explored the city. Wednesday started our adventure across the state on I -90.
First stop was visiting Dignity of Earth and Sky statue in Chamberlain, South Dakota. She’s off the highway on a hill over-looking the Missouri River. At dusk and daylight she sparkles. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see that. While in Chamberlain we visited the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center.
South Dakota is a white space but also a diverse native space which tends to be ignored. I wanted to learn more about the history and the people. This was a very large and impressive museum and cultural center which is on a school campus.
We continued west until we got to Mitchell, South Dakota to visit the world famous Corn Palace. From the limited number of people who I knew who visited South Dakota, everyone talked about the Corn Palace. My reaction “ what is this corn palace?”. In this small town of Mitchell, what you see from a distance is the corn palace. Yes, everything is made from corn. All the murals, pictures, corn. The building is corn. Corn history, corn of the people, importance of the corn, corn festivals, etc……. It was oddly fascinating. It’s the WORLD ’s only CORN PALACE. From what we saw, there wasn’t too much of anything else around. I wore my corn palace sticker proudly and had some popcorn.
WALL DRUG- another South Dakota favorite is Wall Drug. Before you arrive there are signs all along I-90 talking about Wall Drug. I counted the signs going west and east on I-90, 200 Wall Drug signs on the highway. Back in the depression era Wall Drug would give out free water and free ice. They have 5 cent coffee and you can get a whole lot of things there.
That was a nice break, then it was off to the Black Hills and Deadwood.
Before going into Deadwood, you drive into the Black Hills. The trees are so big and thick, I know why it is called the black hills. The denseness of the green trees makes everything look so dark.
Deadwood is part of the “ old west” with miners looking for gold, gambling, prostitution, and outlaws. My friend Maureen told me this was a place we had to go. Normally it would not have been on my radar. It’s a very popular place. We stayed the night to do some exploring, drinking , and gambling.
The next day I ran uphill to Mt. Moriah Cemetery. Overlook of Deadwood and the Black Hills are beautiful. Famous people are buried in this cemetery too.
Time to head back east. I ran in the morning to do some more exploring before we started our journey.
Before we headed back east to Sioux Falls, we started the day with driving to Crazy Horse memorial. It cost $25 to get into the memorial which still isn’t done. We explored the center and learned about Crazy horse and the Lakota peoples. Then if you wanted to get a little bit closer to the memorial you can pay $15 and a bus will take you a mile or so closer. If you are a real baller you can pay $130 to get on top of the memorial. My question: why is Crazy Horse still unfinished?
From there it is less than 10 minutes away to visit Mount Rushmore. You just pay $10 for parking. The Sioux called their scared rock “ Six Grandfathers” but a white lawyer man by the name of Charles Rushmore, named the rock that had “no-name.” The rock, the land, the area itself is beautiful. When I think about the history of the rock, the people, and whom the men are on the rock, I just feels all kinds of way…..
After that experience on our way back we took a brief detour to visit the Badlands. I visited the North Dakota badlands, this time I saw the South Dakota side of them. It’s very different than the north. I still had my aww moment.
Along the way on I-90, you see nothing but cows and cows and cows and cows. All beef cows and cows.
We eventually arrived in Yankton. Yankton is an hour and half from Sioux Falls. It’s on the Missouri River and Nebraska border. It has a population of 14,000 people.
DAY 4: Rest, Explore Yankton, Pack Pick Up
Yankton has some cool history because it is on the Missouri river and part of Lewis and Clark’s adventures. There is college there called St. Martys, which I found hilarious. Maureen and I “ explored” the downtown and found a cool thrift shop called Digs and a dog park.
Packet- up.- This is a smaller race and packet pickup was at ACE hardware store. No thrills, no big production. Come your number, pins, and shirt at ACE Hardware.
WEATHER ADVISORY- Weeks before the Midwest had received heavy snow and rains. The Missouri river had overflowed and there was massive flooding. The race director had rerouted the race route because of it.
The flooding and weather had limited the number of people that would normally have participated in this race. Plus there was an inaugural half marathon in Sioux Falls on Sunday that added to the reduction of people.
DAY 5 RACE- DAY:River Rat
From 5am-7am it was torrential rain and wind. I was just hoping they didn’t cancel this race. The race started at 8:15am. By 8a.m. the rain was going to be reduced to 60%. By 7:45am it was still raining, windy, and cold but at least the rain had calm down a bit.
I’m glad I had a jacket, rain poncho, and I brought cow socks to be my gloves. At this point, it was just running this race.
Everyone was freezing and trying to keep warm. At 8:15 we started running along the Missouri river. This was an out and back race. We ran through the city of Yankton to the Lewis and Clark lake then we came back. The wind was so strong that my poncho kept blowing in my face. I couldn’t see and I thought I might suffocate. There were very few signs and people on the route. I made sure to keep up with the runners who knew where they were going. To be honest, I couldn’t get lost.
Of course mile 10 was an uphill and the wind was strongly pushing me down. Basically I had wind resistance training. I was so pissed. Water stations were limited and I didn’t bring any water or gu. Normally I don’t need it for a half. The weather took a lot of energy out of me.
To be honest, despite the rain and wind, it wasn’t a bad race. I can only image how nice this race can be when the weather cooperates.
Post Race- After the race, I was gangster. I flew back to BOS the same day. The race director wanted to wait until everyone had crossed the finish line before giving out metals. This girl had a flight to catch and it was going to be an hour and half drive. I wasn’t waiting. Not sure if I made him nervous but he just handled me a metal so I could get out of his way. LOL
Overall, this was an experience an a state that was never on my radar. To be in that space, learn and have conversations and interactions with folks was an eye opener.