Exactly one year ago today, I rode the SVS from Sundance, WY to Rapid City, SD to visit Calamity Jane’s grave, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Mt Rushmore.
It was important for me to visit these sites, because I remember being in South Dakota with my parents as a kid. My dad LOVED the Dakotas. We visited every historical monument erected wherever General Custer’s horse took a shit. I hated it.
When dad passed away nearly six months ago, mom and I put together a photo collage of his life for the memorial. The picture I brought back to California with me is of Dad on one of our Dakota trips (probably mid-1980s), proudly standing beside a stone monument that proclaims Rugby, North Dakota as the geographical center of North America. He has a camera around his neck, a baseball cap from some other touristy stop, and a huge shit-eating grin.
I’ll get to Rugby, North Dakota someday, too, and get the same photo next to the same monument. In the meantime, I know Dad is looking down at me and getting a huge kick out of things like the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park. Being a huge dorky tourist: it’s a family tradition.