South Dakota Hates Me

Well, no, that's not true. Everybody's very polite... especially the police officers who stop my car.

Back in December 2001, I was driving down a residential street in Vermillion, South Dakota, when I noticed that the speed limit was 25 miles per hour. I was doing 35, so I slow down, watching the speedometer as I do so. When I look up, I see flashing lights in my rear-view mirror. Turns out that as I was watching myself slow down, I sped through a four-way stop. D'oh! Fortunately, the police officer was a kind soul and, after noting my license and registration and asking me what I was doing in fair Vermillion, let me off with just a warning.

Flash forward to this evening. I'm driving down a country road towards Pierre, South Dakota. I crest a hill and see the Missouri laid out before me. Despite having this spectacular sight in front of us as we're driving downhill, I notice a police car pass us. In the rear-view mirror, I see it turn around. As I'm the only car on the road, I pull over even before his lights start flashing. The polite policeman noted that I was doing 71 mph in a 65 mph zone ("no big thing", he said), but wanted to check my license and registration. Everything checked out, and we had a nice conversation about where I was driving from, who I was driving to see, before he thanked me and drove off, giving me only a verbal warning about driving over the speed limit.

I've only ever been stopped by the police twice. Both times in South Dakota. Is it the Ontario license plates?

It's hot here, over 100'F (into the low forties). It's a dry heat, but when it gets up to 100'F, the response to the phrase "Ah, but it's a dry heat" is "so's the oven, but you don't see me sticking my head in there!" Driving today was hard on Erin, Wendy and I, despite having the air conditioner going full blast. I think we'll put Fred, our Ford, in the garage for the next couple of days to give it a much-earned rest.

The chair I'm sitting on, typing this Blog entry in, is the furthest west I have been in my entire life. I find myself on the extreme end of the Central Time Zone, and the sun is due to set at 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on my hometown's Eastern time). Tomorrow, we may go across the river and enter Mountain Time, only the third time zone I've ever been in. It promises to be a good week of spectacular scenery, but right now I'm more interested in resting and recovering from a very long car journey.

Some news articles from South Dakota:

Four out of five of the U.S.'s poorest counties are in South Dakota. With a rugged landscape comes a rugged life.

Deadwood evacuated as wildfire licks at its edge. This nixes one thing we were considering doing on this vacation.

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