Greetings from South Dakota! Today marks Day 3 on the cross-country road trip. My father and I continue our journey west, adventuring through South Dakota en route to California.
South Dakota is one of the most beautiful places I have seen during this trip. The state’s combination of diverse terrain, emerald-green scenery, Wild West history, and breathtaking National Parks makes it a “must see.” Hoping to squeeze in as much as possible, we got up early this morning and left our hotel in historic Sioux Falls, SD around 6:00 AM. Our mission was to drive the four hours west to Wall, SD to visit the famous “Black Hills” area. Today’s itinerary consisted of visiting Badlands National Park, Wall Drug Store, Mount Rushmore and Rapid City, SD.
I first heard of the Badlands from a friend who was helping me plan the road trip. She is a South Dakota native who strongly suggested I do “the loop,” the scenic byway that runs through the park. Today, not only did I do “the loop,” but I stopped at every overlook along the way. Taking so many pictures of the multi-color vistas, my camera almost overloaded. During my visit to the park, I was determined to get my first view of a real American buffalo, which roam on some parts of the park. While, I did never found a bison, I did learn a lot about my father.
As I tried to figure out how I would re-locate to California for my new job, I decided a road trip was the best option to get me, and all my worldly possessions to the other side of the country. While I was figuring out the logistics, my dad, a school bus driver, offered to drive. I jumped on the offer! Not only could I spend some quality time with my day, but I could help accomplish one of his life long dreams – to see the REAL America.
Due to the reality of living with divorced parents, and childhood angst, there are few “father / daughter” only moments. We’ve enjoyed many great memories as a family, joined by my brother and step-mother, including vacations, dinners, game nights, etc. Yet, this road trip would establish valuable time between me and my dad, to get to know each other as adults.
I also wanted to help my father fulfill his lifelong dream to see all the majestic beauty of this great nation. In my father’s perfect world he would drive an RV from every corner of the continent, from his hometown in Veracruz, Mexico to the tip of Maine. This road trip from Virginia to California was going to allow my father to see parts of the country he would never be able to see otherwise. So, when my father sign on for the road trip, I coordinated all the logistics and got ready for an adventure of a lifetime with mi padre.
One thing I now know, my obsession with taking pictures comes from my father. He never left the car without his TWO cameras, a video camera, a tripod and a camera bag to house all his additional gadgets. (pictured below)