Detour began yesterday (Thursday). Brian and I had awesome plans to leave South Dakota after the Badlands on Thursday morning and head across Wyoming to Jackson. After 2 days in Jackson and Yellowstone, we were headed to Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, I woke up Wednesday morning in serious pain. I had been on a regiment of Advil for a few weeks with jaw pain that I associated with stress (I’m one of those neurotic sleep grinders.). Stress doesn’t make your tooth throb. So, now we are headed to Kentucky to see my dentist and hang with my family. This was already on the books but I was hoping to see the aforementioned first. Oh well.
And that’s how we ended up in Kansas City, MO. Driving from Sioux Falls, SD to Kansas City, I was listening to a horrible book (on AUDIO from the Crack) and they kept talking about BBQ. Which I love. So, diversion not desired has proved awesome as I had the best BBQ of my life tonight. I love all the BBQ’s except for whoever does the mustard sauce. The BBQ here was amazing, better than North Carolina and it sure gives Memphis a run for their smoker.
Did I mention that this particular BBQ came from a gas station? Yes, it did. And the place was packed. Jam packed. So, we called in our order and took it down to the park to eat. Then, we went back to buy the sauce. Brian asked them if they were always so busy. Yes they are. And, Michelle Obama had just been in town. And they catered a meal for her. That made the news the night before. It also probably helped that Bourdain said it was a must-stop. He was right. Michelle and Bourdain? Yes please.
Before and as I got super whiny, we drove across Montana and South Dakota. We hit Glacier, Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, Piedmont (where we stayed for two days at the Spur Campground), Sturgis, Devils Tower (did you know that’s just a big rock?), Wall Drug, and the Badlands!
The Spur Campground was beautiful and perfect. Excepting some bizarre and fun interactions with the staff and the one other group staying there. We are pretty sure they shot some sort of porn the first night we were there in their “bar” where they often host fundraiser poker tournaments. We were urged not to go to the bar as it was closed for a “photoshoot”. The music sure was loud.
Also, Thursday morning, once we had decided not to go to Yellowstone straight away I met another nice couple coming from Yellowstone. LuLu had gone over to introduce herself and beg a doughnut. Their pop up had done just that on the highway to Yellowstone and they had just gotten back from camping there. I said that we were thinking of going but not 100% sure yet – what did she think of it?
“Well, it’s a big tourist trap. And, it’s full of foreigners. It is real pretty if you drive in on 16.”
Through South Dakota I kept noticing these huge popcorn balls for sale. They were in gas stations all over the state. They are called Kimballs and are made in Kimball, SD. I guess I only noticed them because my Grandpa used to make us popcorn balls when we were kids. Anyway, while inspecting these inferior popcorn balls, I noted that they were made in Kimball. Fast forward 120 miles to a sign announcing Kimball next exit. I requested a stop to see if we could find the factory.
We didn’t. Instead we found something way more rad :
I finally got reacquainted with the sun and a little heat in the last few days…good goddamn is in beautiful through there. The sky. Seattle, you made me forget that it got that clear and blue.
Tomorrow is Kansas City to Lexington. We’re gonna hang for a few weeks and see the sights. Hopefully we can put in a few side trips.
AND! I nearly forgot to document my short lived but serious obsession with Prairie Dogs. It was more serious than my situation with the Moccasin. I took a picture of nearly every one that I found. Judging by the holes in the ground, I see why people hate them. Still, cute.
7 full days on the road and 2500 miles driven.
And, of course, LuMei says hello.
P.S. Reenie, Wendi sent me an email photo, I believe this is my trade for that gem: