The road trip. Day 4: Sioux Falls
As soon as you hit South Dakota, the speed limit hits 80mph, and if you're in a race car disguised as a hatchback, you can fly.
Subsequently, we made good time to the city of Sioux Falls. If you looked up while in this outdoorsy city, you might think that Montana's "big sky country" actually began here.
But what a cool place. We ate delicious mediterranean food (because of course that's what the best food in South Dakota is), snacked on Thrillist-rated macaroons in the historic district, browsed around a hip menswear store, and were generally captured by Downtown Sioux Falls.
I really can't recommend it highly enough as a granola, slower paced, fresh air city, with enough to do to keep you occupied for a few days. It may not be my preferred full-time scene, as a rather non-granola, polluted air city-dweller, who prefers dirty brick to brand new pavement, but it's easy to see why the population is rapidly increasing.
And that was before we went to the falls themselves. The town's namesake was a stunning addition, just a few minute's drive from downtown. It certainly put Boston's harbour to shame. As was increasingly apparent along this entire trip, the native americans knew what was up when it came to picking their locations.
Thoroughly impressed with Sioux Falls, we set out back onto SD's ludicrously expansive and empty roadway, taking in the mega landscapes that endlessly unfolded. It was the first time I've ever seen clouds with such clarity that I could almost see the layer of air they were each sitting on.
Time passed, miles fell, and we zoomed closer to our destination for the night: a ranch just south of the Badlands. Despite gaining the extra hour from Mountain Time* we were still a little tight due to the enjoyment we'd found in stretching our legs around actual civilisation back at Sioux Falls. But as the sun began to set, a sign appeared. Both a literal and figurative sign that we needed to pull over, at the labelled "scenic overlook." And we weren't disappointed we did.
I was speechless from about this point until we went to sleep that night. I'd never seen a natural landscape so beautiful. Lia played Simon and Garfunkel's "America" as we cruised along under the infinitely toned sky. In the moment, it just felt right.
Our ranch was south of the Badlands, which meant we had to drive through them as the sun was setting to reach it. Still speechless, my jaw dropped.
On the plateau our ranch was on, the temperature plummeted. There were no buildings or air pollutants to retain any heat, just the dark, cloudy sky and flat land as far as your eyes could make out. It's a good job the chill shepherded us inside to bed, else I'm not sure we ever would've gone inside again.