Third Time’s a Charm

Cruising down Rt 90 in South Dakota, doing a Chief solid of 60-65 (in an 80 mph zone), Scott was at the wheel when we started to smell something.  Scott characterizes it as “sweet”.  It didn’t smell sweet to me (sweet is all things good – chocolate and cakes and Christmas) but it also wasn’t bad like smoke or fuel.  Our noses have become noticeably more sensitive over these last few weeks.  We pulled off on the side of the highway to investigate.






Since the kids and I are generally banned from entering the vehicle until Scott gives us the all clear (yes… we do have a “side of the road procedure” at this point thanks to our very own Captain Security mall cop).  I pulled out the chairs and set up a little day camp to make it more fun for the kids and I.

If you’re following us on Facebook (which I’m fairly certainly 95% of you are since that’s where almost all of the traffic to the blog comes from) then you know we had a burst antifreeze pipe in the rear that had something to do with giving us instant hot water.  Yes, there was a mystery liquid leaking out of the Chief for the third (and hopefully final) time.  Scott cut out the bad part of the rubber hose, rerouted it and we were on the road again within 20 minutes.  Our family hero… always solving problems on the fly.  He’s so good.

We spent a couple of nights northwest of Sioux Falls, SD in Montrose, population 400.  There were 4 bars in the town – a solid bar to patron ratio.  Scott needed to do some work so we decided to stick around for a couple of nights.



Everyone has a job.


Before this trip I wasn’t too interested in South Dakota.  Let’s call a spade a spade, obviously I didn’t have a good handle on the U.S. since every place I’ve thought was dumpy has turned out to have interesting adventures around every corner.  Add South Dakota to my dummy list.  I thought of it as something to pass through to get anywhere interesting.  Wrong.  For example:

  • Butterfly House and Marine:  800 free-flying butterflies from around the world in the tropical conservatory plus hundreds of vibrant marine fishes and corals in more than 10,000 gallons of aquariums, including the Pop-Up Dome Aquarium, Shark & Stingray Touch Pool, and Pacific Tide Pool. Interactive learning and relaxation and a giant reading room with reptiles and insects.  Throw in the best outside city playground we’ve been to yet (and you know that’s saying something {but doesn’t include Cincinnati… because that playground was way more than a park}) and we’re sold.





Yes, it was looking at Jack.  Seriously.  Another one tried to touch Evie’s hand above the water.





























  • Devil’s Gulch:  According to lore, in September 1876 after a failed bank robbery, Jesse James evaded capture by spurring his horse to leap this ravine.  It’s a feat that everyone agrees is nearly impossible. Most historians believe that it is impossible.  Bullcrap I say! He did it.  I wanted to spend more time here because the ravine is actually really interesting and it’s close to the falls, but we were in the middle of a solid thunderstorm (which Grandmom was tracking on radar and none too pleased).  I was completely soaked after being outside the car for less than 2 minutes taking these quick snaps.









Way more impressive than my terrible pictures would have you think.  If he jumped it, it took some serious balls.

We haven’t even reached “the good part” yet… The Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and all sorts of interesting weird little places in the western part of the state. I heart South Dakota.