South Dakota, another fly-over state (with pics of California).

“So you’re from South Dakota?”

“Yep, born and raised.”

“So… what’s there to do there?”

I was asked this often while visiting my sister in Napa Valley last week.

California Dock

And to be honest, I didn’t know what to say.

How do you answer that question in a part of the world so active, so busy and loud with the sounds of cars and people and pace?

I loved my visit, adored the city.

Napa Valley, California

But that question still lingered.

I live in the country, as you know, and none of the following are available to me, not even close.

The decision to walk down the street and stop for a beer or wine, to shop, to maintain anonymity in this fast-paced populated world I forget we live in until I see it in action.

Napa Valley, CA

Nope, not here.

South Dakota sky

South Dakota

To step into the Pacific Ocean and taste the salt, not by choice but it always happens.

Pacific Ocean

Or to hear the tales of the great whites that inhabit this part of the ocean, the sightings and stories. I didn’t go too far.

Pacific Ocean

We have the salt-free Missouri, though, full of catfish and walleye. And if you’ve seen some of the catfish that grow in there, you’d be a little scared of those, too.

South Dakota sunset

Still, how do I explain what’s in South Dakota, with all it’s inactivity or corner street cultural diversity?

No fresh oysters to seduce my palate,


or Pacific salt water to soften my skin,

Pacific Ocean

and no fancy cocktail hour on the farm.


South Dakota… I think I’ve driven through there. It has the four presidents, right?

As I closed in on the end of my tropical vacation, the evidence of my good time rested in moth pockets, a sunburn and overstuffed suitcase.

My sister sent me off with a hug and a camera full of memories, heading back to reality and my humid home state.

Looking out the plane window, I could see I was getting closer by the sections of farmland growing larger as we descended into the southern Dakota.

So, why South Dakota? some may ask…

South Dakota country


Some things just can’t be explained.


22 thoughts on “South Dakota, another fly-over state (with pics of California).

  1. Peace. Expansive sky. The wild beauty of nature in the country. The seasonal rhythm of farming. Yep, the wonders of mid-western life are hard to explain, but good to call home after a city visit!

  2. Sometimes it takes some time away to renew the eyes of joy, peace and love for our little section of the country, but it always comes back. No, there isn’t a lot to do, and sometimes I chaf against that. But there is room to breath here that isn’t everywhere. And that is a priceless gift.

  3. Can’t blame you at all. It really suits you. I remember your trip last summer to CA to visit your sister. He has to smile knowing you fly away and come back like the saying goes “If you love something, set it free. If it returns, it is yours forever.” I’m sure you do the same.

  4. I love the photos… of California and of South Dakota! Last month my daughter and I drove from Maine to California (and we went through your gorgeous state…. not my first visit and I hope not my last!!). Then I turned around and drove home. So I well understand the lure of the Pacific but also the lure of home… good to get home but sad to leave a part of my heart in the west this time!

  5. I can’t speak for SD but small town boring towns offer, peace, contentment and sometimes an adventure or two! Great post, looks like a wonderful visit, enjoy the SD! I’m sure the rest is fun to visit but it isn’t for me to live there.

  6. Wow. I live in NY and my husband and I long for the simpler country life. Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you! There is a peace, contentment and simplicity in your kind of life that we certainly lack here. Thanks again,

  7. Having lived in Sioux City, Iowa while working in North Sioux City, South Dakota, it can be explained. The problem is getting people to understand that it really is as great as it sounds.


  8. Wide open spaces. Fresh air. Clean rain. Sunsets like paintings, skies that never end. Friendly people. Diverse winds. Subtle shift in landscapes. Great pie. Warm smiles. Neighbors you’ve known since Kindergarten.

    but in the noise & hustle of the city, all that can’t be explained in a simple sentence.

    so when asked what’s do to there, I just smile and say “you have to live it to believe it!”

    Great post,

  9. Love this! Beautiful pics! Nothing like the hustle and bustle of the trendy wine country to make you appreciate the slowness of rural country life! Like Napa, but LOVE the country!

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