The Black Hills of South Dakota

                 Our trip started Sunday morning as it always does:  with a stop at McDonalds for breakfast.  Heading north on I-35, getting out of Texas is always uneventful.

The rolling hills and rock outcrops of South Central Oklahoma have a certain beauty.  Some day I would like to get back to the Turner Falls area to explore.  I had never driven farther north than Oklahoma City.  We were in uncharted territory!

             North of Wichita it is striking how flat Southern Kansas is.  Jacob commented, “There is nothing to see.”  “Oh, yes there is,” I replied, “Take it in.  There are few places left in the world where it is so flat and you can look all around and see nothing.  Remember this.  You may never come this way again.”


Our Great Summer Road Trip of 2008

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                 Frankly, I was expecting to see more cropland here in America’s “breadbasket.”  Mostly all I saw were rolling plains punctuated by the occasional corn or soybean crop or herd of cattle.  I can’t imagine being the first person over the hill leading a wagon train seeing nothing but land stretching out ahead of you forever.

             The terrain becomes more hilly as we get closer to  Kansas City, with more and more crops dotting the roadside.  I am curious why the hills are farmed more; it seems like it would be easier to farm the flat plains.  Perhaps the geology of the area gave the better soils to the hills.


                 From Kansas City we head North to Omaha and Sioux City.  All the towns and cities here have Indian names; a throwback to the days of white expansion into this part of the country.  The terrain continues to be hills, and now is dominated by corn and soy crops.  A low mountain chain hangs to our right.  I’ll have to research what range these “hills” belong to.

             As we were driving into the night, we witnessed thousands of lightning bugs along the road.  While we had lightning bugs growing up in East TX, I have never seen them in such huge numbers.  I should have stopped to let the boys catch one.  They have never seen one.


Day one:  Dallas, TX to Sioux City, IA.   Six states: TX, OK, KS, MO, NE, IA   825 miles.