Man Make Fire


Vacations are the best.

For a short span of days, you can push aside the stress and requirements of daily life and claim "spotty Internet access" and "no cell phone service" on the fact that you are completely avoiding any and all incoming communication

The awesomeness level of your vacation, of course, depends on your ability to forget about the mound of emails, voicemails, and junk mail that are piling up during your absence. Just don't think about it, and it doesn't exist. Amen.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably know that this past week Jordan and I road-tripped to South Dakota.

When we first started telling people we were taking a five-day vacation to South Dakota, we were met with blank stares and then, "...South Dakota?" It only got worse when we said we were going to drive the 13+ hours

"So you're driving through Kansas?" they said.
"And Nebraska?"

Then they shook their heads. "That's going to be boring."

The middle part of the United States don't get no love, in my opinion. Boring and flat are two words commonly used to describe the portion of the country many refer to as "flyover states." But whatever. We decided to drive because A) flights were going to cost around $450 per person and B) we didn't want to have to rent a car plus C) I think road trips are fun and also D) road trips mean road trip candy. Sour patch kids, get in my belly.

I decided we were going to take a different route there than coming back so we could see different parts of the states. The right side is the route we took driving to South Dakota. The left side is the route we used coming back. All the letters are the places we stopped along the way to see roadside attractions or stay in a hotel for the night.

We didn't intend on driving through Colorado, but our GPS had other plans. There's nothing quite like being on a road trip, seeing a "Welcome to" state sign, and freaking out because you think you might be driving in the wrong direction. Luckily, we weren't (even though it did add a few minutes to our drive), and we had a good laugh about how we hit four states (five, including Oklahoma) on this trip.
(Skinny jeans are surprisingly comfortable to wear in the car. Who knew?)

We took back roads almost the entire way there and back. The longest stretch of actual interstate was on I-35 north from OKC to Wichita. Back roads are the only way to travel. No cops. No cars. No people at all, really. Which is only a terrible idea if your car breaks down, which luckily ours did not.

So yes. We went to South Dakota. And I'm here to tell all the scoffers that South Dakota is so awesome! There's a ton of fun stuff to do, plus the Black Hills are spectacular. Seriously, if you haven't been to South Dakota, you really should.

TOTALS (round trip)
28 hours
1,784 miles
$196.26 spent on gas <--- Compared to $900 on airfare + the cost of renting a car once we got there? Yes, please.

I took over 500 pictures of the following (in no particular order): Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Carhenge, our cabin, downtown Rapid City, cool road signs, the food we ate, deer outside our cabin, black bears, the scenery on our drive, building a fire.

I'm telling you all this so you can start getting excited for South Dakota recap posts. It's happening. Now excuse me while I get back to my 200 emails. Darn you, Old Navy promotional spam!

What's your go-to road trip candy?
Would you rather drive or fly?
Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife said...

This sounds like a perfect trip to me, I also love love love road trips and hate the fact that neither I nor Fredrik can legally drive in Sweden.

Jenn @ Optimization Actually said...

Road trips are the best! Since dating my current boyfriend, I've been down to Alabama 3 times (to visit his family), and I'm starting to really enjoy driving for long stretches and just watching the countryside pass by. Also, crossing a state border is super exciting! Especially in any area other than Delaware, where the states are large.

I have very definitely driven into the wrong state by accident (multiple times actually - stupid New Jersey border), but again, I feel like it doesn't mean much in Delaware, because the states are so small. Your trip sounds awesome!

Bethany Carson said...

I love road trips! So many interesting places we can stop on the way! Last time we went to Texas (from Northeast Iowa) we ended up stopping in a little corner of South Dakota on the way--hmmm...don't ask how that happened! Enjoyed the photos!

Victoria said...

I just knew you would love it!!! :) I'm so glad you two were up for a road trip and that part about the backroads is pretty awesome. Do you always take those routes if it's possible?

Jenna Griffin | Gold & Bloom said...

As I read through this, I kept thinking to myself, "she's the coolest. they're the coolest ever."
This trip sounds so awesome! I never would have thought to go to South Dakota, but it looks beautiful and I'm so glad y'all had a good time. My favorite road snack are those donut holes from Dunkin Donuts. My family started a tradition of getting those for the drive to Florida when I was little, and now it's like Pavlov's dogs, I CRAVE them when we go on road trips. Ha.

Oh, and I'd much rather drive too! EXCEPT, last fall we weren't so lucky. We drove up to Baltimore to visit friends, and on the way home my car broke down. 1,000 dollars later, and a horrible 4 hour ride in a tow-truck, we were home! We will splurge on the tickets next time. Ha.

Sarah @RunGingerRun said...

We typically fly when we travel for races, but decided that in 2015 we would try to drive more and hit some states that are close to where we live here in Oklahoma. When we get in the car to drive more than an hour, I usually have to get a Dr. Pepper. Not exactly candy, but just as addicting!

Caroline @ In Due Time said...

My husband is from the middle of nowhere Kansas, so we are used to the 9 hour drive from Texas. Although lately we have been flying a lot (thank you british airway miles). He doesn't mind the driving - me - I'm not a fan!! Definitely good bonding time and a bonus you got to hit up CO too :) I want to see more pictures!

Niken said...

this is exciting! i love road trips. and i bet the view is breath-taking over there! i can say i'm jealous

Cassie Lee @ Sage the Blog said...

All of those photos are gorgeous! We drive everywhere too!

Alison said...

Drive! Always drive, unless it's like a 3 day drive. Then I'd be very easy to convince to fly. My go to road trip snack is trail mix, with m&m's in it (because what other kind is there?) and Cheez-its. Neither of which my husband is a big fan of, so more for me! I can't wait to see more of your pictures!

Ali said...

I always have to get McDonald's breakfast when we go on road trips. McD's grosses me out like no other, but there's just something about a road trip and their breakfast!

Breenah A said...

That is fun and all, but I expect you to at least drive by and say hola next time you're through Wichita. Rude.

I'm just kidding :D

Miss Nutralicious said...

My go to road trip candy is bagels. (Does that count as a candy? I practically eat them by the handful during road trips.) If it doesn't count, I will go with Raisinets and Swedish fish. I like to be able to choose between chocolate and sugar.

I love road trips! I've never been to South Dakota, so I'm all about future South Dakota recap posts. Keep 'em coming!

Kate said...

My family has taken two MASSIVE road trips. From Tennessee to Oregon and back. We tried to take different routes each time.

The first time, we hit Mt. Rushmore, and I was so surprised! There's something about BEING there that is so different than just looking at the pictures.
I also want to go back to see Crazy Horse. It's been about 5 years since we went, and you could BARELY figure out the shape of the horse and the rest was just shapeless. I want to go back when it's finished to compare! You should totally post a picture of it, so I can see the progress. ;)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear about your trip and I'm so glad you guys headed to the Badlands!!!

I'm content with both driving and flying. It's an 18-hour drive from our house to my husband's hometown and driving means that we can afford to go twice per year (flying is just once since we also need to rent a car) so there's that.

Twizzlers and powdered sugar donuts are my ultimate road food. But if you ask my husband he'll say apples and carrots. He offered to pick up the snacks for our first road trip together and when I got in the car and he proudly handed me this huge bag of produce I was like WTF IS THIS?? and made him stop at a gas station in town so I could buy "real" snacks.

Andrea H. said...

Sounds like you had an amazing trip!!

My favorite road trip candy is twizzler pull and peel...and anything gummy!!

My family road tripped to every state in the US (we flew to hawaii and cruised alaska) over roughly 15 or so years when I was growing up. I loved those trips even though some of the drives were intense at the time. Especially with two brothers during those teenage years :) Awesome memories though. Wouldn't trade that time with them for the world. I'm more of an impatient flier these days though. Guess it's the NYC rubbing off on me. Although, my fiance' and I are planning to road trip it from KY to NY after our wedding since we couldn't figure out a better way to get our gifts and stuff back afterward. Should be a fun couple of days :)

Beka @ Sunshine to the Square Inch said...

And you took a picture of a dinosaur on location G =)

Glad you had a fun trip. I have to agree that driving is much better than flying (except when going overseas that is).

Ashley said...

I'm excited to hear about this! I actually had a work conference in SD a couple of years ago and we used that as an excuse for Eric to come to. My thought was "when else will I ever be in South Dakota!?" It was really cool to see Mt Rushmore for sure!

Unknown said...

This is great! We always take trips like this to places that our friends and family think are weird. Some of my best vacation memories are in super random and off the beaten path towns that are definitely not typical vacation spots. I used to hate driving. Mainly because I am like a 6 year old who cannot be still for long, but it is growing on me now that I finance my own travels. Cheaper is better. Starburst is my go to car ride candy. Bring on the big bag!

Al@PolkaDotsandPaisley said...

I tried to convince my husband to head to Mount Rushmore a few years ago but he didn't go for it. We're only two hours north of Montana so it wouldn't be too too far of a drive. Maybe I'll have to plan a random road trip where we just coincidentally end up in the area.

A Latte Lipstick said...

Looks like a great trip! I adore road trips, and sour patch :)

XO Chloe
A Latte Lipstick

Unknown said...

Sounds like fun! I want to do this with my kids!

Erika from America said...

Oooh! This does look like a lot of fun and since entering into a couple, I have appreciated road trips so much more -- they save so much money and I just feel like it's more convenient and comfortable. And you know -- I have driven through the Midwest and it's not the most scenic compared to other places, but it does have its own charm and own thing. I have never been to South Dakota, though, and this post makes me a lot more interested! It does get very overlooked by the other states!

Unknown said...

We dream of road-tripping across America (well, that's a dream a lot of Europeans have, I guess).
I can't wait to see more pictures!

And I'd definitely rather drive.

The Lady Okie said...

Well, honestly driving back roads isn't the smartest idea. I mean, if we DID break down, we would be out of luck. There is basically nothing around for miles. But I do think you get to see more of the general countryside than you would if you were driving on the interstate. Plus not having to deal with traffic is nice. I do like taking back roads when I can, but if I had to go majorly out of the way I definitely wouldn't.

The Lady Okie said...

That's a pretty long trip from Iowa to Texas! I love hitting different states on road trips. I always cheer when we cross a state border :)

The Lady Okie said...

I need to do more traveling for races! I tried to find one in SD to do that weekend, but there wasn't one, so... too bad. But I did find an AWESOME trail to run on!

The Lady Okie said...

That is so funny... your food situation sounds like Jordan and I but a little reversed. I love apples and bananas and dried mangos and stuff like that. And Jordan is like, um... no. His favorite are pretzel rods. He loves salty stuff!

Alyson said...

I love road trips through cool parts of the country! Air travel has gotten so expensive so we always opt for the road trip (i.e. driving from PA to FL in 2012). Looks and sounds like y'all had an awesome time. Look forward to more photos and recap:)


The Hungry Goat said...

I'm glad you had a great vacation! My best friend is from South Dakota and she loved it growing up.

However, I drove from east to west almost the entire state of Nebraska and I'm here to tell you: IT'S THE MOST BORING STATE OF EVER.

Unknown said...

South Dakota is amazing and one of our favorite places! Everyone should visit there! Tyler and I always talk about going back because it's such an amazing experience. I can't wait to hear about more of your adventures.

Tyler and I fly a lot, but it's only because every where we go it's so far away. We would love to do more driving trips, but I don't think it would be super great for our car... it's kind of old.

Also, road trip food is my favorite, well any kind of travel food. I love picking out snacks and candy. Sour gummy savors and chocolate reisensare my go to candy.

Amber Marie said...

I totally wouldn't have given you a blank stare! I love the mountain states. So pretty! I'm glad you guys got to have some time to decompress.

And, Old Navy. OLD NAVY. Everyday…possibly 3 times a day??? with the promos! Ugh. Actually, Old Navy and pretty much every store I've ever shopped at! I'm going to start telling them I don't have an email when they ask check out.

Miriam said...

Roadtrips are the best! I would always choose the open road over air travel, so much more scenic. And the snacks beat plane food by miles! We always buy Mentos (the fruit ones), sour candy (I love sour patch kids as well!), and some fruit like grapes, cherries or berries - something small that you can eat by the handfull.
Can't wait to see your photos, I have never been to South Dakota! Did you end up seeing carhenge???

Rachel said...

South Dakota is totally an awesome vacation destination, I can't believe anyone thought it was boring. And roadtrips are way cheaper than flying, which is exactly why we always did it. Every time we drove to TX, we'd first look up the plane tickets prices to cheer ourselves up about how much money we saved by driving a total of nearly 40 hours round trip. :P

Anonymous said...

I'm from south central South Dakota, but I lived and worked at a Christian camp about 5 miles from Mt. Rushmore for two years. It's a gorgeous part of the country! I'm not much of a runner, but something about the crisp morning air, the abundant wildlife, and the winding roads made me look forward to jogging before work every day.
Did you find anything special to do in Rapid City? My absolute favorite destination in town is Armadillo's Ice Cream Shoppe. They have an AWESOME selection of frozen creations. The "Lauren's Landslide" - my usual pick - features chocolate and vanilla ice cream, caramel, cookie dough, and a chocolate dip. What's not to love? Nothing. (Yes, I answer my own questions on occasion. Sorry about that.)

The Lady Okie said...

Dang it! I wish I had known about this place two weeks ago! Sounds yum. We thought downtown Rapid City was really fun! We went mini golfing at Pirate's Cove and then to dinner at Tally's Silver Spoon. And we got truffles for dessert :)

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

I would much rather drive too. I tend to stick with combos since candy makes me tired. Look forward to seeing all the pics of the sites.