Chapter Three

My Mom’s South Dakota

Granny Furiosa struggles to return to her [Minnesota—by way of South Dakota] homeland and escape the clutches of a ruthless [New Mexican] desert gang leader…  With the harsh desert sands [of Farmington] in front of them and marauders behind, only the maddest will prevail the storm. (IMDb/Mad Max: Fury Road)

That was Saturday morning. By Monday, our fearless heroine and her loyal steed, Ghost, were leaving Casper, Wyoming, bound for Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A practically straight shot east of 500 or so miles through prairie and farmland. A cozy airbnb awaited in downtown Sioux Falls, then a day off with cousins.

My enthusiasm for the road had returned after a night of untroubled (by the possibility of Moab bedbugs) slumber between the crisp clean sheets of the La Quinta and that aforementioned little cheery yellow omelet.

I am almost as fond of South Dakota open spaces as of Wyoming even though it’s without that romantic cowboy presence. What it has going for it is my mother’s deep and abiding love of the place even though she was born in its farthest eastern reaches, only a few miles from the Minnesota border. South Dakota is the land of big presidential faces, a grand sculpted Indian warrior, of the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations which I just drove through, of a whole lot of bikers, and of the prosperous Sioux River Valley farm on which my mom grew up. Her dad died when mom was very young and her mother lost the farm during the depression but, as long as mom was alive, we always drove out to the country to see it whenever we visited the area.

South Dakota family:

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