Surprises in the Repeats

Ever start watching a TV show only to realize you’ve seen it before but you don’t remember whodunit or how it ends? So you follow the story, thinking now and then, “Oh! I remember that…” but not enough comes back to you to spoil the show? And along the way you catch a few details you missed the first time?!?

Well, going back to places you’ve been is sort of like that. You remember things like your favorite places to eat and what you liked to spend your time doing in that park or town, but with every visit you find something new.

That’s what it was like for us in 2011, when we returned to South Dakota, after being away a couple of years, and explored the southeastern corner of Montana.

In Sioux Falls, we rode our bikes to our heart’s content…

… which burned enough calories that we could explore more of the local restaurants. After all, Sioux Falls has the highest number of restaurants per capita than any other city in the country (so said one of the local residents)!

We discovered the deli buffet at HyVee is one of the best lunch bargains in town, but if you really want to pig out then the salad, pizza, pasta, and dessert buffet at Valentino’s is a completely delicious place to gorge:

We added Bob’s Cafe in Sioux Falls to our “Best Eats” list for it’s amazing coleslaw. We were lucky to eat with Bob, the owner, when he slid into a stool at the end of the counter, and although we got the low-down on his broasters he wouldn’t give away his secret coleslaw recipe (Ellen thinks pineapple could be what gives it special flavor):

In the Badlands, where restaurants are few and far between, and the restaurant in the park is a last-resort choice for us, our focus is on the hiking. And here we can start on a trail we’ve done before, like the Notch Trail, but we can venture out in any direction to explore, looking for our own vistas:

Of course, we had to watch for dangerous critters everywhere!

We looked forward to seeing Jake again at the campground where we stayed a few years ago outside of Interior, South Dakota, but discovered that Jake had retired, selling the park to the Sioux Tribe. The park just wasn’t the same without Jake!

Outside Rapid City, we were gifted with one of those fantasmagoric South Dakota thunderstorms, full of beautiful anticipation….

…and a stunning rainbow finish:

When you travel, you never know what you might see, so keeping a camera ready out in the plains means capturing these wild pronghorn. Smart animals — they figure if the eating’s good for cattle, it’s good enough for them:

Gorgeous flowers edged the highway in southeast Montana…

…and prairie grasses grew long around the markers on the Last Stand Hill at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument:

“It was a terrible battle… a hard battle because both sides were brave warriors,” said Red Feather of the Lakota band of the Sioux.

Sitting Bull said it best: “They attacked our village and we killed them all. What would you do if your home was attacked? You would stand up like a brave man and defend it.”

Yes, we would do exactly that.


About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in Animals, Attractions, Cool Experience, Food, National Parks. Bookmark the permalink.

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