South Dakota confused me. I saw a plethora of billboards, including one slightly suggestive one that read, "Come Ride The McNasty" featuring a covered wagon that had clearly seen better days. But there was what seemed to be an astonishing lack of actual human life. Where exactly are all of these things being advertised? I started to imagine that there were massive underground cities brimming with life and excitement, where everyone lives and the surface is where only tiny troll-like South Dakotans hide out and raise sheep. Because even when we happened upon a gas station to refuel, there never seemed to be an actual city attached to it, the only exception being the Corn Palace.
The Corn Palace was a building set in a small plaza not unlike a low budget theme park, in which there were no rides, but you could purchase a hat shaped like an ear of corn, or alternatively view an informational film about the corn. Now, I love weird things, especially hats, but these corn hats were neither bizarre enough for me to love or nice enough for my family to consider wearing, so the majority of our group left the CP without a hat. My boyfriend, on the other hand, purchased a cowboy hat at this fine establishment. Now, we're in South Dakota and there's only like, twelve visible people in this whole state anyway, so I suppose it doesn't really matter what you look like, but as my sister Zoe pointed out, he did slightly resemble Hugh Jackman in the hat. (Or as she so eloquently explained, "like the Wolfman from The Matrix!" She's not a film buff.) In any case, by the time we'd left the CP, the hat had grown on me.
I left South Dakota without finding the underground city, sheep-farming trolls or riding the McNasty.
It was a thoroughly disappointing state.
I'm not going back. For my return trip, I'm going around it.