The ride across South Dakota was lovelier than I recalled. Maybe I only passed it in the dark before, and that was a long time ago. For the eight hours it took to drive through it, there was lots of time to look. Exquisite contours, vista after vista. It had had all the rain that we did not. The crops were fat, checkered in hues of green straying to chartreuse for the sunflowers. I was a few days late for them, hundreds of acres of sunflowers obediently facing the sun. What a sight. Alfalfa, stretching for miles of blue green. Sorghum in rusty red. Beans bright forest green. Canola, billowing in gold Little bits of Platte river, which rolls southward to Nebraska, carved into the prairie. It is not home for me, but the prairies pull my heart strings as though it was. I wonder what it’s like for those that live here to return, from, for instance my place, with all its differences laid plain for contrast. I crossed the Missouri, the very wide Missouri, where it had been made into Lake Francis. Three bridges spanned it, the one for the interstate and a couple more, at least one for railroads. We stopped for a break in the Badlands and rode on the flat easy highway to the Black Hills, past Sturgis where the finals were hosted many times, long ago, and into Clearmont, Wyoming. Joni Tietjen had a dog swim party ready. They loved it. Blake barbecued rib eyes.