Everyone needs their happy place, somewhere to unwind and recharge with minimal distractions. That place to my husband and I is his family ranch in South Dakota, Casey was lucky enough to grow up on a 4th generation working cattle ranch 45 miles from the closest stoplight. It’s rugged, beautiful and relaxing but also alive with livestock and wildlife at the same time. When he gets in the ranch truck and turns up the George Strait or climbs on his 4 wheeler and takes off across the open fields I swear he is a different person entirely.
Being from a small town myself, I totally understand wanting to escape from the city every now and then. The traffic, the noise and the fast pace living can certainly get exhausting. So when our parents headed out on a joint vacation for a few weeks and the cattle needed taken care of we jumped at the chance to ranch-sit for 10 days.
We may have been a little nuts to pack up our brand new electric car, our two insane mutts and drive 1600 miles across the country to get there but we are adventure seekers, so that is exactly what we did. Three days, 10 podcasts and 13 stops to charge later we pulled off the highway and on to the gravel road that leads to our little slice of heaven.
We really lucked out with the weather, sorry East Coasters but while you all were getting pounded with snow, we were enjoying 70 degrees and sunny and while that is very unusual for this time of year in New Underwood, South Dakota we had zero complaints. We looked after the ranch, got a ton of work done, visited with family and Casey was able to show me parts of his home town that I had never experienced before. Best of all, we were able to truly relax, in fact we never even turned on the tv the entire time we were there.
It was certainly one of my favorite trips we have ever taken together and was made even more special because our pups were along for the ride. Having so much space to run and so many new things to chase certainly left an impression on Hank and Blanqui as well.
If you ever have the opportunity to head out to Western South Dakota, I encourage you to make the trip. Contrary to popular belief, there is plenty to do, Rapid City is certainly a changing place with new bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, yoga studios, and boutiques popping up as more and more people find out about the quality of life in the Black Hills area. The people are great but the views and sunsets are unlike anything I have ever experienced and many of you may think I am crazy for saying this but some are nearly as breath taking as the ones we saw in Santorini and the night sky full of stars blows the islands away.
So if you are traveling through South Dakota and want to see more than just Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Custer State Park and the Badlands and if you book far enough in advance, I know a gorgeous hunting lodge that you can stay in ;)!
As the years go by and we look for a slightly slower lifestyle, I know our little family will be spending a lot more time in this beautiful part of the country and hope that one day you will be able to experience it’s beauty as well, hopefully before it changes too much.