We headed out early because Dave and Keith both believed that our best chance of storms was in northern South Dakota.
As we crossed the border into South Dakota it became clear to me that this was a special place. The terrain changed and the grass became greener and the sky seemed bluer. Even the air smelled sweeter. Of course the mosquitoes were also like little helicopters, but you can't have everything, right?
One of the most interesting things about driving into South Dakota is that you have to drive through the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations. The dichotomy between the luscious and beautiful landscapes and the extreme poverty is startling. I had always heard stories about the conditions on the reservations, but this was the first time I ever witnessed it firsthand. It's very clear to me now that the White Man totally fucked the Native Americans. One has to hope that the extreme beauty in some way makes up for the extreme living conditions. It was eye-opening and heartbreaking.
After driving through the reservation we continued north on US Highway 83. We stopped for hours in Selby, South Dakota at a teensy little gas station. Selby is the county seat of Walworth County and has a population of 642. It's mind boggling to me that this is considered a big town! This is the heart of downtown Selby!
After spending several hours at the gas station we were thisclose to giving up and heading back south to a hotel and dinner. As we were about to make hotel reservations, Emily says, "look over there! some convection!" Sure enough, after a glance at radar we made the decision to head north to the border of North Dakota.
During this drive I completely fell in love with the Dakotas. I have never, ever, been to a place so beautiful. The terrain became more rugged and rocky. The colors became brighter and the air became even sweeter.
As we made our way north the storm came into view and it was back lit by the sun starting to set in the west. It looked like spun silver and gold. It was indescribably beautiful. The entire time I was driving I was just staring out the window and saying, "wow" every few seconds. Whenever I thought it couldn't possibly be any more beautiful, it was.
By the time we got to the storm, any danger had passed and we hopped out to take pictures and video of such an incredible scene. The colors were outrageous. I've never seen anything like it anywhere in the world. It was so incredibly beautiful that I nearly cried. I've never had such a visceral and emotional response to a landscape.
We finally decided to leave this incredible place, but the sunset made us stop to take more photos.
Once we were finally able to tear ourselves away, we dropped back south and spend the night in Murdo.