After more delays than expected, Jasper had, at long last, received his Permanent Residence card, a.k.a. our ticket to hit the road (more specifically, our ticket to be allowed back afterward).
On a hot Saturday morning, we hopped in the Volkswagen Jetta and headed southwest towards Michigan. We stopped in picturesque New Buffalo in the evening for a walk and some groceries. Due to very heavy rain and no campgrounds in site, we spent a first romantic night sleeping at a highway rest stop in our car with the seats rolled back. In the morning, we drove the last sixty miles to arrive at Chicago.
We spent the day on foot, despite to 40 degree weather. We walked through millennium park, saw the giant bean, and strolled the waterfront and river walk. When we were thoroughly spent, we went to our Airbnb for a much-needed shower and nap. In the evening, we went to the old town, got some legendary pizza at Uno (which was incredibly filling, despite its small size) and stopped at the House of Blues for some music and a beer.
The next day, we forged on towards Minneapolis to visit a good friend, Anna, from my Korea teaching days. We made a quick pit stop at Chippewa Falls (hometown of Jack Dawson) and arrived at our destination in the evening, tired and content. We had a lovely catch up and Jasper tried his first veggie dog. The next day we explored the city which I would best describe as industrial-urban and wound up at Inbound Brew Pub chatting with the server and sampling the taps for the afternoon before again braving the heat and journeying back to Anna’s house for the night.
From there, we made our way through the South Dakota plains towards Badlands National Park (stopping briefly at an actual Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD). Here, with the rough terrain and jagged dirt peaks in layered colours, you truly feel like you have landed on another planet. There’s not much to do but walk around and take in the scenery, and that is just what we did. When the rain clouds at last rolled in, we packed up and headed to the Black Hills.
Now somewhere in the black mining hills of Dakota, there lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon. While we did not see Rocky himself, we saw many of his furry friends, including multiple herds of Buffalo, deer and fields full of adorable prairie dogs, mostly concentrated in Custer state park. We also visited Mount Rushmore and the historic (and highly touristic) town of Deadwood… where we ran into some car trouble. We gave our little VW some rest and some love and (knock on wood), she’s going strong again. ❤