In The Way

Okaton, South Dakota

Outside Huron our back tire popped. To make a looooooong story short, we tried hitchhiking, we tried calling the local police department, we tried calling our Couchsurfing host in Huron, with no success. We started losing hope in America and in people because, even though we were clearly broken down, and about 20 miles outside of any sort of civilization, people averted their eyes when they saw our thumb out. I started singing a song LOUDLY to the wilderness.

“South Dakota, you ain’t got no soul
You don’t know how to walk, and you barely know how to roll”

It seems like often the people who honk angrily at us are the ones who are most overweight. However, I think for every driver who does not get over to the left for us, there are at least 5 who do. Plus, motorcyclers have started waving at us, making us feel real legit. I think that a lot of the motorcyclers think they are all tough stuff for biking through the heat… until they see us.

Anyways, eventually the Herbalife Distributors of Huron stopped by to offer us some samples of their products. When they discovered that our back tire had exploded from wearing too thin, they offered us a ride to the local Wal-Mart, where we would be able to purchase a new tire, much to our shame.

We got it fixed and ended up sleeping on Eric’s floor in his apartment, but not after listening to his beautiful Cello skills. At around 7:45 the fire alarm went off, so we left towards Highmore. We arrived in Miller that afternoon, quite exhausted, and decided to go to bed early and wake up early. Ever since then, we have been going to bed early and waking up early to avoid this excessive heat warning. It is just after 8:03 and we are about to go to bed, ready to wake up at 4 AM.

After camping out in a Donation-based campground in Miller, SD we headed for Pierre, SD. We didn’t quite make it all the way, because the intense, intense heat seemed to be suffocating us as we were outside of town. We ended up getting ANOTHER ride 17 miles into Pierre, where we spent the night at the Pierre United Methodist Church. We walked down to the Missouri river, which was HUGELY flooded. Pierre looked warn-torn, covered with many police cars and sand bags in the downtown area. We walked back into the church and slept on the couches in the Sr. High youth group. We woke around 5 this morning and raced the heat.

We had a 35 mile stretch from Pierre down to I-90 where we knew that there were no rest stops whatsoever. It took us about 4 hours, with us arriving right around 10 AM. We didn’t take many long breaks, arriving in Murdo around 1PM, which was about 8 miles from Okaton, our Couchsurfing spot for the night.

The last hour of the trip was by far the most hot and the most exhausting. But, we arrived in the Ghost Town of Okaton, SD, home of the famous rock shop. We are hanging out here- there are only 13 people living here, 15 if you include us. I’m not sure how many percent of an increase that is, but it’s got to be a lot.

Tomorrow we will be waking up early to head towards Wall, SD.

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8 thoughts on “Okaton, South Dakota

  1. Aunt Maureen on said:

    looks really good!

  2. JessicaG on said:

    Hey you did get a Busted Nut pizza (my uncle owns that place) … and your stop in Okaton, sounds like some friends of mine, too. 🙂 Enjoy!

  3. I know those Herbalife people that stopped to help you, they were on their way to Minneapolis. Yes they are Herbalife distributors and they help people every chance they get. That’s just who Danny and Dannette they care about people. Your fortunate they came along and I am very proud to know them. AL in Oregon

  4. CS Strait on said:

    You stayed with my dtr Shelby and her dad John in Okaton…..may you run into many, many like those two on your journey.

  5. Our guests arrived in the afternoon when it was 102 degrees! My daughter Shelby took them over to our house for a rest in our house with cool air conditioning. After they were rested, they washed closed and got to hang their clothes on a clothes line for the very first time, which seemed to excite them. I wonder what they thought about all the ticks and grass hoppers at their feet.

    Then they came over to the rock store. I offered them a treat from our cooler and they both chose chocolate candy! Then they explored the shop and watched me cut a rock. They mentioned that their favorite food was pizza so i sent them with my daughter to the best food place in the state. The Busted Nut Bar and Grill in Draper, South Dakota where they enjoyed a GIANT pizza.

    Once they came back they explore a coulpe of abandoned buildings that we had. Unfortunatly the sun sets really late here so they didn’t get to experience the full effect of our ghosts. Once they got back to the house, it was about 7:30. They checked their e;mails and said they were going to bed at 8:30 so that they could wake up at 4am. They went to sleep at 9:30 and woke up at 6! They must have needed the rest.

    In the morning when they woke up they were full of energy and excited about their day! They loaded up on water and a litle tea and packed their bike. Felt the cool breeze and it was blowing west. They looked like they were totally ready for the unknown. I wanted their picture so I took them over to the “Okaton Rocks’ sign where we exchanged hugs and goodbyes.

    We trully enjoyed their visit in our ghost town and hope that they enjoyed themselves. My daughter signed us up for couchsurfing.com which is very rewarding. Thanks for staying with us Valerie and David!

  6. Your faces GLOW in that picture!

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