It's easy to refer to South Dakota as a godforsaken wasteland. Here are some more words that could be used to describe South Dakota: Empty, nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero, bare, vacant, unoccupied, deserted, uninhabited, bleak, barren, desolate, abandoned, forsaken. Okay, not all of it; the southwestern most three percent of the state is crammed full of parks, old west towns, and Mt. Rushmore. Which is, of course, the only reason anyone not in the dirt farming business goes to South Dakota, and so did we.
There is one other reason people go to South Dakota in the middle of summer: the annual biker rally at Sturgis. Sturgis is a small town located just a few miles north of Mt. Rushmore, and its name is synonymous with the rally that brings Harley Davidson fans to town in enormous droves every August. Thousands upon thousands of motorcycle aficionados gunning their engines, drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, yelling at women to show their tits, and possibly taking out bloody retribution for the deadly biker gang fight in Laughlin last spring. But our timing was so slightly off. If we'd only arrived two days later, we would have pulled off the worst unplanned event attendance you can imagine: we would have been at Sturgis by accident.
Although the not-Mt.-Rushmore 97% of South Dakota is devoid of anything at all, you can still end up sitting in traffic there. This is because South Dakota sends road crews out to toilet paper the only paved street in the county, and you have to stop and wait for them. Another South Dakota fun fact: it is home to the geographical center of the 50 states, in a little town called Castle Rock. When I say "little town," what I mean is, "three abandoned, refuse-filled shacks on the verge of collapse." The dilapidated remains of an ice cream store and gift shop imply a failed attempt to capitalize on their geographical centricity. Now that Castle Rock is just another breeding ground for the Hanta virus, nearby Belle Fourche has stolen the "Center of the USA" shtick for itself.
As for the remaining three percent of South Dakota: Mt. Rushmore is lovely, and there are mountain goats there; the Black Hills are overrated, apparently only meriting the distinction of being named a National Forest because the presence of trees contrasts with the surrounding nothingness; the Badlands are nice enough, but you'll get more for your money at either the Grand Canyon or the Valley of Fire in Nevada; and Wall Drug may not seem like much to you city folk, but after driving through three hundred miles of South Dakota countryside, it's like finding Las Vegas in the Sahara.