South Dakota Bound

My Travel Plans Are Evolving…

I left 4 E Winery after carefully reconsidering my plan to head down to Texas via Memphis for the winter. While I felt better after leaving Camping World, and even better after leaving the beautiful 4E Winery, the electrical issue was still not sitting right with me. I knew there was a problem with one of the RV’s electrical components that would raise its ugly head sooner or later. Did I want to be stranded on some bandit-ridden stretch of a Texas highway watching my RV burn? Probably not. So I would go West, and see if the problem showed itself again. If it did I could go to a Camping World and get it fixed and then head South to Arizona.

It Was Getting Hot!

The temperature in South Dakota was 86 Degrees Fahrenheit. My 11-year-old Brittany Spaniel Pointer, Jolene was showing signs of melting. It was hot for me. However, I was sure Jolene was feeling the heat even more than me. The old dog panted heavily and stretched her orange and white body across the cushions of the leather sofa. I gazed over the brittle dry hills as I pulled Daisy May into the Porter Sculpture Park. I dumped most the bucket of ice from the icemaker into the dogs’ water dishes. Jolene slowly wandered over with the hesitance and resolve of an old dog on a hot day. She licked at the icy water a few times and smacked her lips appreciatively.

Experiencing Art In The Middle Of Nowhere

In September, the I90 through South Dakota is a ribbon of blacktop through a landscape of rolling golden fields. By this time of year, the sun has punched all vegetation down into a crisp, rolling sea of fading gold. High on a wayside knoll above this sea is an 80-foot-high horse that stands at the edge of the Porter Sculpture Park. Looking oh-so-much like a bunch of Greek soldiers are about to jump out of its belly, the steel horse is an invitation to curious travelers to stop and wander in this inspirational oasis on the side of Interstate Highway 90.

It was an invitation that I couldn’t resist, especially since I could stay there overnight with the Harvest Hosts Program. We got there and we greeted by the artist, Wayne Porter. I put the girls on leashes in one hand and my cane. As I hobbled around the park’s mile-long trail of of sculptures, reading their accompanying poems I felt somehow inspired and encouraged at the state of the zoo of current affairs we call society.

South Dakota Is Full Of Surprises

Most of the sculptures are at once whimsical and wistful, with a delightful twist of dark humor. Wayne’s a friendly guy and invited me into the small garage that gave him and his partner shade from the sun. The first thing I asked him was if he studied art. I was shocked to find out he never went to art school. Instead, he started working in his Dad’s local blacksmith shop as a kid.

After that Wayne went off to university where he studied political science and sociology. He patiently explained (probably for the millionth time) that he never did study art. He just made sculptures. I was secretly delighted to know there was a self-taught artist in South Dakota who was making a good living with his art. I’m a self-taught artist too. I guess seeing this park gave me hope that my art could one day be admired and seriously appreciated. Probably right after I die though (haha).

Wayne and I proceeded to converse about politics and about the widespread local perception that most Canadians are stuck up. And the Canadian perception that most Americans are-well..let’ just say .Trump supporters. It was an open and honest discussion and I think we each surprised the other without any bad feelings at all. Afterwards I wandered back to my home and retired for a peaceful night and a good sleep. In the morning, I hobbled off to relearn Wayne’s sculptures with the girls. After that, I sat down for more good conversation over coffee. However, daylight burns up fast and I was ready to hit the highway. So we loaded up and headed Westward across the fading prairie.

2 thoughts on “South Dakota Bound”

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