Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Snowed In, In South Dakota

As things stand now, my first visit to South Dakota has turned out to be a little less auspicious than I had hoped ...

To start with, my daughter Lindsey and I had all sorts of ambitious plans for today and are, unfortunately, pretty much snowed in and dealing with very unpleasant temperatures that would be unseasonable almost anywhere else in March (high of 9, low of -4). We could actually make it out into town without too much difficulty, but would have much more of a tough time making it out to any of the places on my wishlist for this week -- including Devil's Tower, in Wyoming, historic Deadwood, S.D., and nearby Mount Rushmore -- all of which would necessitate our driving up into the Black Hills, where road and weather conditions are only going to be worse. Suffice it to say, visitors to the area should take the likelihood of such conditions during almost half the year into consideration when making their plans.

Have also had trouble getting a response from local hotels, restaurants, and other local businesses I have wanted to feature in any number of articles, Websites, and other projects I am currently working on, including the book Mysteries of the Old West for Pagan Publishing and various e-books for Clerisy Press. People can blame bad government, corporate CEOs, minorities, or whatever else they want for the current economic problems plaguing our country -- and I am inclined to think that the first two of those factors have definitely played their parts -- but it is pretty clear to me that the indifference with which so many companies are run these days plays a much bigger role than any of those. Hardly a single hotelier in the country is entirely pleased with business at the moment, but I never cease to be surprised by the ones that won’t even bother to respond to a proposal from a travel writer. (Look for my upcoming book Malaise, which will include numerous case studies and examples of the sad and failing institutions I am referring to.)

What brought me to South Dakota in the first place, of course, was the necessity of driving my daughter and her son to and from Minnesota for a funeral, and the importance of that venture clearly took precedence over anything else. And I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with Lindsey, her son Carter, and her friends Daniela, Ben, and Josh. So, perhaps, more was not meant to come out of it.

And so we sit at my daughter's home in Box Elder, east of Rapid City, the two of us watching Brideshead Revisited and me posting philosophical rant to my travel blog instead travel information. But I almost never give up and might yet make this trip bear publishable fruit, so keep your eye on this space for more!

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