One Down, 49 to Go

One year ago today, we went public and shared the news that we were moving to Rapid City, South Dakota. Via social media, of course, because this is the 21st century.

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We actually made our decision weeks earlier, on the first full day of our quickie weekend road trip out here. But there were i’s to dot and t’s to cross before we told everybody. Hardest of all was our parents, who really didn’t want to see us go. But we were committed and there was no changing our minds by that point. Those eight months we had to wait between announcing we were going and actually going felt like they were going to drag, and at times they did, but here we are one year later and now it kinda seems like it flew by, ha.

It also totally feels like home.

I kind of feel like we left just in time, too. I was talking with my parents on the phone a couple of weeks ago and they mentioned the Proud Boys, an alt-right group that is clashing with members of the far-left Antifa movement on the streets of Portland, resulting in a whole lot of bloodshed. And I thought, that is not the Portland I knew and loved.

They went on to talk about the homeless criss, which was always bad but now seems to be spiraling out of control. And the escalating traffic issues and rising prices. It all just sounds so unbearably bad. I’m not bashing Portland. It’ll always have a special place in my heart, and going back to visit will be lots of fun. It just doesn’t hold the same allure for me that it once did.

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This, by contrast? It’s exactly where we were meant to be. I’m not saying South Dakota is perfect or suited to everybody. But it’s just right for us, and that’s all that matters. I keep hearing “but just wait until winter!” and all I can think is, I can’t wait until winter! I think that’s the attitude you need to have to really enjoy it out here. Plus, you’ve got to enjoy a small(ish) town and be willing to sacrifice a few things (like Trader Joe’s and Costco and farmer’s markets teeming with deliciously juicy berries and Darth Vader-costumed, bagpipe-playing unicyclists). If you’re okay without those types of creature comforts, you just might thrive out here in the Upper Midwest.


Last Wednesday, we (OK, Tara) came up with the impromptu idea of driving out to the Badlands to catch the full moon. It was rising at 6:25 p.m. and we thought that would be a perfect opportunity to set up our cameras and capture some good shots in a ruggedly scenic landscape.

It was a great idea in theory, but there were just enough clouds on the horizon to mess with the view. Plus, the moon ended up rising over the parking lot instead of the craggy cliffs we’d been hoping for. And it was super windy, which made it really cold, especially once the sun went down.

But. We had the whole place to ourselves, and that alone made it kind of magical. There’s a lot to be said for going out there in the off-season! And while the moonrise might have been a dud, the sunset was spectacular.

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It was late by the time we left, and later still when we got back to Rapid City. 8:00, and neither of us had eaten in hours. So we decided to grab a bite to eat at Sickies Garage, small regional chain of restaurants (five locations in the Dakotas and Minnesota) that advertises “50 burgers, 50 brews & More!” They’re not exaggerating, either. On any of those counts. Loved the decor, the food was great, and the prices were unbeatable. Most burgers are less than $10 and include a side. In fact, dinner for the two of us – including a couple of hard ciders – was only $38.

I’m sure we’ll be back plenty of times. After all, there are 49 more burgers to try!

All in all, it was a great Wednesday, and a nice break from the regular weekday routine. Normally we’d be watching “The Price is Right” with a purring cat sandwiched between us while balancing a plate of food on our laps.

This was better.

I highly recommend getting out and living a little. It does wonders for the soul.

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11 thoughts on “One Down, 49 to Go

  1. Watched your whole move via this blog. Have enjoyed it. We moved from Portland back to Gearhart before you hit Rapid and are very glad we did. We lived in Ptown for 36 years and are happy we moved back home. You’ll deal with snow, we’ll deal with rain. If you need good weather to be happy, you’re in trouble. 🙂

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  2. Mark, I can absolutely remember when you announced (on your blog) about your decision to move to Rapid City. And what blows me away is how FAST that time flew. I CANNOT believe that that was a YEAR ago?!?!?

    So glad to know how happy you and Tara are with your new home 🙂 And I can tell, just from the energy in your voice, how much you’re enjoying it.

    ” I keep hearing “but just wait until winter!” and all I can think is, I can’t wait until winter!”

    Meeeeeeeeeeeee to, Mark. I’d be saying the same thing!

    I agree, every place has a different vibe, so not everyone will be attracted to the same places. For example, not everyone likes (or could live) in a city like New York. Yet to me, it’s “right” for me. And one day, I’ll BE there.

    Your photographs of the sunset are freaking SPECTACULAR!

    *thunderous applause*

    Btw, those French fries look deeeeelicious!

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    • The waiting was excruciating at times, Ron. But we had our Farewell Tour checklist to go through, and that kept us busy! Hope you get to live in NYC soon. I know how much you were looking forward to it until the reality of rent hit you. You WILL make it there, though – I just know it!

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  3. Mark, your positive outlook has been a real encouragement to me this past year. I just wanted you to know that.

    What a spectacular sunset! It must have been fabulous to have the park all to yourself (or nearly?) I remember when we visited the Needles area of Canyonlands in Utah around 7 pm and we were the only ones around. It was magical.

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    • Thank you for saying that! I’m generally a positive person anyway. This move has been real exciting for me.

      The last time we were at this same spot there were hordes of people, so to have it all to ourselves was both jarring and wonderful.

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