The Grassy Knolls

I’ll wager that the Dog Ear Buttes of South Dakota rarely appear on anyone’s vacation sightseeing list. I only know of them because of my love for driving on gravel roads and my habit of scanning atlases for potentially interesting geographical features.

These two relatively small mounds, south of the town of Winner, certainly stand out in an otherwise flat expanse of prairie studded with cows and the occasional farmhouse.

I first visited the buttes several years ago and I went back again this past October. The place is still as peaceful and idyllic as I remember.

This a prime example of the kind of thing I’ll see from the driver’s seat and will feel a strong desire to park the car and climb to the top. Sadly, as is the case in most of these situations, the buttes are fenced off on private land. Perhaps on my next visit, I’ll track down the landowner and ask for permission to cross the fence and hike to the summits. (UPDATE: Mission accomplished! I climbed the buttes on my very next visit. Read the report here.)

I’d truly enjoy living close to something like this so I could walk to the top each day to enjoy the view. Man, that’s the life.

Riding with Carl

My Pontiac has taken me to many fascinating places over the years. But a clear majority of the bliss I’ve experienced in this convertible has occurred on journeys that have no destination. Whether a multi-day affair through the plains or the desert, or simply an hour-long joyride around the local countryside, I savor every opportunity to roll down the back roads of North America, feeling the sun and the wind, gazing at the sky and the clouds or the moon and the stars, smelling the trees and flowers and grasses, and listening to music that perfectly compliments the scenery at hand. Driving this car brings me a level of contentment that I could never attain through yoga, meditation or the use of chemicals. I’ve yet to grow weary of this avocation; can’t imagine that I ever will.

Most of the miles I’ve traveled have been logged on trips of this nature, and with an empty passenger seat. Yet every so often, a friend will join me on one of these local excursions. I love traveling and exploring the world on my own, but having a passenger in the car adds another level of fun to the experience; it’s always gratifying to see a friend enjoying the ride as much as I do.