The One with the Faces

Two years ago, I was a newspaper-making machine, designing newspapers across the country. My jam was the Rapid City Journal in Rapid City, South Dakota, and I fell in love. The paper had talented photographers who made the city look even more beautiful than it is in real life. I told myself I would go there one day, if only to see what a sky that blue really looks like.

This summer became that one day. My dude and I packed up my red hatchback and drove from Chicago through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota to see big heads carved into a mountain. Among other things.

We hiked, we ziplined, we minigolfed. I shattered my phone at Mount Rushmore. We stood, breathless, arms around each other, looking out at the Badlands. We fed peanuts to prairie dogs. And we saw every bizarre thing on the side of the road, including, but not limited to: pink elephant with glasses, giant mouse eating cheese, giant cow, big bison, Corn Palace, skeleton man walking skeleton dinosaur, six-ton prairie dog.

People have asked what my favorite part of the trip was, expecting me to say the Black Hills or Badlands, but I feel weird giving the real answer: My travel partner.