Brad's truck and RV parked at a campsite in Topsail State Park.

Spring Road Trip to South Dakota!

Watching sunsets while strolling the beach and feeling the cool Gulf waves splash over my toes was a pleasant experience, especially considering it was winter. A six-week journey across 2,000 miles through twelve states would position me in South Dakota for my next adventure beginning in mid-April.

White sandy beach with waves splashing while sun sets in distance.
image caption: It’s not just about the picturesque view, but reflection on the closure of today while curiously wondering what tomorrow will bring, that makes watching the sun descend a worthwhile experience.

The bare feet and warm temperatures were gradually replaced with wool socks and snow flurries. I was steadily hurdling latitudes north and easing through time zones to the west. Even as the spring equinox passed, that much sought-after moderating spring weather was always just out of reach behind me.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri against a blue sky.
image caption: Walking across the Mississippi River on Eads Bridge that was completed in 1874 and through the iconic Gateway Arch that was built nearly a hundred years later felt like a symbolic continuation of my journey, although not nearly as arduous or courageous as the great explorers and pioneers who passed through St. Louis as they contributed to the territorial expansion of a fledgling country.

However, my next adventure was in sight and I could feel it pulling me north. Coupled with grand plans to visit friends and family, see new areas of the country and absorb some historical knowledge was enough to leave the white sandy beaches behind. New experiences awaited on my spring road trip to South Dakota.

A shout-out to all my friends and family that made time for catching up along the way. My route frequently becomes a circuitous route so that I can stay in touch. I enjoy these visits and each of these encounters makes every leg of my trip special. I’ll defer mentioning names as some people prefer their privacy, but I appreciated seeing everyone.

A laptop and paper map with various marks and a highlighted route.
image caption: Maybe it’s simply nostalgia, but converging the familiarity of antiquated paper maps with the efficiency of the internet, is a process I thoroughly enjoy. A spring road trip in the making!

I’ll be in South Dakota for a few months, so more details on that adventure coming soon.

I still have 300 miles to cover in the next two weeks through the Nebraska panhandle, into South Dakota and up through the Black Hills. However, I’m pausing my travels north for a few days in North Platte, Nebraska to sit out the pending winter storm. With snow, wind and temperatures in the teens forecasted as a Winter Storm Warning for the next couple days, there’s absolutely no need for me to be on the road.

Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it.

― Jim Henson, American puppeteer
Jungle Jim's entrance sign and storefront.
image caption: Jungle Jim’s International Market is a unique stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, featuring 180,000 authentic grocery products from all over the world.

Here’s just a few of the highlights of my travels since leaving Florida:

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Lake Guntersville State Park, Guntersville, Alabama
Mississippi State play in First Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Dayton, Ohio
Mississippi State Baseball playing at University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky
St. Marys, Ohio – visit my hometown in Ohio
Jungle Jim’s – Cincinnati, Ohio
Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
Truman Presidential Library – Independence, Missouri
Eisenhower Presidential Library – Abilene, Kansas
Sandhill Cranes Migration – North Platte, Nebraska

Brad Saum bundled for cold weather sitting by a camera on a tripod in a bird blind.
image caption: In the blind well before sunrise on a cold and blustery morning in Nebraska to take some photos of migrating birds.

Obviously not the direct route, but here’s the states I have traversed in the last few weeks:
…and hopefully South Dakota very soon (if it will stop snowing!)

Handwritten letters on display between President Truman and his wife Bess.
image caption: A sampling of letters exchanged between Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, are displayed at the Truman Presidential Library and represent a lost art of intimacy fused through personalization, time, and effort.
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