South Dakota to Alabama
Leaving my hometown was harder than I expected. I got used to constantly having my family around. I’m going to leave it at that before I go off on a tangent better left to another post. We woke around 9am to have coffee (tea for me) with the parents, before going through our checklist of making sure MUTHUR was ready for the road, then said our for-the-time-being goodbyes.
Our destination for night 1 was Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the largest city in SD. I’d spent some time there as a kid for softball tournaments and maybe a family trip, but was never terribly impressed. That’s probably due to the fact that I grew up “West River” (as in West of the Missouri River, which runs up the state’s middle). If you’ve lived any stretch of time in South Dakota you are aware of the feud between the two sides. I’d always thought of “East River” as being overly humid and flat (and thus, boring). Turns out, East River is the more populated and therefore, seemingly, the more progressive side of the state. Whatevs, the Badlands and Black Hills still win over hipsters (yes, this was news).
SOOO due to my prejudices, we parked MUTHUR at an RV park outside of Sioux Falls in a small town called, of all things, Tea. We opted to stay in that night, feasting on instant ramen.
Sorry Sioux Falls, I’ll give you a real shot someday.
Sioux Falls wasn’t done with us yet. MUTHUR needed a oil change. We briefly got lost on back roads trying to find the service station we’d been recommended, and had to disconnect ALIENBB (aka our jeep - don’t judge me). Justin was driving MUTHUR while I followed behind, close enough to notice that when he turned into the service station down a steep hill (later realized it was not the real entrance), the piece connecting all of our dump tank drain lines was knocked off. Good times. Karma for talking so much shit I guess.
Thankfully it was something Justin could fix himself (though not the most pleasant work) and we were on the road to Kansas City!
We opted to stay at a Pilot truck stop just outside of town rather than spend $ on a campsite. Instead we used that coin to take a Lyft into Kansas City for BBQ! Neither Justin nor I had spent much time in KC, but knew we needed to try the BBQ. With so many options and recommendations it was a little overwhelming having to choose just one place, but we settled on Char Bar. It was great (as a person who doesn’t eat meat too often, I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the fact that so many of the sides were vegetarian + delicious). Our Lyft back to the RV gave us an impromptu mini tour of the downtown area, and when we got home we slept like bbs.
We hit the road bright and early after a solid nights sleep with full bellies. Next stop Memphis, TN.
Not a terribly eventful travel day, which is a great travel day in RV life. I am very grateful we took this trip during Fall. The colors really are remarkable, and became even more vibrant the further south we went.
We stayed at Tom Sawyer’s RV Park, a spacious (but spooky in the dark) park right off the Mississippi River. We again took a cab into town. Justin wanted to show me Beale street as he’d shot Rebel Eats there a few years back. Apparently it was a bit of an off night, likely due to all the pre-Halloween festivities that had happened over the weekend. We still had a good time bouncing around to different bars with live music. And of course, the famous Dyer’s burger. If you are ever in Memphis I agree, you should check it out.
Another early morning on the road. We were excited to make it to our first more-than-a-night destination, Gulf Shores, AL!
To be honest, I spent most of this drive completely absorbed in My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh. I began and finished it on this drive. I love this book. Maybe because part of me can relate to the idea of avoiding life for a year and hitting the reset button (totally not what I’m doing with RV life right?!) But really. So good. Just read it.
Our main reason for heading to Gulf Shores was to see Justin’s (and my) good friend Martie Duncan, and so he could be part of this years Hangout Oyster Cook-Off, which she’s been helping out with since its inception. (More on that to come)!
Martie hooked us up with a camping spot at Gulf State Park. So much lush vegetation, beautiful sunsets, places to hike, “beware of alligator” signs! If felt good to finally park MUTHUR in a spot she’d stay for more than a night. Especially one that was so dreamy.