After a great visit in Cleveland with my brother and sister in law, we’re back home in Virginia. Our recent road trip included 12 states, six national parks/monuments, a dozen different animals, 11 new dishes, 13 blog posts, one new squirt ring, and 4,730 miles of driving. Here are a few other places of interest that we left out of previous posts, listed in no particular order.

Pioneer Trails Regional Museum: In the unlikely spot of Bowman, North Dakota (pop: 1800), you can see things ranging from a Triceratops skeleton to Vietnam artifacts. There is also a whole section on recipes from the frontier, and a gift shop with local products. We were expecting to see farm equipment and maybe a covered wagon replica (actually, it had those, too). Drop everything and get to Bowman.

JL Beers: This pub in Sioux Falls was one of the few places open on the 4th of July (hey, it’s hard to be a patriot without time for firecrackers). They serve excellent $5 burgers (no veggie options, this is cattle country), offer a vast selection of beers, and have several big TVs mostly tuned to Fox News and baseball. The 46 different beers on tap range from obscure microbrews to Budweiser, Miller, Busch, Coors, Pabst, even Hamms (who in the world is ordering Hamms draft?). It’s an interesting mix of beer geeks and farmers; the table next to us spent their entire meal talking about repairing a tractor.

Beermail: Another fun thing about JL Beers is that they offer a free post card and postage to every patron…a bit like the postal version of the phones that used to be on airplane seatbacks (“hey, guess where I’m calling from?”). They reportedly send out about 3000 cards a month–that’s a thousand bucks worth of stamps. I guess Hamms drinkers like getting mail.

Food Shopping: There are quite a few differences at grocery stores in the northern plains, mainly a zillion meat choices (including parts of the cow that I couldn’t even identify), brat and sausage aisles as long as the store, fresh baked goods everywhere, bins of corn the size of large hot tubs, baked potatoes the size of your head, and casings galore. What’s a casing, you might ask? Apparently, nothing says “I live in the city” like asking that question.

And, Lastly…Heated Seats: The stadium at South Dakota Tech is the home of the Division 3 football Hardrockers. It was the first stadium in the world to offer heated seats…assuming your car has a functioning heater. There is tiered drive-in parking on one side of the field and grandstands at the other. Watching the game from your car was–and remains–a common practice, as is honking your horn and flashing your headlights after a big play (seriously). It’s safe to say that the wave cheer was not invented in South Dakota.

With that, our travelogue shifts back to a foodie blog. Which reminds me, where did I put those casings?


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