Minimum Maintenance

“I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve been on these roads,” the Cowboy says to me as we were being rerouted recently on a trip to a friends place. Road construction had completely shut the two lane highway we were on, down. There were only dirt roads in either direction and it was a crapshoot which direction might get us where we were going faster.

“Getting a detour out here isn’t fun,” he said. “You never know where you’ll end up.”


We were driving through rural, remote Central South Dakota where the roads don’t run quite the way they do in Eastern South Dakota. At least in Eastern South Dakota, there is an intersection with drive-able roads in any direction, just about every square mile. Even if it is a gravel road. It’s tough to get lost. And your GPS works (most places).

Not where we were that day.

South Dakota Backroads

South Dakota Backroads

It wasn’t long ago .. okay, it was actually a long time ago, I was a little kid .. when I couldn’t fathom being in a place like this. I sincerely thought on the family trips we used to take out west, that if we were ever in a place like this, our car would quit, the prairie dogs would eat us alive and no one would ever know. Because, well .. because it really is in the middle of nowhere.

But there is a strange beauty and peacefulness in the fact roads like this, places like this still exist. I would challenge any one of you that might not see yourself being comfortable anywhere but in the middle of a city, immersed in chaos and around tons of people, to make time for such a drive. Detour or otherwise. There are still so many places like this that exist. Places and people and a lifestyle that truly are minimum maintenance. It could be an incredibly rewarding trip.


Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. And in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself. – Unknown

4 thoughts on “Minimum Maintenance

  1. I am reminded of the simple life when I go to the Amish auction. I watch the young young children running around barefoot, or see them in the fields as I drive up to the auction. They have no TV, no IPads, no video games, and yet they survive each day. I often wonder what today’s generation would do without electronics, or for that matter myself.

  2. Love those roads in South Dakota. Our Daughter is going to school at SDSU and on visits out to see her we make it a requirement to find some of these roads just to feel the peacefulness of them. Our other daughter that is a HS Senior always says that she is going to live 3 dirt roads of the main. We have found them in SD.

  3. I lived & worked in St. Louis and spent some nice times traveling the rural roads of Nebraska to visit a friend. Some of my fondest memories are driving through the country roads in the middle of fields or prairie on both sides of the road. It indeed was peaceful and magnificent in its simple and pure beauty. One time we encountered cowboys herding cattle across the road. The golden wheat fields were glorious. The colorful sunsets could be seen forever and were never ending. Moments like these will be cherished for the simple moments of clarity I received.

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