This is Part Four of my report of a trip into western South Dakota on Highway 212; to understand where the middle west ends and the west begins, I wanted to cross the Missouri River and the 100th Meredian, which demarcate that line. I continued west on Highway 212 to Highway 73 where I swung north to Lemmon, South Dakota, before circling back towards Redfield, following Highway 12 as far as Highway 281 in Aberdeen. Today we continue the report still heading west along Highway 212 near the intersection with Highway 83. Today we cross the wide Missouri.
A pheasant on one of those
big bales of hay.
The junction with Highway 83.
Again the road curves. Why?
Lewis and Clark Trail. "Missouri River, 10 miles."
Corn, beans, alfalfa.
Some of those distant fields I've been calling beans, are they sunflowers?
Cock pheasant, hen, and chicks along the road. Wheat nearly ripe.
A ridge in the far distance, where the Missouri is.
Standing dead trees on one side of the corn. Corn on the other side.
An abandoned house along the road, its paint faded to a dusty rose.
Corn. Ripening wheat. Junction with Highway 1804. "Eagle Butte, 58 miles."
A powerline runs southwest to northeast on the ridge along the river, the Missouri.
The original site of Medicine Rock.
Rock and roll up and down to the river.
I see water. I see the distant bridge. Highway 1804 turns left. Highway 212 turns toward the bridge.
A lone windmill. A large flat of water. Broken land across the river.
In the middle of the river: "Entering Mountain Time Zone. Entering Dewey County." We climb away from water. The land is green still, and yellow with sweet clover. It is a wrassle of mound and hill and ravine, an up and down of everything. Rangeland. Not a field to be seen. Rangeland, believe me. Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, with houses scattered here and there.
A hawk low about the sweet clover.
Horses in the corner of a pasture, their tails working the flies. Several colts. Three fields of buffalo.
A serrated knife edge of land just north of me.
All the sweet clover in all directions. The hooking smell of it.
Not a single worked field. I see large bales piled up near a shed and trailer house.
Thirty bee hives. Those jars of honey will say "Sweet Clover."
A sunflower along the road's edge, looking up optimistically.
A big owl or hawk on a fence post. Owl, I think - face split in two directions.
A tractor disappearing into the landscape around it.
Two hundred acres of prairie dogs.
Cattle at pasture. A mule deer.
How far must I drive before I believe I'm not going to see more corn? What I see is a lot of horses and hay.
A prong-horn antelope on my left, running west.
In the rock and roll of this land, you just know it's coiling to do something.
La Plant, South Dakota, on a water tower. A school, a few houses, a church.
Sign: Eagle Butte, 32 miles.
To be continued....