Once In A While…

Stockgrowers Association sign

Once in a while a road warrior will turn a corner and find themselves looking up at the coolest thing they’ve ever seen. For me, that coolest thing is often a barn, a bend in the road, an old building or a sign. That’s exactly what happened to me while walking around Rapid City, South Dakota with my pal Johnna last summer.

The building is a little nondescript but the sign is amazing. We just don’t make advertising signs with this kind of character anymore. And in case you’re wondering, it does light up. We went back after dark and it looked stunning.

Happy Presidents Day!

Mt rushmore presidents

Mt. Rushmore was one of many stops on my western adventure last year. The site was under construction so we couldn’t get very close but it was still something fun to see. If you’re interested in learning more, click here to read the story. The Rapid City, South Dakota area has a lot to offer and a nice little regional airport if you wish to fly in. Check it out if you get a chance!


Travel Delays and Making Do

Summer vacation plans are underway, causing some reminiscing about last year’s summer vacation. Being human, my brain goes straight to the negative – like the day I spent stranded in the Rapid City, South Dakota Airport because Chicago’s weather was screwing up air travel everywhere.

I found a corner with a comfy couch and an electrical outlet. From this vantage point, I could keep my phone charged while watching people without their notice.

This airport is small but has friendly staff and everything you need including a couple of restaurants. If you’re there, go through security to get to the better of the two. I did not know this and ended up eating a questionable veggie wrap with chips.

The wrap wasn’t great but I had a nice view of the rooftop garden so that made it better.

Plus there was this nice patriotic display, marking the place of American Prisoners of War and Missing In Action soldiers.

And there was this, especially poignant because my vacation pal has a daughter who is Air Force.

Yes, I did take one and yes, I still have it.

The airport also has a few pieces of nice art including this photographic exhibit dedicated to the construction of Mt Rushmore.

Life is what you make of it. The day long delay was unpleasant but it resulted in my being redirected from a layover at O’Hare where I didn’t want to be in the first place to Denver which I didn’t mind at all.

I got back to Columbus late but that gave me an excuse to spend the night with my aunt and cousin and to meet their cats.

All that free time at the airport provided opportunity to go through pictures on my camera and phone and to relax a bit before coming home.

And I tend to believe that when travel plans don’t go as planned, it’s the Universe plotting to keep me alive.

May this be a year of safe travels for us all!

Street Art

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

In Rapid City, South Dakota, space has been designated for graffiti art. There’s a permit process for creating art in this space. Some of it just looks like graffiti but some of it is pretty incredible.

Have a look!

The cool thing is that you don’t see a lot of graffiti in other places around the city – at least not in the areas we visited. It seems that validating this art form has changed the way it is viewed in this town.

Here’s one last look. This one is my favorite!

Firehouse Brewing Company

Rapid city downtown (1)If you’re ever in Rapid City, South Dakota and looking for a good meal, check out Firehouse Brewing Company in the heart of downtown. 

The Firehouse isn’t just a name. It’s actually located in the city’s original firehouse which was constructed in 1915. It’s a two story building with loft and outdoor seating. The bar features all sorts of interesting things including firefighting apparatus, ladders, pictures and patches. The original fire pole is still in place too!

Plus there’s exposed brick, dim lighting, big windows, pretty wood and lots of red – some of my favorite things! The customer service is pretty good and the menu is extensive enough to please almost everyone. They even had a Beyond Burger, making it A-OK in my book since not all restaurants are so friendly to vegans and vegetarians. The prices are fair and the service was great. We were there at about 6 p.m. on Labor Day and waited fifteen minutes for a table. But the wait was less than expected and they send you a text when your table is ready so you can take a stroll while you wait.

They’ve been in business since the early nineties and I’m hoping they’re around for a long time to come. It’s a great restaurant and I would absolutely recommend it. I’m not a drinker so I didn’t try any of the beer but they’re well known by locals and tourists alike as the best brewpub in town.

Want to drool over the menu? Do it here!   Or you can click here to read about downtown Rapid City!

The Signs of Rapid City

Signs (17)

Of all the towns I’ve visited recently, Rapid City, South Dakota wins the prize for the best cool signage. Throughout downtown, there are tons of great new and vintage signs that make you want to go into a business.

Signs add character and charm to a streetscape. They tell you about the business and about the amount of care the business owner has taken in presenting themselves to the world. A good sign is like a firm handshake and makes a great first impression.

Here are some signs that I liked and hope you will too.