The Great American Road Trip — Sioux Falls to Rapid City

If you are traveling to Yellowstone from Minneapolis (and we were), you pretty much have to make the trek from Sioux Falls to Rapid City. It isn’t the most entertaining drive, but it is far from the worst (ahem, Texas, I’m looking at you).

This little guy was at Falls Park and the sun was hitting him just right to make for the best shot we got in Falls Park.
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The Great American Road Trip — Minneapolis to Sioux Falls

Back when we naively thought our home renovations were actually going to begin on September 1 (ha ha ha ha ha, how dumb were we even though two other planned start dates had come and gone), we planned an epic road trip. We figured that, since we had to be out of the house anyway, we might as well get back on the road. When it became clear that the renovations weren’t going to start on time, we decided to embark on a portion of the planned road trip anyway. It has been a miserable year full of more downs than ups, and we just needed to travel again.

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Ida, What a Bitch

So, you might recall that, just under a year ago, we were so proud of ourselves for surviving out first hurricane. Hurricanes, we naively thought, weren’t as bad as a those Midwestern storms where the sky turns green. Boy, we were stupid. Sure enough, along came Ida a couple of weeks ago to show us just how dumb we Northerners were.

Stevie Ray Ellum by Steve Hunter.
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Summer Road Trips

So, things around the Schneiduk household have been pretty quiet, at least when it comes to travel. (Don’t get us started on the hassles of trying to do home renovations in this market . . . we closed in March and haven’t even broken ground on the renovations . . . which keep increasing in price every time we turn around . . . oh, how I wish we were still traveling . . . stupid covid . . . .) That said, we have taken three short road trips this summer. And, while we don’t have much to say about our boring little road trips, I had a couple of bird photos that I just had to share, so here goes.

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The Year+ (and Counting) of Covid

So . . . we’ve been back in the U.S. for over a year now. And, boy, have our lives changed.

A duck at Audubon Park in New Orleans.
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Happy Yardi Gras, Y’all

Yes, yes, I know that Mardi Gras is done, dusted, and over for the year. But, just like Christmas decorations stay up after Christmas day, the Yardi Gras spirit continues for just a little while longer.

One of my favorite house floats. The old ladies crack me up. Big Freedia is in the house!
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Happy Mardi Gras, Y’All

So when the powers that be decreed that Mardi Gras 2020 was cancelled, residents of New Orleans didn’t cry or scream or pout or sulk.

OK, fine, I’m pretty sure they actually did do all of those things.

But then, they put on their big boy and girl panties, grabbed a king cake and a big ole drink, and came up with safe ways to celebrate Mardi Gras during a pandemic. One of those ways is Floats in the Oaks.

Remember Celebration in the Oaks at Christmas? Floats in the Oaks is same same, but different. (God, do we miss Thailand and everything being same same but different.)

City Park worked with various Mardi Gras krewes to put together a stationary “parade” of something like 40 floats.

We chose to go at night, and that was good and bad. First, we waited in line for nearly an hour to get in, even though all tickets were sold for certain times. Not good. And, it was really hard to get good photos because there were various street lights on and the car was so damn close to the floats.

But, by going at night, we got to start our tour with some pretty cool lights..

Floats in the Oaks sure isn’t anything like a real Mardi Gras (we can’t wait for next year, which is going to be out of control!), but this year we will take it and be happy with it.

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Final Thoughts on 2020

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but 2020 sucked.  I know, I know, it sucked for absolutely everyone, some more than others. But, no Schneiduk PigFish wrap up of 2020 can start by saying anything other than “2020 sucked.”

Bogota Street Art.
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Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park

Well, we did it. We got off the couch, turned off Hulu/Netflix/Amazon Prime/ESPN+/Peacock, grabbed our hand sanitizer, put on our three-layer masks, and made our way to the Besthoff sculpture garden in City Park. Two outings in one week. Will wonders never cease?

Mother and Child by Fernando Botero.
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Celebration in the Oaks

Whooo hooo! We actually got out of the house and did something. What a novelty!

Anyway . . . we rented a car and, after spraying half a can of disinfecting spray all over the interior and then wiping the car down with disinfecting wipes, we made our way to Celebration in the Oaks, a holiday lights festival in City Park. According to the signs at the entrance, there were over one million lights.

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