Busted in South Dakota

by Stephanie Casher on August 3, 2006

Well, I almost went to jail tonight, lol. Okay, so maybe its not that funny, but what everyone keeps telling me to focus on is that I did NOT go to jail, and that it will make a great story for the book, so that’s how I’m going to try to view it… I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it could have been much much worse.

But first the fun stuff. South Dakota is just gorgeous, and there is a TON of stuff to do here (contrary to popular belief). Meg and I were so excited to set out on our full day of sightseeing. It’s awesome to have her with me because as I’ve said before — she’s like my chick soulmate. We get along incredibly well, find humor in the same bizarre things, are interested and entertained by the same activities, and can even communicate without words. She’s an awesome travelling companion and her excitement about our adventures really kept me up and going through the long drives and long days. I love having her here with me – she’s an awesome best friend.

We stayed in the CUTEST cabin in Badlands National Park last night. We were just giddy when we finally got a peek at our accommodations after a 10-hour driving day. It was just perfect and quaint inside and out. Got up early, had breakfast and then set off for a full day of exploring.

First stop was Wall Drug Store which is just this massive trading post with everything imaginable inside. (There are a ton of bikes outside because the next two weeks is the Sturgis Rally, a huge Harley convention that brings about 500,000 bikers to South Dakota to commune and party.) She shopped, I tried not to shop, and then we had a blast taking silly pictures in the mini-theme park out back. Then we went to Mount Rushmore, which was a trip. Presidents faces carved into the side of a mountain are most definitely cool.

Then we made our way through the Black Hills mountains which are just GORGEOUS. Meg totally fell in love with South Dakota and I totally will be back to visit her when she does, despite my unpleasant run-in with the Law… Then we set off for Deadwood, the town depicted in the HBO Series Deadwood. That was pretty cool, walking the streets where all this history took place. And after that we visited Mount Moriah Cemetary where Wild Bill Hickock, Seth Bullock, and Calamity Jane are buried. Very cool. Check Flickr for the full set of pictures.

As we were leaving South Dakota, en route to Buffalo, Wyoming where we were spending the night, I got pulled over for speeding. I was only going 83 mph in a 75 mph zone, so I thought the whole fact that I was getting a ticket at all was pretty ridiculous. I thought it was even more ridiculous when the cop informed me that he was calling in a K-9 unit to search my car for drugs. WTF — they profiled my ass cause I had California plate and I think that was totally fucked up. Now when I set off on my trip, I intentionally did not bring anything with me for this precise reason. But when I was in Atlanta, my friend gave me some stuff as a gift. Well, I actually left MOST of it in Chicago with another friend, so what I actually had on me was just one pinner emergency J… But apparently in South Dakota, which has a zero-tolerance regarding drugs, a little bit was enough to get my ass thrown in jail.

(Forgive the cursing, but I just came from fucking Deadwood for fuck’s sake, LOL)

Well after Demo the drug-sniffing dog got through with us, and they went through ALL our stuff (probable cause anyone? Unfortunately I am not well versed on my rights), I found myself in a little bit of trouble. They informed me that they should be arresting me, taking me to jail, and towing my car away, but instead they were going to let me off with a ticket (two to be exact if you count the one for speeding). I suppose I was supposed to be grateful, but I really think they went way overboard on the search and seizure bit considering I wasn’t driving under the influence, driving recklessly, or doing anything really except speeding. The great irony of it all was that I did not see one black person our entire time in South Dakota (that was a first for me), UNTIL I got pulled over and jacked by this BLACK cop. No love, none whatsoever. And he had the nerve to try to chat me up and make small talk like he was my buddy. The white cop with the dog was waaaay nicer.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that I’m not writing you from jail, but from our cabin in Buffalo, Wyoming. Things could have been much much worse, so I’m grateful for that. I’ve never been harassed by the police before, so I suppose this was a worthwhile learning experience and it will make a fantastic inclusion in the book I’m planning to write about this trip. But they don’t fuck around in South Dakota ya’ll.

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