695. Elk Point, Union County (SD01)

Oh, South Dakota!

A happy voice welcomed me to the state! If only a similar courthouse had greeted me! Well, it was the 1970s. Specifically, 1978, as my extensive research would reveal (it was not extensive). There was a stone out front from an older 1898 courthouse, but otherwise, this courthouse was “meh” with a capital “MEH.” But such is the life of a courthouse chaser or some kind of crap like that.

The cache was a simple lamp post cache at a convenience store. I’m not proud. The wind was so strong that the cache actually blew away when I lifted the skirt, so I had to chase it across the parking lot! Once it was signed and returned, I faced the most difficult decision of the entire trip. You see, Luverne was only an hour and change away from here. You don’t even know how badly I wanted to dip my toe into Minnesota. Actually, if you’ve been reading this for a while, maybe you do. But in the end, I decided not to do so. Firstly, it wasn’t really “an hour and change” away. There were a couple of county seats on the way, and I would have wanted to hit them on the way there. Of course, secondly, that would have meant hitting a couple of different county seats on the way back to this area, taking even more time. Thirdly, that would have meant missing a county and leaving a hole in my map. I already had to do that near Denver and Springfield (and don’t get me started about Arizona’s debacle), and I didn’t want to leave another one. Fourthly and ultimately, it came down to the fact that I just had too much to do on this trip to add a six-hour detour. The only way I could have managed it was to sacrifice six hours of rest on the trip, and, with all the driving I was doing, that would have been terribly unsafe. There are some who think I’m a crazy person with all the distances I cover, but my primary goal above all others… Wait. Primary implies it’s my first goal. No, even deeper than a first goal, my zeroth goal, if you will, is to get home safely. I’ve got a pretty good idea of how far I can push myself with a combination of food and 5-Hour Energies. As much as I wanted to make that six-hour detour, it would not have been safe. I also realize it would have had some serious repercussions on the rest of the trip. All that said, at times like this, I wish I had a second person traveling along with me, preferably another cacher. If I was rolling with someone who could do some of the driving as I slept and sleep in the car as I drove, we pretty much wouldn’t have to stop for anything. But that is a discussion for another place and time. All I could do was get back in the car, crying salt tears like Alexander, as if there were no more worlds to conquer. That, of course, is pure rhetorical flourish. Though I was beginning to turn back, I would one day return. Furthermore, I was off to conquer a new county, the one I would have missed had I continued my northward trek. Therefore, I bid goodbye to the dream of Minnesota and hello to the reality of…

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