Our South Dakota Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 787 miles, and drove for 14 hours and 52 minutes during our week in South Dakota while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Road Side Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Factory tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in South Dakota over the past week.

Famous person: Bob Barker

Famous food: Thomas Jefferson ice cream

Roadside attraction: The geographical center of the US

State Capitol/Museum: Pierre, SD

National Park: Mount Rushmore National Monument, Badlands National Park

Historic Location: Deadwood, SD

Can't miss attraction: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Made in the USA Factory tour: Pietz’s Kuchen Kitchen

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in South Dakota.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $ 215.00

$ 2.29 gal. in Rapid City, SD was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.40 gal. in Vermillion, SD was highest price paid.


We spent a lot of money on gas this week due to wind resistance in the great plains.

Groceries: $108.00

Walmart $ 34.00

Costco $ 74.00


We did great in this category

Dining out $ $116.00

Pizza Ranch $21.00 (unbudgeted and disgusting)

Pizza Ranch $21.00 (unbudgeted and disgusting)

Wild Bills Drinks $ 4.00 (budgeted historic bar)

Golden Corral $20.00 (unbudgeted and disgusting)

Golden Corral $18.00 (unbudgeted and disgusting)

Jefferson Ice cream $ 6.00 (budgeted and yummy)

Moe's $15.00 (unbudgeted and yummy)

Starbucks $3.00 (large tea in exchange for free WIFI)

Peach Kuchen $ 8.00 (the best dessert we ever ate)


We did better than usual, but are still eating out way too much because we are not prepared.

Entertainment: $31.00

Redbox $ 4.00 (movies x2)

Dead wood show $12.00 (budgeted very entertaining)

Sturgis Museum $15.00 (budgeted very good)


We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $0.00

Walmart $0.00 (slept in parking lot x7 nights)


We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous: $4.00

Parking $4.00 (parking in Deadwood)


Of course, we did great in this category

South Dakota Expenses Grand Total: $ 474.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is South Dakota Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 9

“The state government has 127 years of a balanced budget, which is very impressive”

Lori: 8

“Tourism, energy, government, agriculture, and healthcare make up the majority of jobs within the state.

Economy score: 8.5

Cost of Living:

Nate: 7

“With a sales tax 5.83 %, and NO state income tax, this is one is one the most tax friendly states we have visited”

Lori: 7

“Cost of gas and food was noticeably higher that other states we have visited, most likely due to shipping costs”

Cost of living score: 7

Quality of life:

Nate: 7

“The most likely natural disasters in South Dakota would be blizzards or flooding, which is better than tornadoes”

Lori: 7

“The cities, parks and roads were clean and well maintained within the state

Quality of life score: 7


Nate: 7

“Entertainment within the state appears to primarily be related to outdoor activity”

Lori: 6

“South Dakota appears to be family orientated state and people were friendly and welcoming”

Culture Score: 6.5


Nate: 6

“Outside of the major towns and cities stores and gas stations were very far apart”

Lori: 7

“From the Badlands, to the Grasslands, to Mount Rushmore, and the endless rolling prairies, there is ample outdoor beauty to behold in South Dakota.

Environment Score: 6.5

The verdict is in:

The final score for South Dakota was 7.1, and it will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Michigan 8.3

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

South Dakota 7.1

North Dakota 6.9

Virginia 6.6

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

Minnesota 4.2

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9