There is something that you don’t usually think about when you get up and follow your dreams, at least I didn’t. I didn’t really think that much about what I would be giving up. So far, the gains have far out numbered the losses but every once in a while something will come up that just lays you flat. This happened to me in Box Elder.

View from Shiny

In Box Elder, we traded in our New Hampshire plates for South Dakota ones and we became citizens of South Dakota. On a really fundamental level, both literal and symbolic, we severed some deep ties. Larry has always been a New Hampshire resident and I have been for 38 years. We were both kind of depressed and a bit lost for a while there.

Tight Quarters

You see, there is this word that is new to our vocabulary. It is domicile. In law, domicile is the status or attribution of being a lawful permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction. There are laws about one’s domicile. First, you have to have one! We were selling our house and would no longer qualify as NH residents. So, we had to find a state that would ‘take us in’. We selected SD because its laws are lenient in this regard, there is no state income tax and we only need to spend one night in the state every five years to maintain our residency. We do plan on returning to live in New Hampshire again some day but that thought was not helping us much.

We worked with a company called Americas Mailbox to help with the licenses and titles and with registering to vote. They are also our mail forwarding service. We stayed at their campground in Box Elder which only added to our blues. Basically, it was a three acre parking lot with closely packed campers, no trees or any amenities. The campground was located near a major roadway and just down the street from a large Flying J Truck Stop/Casino. Add this to the fact that the temps were in the upper nineties and you can picture our mood – bummed out!!!

Maybe the worst part of our malaise was that it lingered. We just couldn’t shake it. Usually we make the best of marginal situations but we just stayed in a funk the whole two weeks we were there. We went on a few outings but were reluctant to be around people too much because of C-19 and it was July 4th weekend with very few masks in sight.

We did take a trip to Mount Rushmore. The President had been there for a rally only days before and workers were still disassembling the scaffolds that were in place for the fireworks display. It was poignant and distressing to me to think that the monument was built in an area considered sacred by the Lakota Sioux.

I did have fun taking photos of people from all over the world taking selfies.

This young fellow was nice enough to pose for a picture in his new Tom Brady T shirt. Sigh! Sob!

Brady Shirt

We also visited the Crazy Horse Memorial which is still being constructed. The project is funded by admission fees and donations and accepts no money from state or federal sources. We watched a demonstration of dances which was quite beautiful.

Probably the high point of our stay in Box Elder was a trip to the Scrapes Petroglyphs south of Box Elder near Hermosa. I wondered if some of the deeper scrapes were made by sharpening tools or weapons.

So, we had our doldrums at this point in our journey. We looked forward to brighter days ahead on our travels through South and North Dakota for the summer. We were hoping for fewer people and cooler days!.

As always, we love getting pictures of our favorite little guy! Until, next time, keep your chin up! (We will try to !!!)


  1. Aw, kinda sad for you both. I viewed Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument in 1993. Doesn’t look much further along. It’s a family project as I recall and I can understand what a huge project it is. We were allowed to bring back a piece of the stone being carved. I wonder if Jean M still has it.
    Chins up and better days ahead.

    1. Hi Jeanne, Thanks for your kind words. Yes, we were sad but that’s just a part of the deal, right?

  2. I’m so sorry you had a rough couple of weeks. You had plenty of good reasons for being in the doldrums. That probably doesn’t make you feel any better, but I appreciate your honesty. These are challenging times, and it’s not easy to be nomads right now. We’re hoping to get back on the road in the spring, and your posts give me hope. Take good care.

    1. Hi Laurel, Thanks once again for your kind words. I admit that I think of you every morning as I look at your business card that is wedged in the back of my table where I draw and paint. Those words of Mary Oliver’s have never been more true, nor more needed! We are finding that we can be pretty well sheltered in place while on the road. Gas stations and food stores are our go to places. People are far less chatty on the road now but it does allow of a deepening of the quiet which, I believe, is precisely what we/I need. Good luck with the house project!

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