I probably couldn’t have told you Pierre (pronounced “peer”) was the capital of South Dakota before deciding to go to Pride there. Fort Pierre, where Pride was held, is a “suburb” of Pierre, just across the Missouri River and in a different time zone. The entire area has a population just over 15,000, making it the second-least populated state capital in the U.S., even though it’s the ninth-most populous city in South Dakota.
I was thrilled Katrina had time off and felt like accompanying me to South Dakota. It meant Wally could come, too. It’s rare I have company on these trips so I was eager to be a good host. I found a spot at the Cow Creek State Recreation Area, just twenty miles from Pierre, to camp in the night before Pride so I wouldn’t have to ask Katrina to sleep in a random parking lot with me.
I reserved what turned out to be a great campsite, solitary, at the end of a tiny peninsula, overlooking a pleasant lake. There were a lot of flies and smoke from a Canadian wildfire cast a middle-Earth like haze over the view, but we had a nice dinner and Wally played fetch under the setting, apocalyptic sun.
In the morning, as I was packing up the van, Katrina was throwing the ball for Wally. I came around the corner of the van to discover Katrina on the ground, holding her ankle. She had twisted it pretty bad. Wally was very concerned.
We got her in the van and started discussing options. We could drive home, about eight hours as the Cookie flies, but it would be uncomfortable and disappointing. We decided to head into Pierre for ice and ibuprofen then see how she felt in an hour. We had breakfast, then found the Pride venue only to discover the event would be held entirely indoors.
With Wally banned and Katrina injured, the best option was to find a hotel room where a Law & Order marathon in air conditioning might distract from the circumstances while I attended Pride. Nobody felt like driving home right away. After I made sure Katrina’s foot was iced and elevated and Wally was snuggled up to aid her healing, I headed back to Pierre Area…