I’ve spent my whole life on Black Hills backroads. They’re like home to me. I’m most comfortable driving on them and they’re safer to be on than on any other roads. My driving is less than exemplary on highways.

I don’t worry about getting lost on backroads like I do in big cities. I know all backroads come out eventually to some road I’ve been on before no matter how deep into the woods I get.

DSC_1716.jpg picture by RanchSlants

I don’t care how fast a freeway is, you get me out on traffic-packed, fast-paced asphalt and I freak out. I’m terrified of taking a wrong exit. I’ve had bad experiences with freeways. Getting back on them isn’t as easy for a rural girl as it is to get back on a South Dakota interstate.

Growing up I spent with a lot of time with my dad, who knew a lot of the backroads in the area. We used these roads to go deer hunting, gather firewood, and  get our Christmas tree. I learned how to drive a stick shift on backroads.


When I worked for the Forest Service I became familiar with more back roads. Most of the work I did required driving on them to get to where our crew was working and backroads were always used to get to forest fires. During those years I spent more time driving on gravel and dirt roads than I did on highways.


After getting married I continued to learn about more backroads. I had to get familiar with all the roads that were on the leased land we used for our cows in order to check the stock tanks and salt locations our cows used.

Backroads are stress-free roads to drive on. There’s no road rage, traffic issues, or stop lights, and there’s a whole web of interconnecting roads to pick from.

DSC_1723.jpg picture by RanchSlants

Driving these kinds of roads whether it’s for work or leisure is one of the advantages of living near a national forest and national and state parks in the Black Hills. I do a lot of my thinking on backroads because I don’t have to pay attention to my driving as much.

DSC_1722.jpg picture by RanchSlants

Taking a backroad is a great place to get lost on purpose but it’s also where I know I’m at home.

About ranchwifeslant

Amy writes a humor column based on rural living and ranch life from the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. She and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth generation cow/calf operation near Pringle; the Elk Capital of South Dakota.
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2 Responses to Backroads

  1. I ran across your blog when I followed one of Cheryl Lundeens facebook posts. We share a common appreciation for our place in the world and of nature’s beauty. In Army basic training I had a sense of the “woods” as my father Pete Hammerquist built a home at the edge of a forest and encouraged us to explore. Dad was from Farmingdale and he roped, broke and sold wild horses, according to my aunt Daisy. Anyway, I hope you will visit my blog. My next post will be about Cape Blanco, soon I hope.
    PS besure to click the music link. You might like some of it.

    • ranchwifeslant says:

      Thanks, Steve! I think there’s a lot of people who feel the same about the woods. Thanks also for letting me know about your blog; I will be sure to check it out.

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