The day I visited my 50th state, U.S. President Donald Trump had just made headlines for telling four congresswomen to “go back” where they came from, despite all being American citizens, three by birth.

I was scrolling through fiery tweets with my husband on the porch of a South Dakota Airbnb, having just been to North Dakota for the day. That had been a desolate and calming drive, grassy plains that were almost bright yellow, an old wooden sign next to an abandoned saloon that said “first beer free.” For ages at a time we couldn’t see the next junction.

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The author visited Badlands National Park in South Dakota just in the nick of time. Photo by Bryant Snyder.

It took me 30 years to see all 50 states, and in the Dakotas, time was of the essence. I was seven months pregnant, nearly “grounded” and unable to fly. …

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