Wall Drug, Bad Lands, Rushmore and Bear Mace
Hi all, Sorry for the lengthy posts, but I figured we'd update things as much as possible while we still had the chance; I doubt northern Idaho will have much internet. We got an early start after having breakfast in the charming dining area at the Dakotah Lodge where we spent the night. Seriously, if you ever find yourself in Sioux City, SD (and let's be honest, who DOESN'T find themselves in that beacon of culture at some point in their lives), I'd definitely recommend that place; comfy rooms, a beautiful courtyard, excellent breakfast, and a pool with a legit water slide. What's not to like? Ironically, we are traveling west a day behind one of Liz's friends who is also on her way to Oregon, and they had also chosen to stay there. Small world. As per usual, we took turns driving and stopped wherever our hearts (or bladders) desired. This included a quick swing through an 1880's-themed rest stop, complete with an adorable, if dusty, dinner inside a train car. Our next destination was to detour through Badlands National Park, which really defies description. It's as if the entire countryside had been laid on top of some Giant's beach which an ancient wave had crashed into, toppling and dissolving its sandcastles into a kaleidoscope of twisted Moorish spires. Or something. Just go see it; it really is an amazing place. Before we got back on I-90, we took a short drive through the town of Wall, home to the famous (according to its many, many, many billboards and mile markers that began over 200! miles away) Wall Drug Store. Given the overcrowded atmosphere we decided not to stop, knowing that Mt Rushmore would be a circus... but how could we not at least drive by, knowing it had been featured on Good Morning America (again, many billboards)? Our last leg of the day took us to Mt Rushmore. The monument is nestled deceptively far back in the Black Hills south of Rapid City, past the tourist-trap Mecca of Keystone. Despite its contentious beginnings (the Lakota Sioux weren't enamored with the idea of a white man blasting apart their sacred mountains for some reason) the sculpture can instill some patriotism in even the most disillusioned person these days. We stayed for a quick lecture from a ranger on the history of Mt Rushmore's sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, before picking up some touristy trinkets and heading to our hotel in Rapid City. We pulled in just ahead of a thunderstorm propelled by gale force winds across the open prairie. We explored our cavernous lodgings, and found that every hotel worth its salt out here has a full-on water park to sate the attention span of travelers stranded by inclement weather. Once the rain passed, we made our way to Cabella's outfitter to acquire our requisite bear spray before heading back to the hotel for perhaps our last good meal in a while.
This is a beverage called "Ranch Dressing Soda". We've tried it, so you NEVER, NEVER have to.. :(
"My new favorite picture of all time" - Kate