Thursday, July 18th – Friday, July 19th, 2013
Since we knocked out all our errands over the previous evening, it was time to explore! We made our first stop at Mount Rushmore National Monument which was way smaller than we had imagined. When we stopped by the gift shop, one of the drillers of the famous mountain sculpture, Nick Clifford was inside, which was cool. I wanted to talk with him, but didn’t really know what to ask him at the time.
We returned to Rapid City and checked out the quirky and not-at-all scientifically accurate Dinosaur Park.
After goofing off there a bit, we headed back downtown and checked out all the bronze President statues scattered around town on all the street corners.
We stumbled across Kathmandu Bistro which had an Indian and Nepali food buffet. After fueling up, we checked out Art Alley which had some really neat street art.
The evening was pretty much spent wandering the mall aimlessly until it closed, then we decided to enjoy some put-put golf at “Pirate’s Cove” next to the Walmart.
A man and his young son from Montrose, SD were playing right behind us. I had heard about a sculpture garden located there which the man was familiar with, so we all ended up chatting as we played. He lived 13 miles from the sculpture garden and was very excited that we were going to visit his home town on our journey. Trevor impressed the boy with his putting skills after he bet Trevor he couldn’t get two holes-in-one in a row. Trevor proved him wrong and the kid was ecstatic!
There was a super loud thunderstorm blowing through during the night which helped me sleep. I’m a light sleeper, but for some reason rainstorms soothe me at night. Fortunately, the rain stopped by morning and we were able to have another round of put-put. Trevor beat me the day before and I was hoping to even the score. I had no such luck.
We hit the road and stopped at the massive tourist trap known as Wall, SD. In Wall, there’s the largest drug store in the world called “Wall Drug and Café” which has wacky signs all along the highway leading up to it, similar to “South of the Border” in the Carolinas on the East Coast. Inside, I got to sit on my second Jackelope during the whole trip. This one lacked Jackelope droppings.
After bumming around Wall Drug, we traveled through the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands and passed a colony of prairie dogs into Badlands National Park. It was pretty there, and reminded me of a miniature version of the Grand Canyon combined with Bryce Canyon National Parks. We checked out several scenic overlooks starting at Pinnacles Overlook all the way to the Fossil Exhibit Trail, then stopped by the Ben Reifel Visitors Center before returning to I-90 East.
We passed by immense grassy fields before taking a break in Belvidere, SD, then passed a sculpture of a T-Rex being walked on a leash by a human skeleton.
Now we were back in the Central Time Zone. We were getting closer to home. We stopped by “Al’s Oasis” to get groceries and to eat, then crossed the Missouri River into Mitchell, SD. It reeked of pesticide in the air, but we were tired of driving. The cows kept me up overnight, but I fell asleep once the thunderstorm passed through.
Jump Ahead to Part 70: Fine Art of Metal & Corn
Start Over at Part 01: The Blue Bubble, Freebies & A Rude Awakening