Road Trip Part 4: Road Tripping through Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota

After a quick breakfast with Dr. Jessie on Wednesday, we set off for South Dakota and Mount Rushmore.  Going into our trip, Mt. Rushmore was the one thing I really wanted to see; for Adam, it's the Grand Canyon.  Adam had seen Mt. Rushmore when he was a kid (and likewise for me and the Grand Canyon), but he had no problem seeing it again.  Along the way, we stopped for lunch at Outpost Cafe in Lusk, Wyoming, where we had salads, the closest thing to healthy food we'd had in weeks.  The drive was along these dusty Wyoming roads, exactly what you'd expect, and we did pass these two horses that just looked posed with their manes blowing in the wind - we did not get a picture, but we both looked at each other and said that it was something out of a movie.

Very, very straight roads

Lots of open space on the drive - it's a world away from the east coast.

Before Mount Rushmore, we stopped at the Crazy Horse Memorial.  It's a monument that, when finished, will be about 10x larger than the Presidents; however, it's nowhere near finished.  The head is done, and they've been working on the arms for years; the horse hasn't really been started yet.  Adam didn't think there was much progress since the last time he was there!  The memorial was pretty cool - it's quite far from where the visitor's center area is, unlike Mt. Rushmore which is right there.  This makes the size comparison difficult for perspective.

Crazy Horse Memorial


What the memorial is eventually going to look like. 
At the rate they're going, it may not be completed for hundreds of years (in all fairness, it's entirely on donations).

Mount Rushmore was only another 30 minutes from Crazy Horse, and we got there around 5:30pm or so.  We walked around the grounds, read about the Presidents, and got to see some goats.  The light show starts around 8:00pm, and since it was about 7:30pm already, we stayed around for it - except that it started raining pretty hard, so we pretty much saw the lights go on and then headed to Rapid City for the night.  On the way to Rapid City, we passed a sign for Twilight Zone, this place that Adam remembered seeing signs for everywhere when he was a kid - he was pretty excited that this place did exist, but it was already closed and it was dark already.  We crashed for the night, with an equally long day of driving awaiting us the next day.

Mt. Rushmore!  It's really cool.

It's pretty close - the opposite of Crazy Horse which is really far away.

Goat friends hanging out near the monument.

Almost twilight.

Photos with the lights didn't come out very well.  Very neat, though, even if it did start raining right after this.

Really distorted stretching,
but pretty cool to get everything in the photo.

The big debate on Thursday morning was if we should go to Devil's Tower in Wyoming or drive through North Dakota and have lunch to cross off another state.  After some debate, we flipped a coin and North Dakota won.  The drive through South Dakota and North Dakota was just long, open, straight roads.  We did not really get to drive through the Badlands, and we met a couple at Mount Rushmore who had done that and said it was incredible, but we were headed west and really didn't have the time to go east for a few hours.  Bowman, North Dakota is really the only "town" in southwest corner of North Dakota, so I had checked out the three restaurants they had in town and picked Grazers Burgers and Beer for lunch.  We both had, shock, burgers.  The odd thing here was that they weren't allowed to serve tap water, and we had to buy bottled water.  I felt like I was back in Central America.  After a quick lunch, we hopped back in the car for the rest of the trip to Red Lodge.  I was driving, and it was the first time I saw a speed limit sign of 80.  80!  It's kind of scary - I'll drive 80 without an issue, but knowing that it was legal there was freaky and made me a bit more cautious.  The drive was pretty uneventful, and we got to Red Lodge with no issues.

Lunch in North Dakota.  Those are jalapeno cheese churros.

North Dakota.  Not too exciting, but glad we stopped there.

It was a really pretty drive, and the scenery changed slightly with each state, but it was a lot of this.

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