Forging West & National Treasures [Day 4]
We had some stops and sightseeing detours planned for this day, so we left Oacoma, South Dakota with excitement and anticipation for what we might experience. On our agenda was Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, and hopefully a much awaited change in scenery-landscape-topography (all the flatness was somewhat boring and dreary…especially when you’re trying to stay alert driving).
As we drove through these immense grassy plains I couldn’t help but wonder about the early settlers and cowboys traveling through this area… how tiny they must have felt and how lonesome it must have been; especially when they may have been traveling alone or in very small groups.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it previously, but we started seeing these road signs and billboards telling us of all the great and glorious things that could be found in the Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota. To say the least, we were intrigued considering they were announcing the store’s location to us some 400 miles or more before we would arrive! We determined this MUST be a stop for us. We had to check out the Wall Drug Store (and we did).
A Change in Topography
Just West of Kadoka, South Dakota the landscape began to sprout a mesa and a rolling hill or two… I was encouraged by this little tease from Mother Nature, but it wasn’t until we got closer to Wall, SD that the topography really started to change. The grasslands turned more rocky and hilly as we entered the outer perimeter of the Badlands. I would have loved to travel the more scenic highway routes through the Badlands, but driving megaton Ole Yeller doused those thoughts and wishes putting them to rest. I refocused my attentions on the road ahead and forged on toward Mt. Rushmore. Our detour to the national landmarks of Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial did take us off the interstate and onto a more scenic drive right into the heart of the Black Hills. It was beautiful; although I was a little tight fisted driving through the twists and turns of the mountain roads… Ole Yeller straining its diesel engine to make it to the top of the peaks and then the weight of her momentum pushing us down the other sides. I was alert factor 4 during this drive…
The monuments were very cool to see and I got some (I think) good pictures with my Canon DSLR (pics in the slideshow are from my little Fuji point and shoot cam). As soon as we arrived at the Mt. Rushmore Park we were drenched in a downpour. Not to be deterred, we used the rainstorm for a lunch break and ravenously attacked a few PBJ’s courteously provided for us by our “Johnson-Girl Friends” (Thanks Meg and Nicole). The rain ended almost as quickly as it started and we were able to check out the monument and get our photos. We said our goodbyes to the stoned presidents and headed southwest for Custer, SD and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Sixteen miles later we arrived at Crazy Horse. I was a little bit bummed, because I did not realize how incomplete the work was on the monument. It is a work in progress, but I had not understood that it wasn’t further along than I had thought it might be. Nonetheless, it was cool and there was lots of interesting stuff to see in the museum areas. Our time was short here, so we took our photos…checked out a few displays, and hit the trail once again with Sturgis, SD and Sundance, Wyoming in our sights.
Sturgis was a drive-through as it just happened to be along the way. Sturgis is home of the largest motorcycle rally in North America, or so it boasts. Fortunately, it was not scheduled during our pass through the town. We forged on with Sundance, WY as our final destination. Sundance is the place that the Sundance Kid got his name (the Sundance Kid that hung out with Butch Cassidy…). It’s a pretty little town, but there’s not much here…but it’s pretty. Little. Not much here, but pretty…
Today we’ll try to make it to Bozeman, Montana. I’ve done some mapquesting and figure we’ll be able to make Olympia by Tuesday if everything continues to progress as it has up to this point. Keep on following us and keep on praying for us. I promise your prayers are being felt as we travel. God’s Presence is heavy and we are in great spirits as we continue the journey. God Bless You!
“Continue to keep a warm love for me… I cannot be with you physically but my heart is always with you. Like me make efforts to win friends everywhere… Do not think you will ever have enough. Be bound to all, whether rich or poor, in brotherly sympathy.” (St Anselm)
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