Saturday, July 24, 2010
4 Presidents, 1 Chief, 1 Drug Store, 1 Corn Palace
(Lisa) Left the Fairfield Inn about 8:15 and drove to Mt. Rushmore-about 45 minutes away. It was a beautiful monument. It looks just like the cover of the history books but even more grand. The carvings are amazing and to think they hung off the mountain by single cables....wow. We walked a trail around them and visited the visitor center and headed out after about an hour. We drove 30 minutes to Crazy Horse. This is a mountain carving that is still in progress. It is privately funded. They are carving Chief Crazy Horse on a horse into this granite mountain. This center was huge with a museum to the American Indian, shops, exhibits....there was alot to see. We watched a short intro film and walked around there about an hour. We could have stayed way longer but, oh yea...we had a 7-8 hour drive ahead of us!
We ate our picnic on the road and headed across the state of South Dakota. Not a corn state, but it's a hay state. Tons of bales of hay everywhere. About 2 or so hours down I 90, we kept seeing signs for Wall Drug. Now, I had heard of this from a long time ago...either from folks in Colorado or on a 20/20...I don't know but we had to stop. It's a spot of a town with this GIANT store in it that was so crazy. There were lots of little stores in it selling every touristy thing imaginable plus cowboy wear, dishes, soda fountain, a t-rex, a jackaloupe, lots of old photographs...too much to tell. We wandered around and then went to the cafe for a treat. We definitely could have stayed longer but, oh yea...we still had like 5-6 hours to go. Obviously I had not planned well for this day b/c our stop was Sioux City Iowa and it was forever away.
We wanted to stop in Mitchell, SD b/c we were told (by Brent) of someplace very special called the Corn Palace, that's right, Corn Palace. We pulled in under threatening skies and took some pics of this building covered in corn. That's right, corn. It's an actual auditorium inside that was very nice and they were selling popcorn! Who would have thought to build a palace out of corn? Mitchell residents I guess. By now it's 7:30 Central Time and we were very hungry so we went to the Ruby Tuesday as a storm was on the western horizon. It was a good dinner considering we had not really eaten well that day. OK, 2+ hours till Iowa....we traveled onward beating the storm finally getting to our hotel about 10:45. However, this hotel has a tiny parking lot which presented a problem with our truck and trailer. After much turmoil, we parked across the street. We haven't checked on it this morning so we hope it's ok. Today is a short day, about 7 hours. We'll try to stay on task!
(Paul) Mount Rushmore was very impressive. There's only so many ways to photograph it but the scale of it is impressive. At the Visitor Center they actually had a surviving driller doing a book signing. Very impressive man with lots of stories (Dad, you could've talked with this guy for days).
The Crazy Horse monument is under construction and it's going to be enormous. Mount Rushmore will fit inside the head and hair of Crazy Horse and when complete it will be taller the Washington Monument. His famous quote was in response to a soldier that was mocking him about where is his land now. His response, "My land is where my dead lie buried."
Then it was onto the Wall Drug Store. Lisa had heard about this place and it's just simply crazy. Robotic T-Rex's, homemade pies, free ice water and 5 cent coffee (for real - see picture). And it was good coffee and EXCELLENT donuts. Thousands of historic photographs about the original inhabitants and the folks that built the town. Another place my Dad and I could have chilled for a few days.
All was well but it was a loooooong day and when I pulled into this Fairfield Inn it was an unmarked one-way, tiny L-shaped parking lot that was already full since it was 11pm. Took some real manuevering to get out of that pickle. Think I'll write Mr. Marriot a little note about better communication regarding parking accommodations for this location. Easier day today (knock on wood). Need to stop at Home Depot first thing to do some minor repairs to my home on wheels... otherwise it may just pop open on the highway.
PS - Lightning bugs glow for about 45 seconds after they smash into your window on a dark highway doing about 70mph. Though you should know.