Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 4, Monday: Billings, MT to Badlands, SD - Part One, Mt Rushmore and Wall Drug

Day 4, Monday: Billings, MT to Badlands, SD - Part One, Mt Rushmore and Wall Drug
KM start: 147,000 km
Trip Meter: 1253 km
Time Driven: 8am -  6pm (9 hours driven)

We got up at 6am but between repacking our stuff, breakfast, posting a blog entry and taking forever to wake up we didn’t leave until 8am…(much to Paul’s dismay). We headed out to Mount Rushmore via Sheridan, WY. Currently it’s 2pm and we’re still in WY on our way to Mount Rushmore…it’s been an interesting morning so far – we have learned that apparently Paul has found a strange new driving stamina and I have lost mine. Every time I get behind the wheel I feel immediately tired…and yet normally that roll is reversed! We’ve had to pull over a few times to rest, refuel and eat and are making slower progress than originally hoped. However we are loving watching the changing topography  - it is arid and dry – I’m in shorts and a tank top…and yesterday we left a rainy Oregon and Idaho.

Oh and if any Uranium One people read this, I was quite close to Casper, WY…and it made me think of the plant there. There was a small temptation to stop by for a photo op but I 1) don’t work there and 2) didn’t care quite enough. We did stop into a town in Wyoming for gas that’s water tower labeled the town as “the best place on earth”. Lofty praise from a water tower, that.

Paul loved these red roads.
He made us take many photos.
I just kept a few...there were many

We’ve been trying to make good time because we want time to explore the badlands, which are another 2 hours past Mt Rushmore. We need to do that today because we really want to make it to Paul’s Aunt and Uncle’s (the Pfaff’s) place in Minnesota by midday Tuesday and that’s 8 hours past the Badlands. It really matters to us that we make the most of the times we have with Paul’s family. So Mt. Rushmore and Wall Drug will only be getting fleeting visits to make that possible.

Despite time delays and sleepy wives, we are having a great time. Singing along to the Beach Boys and top 40, driving new and random highways, meeting people at rest stops, and counting licence places. Our goal is to spot all 52 states and 10 provinces, though we realize that may not be possible. So far we’ve spotted 28 different plates, including a few from the Eastern Seaboard, so we remain hopeful to find most. And we hope our BC plate brings some kids playing a similar game some excitement.

We’ve seen some beautiful sights, and some ugly ones as well. This land sure is flat, but we love the dotted waterways and rivers along the highway and Paul gets particular joy from spotting antelopes. I’m not sure why. He points out everyone he sees. And all of the dead baby roadkill deers. He wants to make sure I notice them as well, sweet?

We’ve just crossed over into our sixth state – quite a few to go still! We’re heading into Black Forest National Park, which was a gorgeous highway to drive on. We thought it should have been named Red Forest National Park though, because the soil was so red, all throughout.

Edited to Add, 4pm: We’ve just left Mount Rushmore. Wow. The drive up the mountain was spectacular – there were so many little lakes and places we wished we could have stopped. Getting up to the Carved Faces was a great patriotic moment – very much an American moment. Paul got to see that side of America that still carries its patriotism, and felt very proud while being there. We “touristed” it up with some pins and postcards, grabbed a few photos and are back on the road, heading down the mountain to Wall Drug and the Badlands.

Edited to Add, 6pm: We got to Wall Drug at about 4:30pm after following the highway filled with Wall Drug signs. 

Paul was pumped from the American-ness of everything we were seeing and was quite hyper. I was still sleepy wife. We got in to Wall Drug and loved it! I remembered visiting when I was 14 and it was exactly like I remembered. Paul got a cup of their 5 cent coffee and a plain donut and was one happy camper!

Then we grabbed some fresh veggies and beer at “Wall Foods Center” for our night of camping in the Badlands.

We headed off towards the Bandlands. Singing along to Jars of Clay with Paul driving we made great time. We explored the rugged beauty that is the badlands, with so much joy in our hearts. More to come on that tomorrow!


jenna said...

Love!!!!! Keep it comin'!!

LeAnna et David said...

Wall Drug looks cool :) I was wondering what all the fuss was over and now I know! So glad you're photo blogging each day--it's awesome to see.


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