I enjoyed seeing parts of the country I hadn't visited before.
And came to a few conclusions about some of our Midwestern neighbors.
This is pretty discouraging to look at--especially when you've already been on the road for hours!
We stayed at campgrounds along the way.
The girls slept well in their bunks.
We made our way west, across Missouri, then north through Iowa and into South Dakota.
Of course we had to swing by for a visit to the Corn Palace.
(aka, World's Largest Bird Feeder, I think!)
LittleD and I made friends with the giant Corn.
We finally made it to Mount Rushmore the evening of our third day on the road.
We arrived just in time for their flag-lowering ceremony and the lighting of the monument.
It was quite stunning at night.
Since we stayed so close by, we came back in the morning to enjoy Rushmore in full day light.
I'm totally fascinated by this thing.
Then we headed over to Wyoming to check out Devil's Tower.
Does anyone remember this from Close Encounters? I didn't until someone reminded me.
It's completely amazing that this thing is just sitting out there, all by itself, jutting toward the sky.
The park at Devil's Tower had one really big prairie dog colony.
All I could think of about was these guys could harbor monkey pox. (Anyone remember that?)
I think our dog would've enjoyed chasing these guys around the field.
Not to worry.
That Gigantic Camera Bag made the trip, too.
We finally stopped in Buffalo, WY, at foot of the Big Horn Mountains before starting
the last leg of our trip to Yellowstone.
Meanwhile, I've come to the conclusion (based on stops at rest areas and visitor welcome centers in several states) that the folks in South Dakota are marketing geniuses. After all, that was the whole basis behind the construction of Mount Rushmore--to get tourists to visit.
Likewise, with the world famous Wall Drug. (Yes, we made a short stop there for supper.) The Husband had told me from the beginning that we had no reason to go there. But, after seeing approximately 3.1 million signs to visit Wall Drug, he declared, "We have to stop, since we're so close." Yeah, okay.
And that Corn Palace. Again, those South Dakotans figured out the "if you build it, they will come" principle. And we did. So did a whole bunch of other people... to shop a a huge corn-themed
junk gift shop.
What impressed me most was the friendly folks who were staffing their rest areas. Everyone one of them asked us if they could help us locate our destination, give us a map and/or provide us some literature. We even got free lapels pins--just for using the bathroom. Well, not for that, exactly. But that's all we did at that stop. And, their rest areas were very nice. And clean. (Wyoming can learn a thing or two...)
As if that wasn't enough, those marketing fools even seemed to have annexed the corner of Wyoming into SD, because all of their tourism materials encouraged a stop at Devil's Tower, too.
Genius, I say. Just genius.