I am so blessed, my folks love to travel, and invited me (at very little cost to me) along on a 4 day trip to South Dakota!
We started out at 8:30 am on Friday Sept 16. Had Breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Westminster, CO.
Drove the long (and awfully familiar) roads through Wyoming, and then scooted over through to South Dakota.
All I can say is... I am sick of the Plains!!!!!!! LOL
Trains, and Grains...Gives ya Migraines!
Now.. South Dakota, through the mountains and hills... much better. Got to our motel at about 4pm, and look who greeted us across the street!
Long Day, had a Nice dinner (place - nice, food - eh.) Time to chill, swim, and sleep by 9PM.
Early to rise, Breakfast in the motel - same-ole free food - toast, hardboiled eggs, and OJ for me.
On the road by 7:30am.....
CUSTER STATE PARK.
Early morning on the border of the park.
300 or more Buffalo walked out in front of us on the road, and up beside us. but eww,. tons of flies.
We drove along Iron Mountain Road, switchbacks that made my mom almost cry, and tunnels, and more tunnels and Pigtail bridges, etc.
This was taken on a road outside the actual park, at a turnout towards the landmark.
Next was Mount Rushmore Visitors Center..
OMG, I can't believe I was here!
We got some great memories (and souvenirs), and I completed a geocache challenge here.
Around the corner is this view -
Ahhhh, what a view!
Now lunch down the street, w/ a waiter straight from Germany/Czech Republic. This was his last day in USA, so he was very chatty w/ us.
We head off to Bear Country USA to what we saw in a travel guide as a cool tourist spot.
Baby Big horn sheep
Big Horn Sheep
There were Bears EVERYWHERE, walking among us, our cars, and so were the Reindeer, and other animals. This was a drive through zoo in a sense.
We headed back to our hotel, and had dinner... and ice cream from a building that was pink and purple.
Next day, early to rise again, Back into Custer State Park and Needles Highway.
The "Eye" of the Needle
This highway is high elevation, and low canyons, tunnels, switchbacks, and small guardrails if any... enough to again make my mom a nervous wreck. LOL
We also went to a place called Chapel in the Hills, a gorgeous hand carved ornate church....
surrounded by wild flower gardens.
And then , back to the hotel... and check out next morning.
Off to the Badlands....early am....
Natural sandstone, windblown into hard mountains and canyons,
multicolored through the eras to create the Grand Canyon effect.
Checked into motel #2, had a few minutes to chill out, and off to Wall Drugs!
This place is the biggest indoor drug store, complete w/ photo props, coin entertainment, restaurants, bars, outdoors area props - 8 foot tall Jackalope, choreographed water terrace, train cars, garden, water spots to
drink from, etc. and more.
Dinner at the Cactus Cafe... Mmmmm
Indian Fry Bread Tacos, Fries, and 2 Margaritas.
A geocache later to earn my SD badge, and the day was done.
Next day, checkout, and another brief trip through the Badlands, and off to Nebraska... to Chimney Rock.
and saw some cool photo ops along the way
12 hours + small packed back seat + w/ parents who are complete opposites of you = one long @ss Ride!!!!
So, I have been asked by a good friend in Wyoming several times if I'd come visit her. We have known each other for years, through a Yahoo World Thimbler's Group, but we have never met face to face before now.
Got the idea to go Labor Day 2011 weekend. Got a new I-phone, and got the Kia, and off I went to Douglas WY. I left at 6:30, and boy is it a long drive. Whole bunch of nothing to concentrate on. I have never driven I-25 so this was nerve-wracking (especially through Denver and Ft. Collins.)
Saw 4 CAMEL'S on the side of the road grazing. I swear- Camels!!!! No place to pull over... you'll have to take my word on this.
Got to Douglas at 11 am or so. Small town, like 5-6,000 residents?
Hotel Labonte, where I was staying.
Had a nice short time to chill out,, have lunch, and watch my friends husband make me a brass thimble on a metal lathe, just for me....pretty cool!
Then our other friend from Nebraska came to visit also, so 2 friends I have now met face to face. (Chris - Nebraska, and Ro -Wyoming).
Went and showed them some places w/ geocaches in them, to introduce them to the game. They liked it, and I liked the photo ops.
This cemetery had a turnstile gate.... Hmm, maybe so the spirits will stay in???
Then we hung out around town and looked around the Train museum like tourist info center.
and then there was this guy guarding, the grounds...
There was a geocache here, which we found. My friends seem to enjoy the sport of it.
We went in and I adopted a small "plush" Jackalope for myself, and got a license to hunt them, but only for the day of June 31st of each year. No problem, I'll be back! LOL
I was sooo tired by 10pm, went back to my hotel......(my hotel had no staff hardly that weekend... no check-in personnel , no restaurant open on site to have dinner, no bar-tenders on due to the long holiday, plus no WI-FI- password, no cell service, and not too many cable stations that were clear. Oh and a broken elevator, and musty old smells.
Hmmm, glad it was no more than $50 a night. Oh yeah, my room was smaller than a medium sized bathroom, ok, maybe a bit bigger.....
Next day - I went to "explore" and drove down to an area a local mentioned that might have a schoolhouse that was very old. Didn't find IT, but did see these....
The Original markers to the Oregon Trail
Then we went to Devil's Tower..
And you can see climbers all around on the sides of it....
Uh, Nope, not a sport I care to try.
On the way out, we stopped at Prairie Dog City - population- too many to count.
These were w/in 3-4 feet from us...
"Put em up, Put em up"
If it was not for the plague infested fleas on these cute lil guys, I may have brought one home.... maybe LOL
These next few photos were found around the trip back to my friends house.....
We had decided to have lunch next...
Best burger I have ever had (well 2nd best maybe) was in this trading post/diner.... Mmmmmm
He was there to "greet you" as you came in to have lunch.
Next day, we went off to explore the mountains near her home, Esterbrook Church and Laramie Peak were pretty sweet....
So serene to be there.
This guy was in the road and my friend stopped to take a photo, OUTSIDE her vehicle.
Another car came by too, the driver wanted to kill him, and she begged him not to. I was almost paralyzed w/ fear to get out to shoot 1 photo, but I managed to. When we came back the same road, he was dead... Poor snakey.... R.I.P.
A few final photos, and I came home, driving to see my friend in Westminster, CO (Near Denver) and then home by 12 midnight.
P.S... I hate Denver, 2 Semi's surrounded me and a sports car nearly caused 1 of the trucks to crash into me after the @$$hole cut between them and sped off the exit, and I was forced to exit too. I couldn't get around the semi and the jersey barrier before my lane ended into the exit..GRRR.
Hope you enjoyed my trip up to the Prairie!
See ya in 10 days when I go to Mnt Rushmore, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse,