Monday, September 19, 2011

Presidents, Buffalo, Needles, and Bears, Oh My!

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.....


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.

Good Night

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.

So Cool!

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!!!!

Nice way to end a great trip don't ya think???

Glad to be home, 
Hope you enjoyed this trip, see ya in 2012!

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