We headed out early this morning, thanks in part to my watch which I had forgotten to set back and the joys of camping. It’s hard to sleep in when the sun and birds are out, and you’re freezing cold! We drove through more of the Badlands. What a crazy area. Can you imagine bumping along in your wagon and suddenly coming across that
We also stopped at our first major tourist trap (Reptile World and Prairie Dog Town don’t count since we never left the road). In testament to the power of advertising, we were lured into the town of Wall to see the (self proclaimed) famous Wall Drug. It was basically a gaudy street full of shops selling cowboy hats, enticing you to turn your penny into a souvenir penny, and loads of other things you’ll look back on in a few years (or days) and wonder what in the world you could have been thinking. Entertaining nonetheless.
Next stop: Mt. Rushmore. The first glimpse comes out of nowhere – there is all this hype, then they are just there, 4 heads looking down on you. My first thought was that they were a lot smaller than I’d imagined, then I realized how far I was still from them! We spent a bit of time there, wandering through the museum. Nick got a bit of a crash course in American history while we were there! I was amazed at how they could carve the heads with dynamite – I never thought of TNT as much of a precision tool. Can you imagine if someone used a bit too much by accident? ‘Oops, dory about George’s nose…we can re-attach it, can’t we?’ We also made a stop at Crazy Horse. While I admire the reasons for not taking government funds for the ambitious project (Crazy Horse was killed by a US Government soldier, after all), it’s a pity that it won’t be completed in my lifetime – after 50 years only the head is carved!
After a few fights with Ted (the GPS) who kept trying to route us through people’s private farmlands, we were off to Wyoming. In one of the first towns we crossed into across the border, Lusk, we saw our first tumbleweed. Like a total cliché, it rolled across the intersection of the nearly deserted country road, welcoming us West.
Unfortunately, we soon saw an ominous black cloud on the horizon, and Ted confirmed that we were planning to head right into it. It was a crazy storm – hail, lightening strikes all around us – and I was glad I was in a car, unlike a few of the bikers we saw.
Not so many signs today – we would have struggled if we’d been playing the alphabet game for sure. But I did see some animals I thought were cows. Until I got close, and realized the white animals with black splotches weren’t Holsteins but cow-looking horses. The prairie dogs were also a big hit – we stopped to watch their antics in the Badlands for a long time. The best part was when they would jump up and down on their hind legs with their little arms in the air yelling. Very funny.