Interesting attractions but Long days of driving.
Friday, May 29
This morning we were greeted by a beautiful breakfast prepared by my cousin and her fiance. If there’s one thing we have been blessed with throughout this trip it has been caring, compassionate people who are willing to help us in order to make our trip easier. I especially appreciate the kindness of these two and how they warmly welcomed us into their home.
The majority of the day involved driving, driving and… oh wait, more driving! We went north through Colorado, making a pit-stop in Fort Collins to visit a dear friend, and passed through the southeast corner of Wyoming as we headed to South Dakota. There was also a considerable amount of rain along the way, and I contemplated a return to Amarillo so I could grab my newly-constructed arc to navigate the water-soaked roads.
Our final destination for the day was a visit to the Crazy Horse Monument near Hill City. One objective to blogging about my travels is to tell you my opinion on certain sights and places. In all honestly, I was rather disappointed in the monument itself, considering it was commissioned in 1947 and they only have the face completed. However, the museum and visitors center was very educational. My mom and I watched a demonstration of Native American dances, and were picked out of the crowd to participate in the “Snake Dance,” which symbolized friendship. It was actually quite fun and a very unique experience.
If you plan on visiting the Crazy Horse monument any time soon, my best advice is to go on the Trip Adviser website and read reviews — both bad and good — to decide if it’s something you’re willing to spend $11 on.
Saturday, May 30
Mount Rushmore is an American icon, and something I think is important to see at some point in life. I can now check that one off my bucket list. The monument itself is quite spectacular, and I enjoyed learning about the history behind it. The site of the monument was well done in a way that grandly showcased American pride for our states and Mount Rushmore itself. There was a museum, gift shop, outdoor stage of some sort and the Presidential Trail, which was a short hike to the base of the monument for close-up photos.
We intended on scoping out another hiking trail not far from Mount Rushmore, but somehow managed to get incredibly lost and turned around. The maps were pretty confusing and not well marked, and that’s coming from two people who’ve relied on reading atlases rather than smart phones for directions. The maps combined with road construction led to our driving back and forth and in circles several times until we gave up and decided to head home.
At one point we landed in Keystone where we pulled over to ask for directions. We both commented on how touristy the area is. If you’re looking for off-the-map places frequented by the locals, Keystone and the nearby towns are not where you want to be. But the Black Hills were beautiful and Mount Rushmore was extraordinary, so don’t rule out this place for your next vacay.
The drive home was rather boring, and after a week of crazy adventures, my mom and I were both ready to be at home in our own beds. I think my mom thought I had gone slightly crazy when I insisted on reading about the contenders for the 2015 Belmont Stakes to her in Spanish. After what seemed like a gazillion hours of driving over hill and dale, we pulled into our driveway.
There’s nothing like the feeling of being home again.