South Dakota or The Land Time Left Behind: Part I
Apologies for not posting yesterday--I started to write then fell asleep. We made it from Des Moines, Iowa to Sioux Falls, SD on Tuesday. Sioux Falls has pretty falls but little else, except for a surprising number of pizza places. Here is a pic of the falls (taken with IPad, so not great, sorry):
One of my fave things about this trip is learning about all the places I've gone. For example, when we get to a city or landmark, I give it a good Google, because everything is worth a Google.
We left the, um, nothingness of Sioux Falls to drive through the nothingness of South Dakota--some of it was pretty, but really, most of it was miles and miles and miles of nothingness. Yesterday was the first day that Miss Wiggles did not travel well--she got overheated in the backseat :(. We have these thingies on the back windows of both our cars to help keep the sun out of the backseat. Additionally they have a 'spill-proof' water bottle (which works well unless someone (Miss Wiggles) turns it completely over. They have little seat belts that they wear (they click into the seat belt clickies in the car) so they can walk around comfortably, but they can't crawl in the front and they are secured if there is an accident. Anyhow, I heard her panting about 3 hours outside Rapid City, even though the air was on full blast (I've been wearing a jacket and blanket while driving to keep the car cool). We stopped at the first exit we could, wet a towel (we brought LOTS of extra towels) with cold water and bought a 10lb bag of ice and put the towel over it and she was in heaven. Poor Gus Gus was freezing but I put blankets on his side for him to burrow under.
We made it to the Badlands and took the loop to see them. I'm not going to lie, but they were in the top 10 most beautiful things I've ever seen. We pulled over at the overlooks, and left our cars running w/ac on full blast so the animals would be comfy and never stayed out of the car more than 5 minutes. I took some pics--please keep in mind I am NOT a landscape photographer, so please don't judge them too harshly.
We rolled into the big town of Keystone, SD (population 347) and checked into our hotel. We looked on tripadvisor for the best places to eat in the area and 3 of the top 5 are pizza places--no joke. Everywhere we look is a pizza joint--we noticed this even in Sioux Falls, the largest city in South Dakota. Since the first place was a pizza joint we chose the second, a place called Powderhouse Resturant and Lodge; let's be clear, this place is a Resturant in a Motel. There aren't legit hotels here, there are motels. Doug ordered the Game Sampler and I ordered the Walleye, and while the presentation was from 1962, the food wasn't terrible--it was definitely better than Pizza. I think my East Coast Elitism is showing. Here are some pics:
The towns around Rushmore (Keystone & Custer) that we visited are kitchy as hell--it's like if Gatlinburg, TN had an affair with Maggie Valley, NC and had a terrible, pizza filled, smoking, terrible dental hygiene baby. For some reason, since there are National Parks & Monuments abound in this area, I thought It would be a bit more classy--I was wrong. It is South Dakota after all.
We were planning on hitting Rushmore today but it was storming and foggy out so we opted to check out Jewel Cave National Monument which is the 3rd longest cave in the world. We got the last 2 Scenic Tour tickets which was a half mile loop in the cave--I had some crazy anxiety going down there so I had to have a wee bit o'medication before I was calm enough to keep going. The tour ended up being awesome though, and I'll post pics on tomorrow's blog (I'm too lazy to pull them off my camera tonight).
Since the dogs have no concept of time zones, and we are in Mountain Time, they woke us up at 5am this morning. Since Rushmore opens at 5, we'll get up when they wake us up, take them out and give them breakfast, and head out to Rushmore before the crowds descend. We bought a handy dandy National Park Service Annual Pass which covers 2 people, so we can visit all the parks we want!!!
Oh, my mom was interested in the route we have taken so far so I drew this on a Google Map:
Ok it's like 12:44am normal time (well normal for me) so I'm going to crash--I'll post tomorrow!