Day Nine: How We Crossed South Dakota In A Day (Eastward HO!)

We were very happy to find our cars snow free this morning.  That didn’t stop today from being bone chillingly cold.  When I started my car this morning I had a moment of thought about parts of the engine being frozen.   For much of our trip across South Dakota the temperature rarely got above 50°F and the wind blew so hard all day that even in the warmer areas it was still pretty darn cold.  I’m glad to report we encountered no more snow and only a light mist of rain all day.

Most of today was a basic boring drive across the largely flat grass lands of South Dakota.  There were two highlights to our journey today however.  First thing this morning before we started our long drive across the state, we trekked over to Mt. Rushmore.  Even as cold as it was, we took our time to leisurely walk up the promenade to the viewing platform of the visitor area.  As we have so often on this road trip, we lucked out on the weather being nice enough to aid in our picture taking opportunities.  We spent maybe 45 minutes to an hour walking around the visitor area taking pictures of the mountain and surrounding countryside before we had to retreat back to our cars to get warmed up again.  It is interesting to note that visitors are currently required to pay a $10 fee to park at the visitor center.  However if you read the ticket you’re given carefully it says it is good until the end of 2010.  Kind of a Mt. Rushmore fun pass!  Buy your ticket today and come back again for free until the end of the year!

The other place of interest we visited today was Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota.  Wall Drug is known far and wide for the bill boards they’ve placed for hundreds of miles in every direction that entice visitors with promises of “Free Ice Water”, “5 cent Coffee”, “A Six Foot Rabbit”, or even a “T-Rex in the Wall Drug Backyard”.  Fans of Wall Drug are known to place signs of a similar nature to those mentioned above with directions and distance to Wall Drug in places all over the world.  Wall Drug was a lot of fun, and the history presented here is pretty interesting.  I would like to have spent more time here, but we had to get on the road so we could make it to Sioux Falls for the night.  If you like kitschy Americana, and have the opportunity to visit Wall Drug, try to plan for at least a couple of hours to give yourself time to wander around, enjoy the experience and even get something to eat.  Definitely don’t forget your free ice water.

After Wall Drug, we got back on the road and sprinted the rest of the way to Sioux Falls, SD.  We got in well after dark but were lucky enough to find the hotel kitchen still open for a few more minutes.  Full bellies and a long day of driving and I for one am ready to hit the sack.

But before I do, I have more proof of the “imaginary animals” I’ve been seeing that Peter hasn’t.

See?  There really are six foot tall rabbits and giant jack-a-lopes!   Shhhhhh!  Don’t tell Peter about the Jack-a-lope behind him!  I don’t think he knows it’s there!

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