This may have been the busiest yet. We had read that the Badlands look best in early morning or early evening light. As early evening wasn't an option, we decided to get an early start. Not too hard to do with Patch, whose internal clock knows no time zones. As we drove west on I-90, we got a few glimpses of what was to come. Nothing, however, quite compared with the first actual viewing from the top of a rock formation. The Badlands defy all description. They are craggy and smooth. They are blandly yellow and vibrantly striped with orange and pink. They go on forever. Just when you think you are out of them, you go around another corner and more pop up. And by more, I mean formations as far as the eye can see. We did a lot of hiking around. Mini-me was so tired by about an hour and a half into our journey and wanted to be carried. That just wasn't an option, so we told her she was the "line leader" of the hikers. She felt so important.
The Badlands loop ends in Wall, SD, home of Wall Drug. I had heard tell of Wall Drug, and wanted to check it out. It was not on our itinerary, but neither was the Corn Palace, with its Corn-ceptual art. Wall Drug, as it turns out, was an even better stop. They had a great little restaurant, full of old people, families, and bikers on their way to Sturgis. We celebrated Patch's first birthday with a fresh, homemade donut and a scoop of homemade ice cream. Aunie Ree and Sara got him a cake and a present when we were at the lake, so he has been very celebrated. The store is ginormous (which is now a word in the dictionary), and has several departments. They also have a backyard with a water play area, where the water shoots up out of the ground. Patch wanted to wander in there, and as it was 90* and his birthday, I let him. The girls thought the giant T-Rex that growled at you was pretty cool. We got some great pictures.
After Wall Drug, it was off to Mount Rushmore. I have always wanted to see it. The idea of carving into a giant mountain is somewhat intruiging. When we arrived, the first thing we noticed is that Mount Rushmore is a popular stop for those on their way to Sturgis. It was a relatively short stop, only about an hour, but I loved it. The monument is awe-inspiring and is a great tribute to those who shaped our nation.
Our next stop was Sturgis. After seeing all the bikers, we wanted to know what all the hub-bub was about. Granted, we were still a few days before the actual biker rally, but we knew people were already there. It was pretty cool. There were a couple of bikes that made me want to ride and that I would consider letting Curly ride. I wanted to stop for a t-shirt, but there was no time.
Our next stop was in Powell, WY. We made pretty great time through Wyoming. I love 75 mph speed limits. We stopped for dinner, got directions to the hotel, and realized that we would have to go over a huge mountain in the dark. I do not like heights, and I do not like mountain roads. We were also told they were free-ranging cattle up there, and to be on the lookout for them. It was a white-knuckle adventure. I made Curly very nervous. I was a little glad it was dark, however, because we found out the drop-offs were pretty steep up there. Yikes.
Day 6 is Yellowstone. Does the fun never stop???