Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Road Trip Day 7: The Road to and From Mt. Rushmore

We left Murdo, South Dakota at 8:30 a.m. with the GPS (also known as "Mabel") programmed for Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It was a little cloudy early on, but after a couple of sprinkles, the sky cleared up and we got our first up close look at "The Badlands." According to my brochure, "The Badlands have vibrant colors caused by mineral deposits. The layers containing tinges of oxidized manganese have a purple cast. Iron oxide in small quantities produced the orange and tan layers. The volcanic ash, dropped by westerly winds from the Rockies, produced the white places where the ash fell and mixed with silt and clay in the streams, it produced the dirty grey layers." They were incredibly beautiful... I really fell in love with South Dakota on the west side of the Missouri River; there were so many variations to the landscape.

We saw corn fields which were green, with a yellowish brown here and there where the stalks had dried; soybean fields were yellow and orange; sunflower fields with green, yellow, and of course the brown centers of the flowers.

We stopped at Wall, South Dakota. We had seen billboards along the highway advertising it as a "must see." It was pretty neat: an authentic looking old west town. Wall Drug is more a general store than a pharmacy. To give you an idea of its size, the store contains a cafe that seats 531. You can purchase anything from cowboy boots to jewelry to knick-knacks, to toys, to donuts, to lunch. In other words, pretty much any little thing your heart desires.

Across the street from Wall Drug is the Badlands Bar, serving pizza and burgers; next door to that, The Mocha Moose--an ice cream shopppe.

I tried unsuccessfully to pick up this cowboy. Maybe I was too fresh; I did grab his weapon! (His six-gun! What were YOU thinking???)

This is a shot of one corner of the Cafe. There was a nice fireplace, and lots of western art on the walls.

We decided to try their homemade donuts. I thought they were just okay. Hubby wanted a $0.05 cup of coffee, as advertised, but it turns out they charge $0.59 for Decaf! (Here he's reading up on the Badlands... of which we saw lots more!)

I finally got a good shot of those huge hay bales, with the rising foothills in the background.

Finally we reached the entrance to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial.

Mt. Rushmore was totally awe-inspiring. I couldn't believe the size of those faces carved in the mountainside! They were beautiful and actually brought tears to my eyes.

When we left Rushmore, we told Mabel to take us to Yellowstone National Park. That meant leaving South Dakota and entering Wyoming.

The countryside changed immediately. Gone were the flat cornfields; there were more and more huge hills; my ears popped as we climbed to higher elevations.

We saw a train pulling carloads of coal. Hubby loves trains, so he had to get a picture! We saw an even longer one later...I swear it stretched at least a half a mile.

By now it was 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time, but our internal clocks are still on Eastern Daylight Savings time...or 8:30p.m. We decided to stay the night in Buffalo, Wyoming. Just before pulling off the highway, we got our first good look at the REAL Rocky Mountains. What we've seen up to now have just been the foothills! As you can see below: a breath-taking sight!

Tomorrow we continue on to Yellowstone. Thanks for coming along on this ride with me! Until then, Night-Night!


Entrepreneur Chick said...

Why do you call your GPS Mabel? My aunt's name (great) was Mabel. Mabel couldn't tell the truth to save her life. Just how trustworthy IS that GPS, huh?

>Loved Rushmore! And your husband looking over the menu. Awww. I can't wait to see Yellowstone.

Vodka Logic said...

Our GPS has a name too, can't think of it right now.

The trip looks like a once in a life time adventure. I do envy you.
Thanks for the pictures

Cathy said...

I love those pictures!! Beautiful! Our GPS is named Suzie.

Scrappy Girl said...

Dr. Hubby's GPS came with different names for different languages...turns out that the English speaking one has the same name as me! That was a good laugh...cause he gets so annoyed with me giving him directions or driving tips. FUN!

I love your photos and this post. This is part of our wonderful country that I have not seen yet.
Your hubby is such a cutie.

Steven Anthony said...

I love nd....Ive been to the very cafe u pictured...and yellow stone is beautiful....I love the wsest...

continued happy trails to u my friend

glnroz said...

more, more,, pics are great. A good time is being had by all.

Mesina said...

Looks like you two are having a great time! I went to Mt. Rushmore right before I moved to the UK, so gorgeous! I too was just in total awe.
Mabel?! I LOVE THAT! haha, that is too sweet. Loved the pictures, happy road trip! xx

McVal said...

Oh my! I think we sat at that very table you sat at in that cafe at Wall Drug.
Here are my vids of our trip. One of them anyway.

Have a great time!

Jen said...

Fantastic we are there with you. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and words..

Kaylen said...

Great pics!
I have been to Wall Drug as a kid at least 6 times and it has such great memories!
Everyone I know who has a GPS names it - I love this!!

natalee said...

OMG such great pix!! I love the Wall Pharmacey... Those Mt Rushmore pix makes me want to go...

thatdesigngal said...

Thank you for taking us on this ride! I have always wanted to go to Mount Rushmore! Maybe one day....

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