“Get your a** out of bed!”
“Did you hear me?!?! Get you’re a** out of bed!”
“Get up! Get up! We got stuff to do today!”
THAT was our alarm ring tone for Day 4 on the road. It got us up and out bed quickly, and gave the kid good giggles. Morning routine quickly accomplished and over to the office of bug motel to check out. On the way out of the office, we start noticing bikes everywhere. Not just any bikes, but Harley Davidsons.
Interesting. Speak to a few bikers, take some pictures of their bikes (notice dead bugs on ground-hence bug motel), and come to find, yes Virginia it IS bike week and you ARE headed toward the RIGHT Sturgis. Against the story of our lives, we are at the right place at the right time. Never in my life would I have pictured being in the Badlands and the Black hills during bike week, but it is also one of those bucket list things you just have to experience.
Turns out it is ok to experience it from afar after a certain age, more on that later.
Back on the road again, Route 90 west was starting to fill with more bikes. Sometimes a picture is worth a 1,000 words, this one is worth 500 lbs if it is worth a conjunction.
Cemeteries, especially old or odd ones have always fascinated me. J loves them too. We saw one on the side of the road and had to stop for a few clicks of her camera. Kid and dog didn’t see the value.
The Missouri River weaves its way through and around South Dakota. At the southern border it even widens to Lewis & Clark Lake. When it crosses where Route 90 is, it is called the Missouri River Bridges of South Dakota area and has a small Lewis & Clark Memorial.
It also has poisonous snakes. After our encounter with their cousins a day earlier, I opted to not walk the path and stay with the kid and the dog. J, ever the adventuress, followed the path of bravery.
Before you get to Badlands National Park, there is a small town of Murdo. It houses another of the Kitschy places in America. The 1880’s replica town, better known to us from that day forward as Cricket Town. They have a wagon pulled by a donkey, and driven by a real character. When people would take pictures of him and the wagon he would yell, “Hey, you shot my a**!”
Oh, the Wells Fargo Wagon is a comin’ down the street; please let it be for me. I thought about getting on, but then I would have missed some of the best parts of our 3 hour tour.
When you first get in to South Dakota, you start to see signs for the “World Famous Wall Drug Store”. You see them for 300 miles, or so it seems. When you get to Badlands National Park, you finally get to Wall.
The neat thing about Wall is that they have a main street that becomes a sea of Harleys during bike week. You have not lived until you stand there in front of Wall Drugs while hundreds of bikes roll down the street and you feel the earth rumble under your feet. The rumble grows so loud at times, it travels from your feet, up your legs and you can actually feel the rumble in your core. I do not possess the words to do it justice. If you ever have the opportunity, it has to be experienced firsthand.
Today was the kind of day you can tick things off your list at a pretty quick clip. Then you see signs for Mount Rushmore and realize they all pale in comparison. I have experienced this so I can honestly say, your idea of how awesome Mount Rushmore is, is nowhere near as awe-inspiring as it really is.
Driving through the tourist area filled with motels and bars below the monument is twisty and the little town is cute and quaint. At any time of the year other than during Bike Week.
During Bike Week it is wall to wall people, bars filled with bikers and their gals, the second floors filled with gals in all manner of dress, and in this case undress. I am still praying to this day the kid wasn’t looking up for half that drive through.
It is also at this moment I realize how old I am mentally and physically. Though it was thrilling to come through during this week of all weeks of the year, I am way too old now to have been anything but a tourist.
So you get through town and start winding your way up the mountain.
This is the first time we get to see what is waiting for us at the top.
We find parking, get our cameras, and go meet John, Paul, George & Ringo. We stopped on the way in and spent a moment at the plaque honoring all the men who died to make this monument.
There is an amazing walk of presidents that twists and turns under the façade with stops giving you vantage points to click pictures of each president and bios. If you get the chance, walk it. I am just going to show the pictures below, descriptions are not necessary, and words don’t do them justice.
We drive through the right Sturgis on the way out of South Dakota.
You can’t come all this way across the country and into Wyoming at this part of the state and not stop at Devil’s Tower, said a good friend of mine. So we stopped.
After our whirlwind day of adventure, we finally pull in to Gillette for food and sleep. Alarm set for more adventure ahead of us on Day 5. Lots of national parks to see in Wyoming and California still waiting for us.