Move Day 3: Jackson, MN to Rapid City, SD

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 11:46 PM | comments: 0

Today went pretty smoothly for the most part, although we're clearly getting more impatient and tired of moving around a bit.

The day started with us getting out on time from Jackson. I think it's because we had a solid shower! Oliver fought the drugs for the first hour and a half of the drive, and Diana pilled him a half hour before that even. Gideon was pretty much stoned right away, but he still wants to cry if Oliver does. Again, the girls were perfect the whole time.

The rest of Minnesota continued to smell like a county fair, and the first half of South Dakota was largely more of the same. Once we got to the Missouri River, it got pretty interesting. In fact, the area where you cross the river is absolutely beautiful. It's strange to see so few trees.

We stopped for gas and had some crappy food at an Arby's. Last night, we had crappy food at a DQ. The problem with driving through much of this route is that there isn't enough population to support sit down restaurants. There aren't even very many greasy spoon local dives. It's really odd. So we've had our share of crap on this drive already. I mean, I'd settle for an Applebees even, and I hate that dump.

Speaking of driving, South Dakota's speed limit is a robust 75 mph in most places, since the roads are so straight, and I'm comfortable doing 80 in this tank of a mini-van. Unfortunately, it really blows the fuel efficiency down to like 20 mpg (I was able to do 25 most of yesterday). Getting near the badlands made it even more interesting, and there's a whole lot of "big sky country" out here.

We rolled into Rapid City by 2:30 local time, which is to be expected since this is our easiest day. Only two states, about 6.5 hours today, versus four states and nine something hours yesterday. It was nice and sunny most of the day too.

After checking in to a Holiday Inn Express, we headed out to Mt. Rushmore for the one and only touristy thing on our agenda. I truly wasn't sure what to expect. The temperature was holding around 60, and up there at 5k+ feet, there was still some snow hanging out here and there. We even saw a wild mountain goat, and it was enormous. The visitor center is quite beautiful, and seems very new for being conceived 15 years ago. It has a timeless feel about it without looking Roman.

The monument is open every day, but with the primary tourism season being finished, it was pretty empty. In fact, the town of Keystone is a ghost town with almost nothing open (including the alpine slide I would've loved to have tried). We walked around the trail as far as the non-strenuous part goes, so we could stand at the base of the stray rock. I've gotta say that made me nervous, because it looked like it could all start sliding down. Got some neat photos, and a little mock video that some people might get.

There's an Outback, uh, out back behind the hotel, so we went there for dinner. The food was meh, but they were doing free beers and bloomin' onions for vets on Veteran's Day.

It's still pretty early here, but we're really tired and I think we'll be able to turn in early and get out early in the morning. Tomorrow will be the most physically and mentally challenging day we'll have. We're looking at 11 hours of drive time, and the risk of snow in Missoula and points before it are high. It'll be significantly colder, with the highs in the 30's and lows in the 20's.


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