Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day Nine: It's amazing what you can get people to do...

...when you have 330 miles of advertisement space and nothing in between the two largest cities in the state. We started off early today, since we figured it would be a long drive. After we hastily packed up our "campsite", we left Mitchell. Dawn drove the entire way today!! Robyn was having fun being the photographer for the drive. She filled up the entire memory many pictures to look through tonight...
Since it was going to be such a long ride, we decided to stop at some small-town McDonald's for coffee- worst coffee ever. We did, however, cross the Missouri River. It was flooded, so we had to detour around it. Not as cool as crossing the Mississippi River. We also crossed into a new time zone, so it's only 5:15 here! Hours to go before bed!! We continued on for a hundred more miles, until the Badlands National Park. We were able to see enough of it from the road, so we didn't stop (probably should have though). But we did stop at the "Ranch Store" down the road to see the world's largest Prairie Dog. There were also real prairie dogs there. They were so cute! Two of them were fighting over a peanut.
Our next stop was to Wall, South Dakota. Most people would ask, "What in the world is there?" Our answer- not much. It is a tourist attraction. Their claim-to-fame is this supposed drug store, called (creatively) Wall Drug. They have billboard advertisements for their store even before you enter South Dakota. Supposedly, they also have many in other countries around the world. But all it is is a bunch of mom-and-pop run stores, with lots of souvenirs to waste your money on. Which we did.
Our last stop for the day was Mount Rushmore. They tell you to get off one exit, but it's still 25 miles away from that exit, with very winding roads. We got there, and it was pretty crowded, but big enough to see everything. We tried to get pictures of the "real" George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but there were too many people in the way. I did get one with the two Teddy Roosevelts, though. We walked through the trails and saw the Sculptor's Studio. Apparently, the sculptor spent part of his life living in Stamford. Our plan is to go back tonight for the Fourth of July activities. Unfortunately, they won't have any fireworks this year. We also watched a Native American hoop dancer today. It was rather intense. She started dancing with only one hula hoop-like hoop, and then went up to like 40! She made all different formations with them, like butterflies and ladders, and even a basket that she could put over herself. We were truly impressed!
We went to our campsite and set it up for the few days we'll be here. We met two fellows who were amazed that we were from Connecticut. They were from Ohio, on the way to California, on their bikes, but one of them had their bike stolen in Chicago. So now the bikes they are using keep falling apart, so they decided to head back east. (Annie and Tyler, your adventure is much more impressive!) We went back to Mount Rushmore this evening. It was pretty cool to see the Presidents all lit up. There was a cover band singing all kinds of patriotic songs, but they weren't very good We were going to offer our 6 years of chorus talent, but we were too far away from the stage. We came back to the campsite and the town had fireworks, so even though the park didn't have them, we were able to see some tonight! (And we saw the elusive "Alaska" license plate, parked right next to us! No jackalope yet, though.)
However, this trip has made me realize that, although very boring, I will never say that there is nothing to do in Monroe, because there are many towns that are so much worse.

(We will update the pictures as soon as Robyn goes through the 1000+ that she took today.)

States Visited: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin (9/50)
Provinces Visited: Ontario (1/10)
License Plates Seen: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming (47/50)
Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan (7/10)

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