Berkeley to Boston: Day 6 (South Dakota)

Day 6 (August 20, 2011): Rapid City, SD to Sioux Falls, SD

OR “This is part of the United States?!”

After searching through the car several times for my camera’s battery charger, we decided to start our day off at Best Buy.  Luckily, we were in a big enough city.  Unfortunately, the charger was $40!  Ugh.

Then we went to Starbucks!  Brendan sat with the battery charger for a bit at Starbucks while I went to Walgreens for some Wal-Phed.  I am literally a disaster.  I have sneezed about a million times today and I have sweat through more than one fever.  Plus, my throat hurts so bad that all I want to do is drink carbonated beverages.  That is bad news on a road trip in general, but seriously bad news for me on a road trip.  Enough of this sadness though because we saw some pretty cool stuff today. 

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It was both mine and Brendan’s first time at Mount Rushmore, and it did not disappoint.  The statues were really cool because they are so detailed, but it was especially impressive after reading about all the thought that went into the project. 

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For example, Thomas Jefferson was supposed to be on the other side of George Washington, but the granite on that side turned out to be unsuitable for carving, so they just blew his face off on that side and started on the other side.  Each of the figures were chosen to represent the elements of democracy that the artist was most proud of… He took special care to make Washington stand tall to communicate his upstanding character, and Lincoln’s eyes are especially detailed to make him look thoughtful.  It was really inspiring to see that the memorial was a representation of a lot of peoples’ pride in our democracy.  You just don’t hear about that as much these days, and it was nice to get some perspective.  

Plus, we were brainstorming ideas for who they might add in the future…

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If I were president…

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Next, we went to Crazy Horse.  We need to talk about this thing.  WTF.  Some crazy Polish guy started this Native American carving in 1948, and they have made SO LITTLE PROGRESS.  Mount Rushmore took about 20 years and less than a million dollars.  Now, I know that times have changed, but really?  It cost us $11 to go see Mount Rushmore and its museum.  It cost us $20 to look at this head in a mountain that is VERY far away, and really not impressive.

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We weren’t really impressed, but mostly I am really annoyed that I paid $20 to get this close!!  The whole project is just kind of crazy, in general.  It was been projected that the sculpture will take over 100 years and millions of dollars. 

SO ANNOYING.  Don’t go unless you are really into Native Americans, or wait until it is done because it will probably be pretty cool when it is done.  It just seems like a ridiculous amount of resources going into something that really didn’t need to be quite so large. 

After that experience, we were ready to head further East in South Dakota.  We started to see a ton of billboards on Interstate 90 for a place called Wall Drug, so I Googled it.  This place started as a small pharmacy in a middle-of-nowhere town called Wall.  The couple who owned it started advertising free ice water, 5 cent coffee, and free donuts for Veterans in order to get more business from road travelers.  Now, Wall Drug has transformed into a Midwest destination!  It is like an amusement park for road trippers.

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They still have free ice water…

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and 5 cent coffee…

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but they also have homemade ice cream, tons of things to pose with for pictures, tons of stores, candy shops, a chapel, and playgrounds for kids…

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CRAZY place!!

Then we took a drive through Badlands National Park…

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It was SOOOO cool.  I read about the history and geology of the park on my phone before and after our tour, and it was really interesting.  It is really just unlike anything I have ever seen, and we were literally there!

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Now we are pretty much at the halfway point of our trip, so I have a few general thoughts to share…

First, I never really realized just how different the various regions of the US are from each other.  I literally feel like I am in a different country.  We talk really different, the things we do on a daily basis are extremely varied, we have really different priorities, values, and beliefs.  It is no longer surprising to me that the people we have chosen to lead our respective regions can’t agree on anything.  We are asking these people to represent out own interests, but we are coming from completely different worlds.  Tonight at dinner I was completely shocked by how out of place I felt in the restaurant.

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The other thing I would like to note is how our trip is going in relation to our plan.  Our itinerary is a super brief outline with a few key things we would like to remember to see in each place and a hotel reservation for each city we plan to sleep in.  Every once in a while I am irritated that we aren’t getting to our daily destination at the time we wanted to get there.  However, today I realized how much I appreciate our loose schedule and our spontaneity.  I am so glad we both felt like it was perfectly acceptable to spend 30 minutes or so at Wall Drug even though we didn’t even know about it before.  I am also so glad that there has been very little hesitance about pulling over or stopping at things that look interesting.  We have seen some AMAZING things just because we decided it looked like it might be worth stopping for.  I realize not everyone has the time or resources to travel across the country for 10 days, but this has already been SO great! 

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LOL MY HAIR!!! Hours in the car + dry desert air + wind + I washed my hair… !!!

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2 Comments on “Berkeley to Boston: Day 6 (South Dakota)”

  1. Maryanne says:

    I am loving hearing about your road trip! Branden and I did the reverse when we moved out from Wisconsin 3 years ago. Can’t wait to see you on Thursday!


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