Friday, November 8, 2013

21 Hours, 3 Days, For Faces, For Forefathers

On to South Dakota we went and boy was it a long one, but wildly important. It was so important to me to move on to South Dakota even though it was so far and we’d be skipping quite a few states because I was so beyond sick of stopping in places I didn't care about, even if they brought unexpected loveliness. I just wanted to see what I wanted to see and nothing more because the faster I do that, the faster I get home and into Lola’s kitty arms again. As you can probably guess I was feeling crazy homesick at this point (something that hasn’t really improved much) and just ready to be in awe and on the road again. 

I was feeling pretty good when we left New York, excited to be moving and not camping for a while. We drove through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana only briefly stopping in each to use the restroom, get gas, or eat. We originally planned to stop in Indiana for the night and for once that worked out. Finnley found these pamphlets at one of the rest stops called and we ended up finding a pretty cheap Motel close to some dunes on Lake Michigan in Chesterton. 

To our pleasant surprise the Quality Inn wasn’t so bad, in fact it wasn’t bad at all. Obviously the location wasn’t a selling point, it had the standard close by railroad track, but it had just been noticeably refurbished and looked quite nice. The rooms looked new and clean and they even smelled good. This also just so happened to be one of the cheapest motels we stayed at. I love to bask in the irony that the Econolodge we stayed at was the worst and yet most expensive motel and the cheapest ones were the nicer ones. 

Also for all the travelers out there who stay in these type of motels, please be aware their little ChoiceHotels promos are not what they seem. Finnley noticed a promo for them that said stay 2 nights get 3rd night free so obviously we were interested. We ended up getting an account which requires no fee and calling them the day after to redeem points and try and get the free night. It was only then that they tell you the full story that to them a 2 nights stay actually requires 4 nights and that to redeem this promo you would have had to of booked it through their website Now I’m not saying it’s all bad, for people who do stays like that it can be beneficial, but if your just popping through a night here and a night there, don’t bother. Basically if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. 

However the highlight of staying at this Quality Inn was when Finnley and I went to get dinner he was in shock and awe to see the White Castle right down the road. It was the moment he’d been waiting for since he was a kid. I could tell by the look in his eyes, this was the moment a little boys fairytale became a reality. After we got some yums we went back to the hotel and watched TV. That’s when I realized we were in a different time zone. Which was cool, it was the first step through time towards the West. 

We slept well even though we both were slightly convinced the bathroom was haunted. When we got up we got our continental breakfast and relaxed in the room a little. This was the place we saw snow for the first time too. That morning it snowed a little and Finnley forced me to go outside with him. I believe it snowed the night before too, but I refused to subject myself to anymore cold for the day. The night before I was looking out the window while I was on the phone with my mom and saw a random apple on the floor. She said it was a wild apple and I laughed because I didn’t see any apple trees around, but when we were leaving the next morning Finnley and I saw this big apple tree right outside the hotel and a million apples falling off it. Of course Finnley had to get out and pick a couple. He totally ate one and I totally had to take a bite. 

When we left we planned on going to Chicago for a little, but quickly changed our minds as we usually do about big cities and just drove through. The drive through Illinois was a bit annoying because they had a lot of construction going on. We decided to take the GPS off toll roads and it took us on a different route that only took a couple minutes longer. Instead of going through Wisconsin, we went through Iowa. 

I wasn’t the biggest fan of this drive because it was all corn and wheat fields, but Finnley thought it was great. I can admit some of the spots were really pretty, but mostly the same scenes over and over blurred in my passenger side mirror. Before night fell we were driving through a prairie landscape with windmills scattered across the distance. Finnley loved that sight as the sun went down and the pink sky behind them lit up. The best is when all the windmills in a row are spinning at the same time. 

We ended up having to stop again in Minnesota. It had turned dark and we were driving on this desolate road. We were contemplating sleeping in the car, but I didn’t think it was the best idea. At one point we stopped at a rest stop and talked to the security guard. He said it was okay to sleep there for 8 hours, but I still didn’t feel comfortable and I don’t think Finnley was ready to stop driving yet anyways. Finnley also talked to this nice trucker because he was wearing a regular T-shirt and it was like 30 degrees out. He started asking him questions about driving and deer. The trucker told him he had hit 3 deer that day already. He said a cars best bet is to stay behind the truckers on road because they will most likely hit it first and the car will just get some pieces. 

Now this really scared the both of us. We were in the middle of nowhere for an hour and stuck on this road at the worst time for deer. Luckily we found a trucker to stay behind and did so for the last hour, until we finally found a random town and got off. There was a Walmart you can stay over night in right there so we tried that, but then I thought about having to pee and get up and wake Finnley the most angriest person when he is awakened and walk all the way into Walmart to pee. I couldn’t do it. So I found a nearby motel that was alright, about midway in quality and price between the last two we stayed at. Again it was still better than the car.

The next morning we got our continental breakfast and hit the road for South Dakota, finally. We made it into the state pretty early, but Mount Rushmore is all the way on the West side of the state. When we got there the scenery changed a lot; hills starting popping up out the ground randomly and the plants were changing. Everything was kind of beige, but with the contrast of a bright blue sky it was actually quite beautiful. We drove through the black mountains and across many miles of farm land. Supposedly the previous weeks snow in South Dakota caused a bunch of cows to die and we were witness to this, as bodies lined the gates on the highway. 

I booked us a night in a cabin in Rapid City about 30 minutes from Mount Rushmore. We got there around 4pm and were going to go to see the faces, but ended up just relaxing and decided to see them the next morning. We also were going to stay there for 2 nights but decided there wasn’t all that much to see, but the memorial there so one day was sufficient and then on to Yellowstone. I spent most of my time in the cabin watching TV and cleaning up. 

At one point Finnley and I went outside to check out a big lake that was on the grounds. There were hundreds of geese hanging out by there honking away and being awkward. When we got close to the water a bazillion gnats came chasing the crap out of Finnley and I. We literally ran all the way back to the lodge before we lost them. It was funny because I would have thought and slightly hoped that it would of been the geese chasing us instead. We decided to go sit where the tent campers can camp. While we were there Finnley spotted a little bunny hopping around someones yard. He was so cute. He had little stick straight up ears and was very little. I watched him hop around in the grasses for a while until he hopped away into the bushes. 

The next morning we woke up around 9am to try and get an early start to the memorial. When we went to check out the office was closed so we had to wait a couple minutes until someone arrived. We attempted going to the lake again and luckily this time there were no crazy gnats. We just looked at the water and geese, but I was freezing my butt off. We got on the road, but had to get breakfast first. We stopped at a Sonics and got some breakfast burritos. 

When we got to Mount Rushmore it looked pretty dead which was good considering it was the weekend. We took a ton of pictures and walked around all the trails. It was really cool getting that close to it. You can really see how much craft and skill went into that project. I have always been fascinated by this memorial because of that. It’s crazy and inspiring what a person can do when they put there mind to it. On the way back to the building on the trail we saw a big white animal. It scared us at first because we had never seen that before and I didn’t even realize it was there or real until Finnley said something. It was just a crazy mountain goat. I loved him. We walked by him and took pictures trying not to crowd his space to much. I told Finnley he was the reincarnation of Gutzon Borglum himself. 

As we were leaving we stopped by a cafe inside the main building. Finnley got a Mount Rushmore soda and I got a hot chocolate. I made fun of Finnley for his choice, but it turned out to be a pretty tasty soda. So we were off now to Yellowstone, not quite sure where we were going, but going either way.

On to the next...

No comments:

Post a Comment