After driving through the Badlands we drove to Wall Drug. I’ve seen bumpers stickers for Wall Drug my whole life and never had any idea about what or where it was. Well, now I do! It’s in Wall, South Dakota! It was started by a family way back in the day, and they got their break by offering motorists free ice water, which they still offer today. We got a few things to snack on and walked around the huge, overpriced, tourist trap. There were plenty of mounted jackelopes to be found, as well as every kind of souvenir imaginable. After buying our traditional magnet, we went on our way.
We left Wall and headed for Mt. Rushmore. Mt. Rushmore is one of those places that every American needs to see at least once in their life. Of course I teared up when I saw it. There was something so reverent and peaceful about the whole place. We could really feel a special spirit about the place, something that seemed to testify that our nation truly was organized under the guidance of God. It was cool. We walked the boardwalk through the base of the monument, where there were individual lookouts that highlighted each president.
We saw a few big horn sheep, just grazing right in front of us near the parking lot. It was so cool! They didn’t seem to care that we were just feet away from them. A park ranger passing by told us they will go up to cars and sniff for food. NOTE: if you go, you should know the entire route is NOT stroller friendly! We thought we could do it anyway, but Derrick wound up carrying the stroller up and down LOTS of stairs. Don’t make the same mistake we did! But do walk the boardwalk…very cool.
The Crazy Horse Memorial was just around the corner, so we decided to check that out too. I had been to Mt. Rushmore back in 2000 with my family, and we stopped by Crazy Horse then too. It looks exactly the same as it did 14 years ago. Not much progress. But let me tell you, those Native Americans are tricky suckers. When you turn up the drive to the entrance, there are NO turn arounds and you HAVE to pay to get in. And it’s SO not worth the $25 or whatever it was to go in. Look at these pictures and know there is nothing else to see, unless you are super into Native American art and artifacts. I guess $25 is a small price to pay for giving them small pox and essentially treating them like crap…but seriously, don’t go here. At this point it started snowing, and we had to make it to Billings, MT for the night. Not a very fun drive in the snow through the mountains, but we survived (with much praying) and we all slept great that night. Before we left for the trip, I bought some heavy duty spring clamps and brought a huge dark blanket. Everywhere we slept, we set up the pack n play for Tessa, then used the clamps to hang the blanket around it, creating her own little private “room”. I stuck the sound machine in there with here and it worked like a CHAMP. Everyone slept great, and she wasn’t distracted by seeing anyone else or hearing anyone else’s noises at night. I’ll be keeping this trick in my back pocket for future trips for sure.