After leaving Arches, I made my way over to Denver for the night. Given my recent snow adventure, you can imagine how excited I was to drive over Vail pass a day after the first blizzard of the season hit. I held my breath, gripped the steering wheel, and made it over the mountain, but I definitely considered turning around and going home at least once. Okay, maybe twice.
I knew Denver was only going to be a pit stop for sleeping, so I didn’t have a lot of time for exploring. I will definitely go back again when I have some time to really get to know the city. I did stop by The Loopy Ewe on my way out of town, because I needed to see it in person, and it did not disappoint. Knitting friends – they have a Wollmeise wall! A skein or two might have come home with me. I’ll consider it souvenir yarn, since I seem to be knitting at a snail’s pace lately.
I then cut up through the corner of Wyoming, mused about cows and whether or not they could be introverts, and finally made it to Custer, South Dakota, my home base for the next two nights. I just sort of glossed over the cows there in that sentence, I know. I saw a lot of cows. A lot. Many, many. And there was always one or two far away from the rest of the herd. Since I had a lot of time in the car to contemplate this, I worried that they had been ostracized from the other cows and were lonely. Then I wondered if they were out there on purpose – like just give me a few minutes with my deep cow thoughts in peace and quiet, ya know?
I had two goals for South Dakota – see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. First stop in the morning was Crazy Horse. What struck me most was comparing the work to date to the scale model on display. There is still a ton of work to do on this memorial, I have no idea how they will ever finish it given how long it has taken to get this far. Perhaps part of this is the massive size – all of the presidents’ heads on Mt. Rushmore fit just inside the face.
Then I drove up to Mount Rushmore, which was another bucket list item for this trip. I didn’t expect to be emotional, but I admit to getting a little choked up as I walked under the flags. It is an impressive sight. I sat there quite a while thinking about our country and how despite the current political climate, I am still proud to be an American and feel lucky to have been born here.
I spent the rest of the time wandering around Custer State Park and the surrounding areas. I was really hoping to get to see some buffalo up close, but you’ll see from the pictures the buffalo were quite unimpressed by me.
Hey, buffalo! Look at me, damn it! I have pictures to take! South Dakota is filled with beautiful scenery, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being a little anxious about driving back through the hills. Rain was coming, and I had had enough of driving in inclement weather, so I was ready to head out. Next up on the agenda was a straight shot across Nebraska and Iowa to get to Chicago, so get ready for some Roadside Oddities pictures!