Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 16 and 17; Custer SD to Murdo SD to Cedar Rapids, IA

June 7, 2011  Not going to blog tonight.  Tired.  Grumpy.  Ain't gonna do it.

Car doing okay.  We're doing fine.  Just tired tonight and don't want to focus on the blog.

Maybe tomorrow night.

Stay tuned.

Ok, it is now tomorrow night, and I'm going to write some about yesterday and today.

Yesterday, we left Custer and drove the Needles Highway over to Mt Rushmore.  The Needles Highway is a one-of-a-kind road with many switchbacks and elevation changes, making driving or riding a motorcycle fun. It's a two-lane road with no centerline, side lines, or guard rails, in spite of many places where a car or rider could easily go over the edge.  You've got to pay attention to where you're going.

There are several tunnels along the way; one very short one and two longer tunnels.  All are one-lane, with traffic needing to alternate so each direction can get through the tunnel.  In past trips, I've witnessed a tour bus going through one.  It took about 30 minutes to get it lined up right, and I am sure there was not more than an inch space between the rocky, jagged walls and the bus.  They are very tight!  

Then on to Mt Rushmore.  I had been there once before, and it is definitely a sight to see.  Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln's face carved in granite is a magnificent sight.  The story of how the carvings were done, the hardships endured, and the preserverence to getting them carved is a story of the American will.  Bar and I both enjoyed the stop there very much.

Then on to the Badlands National Park.  This is a very unique part of the world, with a landscape that looks like some other planet.  Spires, ravines, plateaus line the area.  Very arid most of the time (my second visit), it had large areas of green, lush grass along the way.  I think Bar was amazed to see such strange land formations.  It's a place that I'd not want to be in after dark!

It's also home to the Lakota Nation of indians.  While they see the area as home, with all of the amenities of home, it is an area in which I would not survive.  Too arid.  Too hot, Too cold, Too remote for me.  The tribes once roamed from Canada, Minnesota and down into Mexico, they were driven out of their homeland to this area of the USA.  We should be ashamed of how we treated the natives in their lands.

Then on to the hotel for the night.

Today was a long drive to Cedar Rapids, IA.  The only special place seen or visited was the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD.  It's a touristy place where they decorate the exterior of the building with agricultural products.  It's a neat thing to see.  I think Bar was disappointed with it.

Today's drive was not difficult; riding along at 75mph on Interstates through rolling prairie lands and flat farmland.  The trip today was different from the trip 8 years ago.  It was cool and the grass was lush and green, with water in many fields from recent rains.  The other time everything was burned up from dryness and heat.  It's much nicer now!

We went through a big thunderstorm in Waterloo, IA and another storm hit Cedar Rapids after we got into the hotel.  We were glad to be in for the night.

No car issues today.

Slow Internet connection tonight, so I'm not going to post pics.  Will try again tomorrow night, so please come back later if you want to see pics!

Tomorrow--more driving to home!

Stay tuned.


  1. I was glad to hear the car didn't give you problems today. Keep giving her cool drinks of water and maybe she'll bring you home with no more problems.
    BTW You've enjoyed cool temperatures the last week or so .... but prepare yourself ... you are returning to hot temperatures in North Carolina.

  2. The badlands are beautiful.Interesting how pictures do not show the vivid bands of colors.
    I've thoroughly enjoyed your blog this trip. I know you want to go home but I don't want this thread of posts to end.