Thursday, November 17, 2016

On the Road Again (Looking Back and Ahead)

It was a memorable nine days on the road in October, visiting places such as Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Devils Tower in Wyoming, Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

My main regret is that the trip through nine states didn't last longer because there were a few sites I would have enjoyed spending more time, especially the various museums.  

But time was of the essence since one person (my wife) had to return to work. And one person (me) had things to do such as get back to  my work in progress. And we did leave our two doggies, Bailey and Belle, at home so we wanted to get back to see them. And it wasn't a free ride either.

Some reflections:

  • We would have liked to see the Lakota museum in Chamberlain, S.D., especially after seeing the majestic 50-foot "Dignity" statue. 
  • While in Mitchell, S.D., to see the Corn Palace, we learned that the George S. McGovern museum was located there.
  • We arrived in Winterset, Iowa, shortly after 8 a.m. to see the John Wayne Museum, but it didn't open until 10. We had to hit the road.  
  • We stayed overnight in Sheridan, Wyo., after visiting Devils Tower. We would have enjoyed spending more time in this cowboy town there but we wanted to stick to our planned itinerary as much as possible. 
  • I had heard from others about the brilliant night sky in Wyoming and Montana but we were never in a place to see it. And we're not night owls.
  • I was surprised that Wall Drug in South Dakota closed at 6 p.m.; we arrived about 30 minutes after closing. With all the roadside advertising, I thought it might be a 24/7 operation. 
  • While in Wyoming, several people said that we should drive another three hours or so west to see Yellowstone National Park. We gave it some thought but decided that you don't pay short visits to Yellowstone; it deserves a few days. And it's on our bucket list along with a few other sites in Montana, Washington, and Oregon that we may travel to in 2017 or 2018 -- but not by car.
  • Our timetable was to get to Rapid City, S.D., in two days. It's about 1,000 miles. I figured 600 or so on the first day, then 400 the next day. We did it but it was a big mistake. Too many miles. And you have to factor in lunch, pit stops, etc., so you're on the road longer than initially calculated. It makes for very, very long days. 

We got terrific gas mileage from Mary's Toyota Prius, about 52 mpg over 3,800 miles. And with gas prices down, that was one of the bargains. Traveling during the off season, especially the places around Rapid City, made the trip more enjoyable, unless you prefer big crowds and long lines. Motel rates were less expensive as well. 

Almost forgot...we had a great time seeing other scenic parts of our nation!

Now to start planning our next big adventure in the U.S. That's kinda fun, too.

Until the next time....

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