The next morning we were off - trying to get from east to west in South Dakota is quite a trip. The good news is the speed limit is 80 miles per hour, so we flew! We made a stop to see the world famous corn palace - yes, an entire building decorated in corn. Decorating the building is an annual town event that's been going on for about 100 years. They use like eight colors of corn and do some pretty over-the-top designs - yes, the Willie Nelson picture to the left is COMPLETELY made of corn. While interesting, I was more amazed that the birds weren't eating the building - I guess they know it's the pride of the town. That's us with the town mascot, Corny!
Using our cool road trip app, Roadside America, we found the Pioneer Auto Museum. There is no way I can accurately describe this place, but if you're ever in Murdo, South Dakota - you've got to go. My dad was in Heaven - 402 classic cars. Millions and millions of dollars worth of beautiful, old cars. Oh, and TONS of other wacky odds and ends. My mom loved seeing the original General Lee - I guess Daisy Duke is from South Dakota.
My dad bumped into the owner and relished in their chat. I met the owner's daughter (who's about 55) and she took me on a scavenger hunt of the property. And Gates, well, he wasn't too impressed - even when we found this fun sign with his name on it. The place is filled with unexpected greatness. It looks like a junky old warehouse from the outside and once you enter, there are endless cool treasures. We were told that the TV show American Pickers has filmed there more than 80 times, buying all sorts of history. This place is the kind of thing you find only on a old fashion road trip - lucky us.
How could South Dakota get any better? Oh, it could. We arrived in Spear Fish and stayed with my dad's Aunt Trish and Uncle Gregg. They are not only super nice, they are super fun too. We walked in the door to the most amazing dinner smell and they pulled out a huge bin of toys - needless to say, Gates and I became instant fans of Gregg and Trish.
Making it to Mount Rushmore was the ultimate goal for our trip. So what did we do when we got to this historic landmark...jump of course! Except Gates - he pretended not to know the crazy jumping tourists and he just looked cute. This site definitely lived up to all of the hype. It's pretty amazing how a bunch of guys made this incredible statue by blowing off chunks of rock with pieces of dynamite. While we were there, we watched some old films about the process and the day it was dedicated. I asked if we were allowed to climb up their faces. The look, more than the response, ensured me that no, this was not a climbing stop. This was a learning stop and we all walked away a little smarter.
And our fun in South Dakota just kept on going. There was this guy who was snacking in the median of the road. And then this guy who walked in front of our car. Oh, and this guy...we LOVED him.
My parents actually discussed rolling down the window for a better photo - HELLO PEOPLE, he is a BEAR! Bears eat people. I am a people and do not want to be his lunch. Thanks to Gregg and Trish's advice, I am still alive and able to type this blog. Whew.
We left our great company and fun South Dakotan adventures and headed south to Wyoming. To be honest, Gates and I napped a lot through Wyoming. I'm sure it's a fun state, we were just on a very remote highway and took the opportunity to snooze. We did make a stop for a treat at Dairy Queen in Cheyenne and then hopped back in to make it to Colorado by dinner.
Our buddies, the Nelsons, recently moved to Louisville (outside of Boulder). We were super excited to see them, their new home, and check out their fun little town. Lucky for us they like boys because the four of us were only quiet for this one photo and it took us an hour (and a million threats) to finally go to sleep.
Awesome friends are just that, awesome. Sure it's great if they live across the street from you, but life doesn't always work out that way. While I loved having the Hickmans and the Nelsons near by, this trip showed me that having friends all over the country is also great. As my mom always says, don't invite our family to visit unless you really want us, because we'll probably show up!