Day 7: Rapid City, South Dakota to Sheridan, Wyoming
Distance traveled: 300 miles
Time: 6.5 hours (with sightseeing stops!)
Song of the Day: “Higher Ground” (Stevie Wonder)
I woke up feeling refreshed and rested after a good night’s sleep in Rapid City. I didn’t see any rapids or a city, but it was a nice place to stay for the night. I took my time getting myself out of the door this morning. First, I stopped at Wal-Mart to purchase a new atlas (I left mine in North Carolina!). The man ahead of me in line was talking to the cashier about disruptive neighbors. Then it turned into a diatribe against bikers. More specifically The Hells Angels and Banditos (I think that is what he said). He started to involve me in the
conversation monologue looking for a reaction. I am pretty sure he said he was going to have to become a vigilante. The cashier was nice enough to let him keep talking, and ring me up at the same time. I was thinking to myself, “I just want to get my atlas and get out of here!” And I did just that. He might still be there talking to her.
I entered Mount Rushmore onto my phone’s mapping system, and off I went. Unfortunately, it took me to a dead end street…basically the end of someone’s driveway. I went back to where I started and tried again. I arrived at Mount Rushmore at about 11:30. Things have changed since my cousin, Laura, and I visited in 2002. I recall that it was free, and that we were able to park, and walk up to take photos (Laura is this correct?). This time it was $11, and there was an elaborate parking structure, visitors center, and gift shop. I got some photos, and it was on to the next stop.
It is only about 25 minutes to Crazy Horse from Mount Rushmore. On the 2002 trip, Laura and I were interested in the least expensive (usually free), and quickest tourist options. On that trip we drove up to the booth, and an attendant told us what it was going to cost. Laura promptly said, “Oh? That much. Ok, so how much is it to drive in, take a picture, turn around and leave?” He told us that was free. This trip I decided to shell out the $10. It was worth it just to see the movie about Korczak Ziolkowski and his vision. It is a very interesting story, although, I have doubts that it will be finished in my lifetime. After I watched the video, I was on my way.
It was about 1:45 when I left Crazy Horse. My stopping point for the night was Sheridan, Wyoming. Home of my friend, Kelly Pascal-Gould and her husband Don, son, Jackson (6th grade), and daughter, Georgia (2nd grade). Kelly and I met in 1998 when I started working at an advertising agency in Denver. That is what I like to call my “Devil Wears Prada” experience. Kelly and I became friends very quickly. Kelly helped me to do more than just answer phones at the agency. She encouraged me to make the most out of all that I was doing to help her side of things (Public Relations). It was an exciting experience for me – the recent college grad living in the big city. I got to help with the opening of Denver’s Hard Rock Café (that was a fun night!), BD’s Mongolian BBQ, and Chili’s. I think we only worked together for about 6 months, but we kept in touch. I am pretty sure that the last time I saw Kelly it was 2004. It was great to see her and her family tonight after all of those years!
Kelly drove me to dinner in the WildCat (a dune buggy like vehicle) – a true Wyoming experience. We even had dinner at a saloon! Sheridan is a beautiful place. It was a great evening, and I am so glad I was able to see Kelly and her family. Tomorrow…Colorado!