ND/SD vacation! - part two

Yesterday I posted Part One of my ND/SD vacation over memorial day weekend; if you haven't read that one yet, you may want to check that one out first before reading this one.

... So, in my last post I left off at the border, entering SD. Finally. Because we hadn't originally planned to drive all the way to Rapid City to see Mount Rushmore, when we reached the border, I was soooo happy and felt like we had hit a milestone - we felt re-energized and kept on a-truckin'. ... until we hit a road construction detour that took us - no joke - no less than an extra 40 miles of driving. Lady didn't really like us going off the path, very much. We finally hit Pierre, the capitol of SD. According to Lady, we only had about 1.5 hours left. That's not so bad, I thought. We can do this. [insert small amount of renewed energy]

And then my cell phone had a notice asking if it was OK to switch to Mountain time. And my trail of thought went something like this:
What is wrong with this thing? We're not in Mountain time.

Wait. Is western South Dakota in Mountain time?

Hmm... interesting. Cool, two time zones on vacations. :)  [in lala land for about 5 minutes]

Wait. [looks at

It turns out that Lady is one smart e-chica because she had already accounted for the time change long ago. I hadn't. It never even occurring to me. This means that we had one more hour of driving left than I thought we did. There may or may not have been a couple of words that aren't really appropriate to post here at this point. [insert defeat here]

About 2.5 hours later, we landed in Rapid City. The ray of light here was that a friend had booked a hotel for us using some of his hotel points that were going to expire before he could use them -- so we got a free stay at the Radisson-Rapid City. Woot! (Thanks, friend - you rock!)

After a good night's sleep, I got up early and let friend sleep in. I went downstairs with my Nook and sat outside for a while while the tour group buses prepped to leave for their next destination. I met a nice lady from Canada who was doing the bus trip on her own from Rapid City, through Wyoming, and eventually ending up in Salt Lake City. I met another lady who was doing the same route, different group, from Long Island - she told me how nice people in the Midwest are. It was a productive morning - did some reading and made a couple of friends.

Because it was raining on and off, we weren't in too much of a hurry, so we took our time and went to breakfast at one of only 7 restaurants in South Dakota that have been featured on the Food Network (all from Rachael Ray's $40 a Day.

This is Tally's Silver Spoon in Rapid City - the food was great and it was a cute diner.
I had the buffalo hanger steak and eggs. It was really good!
Oh, and the statue? It's Ronald Reagen. Wearing a cowboy hat.
After we had breakfast, it was time to hit Mount Rushmore! We made our way there - and I was there a long time ago, but didn't remember the drive apparently. You drive up hill for a really long time (up the 'mountain', I guess) and then down a hill for a while, and then up a hill for a little bit. Just before we got to Keystone, which is just down the 'mount' from Mt. Rushmore, we were commenting how beautiful it was driving through the hills. And then we saw Keystone - a little bit of tourist hell in the middle of the beautiful hills. Our reaction went from Ohhhh... Ahhhh... to more of a Whoa... What is that... It's small though, so we were shortly past it and on our way to our desination - Mt. Rushmore.

Remember how earlier I mentioned it was raining on and off? I forgot to mention that it was foggy, also. And this was about the best picture we got of Mt. Rushmore after standing in the misty majesty for about 45 minutes or more. We did get to see it a bit more clear than this, but not much - and certainly not for long. I like to think that if I had a 'fog remover' tool in my photo editor, it would look like this:

And this is how Lawrence Welk ruined my weekend. If we hadn't stopped to checkout the Lawrence Welk place on the way, we probably could have made it to Mt. Rushmore on Saturday night (they don't close until 10 p.m.) On Saturday night it wasn't foggy. On Saturday night, we would have seen it free and clear. OK, so maybe it's not Lawrence's fault... and honestly, it's the ups and downs of trips that make for the best stories - so we took solace in that! :)

We're going to fast forward a little bit because it's really just a lot of driving after this. We left Mt. Rushmore and got back on the highway - this time I-90 headed back toward the SD/MN border and it was relatively uneventful. We did do a couple of things on our way to Sioux Falls, SD (our stay-over for the night).

Wall Drug - we had to see what all of the fuss (and the signs, upon signs, upon signs... on the highway) were all about. It was a good place to stretch our legs, get a homemade doughnut, and a 5 cent cup of coffee. And I got to sit on a giant jack-a-lope, which is pretty sweet.

We also stopped in Mitchell to grab a bite to eat (don't remember the place - not super good). However, our friend Keri told us that if we were in Mitchell we had to stop at Zesto and get the peanut butter shake. Another friend got really excited at the thought that I may go through Mitchell and told me that I just had to stop at the Mitchell Corn Palace. So, we did both. The peanut butter shake was life changing. The corn palace was impressive - but not as impressive as the peanut butter shake.

I'm combining the photos of these two here to save some room (this is getting long, again).Thanks for bearing with me.

As you can tell from the pictures, we had a pretty good time. How cool is that corn palace? We made it to Sioux Falls, which is basically on the SD/MN border, and stayed for the night - and got a sweet deal on Priceline's name-your-price at a hotel. Nice!

I'm going to leave off here for Part Two - it seems fitting to stop at the border (Sioux Falls), again. Tune in for Part 3, soon - the long road home...


  1. Was that peanut-butter shake life-changing in a GOOD way? I hope not a BAD way!
    And did you see the falls in Sioux Falls?

  2. Your talking about visiting with people who were also vacationing reminds me of Dad (mine). He always enjoyed going down to the dining area early in the morn and visiting with anyone else that was staying at the hotel too. interesting reading. MOM

  3. @ Erin - the PB shake is life changing in a wonderful way. :) I didn't see the falls in Sioux Falls... in fact, if didn't even occur to me that there were actually Falls there. Oops... :)

    @ Mom - I guess I get it from grandpa, then, huh? ha

  4. Very fun ... now I want a peanut butter shake... I think maybe you should do a DIY tutorial.


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