Sunday, June 23, 2013
Road Trip Update - In the Middle
We are now finished with our first week of the trip. Things are going well. It's interesting what you see, and don't see while driving across this wide country of ours. Once you enter into South Dakota you see land. Sometime there are crops on that land, but mostly land. Not very many houses are visible from the highway. It's flat, REAL FLAT land. We did see some specks in the distance that we figure were cows. Since there really isn't much to look at, you tend to read all the highway signs along the way. There are plenty of highway signs. There are your basic informational signs, gas, food shelter. These tend to be few and far between. There was one sign that said "Gas up now, gas can later" this exit. Makes you think about how much land lays between the exits! There are also very few rest stops. I guess they figure if you gas up you'll take the time to go then. The billboards are the funnest things to read. About 200 miles before you would get off to visit these places they start to advertise. The one on I-90 is Wall Drug. For miles and miles there are colorful, funny billboards that advertise stopping at this wide place in the road. There is a similar one on I-75 that advertises Pedro telling you to stop South of the Border. I believe the border is North Carolina, but I could be wrong. Anyway, we had to pick where to stop. Should we stop at Pilgrims Village and see the village with buffalo, or pick Al's Oasis and see what they have there. Then there was Bear Country, where we could drive through a wild animal park. I always like those. There was the Car museum that Jake was sure we could go through really quickly just to see all the old and new cars they had. Yeah...right....taking a 15 year old who is 4 months away from getting his driving temps would take a complete day to go through a car museum. After much consideration we decided to stop at Wall Drug. Wall Drug started in the early 1900's as a drug store in Wall SD. There is a street of shops selling everything you didn't know you needed. The drug store is still there and working. You can get a buffalo burger and home made ice cream at the cafes. There were tee shirt shops, jewelry shops, cafes, gift shops and all kinds of stuff that I can't remember. On the next street over, there is a place where kids can "pan for rocks". The bigger bag of dirt you buy, the bigger your polished rock will be. There were dinosaurs in all the buildings to honor the dino bones found the area. Yes, it was a tourist "destination", but it was a fun one. Once we hit the West side of South Dakota things changed. The land started to roll, hills and valley popped up in the distance and you could see houses. We were starting into coal country. We crossed into Wyoming during a heavy rain storm. The lightening was beautiful and Jake was trying his best to get a picture of it. We could see train cars loaded with coal. These cars seemed to run for miles. There was a hugh coal processing plant as we came into Gillette. There are tours you can take, but that will have to wait until next time. Today we leave for Custer SD for a few days. This trip has been great. It is the first time Jake and I have gone away. I wasn't sure how this would go. I am seeing peeks of a young man. I watched my teenage son work the booth, help not only me, but other vendors with setting up. He listened patiently as older ladies told him about their pets, living and dead. And he held his ground when a younger woman was trying to get him to give her "a deal" on a purchase. I will never have this opportunity again. My hope is that Lee will. We have five more days to go. I will be glad to be home, with my whole family. I will cherish this trip. I hope that you have a chance to get away with a loved one. Maybe not driving cross country. That can be iffy. But just have some one on one time. Just remember to have an open mind. Not stick to the schedule and try to see out of the way places that aren't on the map. And stop at Wall Drug and have an ice cream! Take care!