Ok, Westie friends, here is my late trip report... And for those of you who thought the San Francisco trip was impressive, I actually outdid myself on this one - 2,700 miles in 5 days!
Amy and I left on Aug. 23, 2012, for our road trip to Casper, WY and all points in between. We drove to Missoula, MT for our first night (8 hours), then on to Casper the next day (9 hours plus a few more for sightseeing). I was very excited when I saw that our route was taking us right by Little Bighorn, as I'd just been reading a book about Custer's Last Stand from the Indians' viewpoint.
It was dark as we were going through Wyoming, and I was just zipping happily along when suddenly, there was a huge dead deer lying right in front of my car. I jerked to the right so that I could hit it with just my two left wheels instead of tearing the undercarriage out of my car. Amy, of course, thought it was hilarious. Andrew and his friends wondered how I managed to hit a DEAD deer. Takes talent, I say. Amy danced on Sat. She did ok, but didn't seem to have much energy. I figured it was a combination of hours of sitting in the car plus the 5,200 ft. elevation. When you live at sea level, you almost need an oxygen tank at that elevation.
I love the openness of the mid-west. We've never seen so much "nothing" in our lives.
After Amy danced, we took off for Mt. Rushmore (4 hours). Made it in time to see it in the daylight and then watch the evening show. It was incredible. I've always wanted to see Mt. Rushmore and it's so exciting to actually BE some place you've only seen in pictures.
We stayed overnight in Rapid City, SD, then left the next morning to drive even farther east to the Badlands. The GPS got us lost and we ended up taking a detour through a cool little ghost town of sorts. Found an old jail and had fun locking ourselves up.
We finally found the Badlands, which, by the way, is very aptly named. It looks like the surface of the moon. I only wanted to see bison, but we never could find any.
As we were driving through this barren landscape, a little head popped out of the ground by the side of the road. Prairie dogs! A little further down the road, we pulled into a parking lot that was actually a prairie dog community. Amy was beside herself, completely overcome by the cuteness factor of these little guys. Needless to say, we spent at least an hour just snapping photos and squealing (well, Amy was squealing, I'm much too mature to squeal).
Then on to the famous Wall Drug, where we spent several more hours. Had a buffalo burger (I guess that's why I didn't see any live ones - we were EATING them), then checked every single store for the perfect cowgirl hat. Scored! And only $15!
Hadn't seen one of these since I was a little girl in Colorado.
After Wall, we headed out for BIllings, MT, to spend the night. The GPS decided to take us on a different route then we'd planned and, by the time we discovered it, it was too late to turn around. Amy got some nice photos, even though we had no idea where we were.
For some reason, this photo makes me really want to hit the road again. I think I must be a hobo at heart.
Montana is beautiful. I want to go back and see more of it. The weather was really nice, then suddenly we were in a hailstorm like I've never seen before. I was almost stopped in the road because I could barely see where I was going. The upside is that, afterwards, Amy got some incredible photos of the sun's rays.
We raced to get through Idaho before dark because I was really tired of looking for deer. I actually had to stop at one point to let a doe and her fawn cross right in front of me. They obviously know the pedestrian laws.
It's a 12-hour trip from Billings to Kent, but we made it! I think we rolled in at about 1:00 a.m. I can't even describe how much fun we had. Amy spent her car time wisely; she learned all the words to "I've Been Everywhere" and sang it for 45 hours.