It was quite a way to our next stop for the day but it was worth it. Mt. Rushmore, something that I had wanted to see for years. We drove through Rapid City which had life sized statues of presidents all over the town.
We drove through the town of Keystone, noticing that everything was closed for winter. We had to pay for parking at Mr. Rushmore, which I think is how they get around not charging entrance fees at national parks. It was a short walk up to the Black Hills, and it was very cold and very windy, my hands were so cold that I could barely hold my camera. I had to borrow Darren's gloves, which are way too big and think for me.
The way to the monument is lined with the flags of all the 50 states and the dates of when they joined the USA. The mountain is very impressive, huge sculptures of the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln created by blasting with dynamite. We had a good long look at the wonder which was the entire reason we had chosen to drive the northern route in the middle of winter and then left and headed for our stop for the night when was another good long drive.
On the way we went back to Rapid City and had lunch at Ruby Tuesdays, which was one of the best meals I've ever had. I had the amazing salad bar for $2.95, man if they had salad like that in Australia I would have no trouble losing weight. Darren had a giant pork chop (seriously, I've never seen such a big pork chop or tasted pork so tender), I had ribs that just fell off the bone and southern fried chicken strips with honey mustard sauce. Best of all the meal only came to about $30.00, holy crap we get ripped off in Australia.
We drove towards the Badlands National Park, on the way we drive through the town of Longhorn, which was deserted and had buildings that were built in 1906, this was a real ghost town. The pub had the names of the different Indian tribes that were allowed in and was covered in cow skulls and had a rusty old goal next to it. There was a place for tying up horses and when Darren stepped on a rotting old wooden veranda leading up to and old shop, cats ran out from under it and scattered. The sun was setting and this place was in the middle of nowhere, we got some great pictures and I stayed out of the car as long as I could without freezing to death.
We left the ghost town and drove through the Badlands National Park, our beloved sat nav decided to take us out of the way to the southern gate, which was annoying, but we got to see an amazing sunset over the death like rock formations as we drove through. We drove the rest of the way through and Indian Reservation, about 100 miles in the deserted blackness. At one point Darren stopped the car to get out and look at the stars, it was pitch black when we turned the lights out.
After our endless drive through the dark we reached our stop for the night, the town of Kadoka; population 596 people. We stayed at America's Best Value Inn, but not before Darren attempted to drive the wrong way down the freeway trying to get in, definitely time for a break.