Day 4-5: (1,800-3,000 miles)

I spent a little longer at the Great Sand Dunes than I’d expected…sadly, I could’ve stayed there for a week and not grown tired of it. But I could not afford (in time or money) to be on the road too much longer so I needed to head in the general direction of home. I say general because I continued to avoid the interstates (when possible) and caught some truly breathtaking scenery.
distant sunset

I took a series of winding roads through a couple of mountain passes before heading north to Wyoming. No pics though because I was too busy enjoying the actual drive. Wyoming was pretty unremarkable and I only used a portion of I-25 to get up to the Badlands and the Black Hills. Off the interstate again I took some more winding roads through the Black Hills National Forest and the Badlands. Some of the strangest landscapes you’ll ever see.
Picture 846

It was here that the Subaru really earned its keep. I was a little overzealous (and perhaps even a little stupid) in some of my off-road jaunts. And even the paved roads were still a doozy.
Picture 836

Suffice to say I almost got lost in the Badlands, accidentally driving down a black footed ferret research road and it was only through some patience, determination, and good humor that I did not completely destroy my car, kill a few prairie dogs, and get in a whole mess of trouble. If only I’d noticed this sign on my way in, rather than my way out.
Picture 860

Fortunately, my drive after that little adventure was a lot tamer, minus all the wildlife of course.
Picture 862

Although I’d met many prairie dogs on my accidental off road adventure, I figured I’d stop by to see them in a more controlled setting.
Picture 875

The Badlands prairie dogs must have an excellent communication network because I swear this little guy had gotten word of a crazy Asian girl in a red Subaru. He went absolutely insane when I tried to get close enough to snap a picture.
Picture 874

The roads in and out of the park were also incredible. Did you know South Dakota produces the most sunflower seeds in the country?
Picture 855

I also stumbled on an old ghost town ironically named Scenic.
scenic

It looked even more desolate in the setting sun.
abandoned building 2

Some more haunting views.
the long gone longhorn saloon
abandoned building 3
ghost town

Phew…I felt like after all those adventures off the beaten path that it was ok to do a few touristy things like:
1) visit Mount Rushmore
mt rushmore
2) check out the Crazy Horse Monument
crazy horse
3) grab some free ice water and 5 cent coffee at one of the biggest tourist traps in the Midwest
wall drug (obligatory stop)

Along the way I also:
1) rescued a little guy from Wall Drug
early morning cloud cover
He really wasn’t fitting in with everyone else there.
Sturgis!  freedom!
2) saw some beautiful quilts
quilts at the crazy horse gift shop
AND
3) observed the locals
inside wall drug

All in all, a very successful road trip. Thanks to anyone who actually gets to the bottom of this long-winded post. This concludes the slideshow portion of the blog. Tomorrow I promise I will return with some crafting updates.

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6 responses to “Day 4-5: (1,800-3,000 miles)

  1. That prairie dog looked cute, but it also looked like it was in attack mode. LOL!

    Wow, 5 cent coffee?! I hope it didn’t taste like sludge.

  2. Ok, seriously, you make me want to go on a road trip right now! The photos you took are so beautiful. The quilts look amazing too, I hope you picked up lots of inspiration!

  3. wow…i LOVE your photos…makes me wish i had actually taken more time to enjoy the lovely scenery when i was in that part of the country!

  4. Hey, I kinda enjoyed the road trip mini-series.

  5. Gorgeous pictures! Between you and Jeff, I am feeling a strong urge to get out of the cubicle and off the East Coast for a few…

    Any inhabitants still in Scenic? Or have they completely cleared out?

  6. Rachel, as far as I could tell Scenic was completely deserted. Very sad.

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