Roadtrip: July 2017
Little Bighorn is something you normally learn about in school, marvel at Custer's stupidy, and forget. Even a quick visit to the battlefield itself makes it all the more significant.
Unfortunately it was only a quick visit-- no time for a proper visit. Neither did we have proper time for for Sturgis, site of one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the USA (to be fair, Sturgis without the rally isn't much to see).
Not too far down the road was Mt. Rushmore. Mt. Rushmore reminded me a little of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum in Nanjing-- an impressive outdoor walk up, yet the most significant part of the monument is the mountain at the end, dwarfing the rest of the site. And unique to the national monuments and national parks on this trip, Mt. Rushmore's defining feature is entirely man-made!
Badlands National Park was why we shortchanged the past three stops, and completely skipped Devils Tower. Sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires unlike anywhere else, combined with a vast prairie we barely saw because the land formations were so amazing. More than a dozen marked overlooks right off the side of the road, and you can walk right into the formations. Had we time, we might've hit the trail or camped, just to soak it all in.
Ended the day in Wall, SD. Wall Drug Store is a tacky, cheesy tourist trap that wasn't nearly as impressive they tried to make us believe, and the food was terrible... yet it was about the only thing open aside from even worse looking dive bars. Unknown to us, we were there during Wall's 110th birthday, so everything was packed. At least we can say we've been, and never have to go back?