Saturday, June 15, 2013

Great American Road Trip - Day 14 (6/7) - Memorials of the Black Hills

I departed the guest ranch at 8:45, going back to US 26/287 and heading east.  After a stop for gas and breakfast, I continued on US 26 east to Casper, where I briefly hopped on I-25 north.  I then took WY 259 to WY 387 to WY 59 to WY 450, and finally to US 16 across the border into the Black Hills of South Dakota.  My destination was Keystone, but I happily discovered that this same road took me right by the Crazy Horse Memorial.  As it was only 5:00 when I drove by, I decided to stop in for a half hour or so.  I also found out that my route, as prescribed by Google Maps, on WY 244 went right by the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where I arrived around 6:00.  I did the audio tour of the memorial, just managing to sneak a photo from the Sculptor's Studio before it closed at 7:00.  A light rain began to fall intermittently just as I finished up the tour and left the memorial.

I rejoined US 16 once again and made my way to Keystone, which is only a couple of miles from Rushmore.  The small town definitely has a touristy feel to it, with all the flashing signs, and it reminded me a bit of the US side of Niagara.  Perhaps fortunately, but perhaps not, my Econo Lodge was in the boony outskirts of the town, away from the glitz.  I checked in around 8, hopped on the WiFi in the room for a bit, then headed back toward town to grab dinner, settling on the 1880 Railhead Family Restaurant.  I had already ordered a pink lemonade by the time I realized how vegetarian UNfriendly the menu was, so I resigned myself to the buffet.  The food I was "able" to eat was not worth the discounted price of $12.95, and would have been a huge rip-off had they still had prime rib in stock and charged the full $19.95.  The customer load was quite light by that time that evening, and as I finished eating I struck up a conversation with my Bosnian waitress - she was on an exchange program, and this was her first night waitressing there, which was actually a second job (in addition to housekeeping at the resort).  After eating I drove back to the hotel and made plans for the next day, as I had already seen the memorial I had originally planned to visit the next morning.

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