The Mist

Last weekend, my husband and I happened across a little bookstore in Red Wing, Minnesota. I purchased a Stephen King book called Skeleton Crew. The book is a collection of short stories and novellas from King’s earlier years.

The first novella that I read was called The Mist. Now, I have watched Stephen King movies, The Shining (among my favorites), Carrie, Misery, Firestarter and many more, but I had never taken the time to read King’s work. The words pulled me along line by line, my body tense as I turned each page.

For example, “An elevator shot my stomach down about twenty floors.” Pg. 78 I loved this metaphor. In the midst of this scene, I could feel what the character was feeling.

“The [flash] lights bobbed here and there in the aisles like uneasy phantoms.” Pg. 96

“It looked like one of the minor creatures in a Bosch painting.” Pg. 105 Since I studied art, I love referencing artist’s work. I have done this in my own work before.

Mist by Stephen King

The best part, the ending left me hanging. I know that annoys some people, but there are times when I DO NOT want the ending to be wrapped up in a cute little package with a polka-dotted bow on top. I love the thought of finishing the story in my mind. I am not a fan of happy endings either. I used to love watching Alfred Hitchcock movies when I was a kid. And Hitchcock was the master of leading you right up to the edge and then ending the movie or TV show with a question mark.

One of my all time favorite movies is No Country for Old Men. Talk about taking you to the precipice and then just walking away without being pushed over the edge…

Now, for the haiku challenge. What could be more appropriate than an image from the Black Hills that is taken right at the edge of the hillside?

South Dakota 2014

Day 19: Haiku Challenge

Forced to the edge of
life, challenged at every step—
Is it over yet?

House in Shambles

Day 20: Haiku Challenge

A house in shambles
on the edge of crumbling.
Its time is coming.

Mums from the Amish AuctionAnd finally, there is one day away from the fall equinox—I think that constitutes being on the edge.

Day 21: Haiku Challenge

Many, many colors—
rust, golden and purple blooms.
Chrysanthemums thrive.

Do you enjoy a movie or book that doesn’t have a happy ending?

~Nicole

 

 

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The Beautiful Black Hills

I am suffering from wanderlust. I am itching to jump a train, hop in a car or run to catch a plane. I don’t care which, but I want to go NOW! 

This urge to travel has been the inspiration for the last couple of blog posts. The last two posts were from my journey to the U.K. last year. So today, I thought I would give you a little slice of Americana.

Adlai and I traveled to South Dakota back in July and I took some photos of the beautiful landscape in Custer State Park. The photo is  hazy because of the cloud coverage that day.

The Black Hills 2014.

We loved driving through the Black Hills.

Day 10: Haiku Challenge

Rocky slivers reach
for the sky. Vegetation
is so sparse and dry.

Anyone else suffering from wanderlust?

Have you been to South Dakota (Custer State Park region)?

~Nicole

Fifth Wedding Anniversary: Part IV The Badlands

July 5th was our last day in South Dakota. There were a few minor things on my to-do list that we didn’t get a chance to do. One of the things I wanted to do was go wine tasting at a local winery. And, I thought a cave might be fun too. But we opted to drive the entire way home on Saturday so we could see our fur kids and rest up for the work week. Ugh, work just gets in the way.

We originally planned to stay one more night, so after we packed up the jeep we stopped at the front office to see if they were able to rent out our campsite. If so, then we were refunded the money from Saturday night. It wasn’t all that much money, but it seemed like a waste to pay for a site we weren’t going to use. So we stopped in at the office and sure enough, they had it rented for Saturday night.

Last day of our vacation.

We packed up our belongings for the long drive home.

Mystery Mountain Resort in South Dakota

We said our good-byes to the Mystery Mountain Resort.

Mystery Mountain Resort

Bye!

Before long, we were on the road.

It didn’t take long to get to the Badlands National Park. Once again, we paid to drive through the national park. I am blanking on how much we paid, doesn’t matter, it was worth it!

The Badlands in South Dakota

Hello Badlands!

The drive was absolutely breathtaking, I know, such a cliché word, but the Badlands were like nothing I had ever experienced. There were 244,000 acres of this chalky, mountainous region. The vegetation was sparse and the overlooks were awe-inspiring, but the overlooks made my gut do flip flops. I am afraid of heights, and to look over the edge was frightening! I couldn’t go any closer to the edge in the picture below. Notice my stance, it looks like I am bracing myself for an earthquake!

The Badlands

It was blazing hot on July 5th. We opted not to hike in the Badlands today.

244,000 acres of Badlands

The Badlands

Beautiful!

I felt much better with the railing between me and the edge. It didn’t hurt to have hubby by my side!

Fifth Anniversary trip to South Dakota

Last day of our fifth anniversary vacation!

I am not sure what the allure is for me, but I love the arid climates. I not only loved the Badlands, but I enjoyed the Black Hills as well. I lived in Colorado for five years and at times, I don’t know why I left—that is a whole other blog post. While living in Colorado, I was able to visit Salt Lake City, Utah, Moab, Utah, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and my favorite place on the planet, Lake Powell! I do hope to live in the desert southwest some day. But for now, my life is in Minnesota, and I will do everything in my power to make it great!

The Badlands

More chalky, mountainous terrain.

The Badlands

More Badlands!

The Badlands

I love the Badlands!

I rode through this National Park thankful for every moment! Mother Nature, you have out done yourself…

Are you partial to arid climates, or, do you love humid, sticky midwestern heat?

 

 

Fifth Wedding Anniversary Part III: Harney Peak

I slept in on July 4th. We had been getting up so early the last few days, trying to get through everything on the South Dakota check list. Finally, I decided I needed a break.  Sleeping in was refreshing.

When I managed to crawl out of the tent, Adlai already had a cup of coffee ready for me. We sat in our camp chairs drinking coffee and contemplating the rumbling sky. There were a few soft raindrops that started to fall. We decided to go get a bite to eat at the Mountain Grill before the downfall.

We each ordered a breakfast burrito. Mine was packed with scrambled eggs and cheese and Adlai’s was filled with eggs, sausage and cheese. We asked for the burritos to go. They came tucked in a piece of aluminum foil and included a side of salsa and sour cream. As we walked back to the campsite, we listened to the rumbling in the sky as more raindrops dampened the soil.

Breakfast burrito complete with salsa

Scrambled egg and cheese breakfast burrito.

We sat quietly under the canopy wondering if today was going to be a good day for the bike ride we planned — well sort of planned. We knew we wanted to go on a bike ride, but we didn’t know where. Before I could look up from nibbling on my breakfast burrito, Adlai’s had disappeared. “This isn’t going to be enough,” he said. “Then go order another one,” I retorted. He didn’t respond, he just poured more coffee in our mugs.

Adlai got out the map and we were trying to determine which bike trail we wanted to take. I wanted to get up and go. I wanted something that was going to give me a good workout. I wanted to be worn out. We talked about the bike ride and I threw in Harney Peak. I said, “I really want to hike Harney Peak, so, if you change your mind let me know.” No response.

We looked at the Deerfield bike trail that was about 18.3 miles long. It was north of where we were staying, and that was appealing to us because we spent most of our time in Custer State Park which was south of where we were staying.

We prepared for the day by packing up the cooler and making sure the bread was on board, attached the bikes and left our campsite. The sky was still rumbling and there were a few rain drops rolling down the windshield, but the farther north we traveled, the sky cleared up and the sun warmed our surroundings.

On the way to Deerfield trail, we decided to stop at a place called Pactolo Reservoir. There were boats, tubers, skiers and lots of others enjoying the clear blue water and sunny skies. We snapped a few pictures and got on the road again.

Pactola Reservoir South Dakota

The beautiful Pactola Reservoir in South Dakota.

We kept traveling and soon discovered that the trail heads were not marked very well. According to mapquest we were in the right location, but we couldn’t find the Deerfield trail. After wandering for at least a half an hour, I was getting grouchy again. I am a girl on the go and I love exercise. I wasn’t getting my fill of sweat sessions and I wanted to GET MOVING!

I suggested we stop at the visitor center that was a few miles back. We turned around and went in to talk with the rangers. Apparently, the trail we were looking for was in bad shape. A couple of days prior to our arrival, a man rode his bike on the Deerfield Trail. It took him eight hours to finish the trail and his wife ended up sending out a search party for him.

The man said the trail was in bad condition, there were trees that were downed and covering the trail. He told the rangers he had to pick up his bike and carry it over lots and lots of trees. We were thankful for this information, so we asked if there was a trail that was close so that we could go for a bike ride. The ranger said, “Sure! The Centennial Trail is close and a lot of people really like it.” He told us how to get there.

When we got to the trailhead, we loaded up with sunscreen and put our water bottles on the bikes. We looked around for the trailhead. “I think that’s it,” I said. “No, I think it’s this way,” Adlai responded. So, we went his way. We soon realized that was not the right way, so we went my way and it seemed like the right way to go.

The trail was a single track, dirt trail that I knew I was not going to like and Adlai was going to love. I am not sure what happened from age 25 to age 39, but somewhere along the way I lost my nerve. I used to ride the insane switch backs and steep hills of Colorado and Utah bike trails. It was a rush and I loved every minute of getting the adrenaline pumping. Yes, I wrecked a few times and flew over the handle bars, but it never stopped me. But now, I if a tree root sticks out in the trail, I walk my bike over it.

We weren’t on the Centennial trail for 10 minutes when we came to a four-wheeler trail and another trail that had a sign posted on it…no outlet. We were both confused. There were no arrows, nothing was marked; we had no idea which way to go. So, we took the four-wheeler trail only to make one big loop back to the parking lot.

When we arrived back at the parking lot, we talked to a few people in the lot to determine if they knew where to go. None of us were very sure of ourselves, so we all left and went our separate ways. By then, we were stumped. “What now,” Adlai asked? “I say we hike Harney Peak, please,” I begged. “Alright,” Adlai said.

By now, it was lunch time and we were hungry. When we arrived at Harney Peak, I recognized the area. We had driven through the day before and there was a wedding and the guests were facing the bride and groom and looking out at a lake. It was an amazing place for a wedding. I caught myself saying that I wanted to do that…hmmm, already married…guess I can’t do that.

There were lots and lots of cars and very few places to park. We pulled up next to another SUV and parked the Jeep in a ditch. We grabbed a few things out of the cooler and made sandwiches. Today we had bread! Neither one of us said very much. We were both grouchy and felt like we had wasted much of the day just driving around. By now, we really needed some exercise. I’m not sure we chewed our sandwiches, but they ended up in our bellies. We packed the food back into the cooler, grabbed some water and granola bars and set out to hike Harney Peak, the highest peak in South Dakota at 7,242 feet.

Harney Peak hike!

Getting ready to hike Harney Peak!

The sign said it would take about 4-5 hours, but we were passing those people that took four to five hours with relative ease. We were movin’ at a good pace, stopping every now and then to snap a picture or two. The terrain was steep and snaked around through the Black Hills. Some areas were filled with intense sunshine and others were covered with moss and ferns.

The hike was beautiful, although there were a few places that the earth was washed out and mud was thick. I was wearing tennis shoes and had to hop through the mud in a few spots.

To our surprise it only took us about an hour and 20 minutes to reach the top. And everyone was right! The view was amazing. We could see for miles. The Black Hills were not as majestic as the Rockies, but the land formations were a beautiful sight to see.

Harney Peak!

Where we are and where we’re going. Another photo-op while hiking Harney Peak.

Harney Peak hike.

Photo-op as we hike to Harney Peak.

Harney Peak lookout!

Almost to the top of Harney Peak!

Harney Peak!

We made it to Harney Peak!

While we were at the lookout tower, there was a Native American chanting and tapping a stick on the granite. It was surreal listening to the chant. And the more we listened, the more guttural and aggressive he sounded. We walked down the stairs from the lookout tower and overheard the Indian claim that this mountain should not be named Harney Peak, after General William S. Harney, a commander of the military in the Black Hills area in the late 1870s. He kept talking, but he was headed downhill in front of us, so I couldn’t hear him. When I had an opportunity I looked up Harney Peak. Apparently, this particular general led troops against the Sioux at the Battle of Ash Hollow. The Sioux Indians nicknamed him the “Woman Killer” because he was known to have killed women and children. It’s ironic that his name is now attached to one of the sacred mountains of the Sioux.

A Native American chanting at Harney Peak.

A Native American chanting at Harney Peak.

Our trek down the mountain was just as fast. We made it to the bottom in another hour and 20 minutes.

As we headed back to our campsite to clean up for dinner, I called a few of the local wineries. I wanted to eat dinner and sip wine for our fifth year anniversary. Because it was the fourth, many of the wineries were closing early. And, one of the wineries served only snacks. We really wanted a solid meal, and neither one of us wanted to get ready and drive back to the area we were leaving (Harney Peak area). So, we decided to eat in Rapid City.

We cleaned up back at our campsite and rode in to town. We decided on the Firehouse Brewery. The Brewery was the old Firehouse in Rapid City that was built in 1915. It was a charming brick building with decorative tile ceilings and firehouse décor. The restaurant was packed, but within a half hour we found ourselves looking over the balcony of this historic building.

Firehouse Brewery in Rapid City, South Dakota

We celebrated our anniversary with a wonderful dinner at Firehouse Brewery.

We ordered calamari for an appetizer. I had fried halibut tacos, and Adlai had a burger and fries. Neither one of us ordered a beer from the famous brewery. We both felt a little dehydrated from the long, hot and dry hike up Harney Peak. The dinner was delicious, though. When we finished, we walked around downtown. There were lots of boutiques, spas and other unique restaurants that reminded me a lot of Boulder, Colorado. I had to quiet my mind as we walked. It made me want to move to Rapid City.

After our evening outing, we went back to the campsite and ended our evening with s’mores. We reminisced about all the happy memories we made throughout the day.

Fifth Wedding Anniversary Part II: Mount Rushmore and More

If you recall the Fifth Wedding Anniversary Trip Part I, Adlai and I traveled to South Dakota for five days to celebrate our anniversary. After a good night sleep on our inexpensive Target air mattress, we walked to the Mountain Grill for breakfast. I had an order of scrambled eggs and a biscuit with jelly. Adlai had an order of biscuits smothered in gravy—like-minded eaters we are not. The biscuit was dry and I wished I liked gravy, but I chewed and drank coffee and managed to finish the single biscuit sitting on my plate.

Mountain Grill at Mystery Mountain Resort

Time for breakfast!

We had a lot planned for the day, so we ate quickly and headed back to camp to get ready. When we were dressed for the day, we set out to go and see Mt. Rushmore. This was number one on my list of things to see in South Dakota. I am not sure why, but large, man-made monuments interest me. I suppose it is the sheer magnitude of constructing them. The patience the artist and craftsman possess to accomplish such a feat.

We packed the car with goodies for a picnic and left the campsite. The Mystery Mountain resort was about 15 miles away from Mt. Rushmore. We drove through the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore peeked out from behind trees. “Oh my God, I see it from here,” I cried! I felt like someone just gave me a million dollars. I was elated to see this sculpture. I felt like I was floating through time, was it real? Was I seeing what I thought I was seeing? It played peek-a-boo with me for a few short minutes. I started snapping pictures knowing that I wasn’t going to get a decent shot until we were inside the park.

We pulled up to the entrance. It was like we were paying a toll to cross a stretch of highway. One car after another pulled up and paid and followed the road. It was $11/person to park and it was worth it. The parking garage was reminiscent of any parking structure in any major city.

We found a place to park. I wiggled out of my seat like an antsy kindergartner who needed to use the bathroom. The parking structure looked new and there were public bathrooms that were clean unlike some monuments that I have traveled to. It was a place I was proud to call an American tourist destination. As we walked up the promenade, we passed american flags and tourists doing what they do best. Click, click, click, cameras were going off on all sides of me. A few people stood with a camera up to their faces and scanned that big, beautiful panoramic view with their video cameras.

I joined in on the clicking as Adlai walked ahead. The addiction was back. Wall Drug hadn’t cured my habit. I skipped and caught up to Adlai. When we reached the end, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln greeted us with stoic faces.

Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore in all its glory!

We asked a few different tourists to take our picture with the sculpture in the background and then set out to walk the short loop in front of Mt. Rushmore. Along the way, there were signs with information about each president. The signs answered questions about which party each president belonged to, if they were formally educated, their career highlights and birth and death dates.

A vacation highlight, Mt. Rushmore.

We made it to Mt. Rushmore.

At the end of the walk there was a museum with information about how the monument was constructed and the different tools used. I learned that the Hall of Records was built behind Lincoln’s head and used as an archive for important documents relating to the Memorial.

We gawked a few more minutes and contemplated more pictures, but we had a busy schedule and decided to walk back to the car. Along the way a few Navy soldiers played a tune on their instruments and vendors sold $5 t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs and bags.

We were back in the car minutes later and on the road again. Adlai was already hungry, so we stopped at Breezy Point picnic area close to Mt. Rushmore. He hauled the large cooler over to the picnic table and we took out our sandwich ingredients. We soon realized that we left the bread for our sandwiches and our paper plates at the campsite. Uh, Oh!

Breezy Point picnic area in South Dakota.

A picnic area on July 3rd, 2014.

I didn’t mind, we also bought beautiful leaf lettuce at the store the day before, so I was fine building a lettuce wrap instead of a traditional sandwich. My hungry husband, who eats like a teenage boy, didn’t share my enthusiasm.

Lunch time...lettuce wraps and chips.

Lunch time…lettuce wraps and chips.

We made our lettuce wraps and were soon greeted by squirrels and chipmunks. We tossed them a few chips. They weren’t shy, they grabbed a chip and nibbled away. Soon, we had a few birds joining us too. They grabbed a snack and hopped away to feed their young ones.

A squirrel joined us for lunch.

A squirrel joined us for lunch.

After lunch, we were packing up the cooler and tossing our trash in the garbage cans. I didn’t see the open can of tomato juice sitting on the newspaper that also served as a plate and I dumped the half-full can of tomato juice all over the table and the bench. I think some even splattered on Adlai’s leg. He tried to be a good sport about it…

He brought over the large container of non-potable water we got from the campsite. He rinsed off the tomato juice as best as he could. We loaded up the car and headed for Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse was a little disappointing. I say that only because, we paid $11/person to get in and if we wanted to get up close to the monument we had to pay and additional amount to see it. We watched the movie about the man who started Crazy Horse and then walked around the gift shop. Since we weren’t going to see the monument up close and personal we left soon after.

Vacation to see Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse is supposedly the largest monument in the world, however, it’s not finished.

Back on the road, we took the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park in hopes that we would see buffalo, prairie dogs and antelope. We paid $7 to get inside the park and began our journey.

We hadn’t been driving long when we saw an antelope standing about five or six feet away from the road. I started taking pictures and realized the poor creature was not doing well. He looked emaciated and sick. “Drive on,” I said. “I don’t want to look at the poor thing.”

And we did. The road curved and twisted and we were driving slow. We kept the windows open so if we happened on some wild life, I could snap a picture out the passenger window instead of the bug splattered windshield. The sun was baking us, especially my right arm that was resting on the door frame.

We drove and drove for what seemed like 100 miles and finally, in the distance we could see cars pulling off the road and buffalo were walking away from the road. Once again, like a small child, I screamed, “Oh My God! There are buffalo! Hurry up, they’re leaving.” By the time we reached the buffalo they had disappeared over the hillside. I figured that was going to be my only encounter with the beautiful beasts.

A couple minutes later, we reached a large, open prairie and there were hundreds of prairie dogs scurrying from dirt mound to dirt mound. We even captured a prairie dog husband and wife duo, ok, maybe boyfriend and girlfriend. They looked so happy together, petting each other.

Prairie Dogs in Custer State Park, South Dakota.

A loving couple!

We watched the little varmints for several minutes and continued driving. We had been in the car for a long time and I was getting impatient and needed to get out do something physical. I became grouchy with the cars that were driving to slow. I wanted to get out of the jeep and run along side it as we made our way through the park.

Just when I couldn’t take it any longer, we came down a long hill and in the distance we could see a herd of buffalo basking in the sun. “Oh My God, the buffalo! Stop,” I cried! And we did. I snapped a few pictures and we got back on the road.

Buffalo in Custer State Park, South Dakota.

Look at these beautiful beasts!

We turned and twisted our way through Needles Highway and managed not the scrape the sides of the jeep as we honked our way through some of the narrowest tunnels I have ever seen. We stopped the jeep many times to get out and snap pictures.

Tunnels on Needles Highway!

The tunnels were a tight squeeze!

The Black Hills were amazing, the name given to the land formations was perfect. The granite hills were pointed and straight. It was a place where you felt at one with nature. Mother Nature had done a beautiful job creating this landscape and I was thankful to be able to enjoy it!

The Black Hills 2014.

We loved driving through the Black Hills.

Needles Highway in Custer State Park.

The Black Hills were one of Mother Nature’s finest!

Needles Highway, Custer State Park, South Dakota.

A beautiful day in the Black Hills.

Several stops and pictures later, we drove back to the campsite for a little R&R and dinner. Tonight was veggie burgers, more corn on the cob and extra large marshmallow S’mores!

S'mores

Mmmm, S’mores!

Adlai and I talked about how fortunate we were to be able to experience such a beautiful place and even questioned what the job outlook was in the area. South Dakota, close to the Black Hills anyway, was a beautiful place and we didn’t want this experience to end.

 

 

Fifth Wedding Anniversary Part I: The Wall Drug Phenomenon

Good Day to All!

The fourth of July, 2014, was the celebration of my five year wedding anniversary to my husband Adlai. In celebration of this event, we decided to go camping in South Dakota. We chose South Dakota for a couple of reasons, one, I have never been there and I am on a quest to visit all 50 states—I have seven more to go. And two, I love the mountains. And since I used to live in Colorado, I wanted to visit mountainous terrain other than than the Rocky Mountains, plus, South Dakota was relatively close—if you call nine hours by car close.

My handsome hubby and I are starting our trip west.

My handsome hubby and I are starting our trip west.

Co-pilot checking in for duty!

Co-pilot checking in for duty!

We said good bye to our kitties and left on Tuesday evening. We began driving west on I-90, and we were astounded by all the wind farms in western Minnesota. There were literally hundreds and hundreds along the way.

Southwestern Minnesota has hundreds of Wind Farms.

Southwestern Minnesota has hundreds of Wind Farms.

We had predetermined that we would drive to Sioux Falls on Tuesday evening. When we arrived some four hours later, we stayed pretty close to I-90 so we could get on the road early and without a long drive back to the interstate on Wednesday morning. This meant there were not many choices for food and lodging. We found a cheap sleep called Cloud Nine and ate the local Perkins. I have never been a lodging snob. I have traveled alone a few times, and I would stay in hostels. I figured a person doesn’t spend much time in a hotel, it’s mainly for sleep and washing up, as long as the rooms are clean. Don’t get me wrong, I have stayed at some lovely places too when I traveled for business purposes, and it’s AWESOME to have lots of amenities.

We were on the road by 8ish the next morning. The drive in eastern South Dakota isn’t very desirable, but it didn’t bother me. I love road trips and I was entertained by all the signs along the highway for Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. So, I started snapping photos of all the Wall Drug signs. Now, I could bore you with the ridiculous quantity of Wall Drug signs I took pictures of, but I don’t think you would be as amused unless you were actually making the journey. So, I’ll pick and choose a few for you.

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We were completely entertained by this phenomenon of signage, so, we both decided it was necessary to stop along the way to see what all the hubbub was about. As we discussed what we thought we would find at Wall Drug, we soon saw signs for the Corn Palace. Another phenomenon that sounded intriguing. A palace made from corn. Ok. So we decided to stop there too.

Almost there!

Almost there!

We made it to the Corn Palace.

We made it to the Corn Palace.

Corn Art!

Corn Art!

We weren’t in a hurry to get to our campsite because we started early in the morning and had about 5 hours to go. So, all the little stops along the way were a much needed break from the long, mostly straight and flat road we were driving on. When we arrived at the Corn Palace, it was a little misleading. And by a little misleading, I actually mean a lot misleading. The Corn Palace was a normal building with large corn murals on the outside. When we walked inside it was similar to a fair minus the dirt floor. It’s like people had a set up shop for a week or so to sell little trinkets to make enough money to buy food and to make it to the next town to sell their goodies. All the display shelves were standing on a basketball court. It was a corn product gift shop during the day and basketball court by night…hmmmm. Not impressed. We weren’t there any longer than 20 minutes and we hit the open road. Again, shooting pictures of Wall Drug signs. I hope Wall Drug had a cure for this photo snapping disease.

One more. I couldn't resist.

One more. I couldn’t resist.

We finally arrived at Wall Drug around lunch time. We ate at the cafe and then took a look around. The aroma from the cafe was intoxicating. It was the smell of a sweet bakery. Taking a closer look we saw doughnuts. Lots and lots of doughnuts. Apparently that was a Wall Drug specialty. Unfortunately, I don’t care for doughnuts, plus I needed more substance than a sugary delight.

Wall-Drug-Sign

We stood in line and ordered at the register and took our receipt with order number to a table where there were large paintings of cowboys, Indians and important female figures. We ate in silence. We didn’t get the “super size” version of breakfast at McDonald’s that morning and both of us were hungry. I ate a veggie burger and a salad with blue cheese, yum! And Adlai had a buffalo burger and french fries. He didn’t share one fry with me. I was kind of sad. There I was sitting french fryless waiting for him to offer, but he didn’t.

I silently forgave him for not sharing his fries and we started our tour of all the shops at Wall Drug. We started in the store next to the cafe. There were tons of tchotchkes ranging from shot glasses to t-shirts to jackalopes and jewelry. There was such an array of goodies, but none really seemed like something we should spend our money on. Instead we found two good looking townies for a photo-op.

Adlai's new friend.

Adlai’s new friend.

 

Nicole's new friend!

Nicole’s new friend!

We shopped around a bit more, but didn’t buy a thing. So we decided to continue west on I-90. We only had a about an hour left in the car and we wanted to get to Rapid City to buy groceries and get our campsite set up.

We picked up some chicken and veggie burgers, corn, lunch meat, lettuce, mustard and bread for for sandwiches and cherries and applesauce to get our daily intake of fruit. We rolled in to Mystery Mountain Resort around 2ish and began setting up camp. First, we set up the tent, then blew up the air mattress and got the canopy set up in case of rain.

Our home away from home!

Our home away from home!

Nicole at camp

We finally made it!

We walked around the campgrounds and located the bathrooms and showers. It was clean and well kept and I was thankful for that. They also had a pool, a hot tub and a small visitor center with maps, water, food and a few camping supplies.

The main office at Mystery Mountain Resort.

The main office at Mystery Mountain Resort.

The Mountain Grill offered breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, pancakes and biscuits.

The Mountain Grill offered breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, pancakes and biscuits.

A little touch of home.

A little touch of home.

That evening we cooked chicken on the tripod grill over an open fire. We had corn on the cob as a side dish. The corn was sweet and delish! We finished off the evening with S’mores! Overall it was a fun day, but we were tired and needed to rejuvenate for day two, so, we crawled into our tent to catch a few hours of sleep.

Have you been on any roadtrips lately?

What are your thoughts about traveling by car? Would you rather fly?

Make it a great day!

~Nicole