Day two in South Dakota was to be a Black Hills day. We looked at a map and decided we would hit Wind cave, then Cosmo’s Mystery Area, and finally Mt. Rushmore. The drive took us about 2.5 hours out to Wind Cave then we back tracked hitting the other sites on the way home.
We did the natural entrance tour at wind cave. It took us down over 350 steps to more than 200ft below ground and through some fairly small spaces. Nothing too terrible and neither me nor Jacque would tolerate any spaces that would require squeezing and crawling. They do offer an adventure tour that does require you to crawl and squeeze and would scare me to even thing about it. On this one you do need to be able to duck as some even at 5’7’’. There are some spaces small enough that If I were much wider in the shoulders I would have had to turn side ways a bit. I don’t love small underground stuff but this wasn’t bad at all. You don’t have to walk back up the steps, as there is an elevator to get you back out. This cave has some really interesting geographical features I’d probably mess up if I tried to explain them. It also places a big role in the Lakota Peoples creation story. Our ranger was nice but not a great storyteller so I need to look up more about it. I just couldn’t follow the story he was telling.
After that we took a side trip to the Black Hills Burger and Bun Company, which is rated number 1 burger by trip advisor… or so we were told. Being allergic to pork and beef I hate walking into a burger place but it stated really big on the website they had vegetarian options. So far on my travels in a very beef and pork heavy area of the world I have had really great people and luck with food. They have been more willing then many local places in Virginia to try to make sure I am safe! I had a great black bean burger and Jacque had the Fat Smitty burger with Bison. She says it deservers the rating! From there we went to the silly weird and totally worth it Como’s Mystery Area. Its obvious to most people that the “phenomena” that you experience there is just a matter of perspective and the way the brain and eyes process information, and not some weird magnetic mystery. Just the same its super fun and worth the tour. Also if you cant appreciate just how well someone would have to understand the workings of the eye and perspective to build this whole set up to include the trees, fencing, walkways, and house well then you really need to find a little more joy and awe in the world!
Next up Mt. Rushmore. It was interesting and worth taking the audio tour around presidents trail. I recommend you take the trail starting left from the amphitheater the way the tour is numbered. Mostly because that’s a difference between going down or going up about 350 stairs! After this we got some fudge, and by we I mean Jacque, and by some I mean enough to feed us for about 6 weeks. They upsold her like they do the big popcorn at the movies and she was susceptible due to massive hunger! We decided we should have dinner then head home. We had a great little meal at a place called the Powder House that had an extensive menu and high end food. It was not expensive. After some food and some realization about how much fudge 6 squares is we made in impromptu decision to drive to Custer State Park and drive the wildlife loop. It seemed a wasted venture in wild life viewing, although a beautiful drive until the last mile when a buffalo was just walking down the road licking his lips and giving us the eye. He was something to behold in his big brown fleece hoodie!
We drove back and talked about what a great day it had been. We had some basic ideas of where we were going but having that attitude of where ever we hear is good is where we will go was pretty special. The moon was coming up big and bright and night sky was clear. You would think between the great day, the buffalo, and the moon our day would have been perfect. We thought so too until about 10 miles from the motel we realized what was missing. One big huge damn near crying laugh fest!
So we don’t know who build rt 44 in South Dakota but for some reason there are these ridiculous rolling bumps for about 10 miles. We forgot we had hit them on the way out of town that morning. While driving back we notice all of the sudden the car in front of us hit some of these and the car damn near bounces on the back tires. You then see the breaks come on and you can almost see the “WTF” the driver must be having. In the light you could see them. Poor Mr. Utah had probably not driven this road before. He slowed to a crawl and we passed him giggling. Then we saw the “bump” sign and new we had one coming that was a doozey but they were so bad after the sign. The doozy one still took us by surprise and I think my rental Kia damn near got air borne. The laugh and that came out of Jacque from the passenger seat was infections. Next thing we know we are bumping down the road laughing our asses off while Mr. Utah’s head lights are in the rear view bouncing up and down so hard he looked like a rabbit! It was a good day!