I took a short road trip up to Mount Rushmore this weekend. It was pretty much a spur-of-the-moment thing, as we're moving to the Coast soon and I have always meant to get up there to see it.
Since I was waiting for the house inspection stuff to come through anyway, I figured I'd go ahead and head on out of town and see a little more of the Intermountain West/Great Plains part of the country.
Boy, was it neat!
South Dakota is stunning -- the Badlands/Black Hills region is so beautiful. I loved the alpine forest, the winding roads, the small towns, the friendliness of the people who say "good morning" to you and expect it back.
On my way up, I drove through Southeastern Wyoming and its bluffs, and I did something I never do -- I listened to Country music on the radio station. I made it through two whole songs! I know I sound like my parents about rock music when I say that it "all sounds the same to me", but it does. I may be from the West, but I wasn't born to love Country, Western, or Country/Western.
After arriving late in the day in Rapid City, I checked into a hotel and got a Subway sandwich, and sat on my bed with ice on my ankle (my sprain isn't gone yet, and yes, genius that I am, I figured a nice long drive wouldn't hurt it. HA).
After a good night's sleep, I drove the few miles back towards Rushmore. I was very impressed by its size...I guess I've heard that it's "not that big" for years, so when I got there, expecting something smaller, I was glad to see it was grander than my expectations. I took a lot of pictures, then discovered the Presidential Trail, and decided to just walk up a little ways so I could see the mountain a little closer. This got me close enough to be able to stand under the Four Presidents and look straight up George Washington's nose.
One of the funny parts of traveling alone is that you pay attention to people around you more for your entertainment.
One Mom was asking her kids where they should go next -- involving them in the trail "discovery", and talking about each thing they saw. Another Mom was scolding her kid for wandering off instead of "coming here right now."
That one made me laugh. Nothing like "Mom tone" to make you laugh and realize how some things never change.
While I was at the mountain, I also realized that it's likely that this is my last road trip alone for a very long time. I can't imagine taking that kind of time, or spending that kind of money again when there's a kid to feed, at least not for a while.
So on my drive back later that afternoon I savored my solitude that much more. So few people get the luxury of being able to be alone, go on a little trip, or listen to whatever they want to on the radio. But for this weekend, I did.