Thursday, August 4. We had a bit of an interesting night. Around 2:00am someone out in the parking lot started screaming. I was in the bed near the window and I looked out. The window was dirty but from what I could tell, two guys (not to be judgmental but I’m going to call them hoodlums) were walking in the parking lot laughing. One was bare chested with his shirt tucked into his pants. NJ asked if the car was okay.
“Yeah,” I replied. “I think so.” There were other various noises throughout the night that woke me up briefly but I was too tired to investigate.
When I got up in the morning, I checked the car. Felix, the Ford Explorer was fine. We loaded the car and checked out of the motel. During our roaming the night before we had found an IHOP and decided to forego my vacation rule about eating and went to a place we knew we would like. We were on the road by 10:30 and headed for South Dakota.
I was excited to travel a road I had never seen before. My Wyoming pride swelled as I felt like a true Wyomingite. Dad shared a story about himself and some friends that took place about fifty years ago. They had been working in Douglas and decided to go to Lost Springs on a Saturday night. A couple of nefarious and rapscallion locals started a bar brawl. My dad and his cohorts were escorted out of town. We figured fifty years was a safe enough time period that he could return and have his picture taken next to the town sign. Lost Springs, Wyoming, population 4. It had a post-office and antique shop (in the same building) and across the street was the Wyoming staple: a bar. Nobody even questioned us about posing underneath the “Welcome to Lost Springs” sign.
We continued on and our next photo op was at the South Dakota sign. That’s something I discovered during last year’s road trip. The reason there is usually a pullout by a state sign is for the purpose of tourists such as us who like to get photos by the state signs. We got gas in Edgemont and instantly missed Wyoming’s gas prices. Yesterday’s prices were cheaper. Even at Muddy Gap, Wyoming, which had run out of gas, but if it would have had some it promised to be less expensive than what we paid today.
We got to Rapid City around three o’clock and checked in to our motel. I had reserved our room using Priceline but because dad is with us and he’s an AARP member, we saved even more money. The front desk hostess has been very friendly and remembered my name. She even pronounces it correctly!
Our room is “rustic” but much bigger than last night’s. Again, it just adds to the adventure. So, I’m ignoring the fact that we don’t have a dead bolt and the door only locks with the handle. Or the fact that there is a hole above the handle filled with paper towel. And so what if all the lights don’t work? It’s all part of the adventure and charm.
NJ and Bubba checked out the swimming pool but we are 0 for 2 in that department. It’s another outdoor pool and not heated. We decided to play it safe again in the meal department and went to Wendy’s. After, we found the Rushmore Mall and NJ and Bubba were happy.
While we walked the hall we were stopped by a couple of men selling Seacretspa.com. “Would you like a demonstration?” one gorgeous salesman asked me in an accent that made me think he had carried his product from the Dead Sea himself.
“Sure,” I said pretty sure he wasn’t going to sell me anything. His partner seized the opportunity to work on NJ and Bubba on the other side of the booth.
My salesman, Abraham, made a pretty convincing presentation about the special salt from the Dead Sea. It opens up your pores. Then you put this special cream – also from the Dead Sea – on and you have super soft skin. I did the whole demonstration but refused to buy anything. Unfortunately, Bubba has a harder time saying no and $59 later, we continued walking down the mall.
“Okay,” Bubba said, “I have got to get out of this mall before I buy anything else.”
We left. Using NJ’s navigating system on her phone we found ourselves in a neighborhood that made each of us nervous. We had our windows rolled down but Bubba kept her finger on the button in case she needed to roll it up suddenly.
It was still too early to go to our motel so we drove around a bit. Our concierge had recommended a miniature golf place called Putz-n-Glo on the other side of our motel. We found it by accident and discovered it was miniature golf in black light. At the last moment, we decided to try it and had fun.
We went back to our motel after 9:00 and decided we better get some sleep. If things go according to plan, we will be spending about fourteen hours tomorrow sightseeing. And yes, it is finally time to see the main attraction. Mt Rushmore, here we come!