Day 16: Douglas, WY to Rapid City, SD (via NE)
Trip Start Jul 29, 2007
22Trip End Aug 18, 2007
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In other events, we meandered from Douglas, WY to Rapid City, SD (via the Sand Hills of Nebraska)
States: WY, NE (#15), and SD (#16)
Miles: 425 (though we only made about 100 miles progress east)
Highlights: chasing jackalopes in Douglas; Carhenge; Mount Rushmore
Nat'l Park visits: Agate Fossil Beds Nat'l Monument; Scottsbluff Nat'l Monument; Chimney Rock Nat'l Historic Site; Mt Rushmore Nat'l Memorial (Paul also got 4 trail related stamps @ Scottsbluff; it was a big stamp day)
Abby meltdowns: Who's counting anymore? She was great considering all the stops and the heat her mom and dad put her through
Tumbleweeds in road successfully avoided: 4
Wild Turkey in road successfully avoided: 6 (no casualties due to Paul's driving skills)
Weather: HOT, HOT, HOT ... did we say HOT!
Highest Temp registered on Odyssey thermometer: 107 degrees
Highest Temp seen on a bank sign: 107 degrees (Bank of the West, Alliance, NE)
Phrase of the Day: "C'mon, let's go catch us some jackalope."
Trivia: Read on...
Blogging to you near the Black Hills of South Dakota. Didn't guess that one? Well, neither did we when we woke up today. We figured we'd be somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, maybe Grand Island, but the second great spur of the moment change sent our journey elsewhere (you may recall the first change of plans in Salt Lake City when we headed north to Boise rather than into NV). We'll get to that later, but first, here's the fun we had in Douglas and western Nebraska. (Yes, fun!)
No one attempted to trivia question from yesterday. We thought someone might guess home to the Wyoming State Fair, which was taking place this week across the street from our hotel. Well, we were the lucky winners, the answer...Douglas, WY is known as the Jackalope City...the self-proclaimed home of the jackalope and boy are they proud of it. The city has jackalope mania. What is a jackalope you say...well, it is the rarest of western mammals...a cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope
Renewed by her jackalope sightings, Ann had a better attitude heading into what she thought would be a long day of driving through Nebraska. As we headed out of town the temperature was already 92 degrees and the mercury was rising. Paul had big plans in Nebraska. First, we took a long, dusty (and empty) road to Agate Fossil Beds Nat'l Mon. Fossils discovered there included predecessors to rhinos, 6 foot high hogs, and the famed beardog (recall John Day). There were many signs warning of rattlesnakes and the temps were around 100 by then, so we opted for the virtual hikes in the visitor's center.
Next we were off to Scottsbluff National Monument. Scottsbluff was a landmark for pioneers heading west. The bluffs were very pretty, but Paul's favorite part was that it was a stamp bonanza...Paul was able to pick up 6 stamps during our quick stop...Eureka! A bit further down the road we stopped at Chimney Rock Nat'l Historic Site, another way point for pioneers, and another stamp.
Then we hit the back roads to get to the stop Paul had been waiting for...a must see of eccentric Americana...the roadside icon called Carhenge. A replica of Stonehenge made entirely of cars by a man in Alliance, NE. Paul's reaction upon seeing the long awaited 'henge "That is something." It sure was...
Passing through Alliance temps hit our high of the day: 107 according to bank signs and 107 confirmed on the Odyssey thermometer...yikes! Good thing the climate controlled Odyssey was a cool 72, because it was can't-touch-the-window-because-it-will-burn-your-hand hot out.
While Ann was in line at the very old school Zesto ice cream stand waiting to buy a shake and a malt [side note: yesterday Ann was lamenting that we had made 0 stops for ice cream on the trip, so we had to stop when we saw Zesto on such a hot day] Paul was cooking up a proposal. [Background: Ann was disappointed that our trip was not going to take us past Mt. Rushmore, but Paul had previous been to the many national park sites in western South Dakota with his mom so he wasn't planning to head through South Dakota at all. Yesterday Ann had extracted a promise from Paul that we add it to our list and "go back there some day" and resigned herself to a quirky day in Nebraska.] So, having realized all his Nebraska dreams by 4 pm and seeing that we were a mere 2 hours away...Paul gallantly proposed that instead of continuing the long haul east across Nebraska we turn north and head for South Dakota and Mt Rushmore
Trivia: Who narrates the film shown in the Mount Rushmore visitor center?
As you may see, today's photo album is a bit full -- b/c Paul really got into some of his subjects. Enjoy.