Woke up in Denver on day 3. feeling good that I got to sleep in a bed. Considering I've been driving for 2 straight days and slept on the hard hard ground of the Grand Canyon. Spent the morning in bed talking to Kat back in LA about where to go to next. Had a couple of choices but finally decided on something that I had always wanted to see, which is Mt. Rushmore. Little more north and not so much east as I would of hoped but hey what the hell is money for anyway? I can't take it with me. Let's go to Mt. Rushmore.
Drove around downtown Denver for a bit just to check it out and then I was on my way. Honestly, when you spend so much time in the car you really don't even know which direction you're traveling in. It's been three days of drive drive drive. The first couple of days were desert, and then the Rockies and now driving thru Wyoming and into South Carolina. I can't say that I was completely impressed with anything I saw. A lot of fields and plains and such but nothing really to write home about. In fact at this point I'm starting to climb the walls a bit, been by myself for days now. Kat recommended I listen to some interview on NPR. Found a ton of them downloaded them onto my Ipod and I gotta say it really passes the time. Do yourself a favor, listen to Fresh Air on NPR. It has some great interviews with some awesome people. Anyway, the one thing that I loved about my drive to Mt. Rushmore was seeing a sign for probably the smallest town that I'll ever see. Lost Springs, Wyoming. Tiny tiny town with a few buildings, general store and post office. POPULATION 1. Its what the town sign says. I couldn't believe my eyes. Already the drive today was totally worth it if just to see that sign.
Made it to Mt. Rushmore hidden VERY WELL in the middle of the Black Hills. It was not as big as I had expected, but then of course whenever we see it the camera is right up on the faces and not on the ground like the rest of us. How stupid was it of me to never realize that the mountain of rubble at the foot of the monument was from when they constructed the damn thing. How the frick did I never put the two together? The story behind the mountain was actually really interesting, I did a Ranger walk at the foot of the mountain and it was very interesting. The thing that stuck out most in my mind was how the information was presented. Long story short the surrounding area was a reservation for the indians of the area, but once gold was discovered the US govt. just allowed anybody to come in and not uphold the treaty terms which was to keep folks off the reservation. The ranger goes on to say, "and interestingly enough the treaty we signed with the indians was never repealed so were technically trespassing right now. " Oh ok so let me get this straight, you sign a treaty with the indians, give them land, find gold, take the land back, steal the gold and land, carve YOUR presidents into THEIR mountain and then present it as, "hey fun fact, we are trespassing right now". I was a little taken back by this. And frankly a little mad, what the hell?
Although I did have a fun nerdy moment in the gift shop when all of a sudden the guy behind the counter asks, "here's a trivia question, which president served two terms but not consecutively?", well duh gift shop guy, that was of course Grover Cleveland, and he actually responded with, "well pin a rose on your nose young man, thats correct". I love old man sayin's.
I left Mt. Rushmore, feeling good. I'm able to check something else off of my bucket list. Drove down the mountain and just started driving east. I know I gotta end up on the east coast so i just better drive east. I drove for a few more hours that day before I knew it it was like 9 or 10 and I am in the middle of Nowhere, South Dakota. I just pulled of to a random little redneck town and stayed in one of those random little redneck motels (the town had a days inn but I had always wanted to stay in one of those rapey motels). The hotel was called Sioux Motel. Had a huge glowing injun on the neon sign. When I asked if anything was still open for food the lady responded, "um yea try the gas station", mmmmm gas station food. The best part of my room was that when I walked up to it the front door was open, odd? yes but only because there was an extension cord that was plugged into my room and ran back to a jeep parked right in front of my door. Somebody was charging this car, so I couldnt really unplug it. I closed the door and figured, well if they want the cord back they can knock on the door.
Woke up the next morning with the same plan as the day before, "I just gotta keep driving East now". I wish I had a bunch of super interesting things to report about day 4 but no not really, day 4 was really really boring. Driving through South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin. Boring, boring boring. The most interesting thing that happened to me on the 4th day was that at one point while driving the freeway became extremely flooded and I had to drive though it. Eventually that night it was time to stop and I pulled off at some random little town in Wisconsin. This place was a huge tourist traps. The last time that i saw something like this I was in a little town called Pigeon Forge, TN (the home of Dollywood). That's the kind of town that this was, in fact I think some of the dinner theater places in Pigeon Forge were also in this town. I looked for a place to sleep but everything was either booked or extremely expensive. Even this one amusement park/hotel called Mt. Olympus, where the hotel was shaped like the Coliseum. I wanted to stay there so so badly but it was like $200 a night.
Gotta keep pushing on I guess, I'm sure I'll be able to find something down the road. I just kept driving and driving, I wasn't getting tired. Before I knew it it was like 1 or 2 in the morning. And I was on long stretch of road where I knew that I wasn't going to find something. Well at this point there is really only one thing to do. I'm just going to have to sleep on the side of the road. Or at least at a road stop. Which is what I ended up doing, I already had a pillow and a blanket in the car since it was full of all my stuff. So i snuggled up in my passenger seat and called it a night somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin. Not an extremely eventful 4th day.