Wednesday, August 24, 2005

No More About the Trip After This, I Promise

This will be an unusual entry, about places we did not see. Considering the blog’s title, I usually write about things I’ve actually seen. But you can’t see everything, no matter how much time you spend at it. Such is the inexhaustible nature of the world, or maybe the exhaustible nature of any small group of people.

• La Crosse, Wis. By all reports, it has a pretty downtown. Didn’t find out. We drove through it without stopping on our first day out, when we wanted to get as far as possible, to make the second and third days of driving easier.

• Minnesota 16. For the same reason, we skipped this road through the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest in southeastern Minnesota. It parallels I-90, mostly, but such roads are always slower.

• Sioux Falls, SD. Among other things, there’s a park in that town with the outline of the USS South Dakota in concrete. The Interstate takes you north of town, without much indication that it’s there, aside from the signs.

• Stratosphere Balloon Landing Site (1935). What’s the story here? I’d rather not look it up. Let it stay a mysterious point of interest on my maps (both Rand McNally and Michelin) a few miles south of I-90 in Aurora County, SD.

• The historic forts along the Missouri in South Dakota: Kiowa, Hale and Defiance, not to mention Pierre Choteau, and a place called the Triple U Buffalo Ranch. We also bypassed the Akta Lakota Museum.

• Wall Drug and the Badlands NP had their charms, but what about Minuteman Missile National Historic Site nearby? Cool, ICBMs. But I understand that you have to make reservations to get in the silos a long time in advance, which I only found out about just before we left.

• Rapid City & Sites, including Dinosaur Park. Something my brothers (then eight and five years old) remember from a family vacation to South Dakota in 1960, a year before my birth. Too bad, we deprived Lilly of that opportunity for recollection in 2050.

• Took a look around Deadwood, SD, but not Sturgis—which was already beginning to choke with bikers coming to the Sturgis Rally, which was to begin the week after we passed through. Also buzzed by Lead and Spearfish, SD, two towns with fine names.

• Bought supplies in Belle Fourche, SD, just before entering Wyoming and Montana. Up the road on US 85 is “the Geographic Center of the US.” My, oh my. Couldn’t justify the extra miles to see some kind of obscure marker. This time.

• Saw the very spot where fate caught up with George Armstrong Custer and his men, but not the Custer and Reno Museums. Poor Reno, he got the blame, though not officially.

• Plenty of Yellowstone, but really only a fraction. Too tired to consider the Grand Tetons after Yellowstone.

• Driving home, the goal was to get home. So we stopped for very little. A whole other trip could have been stitched together from such bypassed places as; Cody, Wyo.; the hot springs of Themopolis, Wyo.; Hell’s Half Acre, Natrona County, Wyo.; Casper; Fort Laramie NHS, Goshen County, Wyo.; Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scottsbluff, Neb.; Chimney Rock NHS, Morrill County, Neb.; various sites and towns along the Platte; the SAC Museum between Lincoln and Omaha; and even places in Iowa, especially Winterset, the birthplace of Marion Morrison, better known as John Wayne.

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At 8:56 PM, Blogger Geof Huth said...


All of this reminds me of our own last trip through those parts. We missed a lot, since three or four weeks is pretty little time to drive across the entire country twice.

We did see Yellowstone, but hardly enough.

We missed the Grand Tetons for the same reason you did--also, we had to get to Seattle, then San Francisco, then back across the country to Schenectady.

We did see Fort Laramie NHS, which was kind of interesting actually. (And we got the last hotel room--literally--in Wheatland, Wyo., just before heading out to Laramie. A rodeo was going on an hour or two south of there.)

Went to Register Cliffs. (See image serving as the background here < > is from a photo I took at Register Cliffs.)

Saw Scotts Bluff National Monument.

Saw Chimney Rock NHS, and we even walked 100 yards or more through rattlesnake-infested brush to the base of it.

Missed lots, tho. And saw little in Iowa save for fields of grain.



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