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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Montana to Illinois - Road Warriors

Days 4, 5 and 6 have screamed by, both in scenic views and time. (We travelled a whopping 2,267.9 kms in three days - we're up to 4,293.9 all in so far)

Day Four found us heading from Billings, SD to Hill City, SD (667.2 kms)

Bug kill: 90,053 and one tumble weed.  It travelled with us in the grill of the car (unbeknownst to us, of course) for some time and didn't fall off until a rest stop near Gillette, SD, where we stopped for lunch.

Black Hills
Sadly, the Black Hills are also infested with Mountain Pine Beetles...the little buggers are everywhere.  At least they aren't present in this photo.  We arrived in Hill City, South Dakota (its near both Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.)  We were lucky with weather so's a shot from our hotel room window:

Probably one of our most anticipated days thus far: we were about to see the world's largest sculptures...very fitting considering Ron's art. 

Distance travelled: 953.8 kms

Bug Kill: Lost track had to stop to clean the windows off twice

We went to see the Crazy Horse Memorial first.  (Note to any of you planning a similar journey, we would recommend going to Mount Rushmore first.)  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

63 Years of Work

The Final Result
 The project isn't funded by the government and has been ongoing due to public and private donations.  For more information see  The whole thing is mind blowing...particularly as it's still in process.  Crazy Horse's head is 87.5 feet high (that's 26.67 metres, to us "new math" kids). 

Here's a shots of Mount Rushmore with a bit more perspecitve of what sort of environment it was carved from:
We then drove on to the Badlands...very suitably named:
Heading towards Sioux Falls, SD, we almost ran out of gas, but found a station at a little town called Emery, SD - the fuel warning light was on for a good 20 miles.  Once the tank was full and we cleaned bugs of the window shield, yet again, we pushed on until 9:30 pm to reach Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Travelled: 646.7 kms

Bug Kill: 65,970

The day started out with me having a spazz (I wanted to say a bit of a spazz, but Ron would call me out on that one) over trying to find our way out of Albert Lea.  We had arrived at night in a round about route and I had no idea how to get out of town.  Ron kept his cool and we finally managed to get on the road.  (Note: WISCONSIN highways SUCK.  The roads are bumpy and poorly maintained, I think I lost a filling somewhere between Eyota and Watoka...yes, those are real names.)  We do, however like Wisconsin Highway Patrol.  Some of you may know that Ron has a teensy love of going fast.  We were stopped on the freeway going slightly over speed (80 mph - give or take - we admit nothing) in a 65 mph speed zone.  (in Ron's defense the same road in Montana was 75 mph and 70 mph in South Dakota).  Ron got off with a warning only...must be that baby face, thank you Officer, who ever you are.  Having arrived in Des Plaines, Illinois, we went out in search of dinner.  We found this little vignette ironic, let us know what you think!
First and second stop in a parents' day...
That's it for now, we're staying around tomorrow to check out Chicago and then back on the road we go.

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