We just moved from Illinoise to Washington (the state). It went like this…
Once upon a time, on a warm Friday night in Urbana, we had a lovely graduation / birthday / starting grad school party for Jim Jim & friends (Brion, Dominique, Sara… celebrate good times!). It was AWESOME to see everyone before we peaced out for the Pacific Northwest – thanks everyone who made it out! :-)
Our original plan was to depart at 8 am the next day for Seattle, but since the party actually ended at 3 am with eggs at Merry Ann’s 24-hour Undergraduate Emporium & Diner…. We actually finished packing around 2 pm on Saturday and then started driving to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
After a delightful dinner outside of Iowa City with our good friend from IMSA, we continued on to sleep in our weird, smelly hotel. (Tony didn’t want to stay there, but too bad, Tony, Jim Jim already made the reservation on Priceline!) Thanks for dinner, Derek! You’re the best! :-)
We had the first of many hotel waffle breakfasts, filled up the tiny gas tank, and continued on our journey with a stop in Mitchell, South Dakota, to see the World’s ONLY Corn Palace, as suggested by Bubba. It was strangely religious (as in, it looked kind of like a church made out of corn, with crosses all over it, which was only odd because the design changes seasonally and I didn’t realize that Religious Corn Art was on the docket). It was pretty far off of the highway (at least, further than we were expecting), but I got a sweet Daniel Boone hat from a guy with no finger nails, and we carried on.
In the afternoon, we drove through The Badlands (the entry fee is $15 per car and well worth it!). We got lucky and mostly missed the scattered showers (which seemed to appear ONLY when I was driving) and took lots of photos and STAYED ON THE PATH, you’re welcome Mom / National Park Service. We also judged the idiots in flip flops who were standing on the edge of steep cliffs in the 50 mph winds. Get a brain, morans.
Then we got to Wall, Drug. It was, as promised, fairly epic. We almost bought a mounted jackalope! Maybe for someone’s birthday… (Hint to Jim Jim: mine!)
That evening, we arrived in Rapid City, South Dakota. I was soooo tired and grouchy, but I perked up after a nap and a pizza that Jim Jim procured despite being treated like a minority male in a hoodie. Our hotel was really nice! It was recently renovated, attached to a racist pizza place and what I assume is a sweet water park, and the candy bars were like $5, so we’ll skip those next time.
We set out in the morning to see Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial ($22 per car entry fee). We just took pictures of Mount Rushmore from the side of the road, and we went in to the cultural center attached to the Crazy Horse Memorial to do some critical analysis of appropriation of funds (after giving them more funds….) then left to drive as fast as we reasonably could (~85 mph) toward Belgrade (outside of Billings, Montana)!
We stopped for lunch at the Great Wall Restaurant in Wyoming, and it was great, or at any rate a nice change of pace from beef jerky and waffles.
For dinner, we ate (and drank) at Bar 3 BBQ & Outlaw Brewing just before they closed. Nestled between mountains and the sunset, it was a great close to a day of sight seeing and driving. (Sorry we missed you, Melissa, and hope you’re settling in to Red Lodge nicely!)
After frantically texting our friend Dr. Pot Wotsan about 900 times, we got some recommendations from him for things to see and do in his hometown of Missoula, Montana.
We went to Hob Nob on Higgins and it was AWESOME. Jim Jim had the Ahi BLT with sweet potato fries and I had the salmon burger with tomato soup. Great prices, fast and friendly service, cannot recommend it highly enough. (Sorry for all the food talk, but there wasn’t too much else to do while driving and driving and driving…).
We drove along the insane roads of northern Idaho and did not die while we admired the Rockies, then arrived at the very nice Red Lion Hotel in Spokane, Washington, where we got a free shuttle ride to and from Star Trek, which I thought was excellent if you like alien(ating) in-jokes, which I do.
Tune in next time for the continuing adventures of Amanda & Jim Jim: Road Trippin’!