Flashback to Yellowstone

Trying something a little different this time! I had a bunch of images of geysters and hot springs and didn’t want to caption them all (I’m lazy and it’s been so long I just forget which is which and whatnot! So I’m trying out this gallery feature. Feel free to click on any of the images to make them bigger!

Root Beer Reviews on the Road


Duluth, MN

Dale: Smooth with a presence but had a light quality about it. It’s a summer root beer, not a winter. Leaves a light palate with just a hint of after taste.

Rebecca: Strong essential root beer-ness. It starts bold but finishes smooth.

Combined score: 7.5/10

Vacation Part III: Crazy Horse Indeed.

Once we got to South Dakota and got that whole Mt. Rushmore thing out of the way we had a few other things to see! In fact, we want to go back to this area because we missed so much! Our next big stop was the Crazy Horse Memorial. Crazy indeed!

I wish I could express to you how big this damn thing is! It’s just SO DAMN BIG. Allegedly, you could put all of Mt. Rushmore on Crazy Horse’s face. And they aren’t even close to finished. It’s pretty spectacular but you can’t really get that close to it unless you want to pay a second entrance fee to take a bus up to the base. Since we had a lot to see (and had already paid for parking and admission) we were iffy on it. I also felt that the whole thing was run but the wacky white dude’s family that was the original sculptor. And I was like: Um, where are the actual Native Americans in this scenario? They seemed to be there but not in charge.

To give you some idea of the size? That is a guy and some major equipment at the base of the front of the sculpture. It’s pretty nutty.

This is the life-size rendering of the sculpture representing what it will look like when complete. Pretty spectacular.

From Crazy Horse we headed back into town for lunch. Sadly, we didn’t have time to hang out at Bedrock City–the Flinstones-themed park–but we for sure drove up and checked it out. OMG I LOVE DINO SO MUCH. *ahem* I have scads of pictures of the gift shop that I’ll post on my stupid Roadside Curiosities blog someday! Anyway, I just thought it was pretty awesome.

Seriously, how cute is this? I know, right?

So we weren’t 100% sure how we wanted to spend the afternoon. Dale decided he wanted to go to Custer State Park because they have the largest roaming bison heard in the United States. And I must admit I figured the animals would all be out of view and the whole thing would be lame since we didn’t even pack a lunch or anything. I was totes wrong. We didn’t just spot a few bison–we had to get out of their way. It was amazing. They were molting so they they felt a little embarrassed at the state of their coats.

Custer State Park was quite lovely, despite the cloud coverage–and even that was pretty lovely.

We also got very lucky to get up close and personal with an antelope. He was quite friendly, grazing along the side of the roadway in the park. We saw lots of antelope but none was this cozy!

Even more exciting was the fact we  went so early in the season that all of the animals were busy having lots and lots of babies. And is there anything cuter than baby animals? Hell no! Here is a one of the most adorable baby animals in the world: A baby bison with mommy. This little guy was so cute. He would nuzzle his mommy and then he would do this adorable jumping/bucking thing in circles around her as she stood there, totally stoic. You know she was all beaming and proud on the inside though.

Dale took this awesome shot of a bison enjoying a little mid-day snack.

To give you some idea how close these giant animals were to us? I took a quick shot out the car window. This is what’s known as a “bison jam”–all the park visitors pull over to get a view of the animals. You always know to pull over when you see more than two cars pulled over–something (or someone) is there to see!

After an afternoon at Custer State Park we went to one of the top places to see: Rapid City Dino Park. I’ve wanted to go here for as long as I can remember and it was so worth it. This spectacular cement dino sits at the highest point in the city so you can see it from all around town. I love it so much OMG.

These guys were created in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration, a program meant to put people to work. The city really embraced these guys and have kept them in incredible shape, painted and repaired regularly!

I mean, seriously. HOW GOOD IS THIS? I was so excited I fell and skinned my knee and was excited to have skinned my knee at this classic place.

God, I love South Dakota. I really do.

Vacation Part 2: Mount Rushmore

We spent two days in South Dakota! This winding road was designed by a general on riding on horseback–he purposely made it so curvy you can’t drive more than 15 to 20 miles per hour on it. And it features a few great views of Mt. Rushmore in the distance.

Here is one such example of Mt. Rushmore through the trees.

And this is the view of Mt. Rushmore from the entrance of the park. It’s quite lovely.

And here’s a close-up of the faces! That’s George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Once you leave the park, you can drive behind it and get a quick peak at George Washington from the ground.

We were lucky enough to spot a mountain goat sipping running water from a rock on the backside of Mt. Rushmore. Apparently, the molting mountain goats like to hang out back there.

He was quite close to the road–so close that slipped right into the middle of it. Startled by his own slip into the street he stopped and looked at all us tourists looking at him but then promptly went right back to drinking.

That’s our hotel! The Roosevelt Inn. The morning after visiting Rushmore we opted to take a flight in a helicopter (our first helicopter ride) and see Mt. Rushmore from the air!

I’m not the best with heights but I did well! And we got a great view of the entire park!

Bird’s eye view of Mt. Rushmore!

We also flew around the perimeter and saw the Black Hills.

Dale sat in front because he was less squeamish than me and had a great view for photos.

Self-portrait in a helicopter!

This is us in front of the helicopter. Our pilot was a 20-year-old girl. We trusted her with our lives!

Wisconsin Dells!

During the Memorial Day weekend Dale and I decided to take a little day trip to Wisconsin. We ended up at one very unusual place: The Wisconsin Dells! Sprung up around the spectacular natural beauty of the Wisconsin Dells is the most unnaturally beautiful place I’ve ever been! The Dells is filled with the following:

Wacky theme hotels (often attached to very large waterparks)…
(that’s right, it’s the Colosseum)

large fiberglass people, animals, and things…
(that’s right, it’s Paul Bunyan)

wacky cars (and wacky swimming pools, though not in this post)…
(that’s right, it’s a moose strapped to the hood of a PT Cruiser)

places to buy cheese…
(that’s right, it’s a big mouse eating a big piece of cheese on top of a store)

flashy retro/vintage neon signs…
(and the fabulous motels they sit in front of)

bizarre tourist attractions…
(I don’t know what Wizard Quest is, sorry)

even more bizarre tourist attractions…
(yes, it’s that weird)

and restaurants….
(Wally’s House of Embers, est. 1959).

It might be my favorite day trip of all time.

Needless to say the Roadside Curiosities blog will be updated with lots of new posts with more pictures of the Dells in the coming weeks.