I flew to Rapid City, South Dakota, on August 6, 2018, changing planes in Minneapolis. I had a plan, but knew it had to be flexible. I picked up a car and beelined to Mount Rushmore. The presidents on Rushmore are from left to right George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt & Abraham Lincoln. Gutzon Borglum and his team carved their faces into the granite 1927-41. Teddy's face is recessed as if he is the least of the 4. There was a pyramid of chips at the base and pines all around.
Mount Rushmore is in the Black Hills. It is a National Memorial. Memorials celebrate historic people.
I drove east on Interstate 90 to Murdo, then south through Valentine to the Nebraska Star Party. I wanted another experience with the Perseids. There were more mosquitoes than meteors, and I left the party after one night.
I used my senior pass to enter Badlands National Park. It is a strange place consisting of eroded buttes and spires. A lady said it was limestone. I drove a few miles into the Park and returned to I-90, afraid of going over a cliff.
I stayed 2 nights at the Econo Lodge in Wall, then got the idea of going to Deadwood. This mining town in the Black Hills centers around Wild Bill Hickok. His real name was James Butler Hickok, and he was in Deadwood only a few weeks when he was shot by Jack McCall. It was 1876, and Wild Bill was playing poker. I visited the place where it happened. The speaker discredited the story of the Dead Man's Hand: 8s and aces.
The annual biker rally was going on in Sturgis, and motorcycles were everywhere. They were as much a nuisance as the flies and mosquitoes.
I sang karaoke in Historic Deadwood at the Oyster Bay Restaurant before sleeping in my rented Kia. Travel is hard work and like all the others, this trip was a struggle.
I have seen 17 of the 62 National Parks:
..2 Death Valley
..4 Gateway Arch
..5 Grand Canyon
..6 Grand Tetons
..7 Great Smoky Mountains
..8 Kings Canyon
..9 Mammoth Cave
10 Mesa Verde
11 Petrified Forest
12 Rocky Mountain
There are 419 National Park Service sites. Resort towns grew up at the entrances to National Parks.
I call Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska & Arizona the Maverick states because of the TV western with James Garner and Jack Kelly as Bret and Bart Maverick.
I have been in 43 states and 12 foreign countries on 5 continents.