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 the faces into the granite 1927-41. Teddy's face is recessed as if he is the least of the 4. There is a pyramid of chips at the base with pines all around. I was in the Black Hills.
Mount Rushmore is a National Memorial. Memorials celebrate historic people or events.
I drove east on Interstate 90 to Murdo, then south through Valentine to the Nebraska Star Party. The State of Nebraska charged $45 to enter the recreational area. Ripoff! I wanted an old-fashion experience under the night sky with the Perseids. There were more mosquitoes than meteors, and I exited the NSP after one night.
I used my senior pass to enter Badlands National Park off I-90. 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 Hickok was playing poker. I visited the site where it happened, and the speaker discredited the story of the Dead Man's Hand, eights and aces.
The annual biker rally was going on in nearby Sturgis, and motorcycles were everywhere. They were as much a nuisance as the mosquitoes and flies.
I sang karaoke in Historic Deadwood at the Oyster Bay Restaurant before sleeping in my rented Kia. Travel is hard work and like the others, this trip was a struggle. I arrived back in Nashville on August 13.
I have visited 16 of 59 National Parks:
..2 Death Valley
..4 Grand Canyon
..5 Grand Tetons
..6 Great Smoky Mountains
..7 Kings Canyon
..8 Mammoth Cave
..9 Mesa Verde
10 Petrified Forest
11 Rocky Mountain
Resort towns grew up at the entrances to National Parks. There are 417 National Park Service sites.
I call Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota & Nebraska the Maverick states because of the TV western with James Garner and Jack Kelly as Bret and Bart Maverick.
I have been in 44 states and 12 foreign countries on 5 continents.