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We returned home. We did laundry. We bought groceries. We worked out. I had several days off before I had to return to work. But, return to work I eventually did. I started blogging my trip.
And I started thinking about my next trip. Once I had proposed going to South Dakota alone, I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. Zung and I discussed it again and I did some research and there were several things there I wanted to see in addition to Mt. Rushmore. We discussed it some more. I picked a date. I wanted to do it over a weekend when Zung would be gone, racing. The first weekend conflicted with my work schedule and I couldn’t get anyone to cover the Friday I was supposed to work. I picked another weekend. Another conflict.
I figured I needed to do it by early October or the weather would be iffy. I was also hoping to catch some of the Fall colors in SD while I was there.
Finally, it all came together for the first weekend in October. I made hotel reservations. I researched restaurants. I decided on the things I wanted to do and the places I wanted to see. I decided a weekend wouldn’t be long enough and moved by day of departure to Thursday.
I checked the weather forecast. Ten days out it looked like great weather. The closer I got to the trip, the colder the temperatures dropped and there was even a chance of snow. Really?!
I went to the library to get some audio books. I picked out three. I figured I’d get through one, but wanted a couple for back up in case I didn’t like the first one or two I tried.
I packed. I had warmth and comfort as the driving force in deciding what to pack. But I threw in a skirt and dress and heels in case the restaurants were nice. I like good food and wasn’t planning on eating at Olive Garden. Not that there is anything wrong with Olive Garden. I quite like it, actually. I just wanted to try the local restaurants. (Spoiler alert – I wore the heels because I can wear heels just about anywhere, I did not wear the dress).
Thursday morning arrived. I was buzzing with excitement about doing something I had never done before. I was going to be checking a couple things off my bucket list.
I packed the car with my bag, a cooler with water, a bag with a couple of bottles of wine. My adventurous spirit did not extend to hanging out at bars. I took my yoga mat with me because I had started doing yoga first thing in the morning and I liked the way it made me feel. I had my iPad. I had my down coat. Most importantly, I had my GPS. I was set.
I popped in the first CD of the audio book, “Fly Away Home” by Jennifer Weiner, I opened a bottle of water and I was off.
South Dakota, here I come!
It’s a 6 hour drive and I left around 8:30 and planned to stop midway for lunch. That would have been a good plan IF there was somewhere to stop midway that had any place I would consider stopping for lunch.
I live about 15 minutes from Interstate 25, and I drove through Cheyenne, which, unbeknownst to me, was the last place suitable to eat. It was too early and I didn’t know how much of nothing in nowhere I was going to be driving through.
I took 25 until I got to US 18 and took that to Rapid City. For anyone who thinks the US is getting crowded, I would encourage them to drive this route.
When I got to South Dakota, the sign was so small I drove past it and had to turn around to take a picture.
You can see a lot of the nothing I was driving through. I texted a picture back to my family. Then I drove through a pretty good stretch of “No Service.” There was so much of nothing and my GPS said I was getting close to Rapid City, I was starting to wonder how big Rapid City was. Finally there were signs of civilization.
Quite a few actually.
I found my hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn. I checked in. I hauled all my stuff up in one trip to my room. And a nice room it was. This was a pretty new hotel, which always helps the nice factor.
The bed was comfortable.
The TV was a good size (I watched a lot of TV, not being the bar hopping type). The desk was a good place for my purse. I’d be curious as to how many people actually use those desks for real desk type stuff.
There was a refrigerator, which would have been good to keep my water cold, IF it had been turned on. There was a microwave. It was really a nicely appointed room.
I called Zung to let him know I’d arrived safely.
Next order of business: FOOD! I was starving. I got in the car and headed for downtown. It was early, so I didn’t have a lot of options. As hungry as I was, I wasn’t going to be too picky.
But I still wasn’t going to eat at the Olive Garden.