Is This Mount Rushmore? – Road Trip Day 5 Ep.11

Lex sez:

It was supposed to be one of the highlights of our road trip. Neek, Sar and I were driving up to see the iconic sculptural monument known as Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It was rainy as we drove up Highway 244 in South Dakota on our way there, but we were hopeful the sky might clear enough to get a view of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and (Theodore) Roosevelt carved in granite.

The idea to carve these icons of American history into Mount Rushmore, which was named after Charles Rushmore, a New York lawyer who had mining claims in that area in the 1880s, began in 1923 when historian Doane Robinson thought it would be a great way to promote tourism in South Dakota. Continue reading

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Prairie Berry Winery in South Dakota – Road Trip Day 5 Ep.10

Lex sez:

For me, a road trip just isn’t a road trip without a wine tasting!  Neek, Sar and I were not sure what we had in store for us on this excursion.  We’ve tried some unique wines over the years, but wine made from currants?  Rhubarb?  Chokecherries?

Strangely enough, this has actually been a winemaking tradition in South Dakota for over 100 years and five generations at Prairie Berry Winery. Continue reading

Free Ice Water and 5 Cent Coffee at Wall Drug, South Dakota – Road Trip Day 4 Ep.9

Neek sez:

Pharmacist and entrepreneur, Ted Hustead must have thought it was a good idea to purchase a drug store near the newly opened Mount Rushmore Monument in 1931. The only problem was that Mount Rushmore was 60 miles away and the United States was in the throes of an economic depression. It must have been disheartening to see travelers continuously pass by the town of Wall where the drug store was located.

But Ted’s wife, Dorothy had other notions. She thought that it would be helpful to advertise “Free Ice Water” to the tourists who had finished looking at the dry, hot Badlands or were heading off to see Rushmore. Continue reading

Badlands National Park in South Dakota – Road Trip Day 4 Ep.8

Neek sez:

There’s a timeless quality to the Badlands in South Dakota. The scenery is undeniably stark and desolate. It’s an unearthly-looking landscape whose origins are presented in the fossilized remains of mammals from the prehistoric Oligocene Period. We were mesmerized.

The park encompasses 242,726 acres (98,240 ha) which also includes some prairieland. Lex, Sar and I were looking forward to exploring the largely undisturbed National Park and explore the belly of its canyons and pinnacles. But first, we visited the Ben Reifel Visitor’s Center to get a better understanding of its history. Continue reading

Minuteman Missile Historic Site in South Dakota – Road Trip Day 4 Ep.7

Lex sez:

It might be easy to think of the Cold War as something in the past.  With that thought, it might be easy to think we’re no longer in danger of nuclear war.  But when we visited the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota, it not only brought the past vividly to life, it also served as a sober reminder of how the threat of nuclear annihilation never really went away.

Because we had already purchased timed tickets, Neek, Sar and I arrived extremely early in the parking lot outside the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility.  Continue reading

Deadwood, South Dakota and a Cast of Old West Characters – Road Trip Day 3 Ep.6

Lex sez:

Driving into Deadwood, South Dakota down Main Street, the aura of frontier outlaw wildness is impossible to ignore.  This is the area of the Black Hills where the last great American gold rush of the 19th century occurred.  Neek, Sar and I were curious to explore the town, but wanted to get a sense of the history of the place first.  We figured the best start would be to begin with the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

The Visitors Bureau is located in an old train depot, the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Passenger Depot which was built in 1897 and has been beautifully restored.  We learned so much about the history of Deadwood there!  The town began in 1876 as thousands of prospectors descended on the area where gold had been discovered two years prior.  Continue reading

Abandoned Homestake Mining Company Hydro Electric Plant No. 2 – Road Trip Day 3 Ep.5

Neek sez:

On our way to Roughlock Falls, we saw a pretty intriguing sight – A Hydro Electric Plant that was built in 1917. This year is the 100th Anniversary of the building so we couldn’t resist stopping the car to explore it.

We could not enter the building because of the “No Trespassing” signs and a big fence around the property. Researching on the internet, we were able to find out about the history of the plant. Continue reading