We awoke at the Comfort Inn in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. We ate their complimentary breakfast and got on the road. We took US26 East over to US385 North and drove to Alliance, Nebraska.
Northeast of Alliance, on the east side of Nebraska 87 is Carhenge.Don't let the fancy sign fool you into thinking that this is some high-class, snobby, hard-to-get-to exhibition. Sure, you could wear high heels and a tux, but the fire ants would probably mock you.
We had never seen so many cars half-buried in dirt as we did at Carhenge.The kids were in heaven. Andy kept pointing to cars to show us that they were wrecked. The irony of the arrangements seemed to escape him. Steven mostly wanted to climb on things, which more or less set the tone for the trip. We have fallen into our family roles: Steven, the daredevil; Andrew, the wise-cracking photographer ("This
is a pretty semi. I don't remember what this was supposed to be. This
is the train with coal. This...is the never-ending train of dooooooom
."); Chris, the wise yet affable father figure; and Katherine, She Who Must Be Obeyed and She Who Warns Repeatedly That "There Are Snakes Around Here, You Know."
No, this isn't a crazed Samsonite-type commercial. It's just what happens when you combine boys of various ages with wrecked cars.
We got back on US385 North and drove into South Dakota. We stopped at the Pizza Hut in Hot Springs. We each had individual pizzas for lunch.
We continued up US385 North to Wind Cave National Park. Wind Cave is renowned for its boxwork. At 120-some-odd miles, it is considered to be the fourth-longest cave in the world. We went to the visitor center and bought tickets to the Fairgrounds cave tour. We viewed the exhibits and watched their short film presentation.
The Fairgrounds cave tour was 90 minutes long and we entered and exited by elevator. This picture is of some of the popcorn formations in the cave.
Wind Cave National Park also doubles as a wildlife preserve, and they keep buffalo, elk, and pronghorn antelope. They also have numerous prairie dog communities, which sprung up along both sides of the highway.
We went to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which they had totally redone since our last visit in the fall of 1995. There was a new visitor center and the entire facility was replaced in 1998. It was very nice and not as crowded as it used to be.
Here you see the famous faces at Mount Rushmore. Behind them is a large hill with sculpted heads of former U.S. presidents.
We checked in for the night at the Mount Rushmore/Hill City KOA where we were assigned cabin K453. This campground is amazing. They rebuilt the registration and store area this past year and it was amazingly modern. The campground itself seemed like an amusement park with stables, shops, restaurants, a waterslide, movie theater, mini-golf course, etc.
We did eat at the Ponderosa Lodge restaurant that was on the premises. Chris had the Mesquite Chicken and Katherine had their T-Bone Steak. Steven had a hamburger and Andy had their cheese pizza.