After we finally got some sleep in Missoula, we rearranged our trip. We realized that the cats could probably take no longer than six or seven hours in the car, so our trip lengthened a few days.
Missoula was beautiful. I loved our view from the hotel. It was really the first place I thought, “Wow. There’s so much sky!” There was also a really awesome dinner place called “Fat Cat” that able to accommodate our food allergies and sensitivities. I had a french drip for the first time in YEARS. We ate there for dinner after we woke up.
The next day, we set out for Billings. So, the thing about Billings is that there’s really nothing for me to say about Billings other than I wasn’t a fan. It was very industrial and our hotel staff was rude. The hotel was kind of cruddy itself, too. It was a place to rest our heads after driving across Montana. (Montana’s a really big state!)
After Billings, we headed out for Wall, South Dakota. On our way, I kept seeing these billboards advertising “Wall Drug Store”. Two things were weird to me about the billboards. One thing was that, in Seattle, most billboards have a “frame” around them and are high up. Probably because traffic is so bad, they want you to actually see it! The second thing was that they were all really kitschy. Things like “FREE ICE WATER” or “COFFEE 5 CENTS” and signs with dinosaurs or cowboys.
We DID end up going to Wall Drug and it was so completely… an experience all unto itself. They have a huge animatronic head, lots of shopping areas, a restaurant area or two, and… a jackalope. That was kind of fun!
The other thing that Wall itself had was… Wait. I should back up: While I was booking hotels, I noticed that the ones in South Dakota were oddly expensive and oddly full. Then, once we hit South Dakota, I notice that, gosh, there sure were a lot of bikers out and about. Maybe they had nothing better to do? Maybe they were camping or something?
Well, at some point, Joe mentioned. “Oh. Sturgis is nearby.” Thanks to the power of internet on our phones (truly, that is an awesome invention), we discovered that we were going through South Dakota right during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. They have right around 400k people attending annually. We saw lots of them on the road. All the bikers I met were really nice (I’ve had some biker friends and they’re almost always super-friendly).
As we were eating a late lunch at Wall Drug, we made a decision to go see something we’d previously decided not to see (although we’d originally planned to see it before we’d rescheduled our trip)… Mt. Rushmore.