Travel: Mitchell, SD to Gillette, WY

Yesterday was a low mileage day as we succumbed to the innumberable tourist traps of South Dakota.

We apparently arrived in the height of South Dakota deer hunting season as we were hard pressed to find a pick up truck that was not adorned with some recent conquest.  We stopped at a little place called Al’s Oasis for breakfast despite Pip’s suspicions of “Werewolf Country”.  It turned out to be quite nice and popular with locals as well as tourists.

As the drive continued, Pip spoke reverently about Wall Drug. After 100+ miles of road signs that would have made Rock City proud, my resistance was thoroughly worn away.  Honestly, its a charming collection of kitsch.  It goes so far into tacky, that it comes out the other side as cute.

South Dakota is beautiful country in its own way.  The soft, open hills draw the eye to the horizon.  Patches of snow here and there gave it a mottled appearance and the tracks of livestock and wildlife are common.   This character changes as you reach the Black Hills so we stopped to take in the rugged, rocky terrain.  We spotted a couple of Mountain Goats. One had been radio tagged, while the other seemed to have escaped this fate.

Of course we couldn’t pass Rapid City, without stopping for Mount Rushmore. Although, the park seems to make it inconvenient (a monolithic parking deck which was closed all but obscures a direct view of the monument), we still managed a good look and some photos.

Winding down for the day, we stopped at Sundance, WY (the non-cinematic one) in an attempt to find the Sundance Kid Museum (Pip dearly loves Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), to no avail.  I did meet a couple of guys running a gas station whose dialogue really should be in a Kevin Smith film.

And so our day ended in Gillette, WY… home of the Haunted Holiday Inn Express where no living soul dwells (seriously, I could have carted of the entire lobby while waiting for someone to materialize at the front desk).  Meanwhile, Pip’s quest for the perfect “road wool” continues.

Dead Dinos:

  • South Dakota $1.86/gallon
  • Wyoming $1.80/gallon


  • Starting Mileage, 2008-11-23: 133,758
  • Ending Mileage, 2008-11-23: 134, 225
  • Traveled Today:  467 miles

Pictures after the cut.

More pictures than normal, I’ve put them in the Gallery.

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