Monday, January 25, 2016

A simple plan, shredded

SCENIC VIEW PULLOUT -- Looking west at Milepost 280. Enjoy.
It was a simple plan:

Take a smooth eight-hour drive to Mount Rushmore, enjoy a leisurely bite in the Carver’s Cafe and watch ‘em light up the Presidents at dusk. Then on to Hotel South Dakota in Custer.

All of the good parts are stuffed into one little corner of the state. The rest of it should be passed through as quickly as possible.

Sharing the Road. Snowplow is passing on the right.
To accommodate this, the South Dakota highway department has posted 1-90 at a generous 80 miles per hour, helping ease the misery of enduring what may be the dullest stretch of interstate in the country… unless you consider 1-80 in Nebraska.

Alas, icy spots and blowing snow created a devil's mix of too fast and too slow from one end of the state to the other. Though we had prudently studied the public forecasts for weeks, this untidy dangerous condition had escaped our notice until it was too late, and Luverne was in the rear view mirror.

The stressful mess added four hours to our drive — ironically making it absolutely the most exciting Dakota crossing we’ve ever made, owing to our white knuckles, the bouncing semi trucks and the horror of being overtaken by a Chevy Silverado sliding sideways on a bridge deck.
Photo by Kathleen, passenger window

The delay totally shredded our simple plan. By the time we got to the Black Hills the first sun we have seen in three weeks blasted our dirty windshield as it set in the West, making it impossible to read critical signage and discern any of nature's glory in the famous hills.

When we finally got into the shadows at the monument, the restaurant there had closed, and the nighttime illumination would not begin for an hour. Just perfect. Sheesh. We did enjoy touring the abandoned site normally crawling with tourists. We stopped in the middle of the road to get our requisite snaps and appreciate some of the bold mule deer strolling past.

Exhausted, we found Custer pretty much abandoned as well, with a single pizza joint and subway shop representing the sum of our dining choices. Felt a little like "The Shining" with huge motels shuttered for the winter. We wondered if Jack Nicholson was about.
There is no plan for tomorrow.

Driveby shooting from Highway 242

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

O Lordy! We've had trips like that thru Montana, but now for many years now. Wonder if our old hearts could take it.
Hope you rest well and that the adrenaline has subsided from your close calls.