This morning, we got up, disliked a comically awful free breakfast and hit the road for Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Mount Rushmore was pretty much the shit. After seeing it featured in movies and lame TV commercials for 30 years, it was pretty wild to see up close. The level of detail is startling and Tyler was kind enough to to provide the morning comedy when his free breakfast decided to make an appearance halfway around the loop. I did not point and laugh, not once.
From there we went to Crazy Horse which was the antithesis of Rushmore. Twice the entry fee to drive up to a mountainside with a face on it, that you couldn’t see from the parking lot. For an additional fee, you could take a bus up to see the face – we declined. It is a pretty cool project as they’re planning to build a university and hospital dedicated to Native Americans but they’ve been at it for 60 plus years with not a whole lot to show for it. Pass next time.
Next stop Denver via the Badlands. We actually checked out the National Park before Rushmore via the scenic loop. It was basically the surface of the Moon without the hassle of an astronaut suit. Totally rad. After Rushmore, we drove some back highway to to connect with the interstate. But back highways in South Dakota have 70 mph limits and no traffic. I will be bringing the Ferrari back here so the shit eating grin on my face can be repeated.
Once in Denver, we picked up Emma in her spectacular Derby attire and met up with Meg and Ethan back at Emma’s place for dinner and a plan of casual conversation with a couple beers. Only that’s not how the night ended up. After a delicious steak, chicken and asparagus dinner courtesy of Meg and Ethan we fell into the case of PBR and local beers recently purchased. After more than 1, we decided it was best to go see the town.
First stop, hmm, no idea of the name but a cool bar with lots of fun people and also shots of tequila and rum. And beer and wine too. Now that we were all not intoxicated, we headed to some kind of awesome jazz/hippy/blue grass bar with a 700-pound-smiling-bass-player rockin’ out. At this point, I recall Ethan wearing a giant sombrero, me dancing like a white guy and Emma trying to climb into the band’s “stage”.
At some point, Emma and her friend Anna disappeared and the rest of us headed for Pete’s Diner based on Ethan’s excellent recommendation. On the ride home, I noticed Tyler was passed out with his head hanging as though someone had severed his top vertebrae, and no seat belt on. As I reached over to buckle his belt, he startled awake while frantically clawing at my arm and mumbling some Gypsy spells. One other highlight was Emma convincing the band leader to give a shout out to “Tyler and Niel’s road trip!”
Needless to say, it was an awesome night with a 3 am bed time but more importantly great to catch up with Emma, Meg and Ethan. I think I was asleep before we got home.