Day 2 started at 5:30 AM, we were well rested in the hotel and wanted to get an early start. The hotel happened to be next to a Cabela's store which you don't get to see in New York. I quickly stopped and set up the camera for some cool shots of the statue in front. This is actually one of the few times I used a tripod on the whole trip due to it being relatively dark. The sculpture is a fox jumping up to grab a pheasant...
After three hours of driving through South Dakota and past many pheasants on the side of the road we ventured off I-90 and into Badlands National Park. I never have been to the Grand Canyon, but this place seems like it would be a smaller relative to it. It was very hot and seemed like a desert area with little to no grass.
Of course we had to set up the camera to get both of us in the Badlands. I placed the camera on a rock because I did not want to carry the tripod and the 300mm with me. I used this method many times over the vacation rendering my tripod a useless accessory on the trip. Well we also used the "smash both of our faces together and one arm it" method in a few spots. Those were taken with the camera mode on the camcorder. Which I have not downloaded yet, maybe on the last blog of this trip I will add them....anyways.
Once in the Badlands we began to see animals we are not used to in New York. Our first critter was the Black-tailed Prairie Dog. We had to stop and watch them as they ran from hole to hole and the babies wandered about making all types of different barking noises. These barks were signals to others in this huge colony of prairie dogs in front of us. I could of stayed and shot these guys for hours but we knew we had plenty to do on this day and couldn't stay too long.
Then farther down the road almost a mile from getting back on I-90 we had a Pronghorn antelope walk right in front of us. I quickly stopped the car as we took a bunch of different photos and video of this great animal. I never had seen this species in person, but many times on tv. It was great to start seeing a different variety of animals from the norm. We really were excited to get some glimpses of wildlife to come and started crossing off stuff on our "things to see" list.
After spending about two hours through the Badlands we got back onto I-90 and made our way towards Mount Rushmore. About an hour and a half later we found ourselves in a very small village just outside the monument. Melyssa loved it's style so we stopped for lunch.
Lunch was great after a long morning of driving. We continued on for a few miles where we came to the Mount Rushmore booths to pay our ten dollars to get in and park. A short walk on a sidewalk brought us face to faces with the mountain carvings. It was tremendous sight and I took a bunch of different shots as we walked closer.
It wasn't very busy yet but was getting very hot. We were expecting cold temperatures this whole week so we packed heavy. I was wearing the only shorts I packed and Mel didn't bring any.
Anyways as I was taking photos of course someone asked us to take a picture of them with their camera. I obliged and had them take a photo of us. Of course, I had my SLR and these folks were a little on the elderly side...looked at the camera and said what do I do. I said to myself this is gonna be a throw away, but we posed and the lady held the button down and took about four shots. She giggled and I looked at the LCD which looked not to bad (but really you never can tell if it is truly in focus until you see it bigger). I was surprised to see she did a great job...here is her shot.
We didn't stay too long looking at the monument. It was very cool to see, it had a ampitheater and every state flag on the walkway to the overlook. We continued on our drive and decided to see the unfinished Crazy Horse monument. We were not excited to find out it cost 20 dollars for something not finished. The guy at the booth said that is was worth it and we found out he was from Canandaigua...weird. Well we found out it was worth it too. It wasn't just the size of the monument to come, but all the interesting facts about it and around it. The video you watch is very interesting and tells the whole story. I would get into it more but I already am sick of typing. Here is a shot of the sculpture that the monument in the background will eventually look like.
We stayed a little longer than originally planned, so we made our way back to I-90 again to drive about three hours to Devil's Tower in our final state of Wyoming. The sun was getting low in the sky so we knew we didn't have alot of time to stay and look around. We payed the ten dollar honor system at the booth and stopped when we saw another prairie dog colony in front of the tower. This colony had walking trails through and we were able to get within feet of these funny critters. They were hiliarious but we had to keep going to get to the base of the tower.
We were able to spend about an hour around the tower before making our way closer to Yellowstone. We walked about half way around it and saw these climbers making their way up. Melyssa said no way...they're nuts and we left for our next stop.
We stopped at a hotel in Sheridan, Wyoming to sleep and be prepared for a long day of Yellowstone National Park.
Check out the many photos as I am processing as I continue through the days of this trip...click here