The Great American Road Trip 2019, Day Three

Day Three: Rapid City, South Dakota >> Casper, Wyoming (255 miles)

We are on a roll now, folks.


So: up with the sun, packed up the car, and headed to the General Store/Office/Lobby to grab some breakfast. Your typical, filling hotel breakfast but. But! With the most beautiful of views. After breakfast and checking out, we hung out for a spell enjoying a coffee out on the deck area. As much as one can enjoy themselves while their children run amok like crazy people.




Went inside one last time for bathrooms and a photo of the red ass, then off we went. Time to visit some other asses recreated in wax.




The Black Hills are so pretty.


We taught our babies all about the fuckery of Mt. Rushmore (hey kids, that garbage tribute was chiseled by an imported Ku Klux Klansman on a mountain owned by indigenous tribes on what they considered sacred land — land that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in 1980 was illegally taken from them!) and while I am not one to condone teaching children to give the finger – we told them there is a rare time and a rare place, and this is one of them.

So that’s how we found ourselves in the parking lot of the Presidential Wax Museum, letting a family of birds fly high towards our view of the faces on Rushmore.


UGH. HATE. Anyway, on to the National Presidential Wax Museum, I guess.



This is a spot I saw randomly and thought sounded kitschy and kinda fun and while it was for the most part, I also soured on a lot of things because 2019 isn’t exactly a great look for this country and I guess I’ll just leave it at that. For now.

Here’s a Moose taking his turn giving a State of the Union.


Pete, too (might make a better President, definitely an Idealist, just sayin’).


Peter asked for a picture with his Idol.


Life masks and death masks, yesssssssssss! This was as teeny part of this museum but so fascinating to me. All the cool people did these back in the day and they have a bunch of them! Lincoln! Napoleon! Washington! A bunch of movie stars!


And mah boy Buster Keaton! (I am a film nerd, took several film theory classes in college just for fun, and Buster Keaton might be my biggest oldie film star crush of all time, he had the biggest most expressive eyes just swooooooooooooon.)


Anyway, back to those dusty old Presidents.



Here’s a scene of a bunch of stuffy white people having a party.


The best part of this scene was this area in the back corner – look there, friends. There is our fellow Introvert, Vice President Calhoun. He’s hiding by the punch bowl sporting some serious don’t-approach-me face and he certainly doesn’t want to hear about your bathroom remodel, Martha.


Teddy Roosevelt. Loved nature, was also a raging white supremacist. Watcha gonna do.


Behold, this old white dude President marrying his best friend’s daughter who was less than half his age. Cool, cool.


Jon Jon looks like a serial killer here sorry.


Moose, never change, obsessed with the GWB/9-11 scene. He sat here FOREVER watching at the firemen video footage on the tv behind GW.


Am I a little disillusioned over US politics, can you tell yet? CAN YOU? Mmmhmmm. But hey my kids found entire shelves dedicated to toy weapons in the gift shop so I guess that’s cool.


(I bought them a new magnetic playset from the gift shop instead. A Trump Loves Putin set, the kids put it to good use and had evil Trump go all godzilla on their other sets and everyone had to band together to destroy him.)


For the record, there are sweet tiny mountain towns tucked into the Black Hills, like Keystone here, and you could easily confuse it with the cute little mountain towns in the Rockies. Black Hills are an unsung gem.


Anyway, back to Rapid City.



Downtown Rapid City hosts something they call the City of Presidents, there are bronze statues of most of the presidents on various street corners. Pete found John Adams first.


The statues were cool but you know what was cooler? Our lunch destination and a spot we knew would hit Moose right in the Dabs – Firehouse Brewing Co.





Decent beer and good food, can’t complain! They had a gift shop next door and we took an excited Moose in there, only to find out: mostly adult stuff. I mean, tons of families with kids and you don’t sell kiddo-sized shirts/cups/etc? Marketing fail! We did find a cheap (I mean, dollar store level cheap, fell apart before we hit Colorado) set of plastic fire trucks so god bless, Moose didn’t leave empty-handed. He was darn proud of his new toys.


We walked around downtown a bit more, taking our time before hitting the road again. We found the Art Alley and checked it out.








More presidents.


More skipping.


Then off we went, found the car, and headed to a park to run off some energy.



Ladies and gentleman, please enjoy Dinosaur Park of Rapid City, a depression-era sculpture park on a hill overlooking the city.





Had to tilt to get this whole big guy in there.




Battle time.



Admittedly: there was not a lot of running to be had, but the kids did so anyway and climbed all over the dinosaurs and then we checked out the gift shop. Got a squished penny. Did not get dinosaur poop.



And then off we go! We piled in the car and headed to our stop for the night, Casper Wyoming. I enjoyed Rapid City but it certainly has a dark history to say the least, which sours things. My feelings were so complicated while there. Do better, white people.

I either wiped my camera memory before I could remove pictures from the drive OR I just didn’t take any pictures along the way, which is a possibility… At any rate: took around 4 hours I think? Not a bad drive at all.


I booked an airbnb here, hotels seemed a little hit-or-miss and we needed a place to do some laundry. This apartment fit the bill.



It was the cutest. It reminded me a lot of a small apartment Scott and I had while we saved up for our wedding and first house.




We got settled, hit up a grocery store for some dinner fixings, and had a nice relaxing evening. I did a ton of laundry, sorted and re-packed our baskets, and made sure we were ready for another day of driving in the morning.

We didn’t plan on doing anything in Casper, more of just a place to stop and get some rest before jetting out early.



Good night, Casper. You’re a cute little town.



Day Three Stats:
Lunch: Firehouse Brewing Company. Solid food! Decent brews! Moose heaven!
Museum Count: National Presidential Wax Museum I mean… how could we not stop at a presidential WAX MUSEUM, come on.
Roadside Attractions Count: 3 (i) City of Presidents Bronze Statue Tour. (ii) Art Alley. (iii) Depression Area Dinosaur Park.
Peter’s Penny Count: 1 (thank you, Dinosaur park)
Moose’s Dab Count: 4 (that I caught on camera, anyway)
Dwellings: | airbnb apartment in Casper, WY. It was so pretty and clean and modern and cuuuuute! Oh, if you are thinking of staying there do know it has ample wifi but no television. Didn’t bother us in the bit (hello, it’s called tablets) but something to note.
Motel Dinner Madness: Another town, another grocery store stop. This time we were 100% positive we had an actual kitchen, so we snapped up some frozen chicken taquitos. That’s it, nothing fancy. Added raw veggies on the side, some chips/dip action, and boom, easy peasy and super full and done. Oh, and FYI the dip we found was a hatch-chile queso thang from the deli section and be jealous, motherfuckers. It was exactly as delicious as it sounds.

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