Friday, August 17, 2012

Destination Notre Dame (Day 3: Rapid City to La Crosse)

Joseph, Zachary at Peter after morning Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, SD

With double alarm clock security, we arose at 6AM on day three, the Feast of the Assumption. Knowing we would be travelers on this holy day, and wanting to keep our obligation to attend Mass, we had intentionally picked our hotel to be within walking distance of the Rapid City cathedral. The warm early morning walk with only one treacherous J-walking passage took less than ten minutes and allowed for quiet prayer time before Mass. The church was fairly packed and the liturgy’s timeless beauty with the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist super charged us for another day on the road.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, SD

Motel map reading meeting

Coffee snob that I am, I brewed my own coffee-to-go as the guys ate assorted waffles and biscuits and whatnot in the seriously crowded and slightly overheated hotel lobby. The great majority of us would soon be driving southeast on Mt. Rushmore Road to take in the awesome hillside attraction. Built up beyond recognition to Tim (whose family visited the site in the 70’s) the monumental experience offered us a two+ hour respite from the monotony of highway travel.

Mount Rushmore's interpretive displays and over half mile of walking trails gave us a wider perspective on this national treasure. Temping (but clearly marked off-limits) boulders along the side of the trail proved to be a challenge of willpower for one of our more eager and adventuresome members. A lesson on the graces of obedience ensued.

Basic training

Our much enjoyed detour put us on the journey east at almost noon. Extremely windy conditions along hours of sad looking corn fields suffering from record draught conditions made for a more than monotonous day of travel. Hastily prepared bbq chicken and baked bean (ie: left-overs) sandwiches on half bagels eaten while driving sufficed for lunch along with a bag of pretzels.

Our approach to Wall Drug offered marvels of marketing madness for mile upon mile as enticing treats and .5 coffee were promoted in large, artsy roadside signage. We successfully fought the temptation to pull off the highway to see what all the fuss was about. That’s right, we just said No to Wall Drug. Take that, relentless advertising blitz, we won this round.

Another time change somewhere along the never ending South Dakota highway brought Zachary one hour closer his new time zone.  A growing excitement to reach his final destination gave inspiration to fight the clock and power through the miles making a further stop than originally planned. A quick stop for sub sandwiches as a dinner on the go kept us moving in the right direction.  Our final stop for the day in La Cross, Wisconsin, ended another triple state day of travel, and we wearily checked into our hotel just after the pool closed at 11PM.
The smeared evidence of today’s bug collisions marked by vertical streaks staining the windshield show a total kill count which must be in the thousands. Our apologies to the insect world.


  • Biscuits and gravy may or may not hit the spot.
  • Language guessing can be a fascinating pass time at national monuments.
  • Nervous passengers best not ride shotgun on extremely windy days when passing swaying semi trucks cannot be avoided.

1 comment:

Crystal in Lynden said...

Your way with words amazes me every time I read. I love reading about your journey.