(Prepare yourself for a very picture heavy post.)
Wednesday night I had a class presentation and then caught a flight out of Seattle to Minneapolis. Luckily it was a direct flight. Unluckily, it was only 3 hours long and 3 hours does not a full night of sleep make.
I was able to sleep a couple more hours at the hotel in MN while the rest of the team did an interview, then we hit the open road.
Our goal after the Corn Palace was to make it to the Badlands for sunset. Sadly, we ran out of light. Instead we found cute little cabins to stay the night.
We woke up early to catch the morning light in the Badlands. The scenery was stunning and the wildlife was plentiful. We saw antelope, a buffalo, and visited a prairie dog city.
Next up was a stop at Wall Drug, which is pretty much the only place to see in Wall, SD. I enjoyed a delicious homemade donut in honor of National Donut Day and picked up a commemorative cup to enjoy my growler of cold pressed coffee that I had picked up the first day.
Following our visit to Wall Drug, we hit the road for Mt. Rushmore. There we saw the impressive monument and watched a video about the vision and process of its creation. Sadly, we didn't have time to check out the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is in progress, but it looks to be even more magnificent than Mt. Rushmore.
I had actually been on the Crow Indian Reservation when I was in high school so it was a bit of a walk down memory lane for me. It was also very interesting to hear the story of the battle, and sad to be reminded of what the Native Americans went through.
We went out on the Gallatin River with Geyser Expeditions. The guides were incredibly experienced, the river was running fast, and no one fell in the water. It was awesome! We even got to raft in the same raft as Michelle Obama, FLOTUS! As political reporters, we were pretty stoked.
We left the river behind amidst a major thunderstorm, but weather while on the water had been perfect, sunny and blue skies.
We made it to Missoula in time to catch some NBA basketball and have some delicious barbecue.
The last day of the trip was mostly driving. We covered a lot of territory and made it home in time for me to take a trip to the gym and get to bed early.
1,885 miles, six days, and four days later, I made it home.