I woke up in the morning and had no clue where I was. At first I though my friends had left me at a shuttle stop at a national park but eventually after about 5 minutes I figured out where I was and where I was going. It was quite scary that exhaustion can do that to you. It was almost like something someone might go through when they have dementia.
I stopped for gas and coffee and drove the next two hours to Devils Tower. I could not help but feel sad that my trip was on the homestretch. I arrived at Devils Tower and brushed my teeth before they opened the visitor’s center. Once they opened I went in and bought a few souvenirs and then went to walk around the tower.
I would recommend arriving early before the crowds show up and everything is peaceful. I saw a number of climbers ascending the tower and it was pretty neat seeing (and hearing them) as they worked their way to the top. This is also a place that the indians of the area hold in high regard. There were prayer bundles tied to trees throughout the park and there were strict directions to not disturb them.
After about and hour I was back to the parking lot. Upon returning to the parking lot everything was filling up and I just brushed it off as normal traffic. I did make note of the fact that there were a lot of people on motorcycles coming to the monument.
My next stop was Mount Rushmore. As I proceeded through the rolling hills to eventually link up with I-90 I noticed there were a few commercials on the local radio station for businesses in Sturgis…. All the motorcycles finally made sense. I had no idea where Sturgis was but eventually I found myself in the middle of thousands and thousands of motorcycles. Sturgis is close to Mount Rushmore so I skipped that and proceeded to the Badlands National Park.
The Badlands like everything else in the area was overrun with bikers. I drove through stopped at a couple scenic lookout areas to take a few pictures and quickly gave up. I proceeded to the visitor’s center to watch a park video and get souvenirs and then drive out of the park. I am not sure if it was the bikers or if the other parks ruined my excitement but I wasn’t feeling excited here and decided to get back on the road.