Set out on our journey of driving through the night. Quite interesting traveling through Chicago at night time. Travel tolls are rough in the wee hours of the morning because no one is working and you have to stop and put all the change in a machine to get through. Oh well made it through and headed on into Minnesota.
Made it to Minnesota. Forgot about the time change. Way to early to check in so headed to The Mall of America. Wow! An indoor amusement park and 4 floors of shopping and dining. Decided to tackle the mall one floor at a time. Walked the third floor (The fourth floor is just dining and movie theater.) Found several stores to go into. Made it clear around the whole floor in about two hours and stopped for some lunch at the food court - Lots to choose from.
Decided that we were very tired and ready to go check into the hotel. Stayed at the Days Inn Eagan. About 5 minutes from the Mall. Easy drive. The room was really big. Had a nice fridge and microwave. Looked like a newly refurbished bathroom. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Excellent stay here. Relaxed at the pool, hot tub and sauna. Very empty around 5 when we were there. Later in the evening it got a lot busier in the evening. We choose to stay in the rest of the night and tackle the Mall and amusement park the next day.
Woke up and ate breakfast at the hotel and got ready to be at the Mall when it opened at 10:00 am
Shopping- Second Floor
Lunch at Food Court
Shopping - 1st Floor
Dinner at Dick's Last Resort
Half went shopping other have back to amusement park
Movies at Theater with reclining seats.
This day was pretty much just full of driving. We left Eagan and headed to South Dakota. When we got on I-90 the GPS showed we would be on this road for 500 miles and I knew it would be a long drive. The landscape wasn't much to look at. We may go through the badlands on the way back, just for a change of scenery.
We stopped and had lunch at a nice road side rest. It was hot, but they had covered shelters.
After a long day we finally came into Rapid CIty and saw some more interesting looking landscape. We drove a little ways out of Rapi City towards Keystone. We found Powder House Lodge and got into our cabin. Very nice place in the woods.
On this day we got up ate some breakfast on the porch outside our cabin at Powder House Lodge. Then we were off to Mount Rushmore. We were only a few miles from the Mountain, which was perfect. It cost $11 to enter the parking area. There was a wonderful walk into the Memorial through the flag tunnel of all the 50 states, territories, etc. You enter into a beautiful view of the mountain.
We decided to walk the Presidential Trail that took you closer to the base of the mountain and back to the terrace viewing area. Along the way there was an area that hilighted the indian life and some rangers were doing some demonstrations. Also there were places to stop and learn about each of the presidents from their own best view. The walk can be a little strenuous (It was 95 degrees out) but well worth it, if you can handle it.
After that long walk it was time for lunch. There is a nice place to eat there. Cafeteria style very easy to grab what you want quickly. A little expensive, but good and convienent. Once the gift shop had been explored it was time to move on. We would return later for the night show that began at 9:00. (Our parking passes from earlier would still be good.