From Rapid City, South Dakota

334 miles today — not bad if you’re cruising along superhighways, but when you’re bullheaded about those scenic routes — man, did I need my glass of wine when we rolled into our Country Inn.

We started out barreling into the sunrise on U.S. 16 from Worland, Wyoming. How do you reconcile beauty with blindness? One of those grand dilemmas of travel.

We had to traverse the Big Horn mountain range via the Powder River Pass, then hit the straightaway to Custer, North Dakota.

I can now happily tolerate a lunch of cold pizza in a gas station/mini-mart parking lot, but then there are those days when it leaves you feeling very road-worn.

So by the time we reached Custer, we were grumpy enough that only a booth at Dairy Queen, with mounds of ice cream could resuscitate our flagging spirits.

Off we went to see Mount Rushmore. But we decided it would be too much “hassle” to actually visit the National Park. Why not just view it from afar? So off we went on U.S. 16 Alt — which turned out to be another one of those cliff-clinging “scenic routes” where you worry about burning out your brakes if you have to do one more hairpin curve. Rushmore from this death-defying distance was thrilling.

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