As far back as I can remember, traveling has always been a part of me. Whether I was driving a few hours to visit the west side of Michigan or boarding a plane to visit a new destination- it didn't matter, I was traveling. There is something very exciting about seeing new places, learning about different cultures, trying new food and stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing things you never thought you could do. The road trip I took to Wyoming this past September was nothing short of spectacular and I recommend that everyone do it at least once in their lifetime.
Our road trip started in Michigan and ended in Cody, Wyoming. During the first part of our trip we saw the world's largest truck stop, the world's only Corn Palace, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. Once we stopped at the I-80 truck stop I knew our adventure had really begun. I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard about the World's Largest Truck Stop but I can say I was not let down by what I saw. This was not a typical truck stop bathroom break. If you fit this in your schedule, plan on at least an hour visit and lots of picture taking.
The I-80 truck stop's main building is over 100,000 square ft and is complete with 7 fast food restaurants, a museum, a barbershop and dentist plus a library and a work out room! That's just the first floor. You will also find a chiropractor, a movie theater, a gift room and a laundromat. Plus they service vehicles. This is one stop that you will be pleasantly surprised with!
Our next stop was a seven hour drive straight west to Mitchell, South Dakota- the home of the world's only Corn Palace. This place was so cool!! The whole palace's exterior is made up of murals constructed by corn cobs. And they change the murals every. single. year. It is truly remarkable. The museum was closed when we were there but we still managed to spend close to two hours looking at the murals and taking pictures!
Four hours west of Mitchell we stopped for the night in Keystone, SD. It was late when we got into town but we wanted to experience Mount Rushmore at night. It was remarkable and humbling. We walked down the Avenue of Flags, which led us to the extraordinary carvings in the Black Hills. Because we were there so late, we had the whole place to ourselves. The experience of seeing 56 flags and Mount Rushmore all lit up was unforgettable. We sat in complete silence and took it all in. The following morning we went back to see the memorial in the daylight. While it was extremely busy, it was just as incredible. After getting all sorts of photos and souvenirs we drove a half hour to the Crazy Horse Monument. We were trying to stick to a schedule, so we didn't spend a lot of time touring the museums but we did take their bus up the hill to get a better look at the monument. We snapped a few photos, heard the history behind the monument then got back on the bus and left. I didn't find this stop extremely exciting, but knowing that the monument is a work in progress and won't be the same the next time I stop, is pretty neat.
The last part of the first part of our trip were the Badlands. As we drove to the entrance of the park, we found ourselves in the middle of a little traffic jam because of the bison that were crossing the road. The views that we took in were simply amazing. We didn't have a lot of time to spend in the park but you could easily spend a full day exploring. We arrived just in time to catch the most beautiful sunset and a feeling of gratitude overcame me as I looked around and took in all the beauty.
As we made our way back to the hotel I couldn't help but feel incredibly blessed that I was able to see so many amazing sites, and I was anxiously awaiting the adventures that the rest of the week would bring.