Saturday, March 22, 2014

Breaking in Newt (Caution: media heavy)

Newt is finally starting to feel like "my" car.

Last week, we got the parts that Jay ordered for her: a warm air intake, a strut tower brace, and a set of cold air inlets.  We invited ourselves over to Deejo's to use his garage to put all of her new stuff on. 

The inlets are the only visible change
Since we had a new car and new performance-enhancing toys on the car, we decided to take a road trip.  You know 9HealthFair season begins for me in February and runs through May, so getting away is tough.  Last Saturday was my sixth Saturday in a row teaching phlebotomy to the RN students, so the thought of running away was enticing.

Our plans were to go to Mom/Autobot's birthday party and then head out to South Dakota immediately after.  Plans never work out that way, do they?

Ashinator's car broke down and left her stranded, so we had to deal with that before we could leave.  We did get it back on the road for much less money than we anticipated it would take (Bonus!), but also left a couple of hours later than we had hoped (bummer).  I don't know why the drive through Wyoming always takes days but, man, that's a long, tough drive.

We landed in Hot Springs, SD for the night and when we got up the next morning, headed into the Black Hills.  One of the parts we put on Newt was a strut tower brace to stabilize the suspension and take some of the body roll out while driving on the mountain roads.  There was one road in particular that we wanted to try, the Iron Mountain Road.  We weren't sure it was going to be open since it was still technically winter.

We took our time getting there.  We went through Wind Cave National Park, where we saw bison.

We took Newt's picture with a fake bison and drove past some young mountain goats.

We were pretty happy that the road we wanted was open.  There was a warning sign that the road received no winter maintenance, but it was in good shape.  As we left the one of the tunnels, we saw this view:

The view as you clear one of the tunnels on Iron Mountain Road
It was pretty cool, perfectly framed by the trees.  Makes you wonder if they cut away the trees on purpose, doesn't it?

I wish we had out GoPro for the road, but we forgot it, so we had to make do with my camera for video.

It was a lot of fun.  There are a total of three corkscrews in the road and each one is just a ton of fun.

Once we met up with the highway again, we got a much clearer view of Mount Rushmore.

We've both been to Mount Rushmore and had no desire to go to the visitors' center, so we kept driving on toward Crazy Horse.  The amount of work that it takes is astounding, and they accomplish more every day, but I'm afraid it won't be finished in our lifetime, which makes me sad.  I'm also very happy that it's absolutely, 100% privately funded, without government assistance whatsoever.

Statue in front of the visitors' center
From Crazy Horse, we drove up to Deadwood and stopped in a little town along the way to (attempt) to grab something to eat.  There are definite pros and cons to traveling in the off-season.  Pro: no tourists.  Con: nothing is open.  By this time, the places we were driving through were just a blur, so I don't remember where I took these pictures, but I love the artwork.

We did manage to find the one open restaurant in Hill City.  Despite the waitress's best efforts to forget us, we were able to eat and head back out on the road to Prairie Berry Winery for "free" wine tasting.  Free, my ass.  We walked out of there with almost $100 worth of wine.  To be fair, the wine was amazing and I'm sure we'll enjoy it.

Deadwood and Sturgis didn't warrant much other than a quick pass through town to say we've been there.  We still had some time to burn before we called it a day and the Devil's Tower was calling our name.  Back to Wyoming we went.  What astounds me is how close everything is once you're in the Black Hills.  I mean, it was maybe a half an hour from Sturgis to the Devil's Tower.  I had no idea they were so close.

On our way back to South Dakota, around Beulah, we hit 1000 miles on Newt.  They were darn fun miles, too.  A lot more fun than if we would have racked them up driving back and forth to work.

I did not take this picture while I was driving.  Jay did :)
Despite all of the road time and everything we packed into one day, we still managed to find a hotel in Spearfish, grab dinner, and watch The Walking Dead (OMG!  Best. episode. ever.).

Unfortunately, Monday morning, we had to head back home so I could go to work that evening.  Why is it heading out for a road trip is so fun that even driving through Wyoming is tolerable, but driving through Wyoming on the way home seems to take days and days?

It was certainly a whirlwind weekend, but it felt good to get away, even if it was only for one (very) full day.

1 comment:

Allenspark Lodge said...

I really LIKE vacationing in the Black Hills. So many completely different things. And so close to each other.