Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Road Trip: Day 21

    Posted on September 18th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today was definitely not what I expected it to be. I was looking forward to “a day full of twisty roads“, but what I got was one of the most frustrating days I’ve had in a long time.

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    What made it so bad? Have you ever had something waved in front of your face? Like maybe when you were a child and a friend had a new toy they wouldn’t let you play with? Yeah, it was something like that.

    If you want to have fun driving… DO NOT come to the Black Hills of South Dakota. The roads are perfectly smooth, full of sweeping curves, and with scenic views… but with 35mph speed limits fun is just outside your reach.

    In California the roads would have had 55mph limits… in Montana they would have had 70mph limits. Hell, I almost drove up the switchbacks in Wyoming twice as fast! Does South Dakota change the speed limits for winter or something? On top of the slow speed limits, the drivers on the roads were often going 10-15mph UNDER the limit for no apparent reason!

    For two hours I was making strange noises of disgust every time another barrier got between me and a fun drive. To make things even worse, one of the roads I drove passed through a State Park where my National Park Pass did nothing… so I had to pay $15 to drive a few miles on a one-lane road stuck behind an endless line of minivans gawking at chipmunks! The only saving graces for this road were the the “pigtail” turns, not that I could drive them at anything faster than a crawl. I guess the group of old tractors driving on the road was kinda cool too, even if it took them 15 minutes to get through the one-lane tunnel.

    After my GPS decided to “recalculate” the route and sent me down a dirt road… I said enough was enough! If the speed limits were reasonable I’d have tried to re-route, but it just wasn’t worth it. Fortunately I was close to Mount Rushmore.

    After purchasing an annual parking pass (seriously?) I headed up to the Grand Terrace to take some photos of the monument.

    It’s quite impressive to see the large sculptures on the face of a rock wall. I can hardly imagine what it would have been like to carve it back in the 1930’s. After the “traditional” photos I needed to find a place to take one of the G8. It took a while, but I put that parking pass to good use and eventually found a decent location.

    I had planned on driving more twisty roads, but was still in a grumpy mood from earlier. On my way to tonight’s hotel I realized it was still early; and maybe I could cover some more ground before I called it a day.

    Turns out that there isn’t much in the middle of South Dakota… and I needed to drive another 4 hours to find a hotel for the night. It was a long drive with lots of nothing, but two low flying F-16’s and the super bumpy/noisy pavement kept me awake. I was very happy to arrive at the hotel just as the sun started to set.

    From now till the G8 Nationals I’ll be sticking to the interstate. It shouldn’t be too exciting, but I will have this weekend to look forward to!