After Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we set forth on a whirlwind tour of the midwest and Rocky Mountains area. We hit Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The hike we took to the lakeshore goes up over the dunes. It was a challenging walk--sand is loose, stairs are high, etc... But the return part of the hike is a sidewalk through the dunes instead of up and over them. The water is very choppy, and there was no swimming that day. The lifeguards got to swim, though. Not to rescue anyone, and I'm not sure what they were doing, but they went out past the markers in the water. I didn't wait to see if they made it back to shore, but I'm sure they're fine.
We busted through Indiana, and spent the night in Wisconsin. We were only down the road from the Mars Cheese Castle, which the internet told me I had to check it out. Turns out, they were wrong. It's cool to say I've check it out, but it's not nearly as exciting and fun as the Vermont Country Store. The kids described it as a grocery store. A very limited grocery store. So stop if you must, but it's not a big deal.
I love gas stations that put a little something fun to make your visit noteworthy. We had this guy, a couple of orange moose, and a leaping deer. Why? I have no idea. But they made me smile.
We overnighted in Minnesota on our way to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. On our drive to the park, we saw metal sculptures on the side of the road. Well, we saw the Flying Geese. We would have had to take the Enchanted Highway to see the rest, and I was not up for a detour.
We got to see a lot of bison on our visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We stayed in the North Unit, which I think is probably less visited than the South Unit, but is definitely worth the visit. The first night we were there we spoke with a family who missed the ranger talk because they were stuck in bison traffic, so we hopped in a car to check it out. Later in our visit we got stuck in a herd crossing the road at their own leisurely pace, but that first night we got to see a herd on the topside.
They also have a herd of nine steer, which we were fortunate enough to see before heading out. We stayed a couple nights, which allowed us to see the animals and check out a hike or two. We really liked this park that we had truly not heard anything about before coming to visit.
Next on our list was Badlands. The campground was filled up, so we camped at the Cabela's in Rapid City, but we got to spend a few hours checking out the badlands and the animals in the park.
From the Badlands, we headed to South Dakota, Black Hills country. We hit Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, and Mount Rushmore. We drove by Crazy Horse because we've done it before and didn't feel the need to go again. We did drive by it again and saw Crazy Horse carved in the mountain.
We began this trip visiting a national monument that we love, and we're ending the same way. Devil's Tower is a place we really enjoy, so I'm glad this was the last stop on this amazing journey. And now, we head home.