South Dakota Air & Space Museum

The most important advice I have for anyone traveling anywhere can be boiled down to two words:  be flexible.  It sounds simple, but for a person who leans towards control freak tendencies (that would be me), it can often be a challenge.  It means that I have to let go of the mental pull towards detailed itineraries and goal directed behavior and instead listen to … Continue reading South Dakota Air & Space Museum

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

I am old enough to be part of a generation that attended school during the Cold War, when children regularly participated in nuclear bomb preparedness drills and watched mandatory movies on how to survive a nuclear winter. My college aged children are far enough removed from that experience to find it amusing now, but as a child, it was terrifying to listen to the droning voice-over … Continue reading Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Crazy Horse Monument

I think it’s fair to say that this project would not have started were it not for Mount Rushmore.  If you are a member of the Sioux Nation, watching Rushmore construction on land that has been unlawfully taken from you (the Supreme Court of the U.S. confirmed this already, so that’s not a debatable point), and also watching the emergence in stone of faces that … Continue reading Crazy Horse Monument

Mount Rushmore National Monument

The most fascinating thing about Mount Rushmore (to me) is that it’s preposterous. It’s in the middle of nowhere, carved from a mountain with  controversial ownership, and features four men with no obvious connection to the region. My longstanding fascination with monuments however, meant there was no way I could do a road trip through this part of the U.S. without stopping to see it, and it … Continue reading Mount Rushmore National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

For my fellow nerds, the first thing we need to talk about is what we’re actually looking at, because despite widespread agreement on the basics, geologists still aren’t exactly sure about the specifics when it comes to how this tower formed (and no, it’s not hollow.) There is agreement that the tower is composed of an igneous rock (meaning it was once lava or magma) … Continue reading Devils Tower National Monument

Cody, Wyoming

Cody is a small town, but big enough to offer all of the services you’d expect in a medium sized city, with lots of entertainment, dining and lodging options. Just 50 miles from the East entrance to Yellowstone (a stunningly beautiful drive), with an altitude below 5,000 feet, it’s a perfect place to stop for a few days to rest and regroup if you are … Continue reading Cody, Wyoming

Heart Mountain

The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center and National Historic Monument is located about a fifteen minute drive outside of Cody, Wyoming, and if I hadn’t been specifically heading to it, I probably would have driven right past without even realizing it was there. That would have been a huge miss, because this was the most intellectually and emotionally moving place I visited during my entire four … Continue reading Heart Mountain