Dragging ourselves out of our sleeping bags this morning was even harder than anticipated. 7am came and went, as did 7:30am, and 7:45am until eventually 8am arrived and we had to bite the bullet and get out of our cosy beds and face the chilly morning.
By 9am the car was packed and we were ready to go. One of the entertaining things about arriving so late last night was we didn't get a chance to check in, so we had to check in before we could check out which was an interesting process.
Our plan for the day was to visit Mount Rushmore before embarking on our second long driving day. In hindsight, two 10 hour driving days back to back was less than clever. We knew today was going to be the hardest day of the drive so we figured the quicker we got on the road, the better.
Neither of us really knew what to expect from Mount Rushmore. We knew it was essentially faces carved into a mountain, but it was quite literally just giant faces staring at you from a rock...
It was cool to see, the detail on the sculptures is incredible, especially on such a large scale. It was just really bizarre. There is no other way to describe it. People (including us) come from all over the world to stare at giant heads on the side of a mountain.
I'm glad we went, it is another thing to cross off the bucket list and I am impressed at how talented those that worked on it are. It's just a bit odd.
After taking the obligatory tourist photos and discussing what could have possessed someone to decide to carve faces into a mountain, we set off back down the mountain and on our way.
Or at least we thought we were on our way. Turns out we had turned the wrong way out of the memorial and the sat nav chose to take us all the way to the bottom of the mountain before making us turn around, climb back to the top and drive back down the other side...
South Dakota is really pretty but it doesn't offer a lot in terms of driving entertainment. It's mostly flat and green and straight roads. So we had to make our own entertainment, doing what we do best: car karaoke!
At one point, we tried to stop for a comfort break in a small petrol station off the highway in a place that was too small to even be called a village. If we were ever going to find ourselves in a horror movie, this was it.
As we pulled off the road, two men in full camo gear and their very large dog came around the side of the building and stared at us like we shouldn't be there. So we decided we shouldn't be there. Doors locked, car back in drive, a U-turn Vin Diesel himself would be proud of and we were back on the highway in seconds. No horror movie for us today! No thank you.
I know it sounds like we were stereotyping, and we probably were, but the men and the dog just screamed Deliverance episode 2. And sometimes you just have to trust your gut.
After what felt like actual days on the road, we finally crossed the state line into Minnesota! Woohoo! And then, because what else do you do when you're on a roadtrip and want to increase your state count, we dipped south into Iowa and back again. Just to say we did.
We were rewarded for our dedication to driving with a beautiful rainbow (yay) and a deer that chose to stop in the middle of the highway in front of our car (not so yay).
Don't worry, we made sure to avoid Bambi and watched as he scarpered off back into the woods. Maybe he wanted to visit Iowa too??
The closer we got to Minneapolis, the more signs there were of civilisation - something we both welcomed after hours of driving in the middle of nowhere with barely any other traffic.
Just after 9pm, we made it! Checked into our hotel, which is a delight after two nights on campsites (we have never been more grateful for indoor plumbing) and enjoying that we are officially halfway!! 2,000 miles down, 2,000 to go!
Find out what happened when we reached the halfway point by clicking here!