It’s getting toward the end of Day 2, and I need to get going toward my ultimate destination for this day. I need to get to Rapid City, South Dakota, the gateway to the Mount Rushmore National Monument. It’s about 7 pm when I finally leave the Badlands, and it takes an hour or so to get to Rapid City, so it will be too late to see Mount Rushmore tonight. My plan is to get a good meal in Rapid City, find a nice hotel room in town, and see the monument in the morning.
I reach Rapid City about 8 pm, and find that it is a surprisingly nice town with a bit of cosmopolitan feel. The central business district has an abundance of restaurants and bars, and I spot some hotels right away. I have a taste for some Mexican food, and right away I spot a nice-looking restaurant called Que Pasa. I park nearby (parking is free in the evening) and go in.
Que Pasa is a nice place. The food (I had chipotle tacos, made with rotisserie-roasted chicken) was very good, and the accompanying margarita was one of the best I have ever had (except for the Dave 1-2-3 Emerald margarita I make at home). I asked my waiter about downtown hotels, and he said the historic Alex Johnson Hotel across the street was great, and that it was cheap ($49.00!!!).
Of course I made a bee line for the AJ after dinner, and indeed found it historic and charming. I booked a room for $75.00 (the clerk explained that the $49.00 rate was for during the week, but Friday night was much busier). My room was comfortable and positively charming. I was completely worn out from the day’s adventure so I had no desire to explore the hotel’s rooftop bar, or the lobby bar for that matter. I crawled into the comfortable bed and was sleep within minutes.