W E S T W A R D | Road Trip Diary [Part Four]


After a slightly longer delay than planned, we’ve reached the final installment of this Road Trip Diary! You can read the previous installments here:


Departure: Rapid City, South Dakota
Destination: Des Moines, Iowa

Our first stop of the day was Wall Drug, which my parents had actually visited on their trip in 2019, and declared it a must-see on the 2020 trip. It was definitely a fun stop, and I picked up some fun souvenirs for myself and some trinkets to gift to family back home!

There was even a bookstore! I picked up a book about the Pony Express
(which I haven’t yet read, but it looked pretty interesting!)

And from there, we headed toward Badlands National Park!

This was probably one of the hottest days of the entire trip, but it was still fun to walk around and explore!

And then there were the prairie dogs, which were so cute! (All photos were taken from a safe and appropriate distance—thank you, zoom lenses! ;D)

After leaving the park, we continued on our homeward bound journey, and the next few hours were mostly spent in the car. At night, I was able to do some stargazing through the windows, which I loved. By the end of the day, we had been in four states: South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa.

Departure: Des Moines, Iowa
Destination: Tennessee

We had two options before us: Have two somewhat easier days of driving for the return journey, or have one really long day of driving and a whole day to rest at home after. After some discussion, we chose the latter. So, with four more states on our list and approximately 14-ish hours of driving to go, we left the motel and started for home!

I didn’t take that many photos in this portion of the trip, though one cool thing was seeing the Gateway Arch in St. Louis as we passed through! We had considered visiting it on this trip, but due to COVID-19, decided not to.

By the time we arrived home (sometime close to 2:00AM), we had driven through parts of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Over the course of the entire trip, we’d driven 6,641 miles!

Honestly, this road trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I traveled to so many places I had only read about or seen in documentaries and movies, and they were so much more beautiful than I had imagined! Even though the trip was different in some ways than planned, and there were a few very long days on the road, I am so grateful for the opportunity and the experience (and kind of can’t wait to, hopefully, travel to some of these places again!)


  1. Awww, girl! I am SO happy you had such a magical time. It looks like you visited some absolutely amazing places! AND THOSE PRAIRIE DOGS. *heart-eyes* What fantastic pics! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! It was a delight to follow along! <3


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