Monday, July…25?, 2016 – Rapid City, SD
After procuring our dinosaur merchandise, we continued on to Mount Rushmore. We drove up through Keystone where we ironically saw a person-sized Minion wood carving AS we were watching the Minions (gunned it past that one, that’s the last thing we need strapped aside our roof carrier all the way back to Wisconsin). Last time we went to Mount Rushmore was 4 years ago and we went at night, when it was only 80 degrees, and it was a tad crowded, but overall not terrible. This time was terrible. We are sure our patriotic founding fathers would have been not super proud of all the American kids screaming about how hot it was (a billion degrees), parents placating them with ice cream, people playing Pokemon on their phones, and those goddamn foreign tourists with their selfie sticks. ARRGHHHH!!! Those goddamn sticks!!!!
No one was happy until we ate overpriced food on a steaming hot patio and then all ate our ice cream. After that we got the hell out of there. We took a wrong turn though and got to see a cool profile view of Washington in the mountain! THEN we got the hell out of there.
Then we decided we were DONE. Of course, Z fell asleep at that very moment. We drove around until she woke up, then went back to the hotel. We all played in the pool and it was fantastic – Matt had read somewhere that the pool fills up quickly in the evening and the best time to go in was in the afternoon, and we did have it to ourselves. It was a deep pool – where the slide drops you in is 6′ deep. Of course Zoe had to go down because her brothers were. Matt is proud to say she went down at least 20 times in his lap and never got her head underwater once.
We then got showered up and went to eat at Outback, which was a block away. The kids were only kind of horribly behaved (except for Noah, who IS pretty well behaved) and Sarah pounded a frozen margarita. Back to the hotel to misbehave and fight and play on ipads for the next couple of hours! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings…
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 (if I am totally off a day by this point, so be it) – Rapid City, SD (STILL)
OF course, the biggest attraction, same as last year, was the large sandbox.
We pet the turtles, and the prairie dogs were all out this year, which are our favorite!
THEN the children lost it and had to be escorted in the gift shop, where Zoe went totally crazy. They were then hauled out to the parking lot. A wonderful morning for all!
Then we picked up subs and proceeded to attraction #2 for the day, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum! Well, first Matt drove up to the actual gates of the air force base because we turned too soon and the soliders with the guns had to tell us how to get to the museum (NOT horribly embarrassing at all, we promise (B: “Why do they have guns???”)).
We headed back to the hotel, although Matt had a crazed look on his face and kept saying, what should we do next? The kids all kept yelling “pool”! (even Z kept saying “bool”). So we went to the pool. And it was awesome. Sarah brought Z illegally into the hot tub and met two nice guys touring the west on their Harleys, one of whom had a son who is a first year med student at UW (seriously, what are the chances??). They were former military and couldn’t believe that civilians were allowed onto the nearby Air Force Base, even as part of a tour. That made the missile tour even cooler!
Goodbye, Rapid City, FOREVER (who are we kidding, we’ll be back again..)
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 – Rapid City, SD to Worthington, MN (where? Yeah, we wondered, too)
And off we were from Rapid City! We all picked up some Starbucks and we were off! The car fairy made her requisite appearance, and the S and M family hit the road. The plan was to skip the Badlands (please god, don’t make us go there again DURING a 500 mile drive) but TO GO to Wall Drug, as the most delicious donuts in South Dakota can be procured there. And we followed the plan exactly. There was some weeping as we passed the US Minuteman Missile National Monument (geez, Sarah, how many Cold War missiles do you need to see?), but we journeyed on. Strangely, although the road is straight for all a zillion miles, it still is not as bad as Wyoming.
In bad news, we noted our windshield was cracked. We are pretty sure Wyoming is still winning with its ability to crack our windshield during each trip, beating South Dakota 2-1. We stopped at a rest area 184 miles east from Rapid City and ran into people from our hotel that we saw at the pool every day – they recognized us too. South Dakota is sad that way. We picked up McDonalds (ugh) in Chamberlin, SD. And then Matt got this crazy look on his face and was all, we should see how far we can drive today!! He was gently pulled back into reality (smacked on the back of the head by Sarah) and we stopped in a town called Worthington, MN, one hour further than Sioux Falls, which is where we usually stop. There is not much there. We stayed at a Holiday Inn and had Pizza Hut for supper and swam in the cold pool. This town and hotel felt strangely soulless to us.
Miles driven: 399 miles
Hours spent trying to get Zoe down at a halfway decent bedtime and pretending that we didn’t really need to adjust to Central time instead of Mountain time: 1.5 soul sucking hours
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Worthington, MN to Waupaca, WI
Well, the car fairy fucked up this morning. On the very last leg of this grand journey, the kids were escorted out to the car, and were devastated to find no trinkets in their seats. The car fairy, realizing he had screwed up, asked Sarah to take the kids on a walk in the front of the hotel. Again, it is a testament to a kid’s desire for goodies that they will choose to ignore what we were obviously doing. (“look kids, someone is washing the windows of the pool area, let’s take a closer look”). We journeyed back to the car and the goods had materialized. We motored on (sans Starbucks, for gods sake, Worthington, get it together – in Matt’s defense if we had driven further to Albert Lea, there would have been a Starbucks. Or one in LaCrosse. Or Stevens Point. Just saying.), and hit the highway. We stopped at Arby’s for lunch (the kids devoured a box of random Ritz like crackers they found in the car and needed nothing else for lunch, nor did they want anything else) and hit up Starbucks in LaCrosse. There is nothing else to say about this day. Drive, drive, drive. But still, Wyoming was worse.
We greatly enjoyed our trip this year! For any thoughts on Glacier NP versus Yellowstone NP, especially with kids, or long distance driving, contact Matt and Sarah. We have tons of thoughts and are HAPPY to share opinions, most of which are unsolicited. Sarah is also preparing several Appendices to this travel log (appendices? Yeah baby, you heard us right!)
Miles driven: 375 miles the last day
For the trip:
Times watching The Minion Movie – at least 20. Yes, 20. 20. Maybe more.
Total miles driven: 3363
AND if you have read this far, contact Matt or Sarah for your treat/reward for basically enduring, we mean enjoying, this vacation with us. 😉