Friday, June 28, 2013

Packing up

Well, I would definitely call our first week of camping a huge success. The kids have done a great job of getting along (most of the time, it's South Dakota, not Heaven), and nobody is broken. Suzy had a lame leg for the morning, we're not sure if she got kicked in the pool or slept funny or if it's just growing pains, but it was fine by this evening so we're going with it. Today we did the Jr. Ranger Program at Jewel Cave. It was great and it was free! We all learned a lot from it and the kids earned Jr. Ranger Badges and Patches. They have the program at Yellowstone too so we'll be checking into that when we get there. We even found a Museum of Woodcarving for Mike and Jillian today. It was different than what I originally expected, but very cool too. It was the collection of the guy who developed 3D animation (using his woodcarvings) and who was then contacted by Walt Disney to design their stuff in Disneyland. Who knew? 

We are packed up and ready to roll after breakfast in the morning. the kids all have their one outfit for tomorrow (we have realized that this procedure works best for us). it's been a good and relaxing night except for the screaming when we used Aloe on the kids faces.  Whatever they use in their pool here has really made the kids skin sensitive. but their faces aren't as pink, so they are seeing that they needed the aloe. Fortunately no one is very badly burned (name that movie...)

Here are a few pics, some compliments of Ali as she has started to take an interest in taking the pictures.

 This was a test space for the people going on the super crazy caving tours. We saw a not very large man get himself almost stuck and heard later that the cave goes on about that size for 700 feet. Um, no thanks. I told the girls that Miss Beth would take them caving someday in KY when they are old and I will just stand at the entrance of the cave and cry till they come out. it will be super fun.

The bookstore at Rushmore. We're good Mom, no need to buy it, we'll just go ahead and read it here.
Off to bed, hopefully the new arrivals will settle down soon. They are a bit scream-y compared to all the other neighbors. Noobs.
PS we've also created a new word. Famping is fake camping and it applies to the RV that moved in that has a separate outside kitchenette, in addition to its inside kitchen. When you bring your whole house with you, you are a fake camper. that is all.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 6, I think?

So we've very quickly lost track of time and days, all the time zone switching hasn't helped us either. We did arrive at a tourist "attraction" or "trap" as one might say at 7am the morning after we drove through the night. Amazingly enough they are used to crazies like us and were open and we were not their first customers. Someone else showed up at 6:15 am. I've been journaling every day-ish, but i'll just catch you up real quick with some pictures for now. Amazingly enough our campsite has internet, but bad cell reception, but we're only getting on tonight to figure out our coordinates for Yellowstone and a quick picture update to share. We loved the Badlands. It was very fun to climb around on the rocks, and if there wasn't so much stuff to do here around Rushmore, we would be heading back. The good news is that we LOVE South Dakota. There are no mosquitos here. None. no spray and no bites. They should really advertise that more. So we are sure we will be coming back at some point and we will schedule more time to hike (with bigger kiddos) in the Badlands.

We made it to marker 5. It was like a treasure hunt, having to find each marker to head out into the horizon. but then we were tuckered out. 3 hours of sleep for adults and little legs will do that to a crew. Off to get more sleep for now. last day of Black Hills tomorrow.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


What Mike heard as he's packing the van: oh, oh, and this. and this too. and then just this one more thing...
So we got out a little later than we aimed for, but we were on the road by 8:30am, which for us is awesome. Mike and I started the trip realizing that we put this trip in our long range plans 5 years ago, and we are actually doing it. That's a little crazy.  The girls have been great sports. You can see the miracles that Mike and Mike Shell performed to get everything into the van. It was manly tetris at its best. While Veronica doesn't have much leg room, it works out because she's a dropper of things and this way she can just pick it right back up because it doesn't fall far.

We passed this town on our first day. It's all in the inflection.
Our first travel day has been excellent. We made a couple stops and had lunch at a rest stop. We threw the sticky ball a bit and just let everyone run a little.
Our first road repair!
This even got a good test later when we drove through an incredible storm. Lightning hit the field right next to the van. I may have screamed a little. We definitely felt the thunder slam into the van. It may have been said several times from the back of the van during the rest of the drive "remember when that lightning hit?".
Veronica did this herself.(well I added the smile after a few minutes). We decided it was a brilliant idea and made the "I'm not complaining" tape. We plan on threatening people with it later in the trip if necessary. and only if Veronica stops wearing it for fun.