Anyway, once we left Devils Tower and watched the prairie dogs play, we completely lost cell phone service pretty much for the entire day, with the exception of our lunch time venture to McDonald’s in Spearfish, SD, or as Mara would say “what town are we at right now? Fishbreath?” Well, Spearfish, aka Fishbreath, has about the nicest outdoor waterpark I have ever seen and it’s attached to their Rec Center! If Driggs could afford to do something like that, we
would draw in Jackson residents and maybe even pull in more families during the summer from all around the region
. If you are ever passing through Spearfish or simply going to Devils Tower, I think it would be well worth it to stop at this attraction. I wish we could’ve, but we had a dinner date at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Union Center, SD that very evening. More on that later. Prior to stopping in Fishbreath, we passed through Bell Fouche, SD, where we had to wait for a mammoth, and I mean GIGANTUAN “something or other “, which I think was a windmill blade, on a extra-long semi-trailer, which I’m sure had been customized to haul this puppy (see photos) to pull out in front of us. That was a really weird sentence…Anyway, whatever it was, I counted to 10 slowly as I passed the trailer hauling it. I’ve NEVER seen anything this big on the road before. You have got to check out this photo. It was probably the highlight of the drive, so far. We drove on to Mt Rushmore after lunch. Like Devils Tower, it was there. I actually found the mall and pedestrian area to be as impressive as the faces. There are some great photos of the three girls walking back up the mall from the lookout where all the states’ flags and entry dates into the country are listed. It’s pretty cool.
After Rushmore, we drove on some windy country roads to get to the very rural Union Center, SD where we had a date to visit my Aunt and Uncle on their farm. They are part of my recently found biological family and I met them the weekend that I met my sisters in the Black Hills about 5-6 years ago
. I had never been to their farm, and they made us feel right at home. I did not have cell phone service when I got there, so it was the kind of thing where I had to stop at the local Cenex station and ask for directions, and then again after we got lost, at someone’s house. Being from a small town, myself, I knew anyone in the area would know where they lived, not to mention my uncle is a long-time deputy sheriff. My aunt made us a delicious hot dinner and my uncle gave all of us girls a ride around part of his farm in his old jeep. They actually have apple AND pear trees! I’ve never heard of a pear tree in Dakotas or Minnesota before, but I saw pears with my own eyes. The girls loved chasing the chickens while riding in the jeep. My aunt had boxes and baskets OVERFLOWING with cukes, ripe tomatoes, carrots, jalepenos and I think even potatoes. They are nearly completely self-sufficient, very much like how I grew up. It’s probably why I felt so 'at home’ there. It was a short visit and they filled me up with coffee and a topped off gas tank for the road. I left their house with hand-written driving directions for the route to I-94, which was yet about 250 miles across rolling county 2-lane roads after 9pm. I drove in tandem between two semis. I wish I would’ve had a radio. We could’ve had some real fun. LOL
I hit I-94 around midnight and finally got cell phone service back. Too bad it was too late to return any calls. I had already decided to drive until our next stop, my sister Heather’s in the Fargo-Moorhead area which is about 475 miles from the Farm we had just been at. I knew I could do it in one leg if the girls slept though. So that’s what we did. We pulled in to my sister’s driveway at about 5am with the time change. We went straight to bed. I woke up a few hours later, so grateful to not have to drive for 24 hours and yet also for the amazing experience we were having together. Words my Aunt said were still lingering my head “Just think of all the women who trekked across this area in covered wagons with their kids”. In a way, I felt a kindred spirit with them, my disgruntled favor with my cell phone service seemed trivial, but I tell you what, you can’t take my built-in DVD OR my Gail King show at 1am via satellite for ANYTHING….and I think I might just invest in a TOMTOM after all.
So now I'm playing catchup…this blog is really a journal entry more for our own personal trip memoirs than as an update for you. You are, however, invited to read and comments are always appreciated. It is my intent to print out this entire blog for the girls, comment and all. Our favorite "across the road neighbor’" is going to help us make a big scrapbook when we get home, right Kim? LOL…