Mt. Rushmore on the 4th
Trip Start Jun 26, 2008
16Trip End Jul 11, 2008
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Two hours into Wyoming, we arrived at a rest stop just before the South Dakota border at a junction with a normal looking tiled rest stop with outhouse seats
As we approached the entrance to Mount Rushmore (and Warner still saying for the 85th time, "When are we going to be there?" and answering for the 5th time in the last five minutes, "We're here!", we were arriving with massive crowds on the fourth of July. I have to admit that being at the "monument to democracy" on July 4th was a very cool feeling, especially since we didn't know we'd be there that day. We could see the monument right outside our big RV windows. I added, while driving, "we are so lucky to be seeing this monument out such big windows!" Bret said, "I know mommy, we're all staring at it right now and appreciating every moment." Warner added, "What are we looking at?" There was a ranger who helped designate a traffic lane for me at the entrance (thank God; not sure how I would have done it otherwise with 5 lanes of merging cars, and I managed to squeak on through the entrance booth in my RV and there was actually park staff in a golf cart to take me to an RV parking space. Yahoo!
The monument grounds were MUCH newer and more expansive than I remember when my parents took me when I was a kid
The President's Trail was fun, and we loved looking at the rock formations and veins of quartz running through the rock. On the trail, we climbed a big outcrop toward in the middle of the walk, and ambitious mom managed to cut here thumb on the way down, where blood proceeded to pool into my hand until I could get to a restroom to get a tissue. We saw many people coloring in their Junior Ranger books, which my kids didn't want to do, and we left the monument at 1:00p.m., finally heading East toward home (in 8 days!) and toward our destination for the evening, Interior, South Dakota, via Badlands National Park
We finally got to the park entrance and the first overlook was Pinnacle, which was absolutely stunning. It reminded me of the awe I felt when seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. We woke up the kids and made our way down the path to signs to beware of Rattlesnakes. I drove through the park, Bret had driven from Mt. Rushmore and was tired of the rig. I smiled the whole two-hours through the drive
Bret figured out dinner and cleaned up the RV while I took the kids to the pool. He and I were both exhausted. Bret bought some firewood and hotdogs (we brought baked beans but somehow missed the can opener) and had a grand time roasting hot dogs and smores over a fire and hung out and played with the kids (they even said "Cheers!" with us when I offered a toast, which they never do, which must have meant that they were happy to be with us; we even brought out Warner's ring toss, which he selected as his toy for the trip prior to leaving. We used it as a ring toss for awhile, then the kids used the foam pieces as weapons and Bret and I lounged in our camping chairs and watched them wrestle. "I guess they did have a nap today." I said, trying to make sense out of the wrestling that was happening in front of me. "Did you ever do that as a kid?" I asked Bret. "Who would I have done that with?" Bret asked, being an only child "But, did you ever want to?" "They look like little bear cubs," he said. Before anyone got too hurt - Bret even tried a diversion of throw the rings on daddy - we started a movie in the RV. Harmond was begging to sleep with us, which made Bret go into the other "room" and sleep on another bed, and Harmond balled up at my feet, which was EXTREMELY uncomfortable until he started complaining about his tummy and threw up around midnight. So, I haven't quite slept yet, and I need to for the long day ahead.