Monday, July 9, 2012

Road Trip Recap, Part One

Remember back in the pre-digital days when you would have to sit through other people's home movies and vacation photo slideshows? This is the blog version of that experience.
Fair warning.

We got back from our vacation late on Saturday evening, but it has taken me a full day and a half to feel half-way normal again. Does that ever happen to you, where you feel like you need a vacation after just having taken a vacation? I think the reality of laundry, grocery shopping, mowing, and all the other everyday chores that you can skip while vacationing hit me hard upon our return.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip, but it was not without unexpected adventures.

On our first day, we left before dawn and drove without stopping to the middle of South Dakota. At which point, the gas light came on. In fact, the gas light had been on for some time... only we didn't notice it because someone {*cough. Chris.*} had placed a pack of gum on the dash in front of the gauge, effectively rendering it invisible. No problem, though. We had just passed an exit-ahead sign with a gas pump symbol. We could just pull in there and fill up, right? 
Unfortunately, upon pulling into said gas station we found it abandoned. In fact, the whole town {what was left of it} was empty. Like, tumbleweed and crickets empty. I might have gotten a wee bit grumpy at this juncture, since our map indicated the next exit to be some 10 miles down the road. 
The angels were watching out for us, however, and we were able to coast into the next town on fumes and prayers. We were careful never to let the gas get below a half tank after that scare though!

Naturally, we stopped at Wall Drug.

My kids love this iconic tourist trap of the west.

We also drove through the Badlands.

The Badlands were simultaneously eerie and breathtaking. I was very glad we took the time to detour through this geological oddity.

We stayed two nights in Custer State Park in a little-bitty cabin. It was cute... but not too clean. Caitlin and I ended up sleeping on top of the blankets, in our sleeping bags. The boys, however, were not bothered by dirty sheets and crawled right in {shudder}.

The wildlife in Custer, unlike the housekeeping, is first-rate.
The pronghorn deer are abundant, and not shy.
I love how this guy appears to be talking to us, while the other two studiously ignore our presence.

Mama and baby bonding under the setting sun.

There are close to 1500 free roaming bison in Custer, and we got to see a fraction of them at close range, and a lot more far off in the distance. The calves were really cute, butting heads and kicking up their heals. On our way back we also saw one lone {giant} male bison wandering right through a campground. I was glad we were staying in a cabin; that was a bit too close for my taste!

We also explored our family's favorite South Dakota town, Deadwood. On summer weekends, the town hosts re-enactments of historic gunfights, right in the middle of Main Street. The assassination of Wild Bill Hickock, and the subsequent trial of his killer, Jack McCall, were definitely highlights of the trip. The kids got to be both "deputies" and "jurors" during all the theatrical fun.
 As you can see, they had no problem getting into the violent spirit of things.

 There are just too many pictures to squeeze into one post, so check back tomorrow for the rest of our roadtrip recap. Up next: Montana, Glacier, a broken tooth, and how we were abandoned in the wilderness by our tour company.
Yeah. You're gonna want to hear this.

I'm linking up at
A Bowl Full of Lemons


  1. Exciting..looking forward to tomorrow. Fun pictures!

  2. I can't wait for tomorrow! Sounds like a memorable adventure.

  3. I know that 'gas tank riding on fumes' experience !! glad you made it!! lol ... looks like you made some great memories!!! (I'd go for sleeping 'on' the blankets too .... eeks! ha ha)

    Cheryl :)


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