Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 27 The Badlands, SD

We left Mitchell & got ready for the long 3 hr 16 min drive to the Badlands. We have gotten spoiled with our short drives & this drive was going to take forever as Annika would say. I remember hearing a kid at one of our stops say “we have a long 10 hour drive home” & thought “eeeck! No way”. My goal during our drive was to secure a campground for a week in the Black Hills area. With the 4th of July coming up it was a challenge getting a site with a full weeks availabtility. I was ready to be done with this task since it was stressing me out. I finally got a spot, not my first choice, but they honored the discount the entire week & they were very friendly. I figured we wouldn’t be at the campground that much anyway so I secured our spot to get it over with. Now I can try to kick back & relax until next week when I have to find places in Wyoming.

We stopped at a rest stop & they had a really nice visitor center with Lewis & Clark info & you could see the Missouri River down the hill. I let the kids play around for a bit to stretch their legs & let out some energy. It was pretty hot out, but thankfully no mosquitoes. We got to the Badlands & had to drive thru the park to get to our campground. Luckily hubby got his National Park free pass before we left IL so instead of paying $15 to enter the park it was FREE! Sweet! The Badlands is a beautiful place. The rock formations were unique & we tried seeing if any of them looked like anything. One looked like a wolf howling at the moon and one looked like an upside down ice cream cone. I was trying to keep the kids occupied so we didn’t have to listen to the “are we there yet” routine. Annika was anxious to crawl on the rock formations, but we told her we would do it tomorrow. We had to ditch the trailer first. Of course that was the wrong answer for her, but hey what’s new right? This campsite wasn’t my first choice, but my first choice was closed due to a water break. This next one was the closest one to the park & it had seen better days, but the old couple was nice. They didn’t honor our Passport America discount & there was no hand soap or towels in the bathroom, but they were clean so I guess that was better than nothing. We were the only people at this campsite when we first arrived besides the full timers in the back, but by the late evening I counted 5 others who had shown up. It was pretty bare at our site with a few trees here & there & the kiddie park set was really old, but you could see the rock formations around us so that was nice.  It was hot hot hot & I promised the kids we would go swimming later when the sun was further down. We ate an early dinner & drove to the famous town of Wall. The street had that old western look to it which was neat. This town is famous for its drugstore. The husband & wife who owned the drug store started handing out ice cold water to strangers who came by & the rest is history. The store is now a block long with lots of souvenir shops, an ice cream parlor, a restaurant, and behind the main store is an area where you can take photos in a covered wagon, caboose, wooden stage coach, jackalope & a spitting water feature. I told Dalton to go put his foot on the hole where the water came out & he stuck his face over it just as the water came shooting out & it got him in the eye. Classic! On the other side of this area was another set of stores & at the end was a huge dinosaur body. The kids freaked out when it started & he roared loudly. They ran behind a newspaper stand (or whatever it was) & hid. That dinosaur was impressive. His eyes glowed red & smoke came out around him. When it was over I said “it’s ok it’s over let’s go” & they started to walk out in the opposite direction. I couldn’t help myself so I said “raaawwwrr he’s coming” & little Dalton’s legs took off under him. I laughed so hard. I’m mean I know, but hey I got it on video so I can laugh about it for years to come…hehe.

After looking in all the stores there wasn’t anything that I really had to have. I decided on getting just a South Dakota shirt for the kids vs getting one for the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, etc. Too many shirts so I’ll just narrow it down to the state. I wasn’t going to get it here that’s for sure. They’re prices were a bit too high for me so we went to get some ice cream instead. Poor Dalton was so tired & had the droopy eyes, but he wanted his ice cream. I had a root beer float & he was so out of it that he went to take a drink out of my cup & put the end of the spoon in his mouth thinking it was the straw.
Annika of course wanted a souvenir….sheesh, but we left with nothing because she wasn’t sure what she wanted & I encouraged her to wait until our next stop where she could get all kinds of neat cowgirl stuff. Meltdown started, but was able to redirect her with some donuts daddy bought. I know not the best way to handle that, but I was not about to listen to a screaming jumping up & down looking like a foolish kid the whole way back to the suv. I didn’t want to be THAT parent yet again.

We got back to camp just the sun was starting to set & it was beautiful. Since I promised the kids to go swimming we hurried up & got our swim gear on. I figured a quick 30 min swim would tire them out. I had to feed Emry first so Annika got Dalton undressed & then dressed him in his swim gear all by herself. She sure is motivated when she wants something pretty bad. I figured the water would be perfect since the sun was so hot all day, but it was coooold & the wind didn’t help us any. I kept dipping the kids in so they could get used to it then I womaned up & got in up to my waist so Dalton could jump in. Faaa-reezing! Needless to say we didn’t stay long since it was almost 9pm. I got them all bathed & ready for bed then let them have a snack. Annika was feeding Dalton like he was a puppy then she was patting him on the head. Hey whatever makes them get along. Got them in bed then went outside to look at the stars. Even being on vacation all summer with no place to be in a hurry & nothing pressing to do, I’m still feeling busy all the time, but that’s mainly because we’re with the kids all day doing stuff then we come back to the trailer & have to do the dinner bath routine. I’m pooped by the time it’s all done & just want to sleep so I haven’t had a chance to sit outside & enjoy the great outdoors as much as I’d like. Of course the rain & mosquitoes also deterred me from sitting outside in the evening. But this evening was so pretty with clear skies & millions of stars out. I saw 2 satellites as well. Hubby had a fire going so I warmed my bum next to it & got goose bumps all over. Ahhh so nice, but I was sleepy so after about 10 minutes it was bath time for me. Tomorrow is rock climbing day so I need to save my energy. I’m no young pup anymore…haha

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