08 June 2010

Mt Rushmore Day 3

We made it out of the hotel with NO whining or screaming for the pool! That is a huge deal! Amelia said her favorite part of the trip was riding the elevator! The weather was partly cloudy, lending Mt Rushmore a different emotion. We drove around for an hour just admiring the land around Mt Rushmore. Justin spotted a side view of Washington's face, that photographed splendidly! Once Phillip woke up we toured the Big Thunder Gold Mine. Two brothers owned and worked the mine for nearly 30 years. They found only 10oz of gold the entire time. The morning after finding a potential big nugget some locals hoodwinked them and bought the claim while the brothers slept off a booze hangover. I felt pathetic...for the two guys who wasted a life time searching for nothing. I hope they learned something! Phillip sampled most of the rocks we found in an old rusty ore cart. Amelia helped me photograph some butterflies and a bumblebee. Justin suggested lunch in Keystone City. I spotted a Mexican joint nestled in an antiques mall. The food was really good! I was in prop heaven walking through the antique mall. There were about a dozen items I'd love to acquire, top of the list included a cute antique baby buggy.

We drove down south to tour the wind caves on our drive home. Unfortunately for us the park was having a free admission weekend so all the tickets were sold out. Huge bummer! Instead we stopped at Mammoth Park an hour or so south of the caves. I was relatively impressed with the museum. A construction crew spotted a tusk while starting excavations for some housing. Turns out the spot was an ancient sink hold turned hot tub for the Mammoths. Young mammoths would get stuck down in the water and die. The area is filled with many pristine remains of many types of prehistoric animals. The museum consists of a structure built over the still active dig site. During the tour you listen to your guide through phones, super cool to a 3 year old. I am glad we stopped. Amelia picked some pretty purple flowers before we headed home. Phillip threw a royal fit near Chadron, we made a stop and toured the local Walmart for a diversion. Amelia threw her royal fit the last 30 minutes of our ride. She really wanted to "GO BACK TO RUSHMORE AND RIDE THE ELEVATOR." Repeated in a scream about 300 times. Ahhhhh, family trips! I am finally starting to catch up, only to gear up for our next trip come Saturday morning. We are making an excursion to Hotel Reagan in Utah (aka Charity's home). I had four customers make photo orders over the weekend. It takes a long time to get the photos ready and prepped for printing. The orders are in as of this morning.

Amelia and I replanted beans for the 4th time and replanted tomatoes and peppers that died last week. Most of my other plants are looking a bit better. Last night we had a whopping thunderstorm. The evening weather was that strange, humid calm. I was anticipating a huge tornado! My plants survived once again.

Mt Rushmore Day 2

We started the day off with an hour or so at the Watiki water park sandwiched between our hotel(s). Amelia woke up the first day at 6:30 exclaiming that the sun woke her up and Phillip REALLY woke her up. She was geared to go play in the water. We ate a swift breakfast then headed down. Amelia was too chicken to try out the really cool part, which was a wet jungle gym area. We tried out the lazy river, then the hot tub, then the pool, then the hot tub, then the hot tub, then the hot tub. LOL! Phillip liked the hot tub too! Justin and I took turns trying out the cool water slides. The water had so many chemicals my eyes burned for hours afterwards.

There are so many attractions in Rapid City area that we had a hard time deciding what to do next. Amelia really wanted to see Old McDonald's Farm, so we went there. It was cute and overpriced. Amelia was very hesitant with the animals at first. A large draft horse bent his head and touched her nose with his then blew. She about panicked. She enjoyed the pony ride and a tractor ride. Phillip's eyes were larger than saucers most of the time watching all the animals. We watched a pig race, fed some tiny goats, and saw the 3 Billy Goats Gruff. The best part was the baby animal nursery filled with newborn goats and sheep. Even Phillip got some action while sitting on the ground and nearly mauled by babies his size. Amelia loved feeding them with a bottle. We also enjoyed the hatchery where tiny baby chicks, just days old chirruped away.

The kids were on the brink of no-man's land so Justin volunteered to take a long nap with them. I went out shopping to Target and Hobby Lobby. Right after naps we went to Cabela's so Justin could get a hat for his collection (one from each store he visits) and a family tent. Cabela's had another employee discount weekend so we purchased the tent for cost, saving over 50%! We had dinner in an old refurbished fire station in the downtown area. Amelia even got a fire hat to wear! Rapid City is full of Indian history. Next time we go I want to see Wounded Knee and learn more about the local history. We had another fun hour or so swimming with the kiddos in the hot tub before bed. Phillip is an official knee biter! He pulled himself up my leg and then slobbered all over my knee. So CUTE...

Mt Rushmore Day 1

We enjoyed a pleasant vacation to Mt Rushmore this past weekend. Our original plan was to attend the Jackalope Days in Douglas WY, but we did not have a tent large enough for everyone. So, we packed up to check out Rushmore. The drive up was awesome! I crocheted two hats and listened to Justin DJ our music. The kiddos held up well considering they are not great travelers. The scenery was spectacular! Everything was a lush green and a pretty native purple flower, blue flax, was in bloom. Once we entered the hills both Justin and I felt more at home surrounded by landscape taller than our home. We stopped first at the small tourist town/trap below Rushmore for lunch. We ended up getting a calzone to split and a sandwich for Mia. Phillip wowed the ladies in his new brown hat I crocheted to match a shirt.

Rushmore is quite astonishing! It was hard to imagine how Gutzon Borglum surmounted the task. We joined a little tour that stopped at four sites, where the guide spoke about each president. I never knew the Black Hills are named after the pine trees! The sap turns the bark a darkish brown, when viewed far away the trees look black! Justin amazed us all by accessing google with his new driod phone to cheat answer a trivia question from the guide. Call him if you ever get stuck in Cash Cab or some other game. Nerd! Drizzling rain followed close on our heels. We missed the majority of the rain while attending a lecture in the sculpture shed and then again in the museum. Did you know Gutzon Borglum was from Mormon stock? His parents immigrated from Denmark to SLC or Idaho, his mother joined the church entered into a plural marriage with her sister and her husband (Gutzon's father). His mother later left him and his little brother. Gutzon became disgruntled with the church and never acknowledged his birth religion! His father left the church and his second wife by the way side. Interesting! Phillip showed off his blooming crawling skills on the fun wood floor in the workshop.

Amelia found a cute little friend to play with in the sculptor's shed. She melted in the GIFT shop because she wanted a tiny bag of chocolate rocks for $6. Yah right, kid! We got ice cream instead! Next we drove to Rushmore cave. I LOVE caves! The last time we toured a cave Amelia cried the whole time. She was "super brave" and "sooo good at climbing stairs!" I've seen much prettier caves. Amelia was so funny, noticing every little light and funny rock. Her commentary made this cave especially memorable. Justin toted Phillip around much to my amusement. By this time it was after 7 pm so we headed to Rapid City and dinner. Amelia was soooooo excited to stay in a hotel. She put on her PJs super fast, snuggled down in her bed, and jabbered for an hour. I finally had to snuggle her until she stopped talking long enough to fall asleep. Phillip was zonked out before we even arrived at the hotel.