We tried to break it up by going to my mom's. We also tried to have something to stop at every few hours. From my mom's, we were hoping to stop at Smith Fall's in Valentine but it was too rainy for that. Next stop was Wall Drug. Cheesy? Yes. Touristy? Yes. But free and that matters a lot. (Well, free if you don't count that we had to buy snacks while we were there as well as a few trinkets since Zeke found shark teeth fossils in one of the stores.)
|Wall Drug photo props|
|Wall Drug's jackalope|
Another perk of the ranch was that it adjoins the Mickelson Trail. The Mickelson Trail is perfect for families with young kids. It's flat and paved with hard packed gravel. It's easy to follow but still right in the thick of the views. The kids got to see the slabs of rock up close and watch for animals. We saw four chipmunks, one dead field mouse, two rabbits, and four worms. (Zeke was counting worms.) We also saw a lot of deer tracks.
|A hiking we will go|
On Tuesday, we headed to Mount Rushmore which was what Zeke liked most about the trip. He was eagerly awaiting this part so much so that on the way to South Dakota, every time he would see a billboard with the faces, he would yell, "There's Mount Rushmore!" The other big kids would then sit straight up, look out the window, and strain their eyes to see. Let's just say there were lots of false alarms. We ended up having to do our Tuesday a bit backwards and do Mount Rushmore last despite the storms that were threatening in the afternoon. Zeke's shoes were too small and wouldn't stay on his feet for long walks so we had to drive to Custer to find shoes at Shopko. So Hill City to Custer to Custer State Park, where the buffalo were a bit scarce. Then Iron Mountain Road which would have given me a headache if I had been driving given it's curves, switchbacks, one lane tunnels, and one lane bridges. Finally we hit Mount Rushmore and as soon as we got there, it started to rain so we didn't do too much walking there.
|Quintessential Mount Rushmore picture|
|D thought we need to pose in the parking garage on our way home since we were drenched, just for comparison's sake.|
Wednesday was also supposed to be a wet day so we opted to try to do an indoor activity. We headed for Rapid City and Reptile Gardens. Kai was quite excited to see the giant turtles and the koi in their pond.
|Kenson was the only one who wanted to touch the baby alligator. He waited at the end of a line of like thirty people and then touched it for approximately one second before hurrying off.|
|I love that they have this sign at the entrance. I think I need to print it off and put it on my fridge.|
|Raggedy Andy and Annie|
|Cinderella's carrage-Cinderella is actually behind Kenson. Just moments before, he had his arm around her. Then when he saw I was going to take his picture, he quickly moved away and started karate chopping the shoe on Prince Charming's pillow.|
|Engine, Engine # 9|