Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mt Rushmore Road Trip: Day 2 & 3 and a piano recital

Saturday morning I got up early to exercise in the fitness room, then we had a nice hot breakfast at the hotel and drove down to Mt Rushmore. Once there we checked in at the front desk and got the kids Junior Ranger packets for them to fill-out while we explored. We went on the Presidential Trail hike, just another ½ mile loop, not difficult at all, on a paved area, though a lot of stairs, and all the kids did it minus Nora who we had in a hiking backpack. I loved seeing this national monument. I had seen it depicted in so many movies but it was so neat to see it in person, close up and to learn about how it was made. I still cannot believe they were capable of making this back in 1927 when they didn't have the tools available we have now, granted it took 14 years but still, amazing! Such hard work and dedication. I love it! We finished off Mt Rushmore at the visitors center so we could see the exhibit and the kids could finish off their Junior Ranger packets and get their Junior Ranger badges.

Annabelle filling out her Junior Ranger packet:
Scott trying to do a 'nose picking' picture.

This spot just brought you to a look out point at the base of the monument.

During the hike we walked through an area that had some historic artifacts and this house had huge windows on the side that were more like mirrors. I tried to take a family picture:
And decided I needed to move closer. Here is a couple shot.
And a better mirrored image of the family :).

Inside the exhibit:


After our time at Mt Rushmore we went down to the little town there and got lunch at the only place open for business right now(off-season until Memorial weekend), Teddy's Deli. The kids and Scott got hot dogs and deli sandwiches and I drank one of my protein shakes since we had eaten out so much already and I was not really feeling like eating more of that kind of food just then. Glad I packed a couple! From there we drove down the road a couple of blocks to the Big Thunder Gold Mine. The kids panned for gold which didn't hold their attention for as long as we'd expected/hoped (you just pay to use a pan that they can share, so we got 2 pans and they took turns). While they panned I went into the gift shop which had so many cool rocks and I talked with a shop employee, or perhaps the shop owner for awhile. She had a lot of info on rocks and the Black Hills and we found a couple of cool things to take home with us; on the drive home we noticed lots of rock shops around the area, apparently they get tons from the Black Hills.

Annabelle and Jane each bought themselves a rock necklace. They picked the rock they wanted and then picked the color of necklace lace they wanted and we put them together.

Here is our gold:
 Most of the kids fell asleep as we drove to our hotel that night. All tuckered out from our long days of playing.

By the way, I forgot to mention that after calling around to about 10 hotels we choose this one because it was the only one I could find that had a pool, hot breakfast, fitness room AND a separate bedroom which is really important to us right now while Nora is 2 and needs to go to bed earlier but can't when we're in the same room with her ...the hardest part was finding that extra bedroom. Can you guess what we did when we got back? Yep, swimming pool, showers and dinner. Oh yeah, and vending machine again for the kids. I didn't want pizza again so I dropped by Qdoba and picked up a salad for myself. Yum! Later that night Scott and I got custard from Culvers which was so yummy! Who knew that recees pieces in mint ice cream could be so good? :)

Sunday morning we got dressed in our church clothes, packed up, put everything into the van, ate breakfast and then checked out and went to an LDS church in Rapid City. I love visiting LDS churches when we're on vacation, meeting people who even though are strangers, you have the same values and hold them dear. We left after sacrament meeting and made the 6 hour drive home.

2 hours after arriving home Elisabeth and Charles had their piano rectial :). I stayed home with the exhausted girls and put them to bed and Scott recorded their performances so I could watch them that night. Whew, busy weekend, but lots of fun and I loved having Scott and the kids all to myself!


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