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September 15, 2010

South Dakota Trip

This year's family vacation was to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We went with some great friends and stayed in a cozy (very rustic) cabin for a few days while taking in some gorgeous views. And the weather? So perfect! It was in mid-seventies with no clouds during the day and lows of upper-thirties at night...just enough to enjoy a fire in the wood stove and/or fire pit.

On Saturday we visited Mt. Rushmore.  C was excited about seeing the "statues" (for about 5 minutes) and we adults enjoyed learning about how the monument came to be. It was also humbling to see the flags at half staff since we were there on Sept. 11.

That night we returned for a video presentation about the presidents, singing of the National Anthem, a dedication to all war veterans in attendance, and a lighting of Mt. Rushmore.  It was quite moving and I am really proud to be an American...despite our faults.

The next day we ventured to two more tourist traps:  Cosmos Mystery Area and Crazy Horse...

Cosmos Mystery Area is supposedly an area in the Black Hills where physics is all wackadoo.  Trees curve down (our friend Austin pointed out that this seemed to happen only to the saplings..), the cabins all are slanted but level (the picture above is how you have to lean when inside.  I got quite sick in there and basically hugged the wall the whole time).  In my opinion this 20 minute tour was not worth the $10/person fee, I could have lived without it.  Made for some fun pictures though!

We then moved on to Crazy Horse.  This was also somewhat disappointing.  The monument is really far from the visitor center and you have to pay an extra $4 (on top of the $10/person entrance fee) to take a bus to the base of the mountain.  It seems like this is really a slow process so I'd be curious to see it in 50 years when they are hopefully done with it (it's taken 62 years just to get to this point).  Right now it's just not that exciting (note C's thrilled look)...unless you are really into Native American history...then the visitor center is right up your alley. :)

Sunday Sept. 12 was also Tom's birthday!  Our friend Erika made Tom a slow-cooker chocolate pudding cake with whipped cream and topped it off with 33 candles...

 (the candles melted fast in that bonfire)
We sang our best off-key rendition of Happy Birthday and topped off the night with some bad wine with a cool name (at least it appealed to us Mommy's):

And the next day we left our wonderful vacation behind for a 6 hour drive back to Denver.
Thanks for the memories everyone, it was a blast!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like the kids did OK and no blown down tent! Also Happy B-Day to the old man!!! Al


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