Monday, July 9, 2012

South Dakota

Upon arriving in South Dakota, we drove through the Pine Ridge Reservation.  D had us watch a 20/20 about it several months ago and wanted to drive through it since we were up there. After driving through a town just over the border in Nebraska where we saw all the drunks asleep on the side of the road, roaming stray dogs, and yard sales full of crap, the kids were terrified to get out and get a picture.  I may or may not have threatened them to get out by the sign for a picture.  :)  It was the fastest get out, snap a picture and jump back in ever!

The kids had their first "fun" thing in Hot Springs.  Fun as in something on their "to do" lists.  It's called Evans Plunge and the kids enjoyed the water slides, the rings, swings and the alligator.  little g wanted to return for his birthday.  (Which was just a week later)

We then headed up to our Hotel in Keystone, just three miles from Mount Rushmore.  When we arrived we were pleasantly, like seriously it made my trip, surprised to see Mount Rushmore from our balcony just outside our door.  It was awesome!

I was so glad that D had suggested we stay in the hills next to everything.  I was skeptical wanting to stay back in Rapid City which was just a mere twenty one miles away, but it was perfect.  We loved sitting out on our balcony looking at the Mountain Rushmore which B calls it.  The kids had a blast at the Alpine slides just a block away.  After dinner one night, we found an ice cream store that had black licorice ice cream so that was a no brainer.  And I couldn't pass up a picture in a telephone booth.  I couldn't help but think Superman was around there somewhere.  D and I made good use of that booth. :)

We were excited to get to Rapid City to show the kids where we called home for two years.  I was giddy, practically busting at the seams I was so excited.  We found a city that had changed so much.  We found a city that I hadn't really gotten to know when I lived there.  I was mad at myself for not getting "out" more.  It is a beautiful city with new bronze statues of all the presidents on every street corner down town.  The parks are gorgeous.  The kids are ready to move there and wonder why we ever left after playing miniature golf, riding in go carts and going through the maze they've heard about for years.  I loved visiting Taco Johns again and enjoyed my meat and potato burritos.  The kids thought they were in heaven with a Golden Coral with all the cotton candy they could eat.  I had a blast seeing two of my friends at the park the first night we were there.  Kay had been my first visiting teacher and then my Relief Society President when I left.  Jenny was one of my young women and now she has two children.  It was so good to see them.  The kids liked seeing our old house and seeing the base.  While driving back to Rapid City from the base, the kids pointed out that "this is where you loved that song" meaning "There Can Be Miracles" from the Prince of Egypt.

We enjoyed a train ride from Keystone to Hill City where we ate lunch at the Alpine Inn.  I had my favorite Monte Cristo sandwich.  Yummy.

We loved going through Custer State Park where the kids got to feed the donkeys and see the buffalo.  It was great to be back on the Needles highway again.  I loved the bridges, the needles, the tunnels, and the granite formations.  It was beautiful.

It was great being back at Crazy Horse.  Oh how I do love that monument.  It was a pleasant surprise thirteen years ago, having never heard of it before.  What a shame!!  How in the world can something so enormous and historical be unheard of?  It is so awesome with a neat history and meaning to the Native Americans.  To all Americans.  I hiked up to his chin on the annual Volksmarch with G on my back when he was a baby.  I hated driving away this time, wondering when I would see it again.  I will though!  I will do the Volksmarch again some day.

And then there was Mount Rushmore.  The place that I so badly wanted to see when I was a little girl.  And then to hear that I would live close by for two years.  I remember the first time, or several times I saw it.  We had just lived there one day.  G was only thirteen days old and we went for a Sunday drive.  The roads were winding and I wasn't sure what to expect.  But then we went around one more bend and there it was.  I cried when I saw it.  I couldn't believe that I was there seeing my childhood dream.  I saw it several times when we lived there and loved it every single time.  This time was no different.  After being giddy about the location of our hotel, I couldn't wait to drive up, walk through the tunnel of flags and see my beloved Mount Rushmore.  It was as grand and beautiful as I had remembered it.  And now ALL my children will be able to say that they too have seen Mount Rushmore.  We went several times while there.  The first night we got there just fifteen minutes before lighting it.  They called all the veterans or active duty servicemen down to recognize them.  I pushed D down and told him that his children would be proud of him.  That I would be proud of him.  It was awesome.  After being there four days, I hated the thought of leaving again.  I wasn't ready to leave.  It felt like home.  As we left the Black Hills for the last time and we passed the profile of George Washington, I turned to D and said, "You know how you wanted to retire here eleven years ago?  I didn't want to then because I was so excited at the thought of finally being close to family again.  But now, now I want to retire here."  It feels good and I miss it.  little g asked me again today why we ever left.  I know why, but I also know that we can return and I will.  Farewell my beloved South Dakota.  I love you.

Go to South Dakota!

Next Stop;  Martin's Cove, Wyoming


Jan Hicken said...

So many happy memories of when we visited you in SD. Thanks for sharing your return trip

Erika said...

It's so fun to visit old favorite places and relive memories! Glad you had such a fun trip. Makes me want to go take a walk down memory lane!

Anonymous said...

i've always wanted to see mt. rushmore! that is so awesome. i didn't know y'all lived there!

how fun and exciting to go back and to show the kids where y'all lived. next step should have been louisville!! :)