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fooled you, sucka!

guess what? we were in the black hills for an entire WEEK a fortnight back (haha, fortnight) and you had no idea!  i'm truly awesome at keeping secrets.  you'll see.  also, i'm really good at using expired vocabulary.

if you talked to me in person at any point leading up to our trip, i would've gladly told you all about our plans.  so this might be old news to you.  but as far as posting it on here, it's just that this is the internet, and i'm not naming any names, but there are creepers out here just waiting to learn that we're away from home (you know who you are).  so i decided to keep in on the DL before we left.  luckily, we got home and our house had not been robbed, and i attribute about 70% of that good fortune to the fact that we didn't publicly announce our vacation plans.  (the other 30% of our house not getting robbed can be attributed to allison, who loyally watchdogged for us, and also the fact that we live in small town iowa where the only robbery that happens is when the market charges $7 a pound for bacon.  yep.  i'm beating that horse again.)

first, a little about south dakota.  it is home to an absolute cornucopia of ghost towns, motorcyclists, and geology enthusiasts.  the dirt sparkles - i'm not even kidding; some kind of something in there.  it has perfected the art of billboard advertising.  there is a two hundred mile stretch in which there is not a single mcdonald's (or any other kind of drive thru).  lots of rocks + no mcdonald's = we were roughing it.

it ended up being a 13-hour car ride, and with two kids who do not sleep in the car, it made for long days to and from our destination.  i'm not kidding, penelope slept a GRAND TOTAL of about 45 minutes each way (and screamed for about 6 hours each way) and atticus did not close his eyes for even a half a second.  maybe to blink, but i wasn't paying attention.  that being said, though, atticus did amazingly well, considering.  he was a real trooper.

we got to todd's parents' place about 8:30 pm that saturday, after stopping on the way to visit devil's gulch (where jesse james jumped across this really deep...well, gulch, according to legend), the corn palace (what?! you've never heard of the corn palace? it's a giant castle made out of corn), and wall drug, which is basically just a tourist trap, where we bought nothing but a reasonably priced bottle of tylenol for my splitting headache (did i mention sis screamed a good half the way?).

on sunday we visited mt. rushmore and crazy horse.  and i have to say, i thought crazy horse was way more interesting than rushmore, even though rushmore did have the advantage of a giant abraham lincoln head.  but sometimes that's not enough.

monday, we visited a ghost town, complete with very creepy mannequins, including a literally-black smith.  (it was pretty punchy, as far as ghost towns go.)  in the afternoon, we took the kids for a ride on an 1880's steam train, which atticus liked but found to be entirely too loud and spent the entire time covering his ears (he has really sensitive ears).

tuesday, we visited a petting zoo, where the kids got to ride ponies (atticus hated it, penelope loved it), ride a kiddie train, and crawl around on the ground pretending to be a chicken (although, i put the kaibosh on that when atticus got chicken poop all over his hand).  the kids spent the evening playing in the hot tub...  the verdict is still out whether they liked that.  while i like to think of hot tub thumping as 'relaxing while comatose in a swirling haven of angel water,' the kids really saw it more as 'being forcibly held in a hot chlorinated puddle of doom.'  tomato, tomato.

wednesday, we spent the morning playing in the pool and spent the evening at reptile gardens, which was basically a zoo of snakes.  plus some gators.  and also some...prairie dogs.  not sure how those things made the cut onto the roster at 'reptile gardens.'  maybe they feed them to the reptiles.  atticus got to touch a python and a baby 'croc,' and we even got to see a guy wrassle a gata...and see that same guy nearly get bitten by a poisonous snake.  and that's what i call a good time. 

thursday, we tried to lay low, since i knew it was going to be a long day of driving the next day.  so we stayed at home the whole day, although i did go horseback riding with tony for a while in the morning.  (oh, didn't i tell you? it must've slipped my mind just how rugged i am.  i was a girl scout for a long time and therefore have the survival skills and horseback riding know-how of...a tweener girl in a pansy uniform.  so, none.  but survival skills and horseriding ability become minor insignificant details when viewing them from the back of a 15-foot horse.  so i did okay for myself, after i stopped thinking that every cricket i heard was a rattlesnake.)

friday we drove home, first stopping again at wall drug (we couldn't resist), and checking out al's oasis, which was basically a fancy gas station, but we were in south dakota and that's the kind of stuff there is to do along the side of the road.  it was a looong drive and we didn't make it home until 10:45 p.m.  yucko.  but we made it back alive and healthy and not lying in the hot sand amongst steer skeletons and tumbleweeds at the bottom of the badlands, which is really all you can ask for.


and now.  the moment you've all been waiting for...  the TROPHY CEREMONY:  who won the trip to south dakota?  was it todd, the diligent driver and finder of chinese food?  was it paige, the cartographer rest stop planner and feeder of offspring?  was it atticus, the contented and nearly silent passenger and movie watcher?  was it penelope, the honest-to-goodness loudest?

in a shocking turn of events, the winner of this trip was...brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (that's a drumroll)....OL' WINDY THE VIDIVAN!  she took this contest by a landslide.  she was reliable, she was fast when we needed fast and slow when we needed slow, she handled curves and climbing altitude as though she'd done it every day of her life.  she rode as smooth as butta.  she played videos to keep the kids distracted.  she fit all four of us and todd's parents with comfort and ease. and dang, she looked good doing it with her supple tan leather interior and wood-look console. and even though her power sliding doors are on their last leg, she never once complained. (the same cannot be said for me.  i complained once.  or a million times.)

so here you go, ol' windy.  you deserve this trophy goblet of pure winning.

1 comment :

todd said...

Top Shelf Vidi-Van!
Job Well Done!

The next time we driver 12 hours however we need to bring more than 4 1/2 VHS videos :)