When you're given a three-day weekend, you make the most of every second. Sometimes, it means watching a season of Downton Abbey. Sometimes, it means driving to Mount Rushmore.
Shout-out to the in-laws for being willing to watch Charlie for us! And shout-out to US for not having human children yet, making spontaneity conceivable. (See what I did there?)
We've got a list of places. And we've decided to stop talking about them and start seeing them. Until last weekend, I had never seen those four Mr. Presidents carved in granite. So, when we were debating how we'd spend our extended July 4th weekend, Mount Rushmore was my vote. (And the wife is majority, and majority rules.)
So off we went across the Midwest to see George, Thomas, Teddy & Abe.
But before we got to our final destination, we had to stop at Wall Drug. Mainly because we needed gas, but also because of the hundreds of demanding signs we saw on along I-90. It was as if we didn't have a choice in the matter. Spoiler alert: Wall Drug is the most touristy place on the planet.
We ordered ice cream cones, then hightailed it to Mount Rushmore, giddy with anticipation.
Then, there they stood. Towering majestically. And I got a little choked up when I locked eyes with them.
Because I really, really love this country.
Yes, I took a flags with us on this trip. Yes, I marched right up to that monument with a flag hanging out of my backpack.
Because this is AMERICA!
This whole trip was incredibly last minute. We barely snagged a campsite. The extension cord we brought was 10 feet too short. We (Kyle) forgot parts of our tent. KOA suckered us into spending $50 in their camp store. In a nutshell, we are the Amelia Bedelias of camping. But we loved every second of it.
We were so wrong about you, Rapid City. There's nothing podunk about you.
You're charming and slow-paced and homey.
Art Alley, where the RC creative community has covered every inch with colorful, free-form graffiti. So fun!
If you ever find yourself in Rapid City, SD, you better find your way to Philly Ted's. Best burger I've ever had, best cheesesteak Kyle's ever had. Hands down. This counter-service business is owned by a Philadelphia native, so you won't be disappointed.
We're really good at campfire meals. Takeout & s'mores is about all we can handle.
This guy did a great job making a fire, though I doubted him at first. And this time, he didn't even make it with a shoe box and motor oil. But that's a story for another time.
We stayed at the Rapid City KOA. Every single campsite was occupied, and we had the pleasure of camping next to two 60-something-year-olds who had PhDs in Camping Science. And they were sure to point out everything we did wrong.
We took a lot of deep breaths that night.
Next up: more on Rapid City, our trip to Custer State Park, & our jaunt through Badlands National Park, complete with prairie dog pictures. And maybe a video.