Road Trip 2014-Day 5 (July 6, 2014)

The Niagara Falls of South Dakota!
(click here for today's pictures)
Before on our trips, we have played musical beds at night and up until last night, we hadn’t really done that.  Last night I couldn’t really tell who was making noises-at first I thought it was Campbell so I climbed into her bed for a bit.  But I soon realized it wasn’t her making sounds, it was Anderson who was sleeping beside her.  He was flopping and flailing and must have been dreaming.  It must have been a bad dream because it sounded like he was crying to me.  I patted his back and asked if he was asleep.  He was still asleep when he angrily answered me back “I was and now I will have to go back asleep.”  I was able to wake him up enough to ask if he wanted to get in the other bed with Daddy and he said no. Then I asked if he wanted to get in bed with me and he said “with you, yes.” So Robby moved to Campbell’s bed and Anderson and I went to the other bed.  After we moved, he did sleep well (I think) for the rest of the night.

We had a bit later start this morning since Robby didn’t run-his first day to miss running in 129 days (not that he is keeping count or anything.)  He thinks that he has runner’s knee but it does feel a bit better currently.  Breakfast was again pretty crowded but we managed and the kids all really enjoy the waffles more than anything else.  So from now on, I will know to immediately fight the crowds and start making waffles.

Robby and Campbell loaded up the car while the rest of us finished up our food-actually, I didn’t even get my food until after they had left.  My standard breakfast has become a bagel and cream cheese-and today they had strawberry cream cheese, yummy!  We then all met up at the car and the kids even managed to get a ride on the luggage cart as Robby returned it.

Our first stop this morning was back to the bridge from last night-they had a Lewis and Clark National something or another.  So we went in to check it out.  It was basically a few bulletin boards, a gift shop and a movie that Robby had to ask about.  We ended up watching the movie and it was a bit too long for my taste (or it would have been perfect if the chairs would have had a bit higher backs so I could have snoozed a bit!)  The kids still watched the movie and my boys seem to take all of this history stuff in.

Robby was busy reading about Omaha (home of Con Agra foods) and finding our next stop.  We had seen huge fountains shooting up (think mini-Bellagio) and went to find them.  They were around this huge lake that we ended up walking all around-by the end of the walk the boys had their shirts off and Campbell was in tears.  It was just hot!  My phone said it was 82 but Robby swore it must be hotter than that.  

We took our ball so we could play ball a bit and run off some steam before our 2+ hour drive to the park for lunch-well, it ended up being a very, late lunch.  Whitman even was able to walk around for a while but the grass was so wet that his pants ended up soaked.  I am sure though that did help to cool him off some. I forgot the camera so the pictures are few from our walk-just imagine us all red faced and very sweaty.  Once we made it back to the car, everyond had a drink and we almost finished off the rice krispy treats.  I made 1 and a half recipes of rice krispy treats and we have about 3 pieces left.  They are Robby’s favorite snack and now we have a new recipe that has white chocolate chips in it-delicious. (Shout out to Shannon Wilson!)

Everyone was content and we made it a few miles before Keaton said that she needed to go potty. Well, we thought she said she needed to go potty but Anderson was pretty sure that she said she wanted to ride a horse.  Whatever it was, we did stop at the next rest stop and all went potty.  Poor Keaton had the biggest scare of her life on that potty.  I think she was about to get off the potty when the potty flushed.  She jumped the rest of the way off the potty and screamed “I don’t want that to get me.”  I laughed so hard at that child.  

Back in the car, we pressed on while the Little House movies were playing in the back.  Robby did institute a mandatory rest time for Campbell who continued to ask us questions-when we will climb Pinnacle Mountain? when will we ride in a hot air balloon? and on and on.  Unfortunately, her mandatory rest time didn’t work too well. I had also passed out snack after snack until my shoulder was sore of passing things back...or maybe my shoulder was sore from digging around in my extra box looking for lemonheads for Robby to eat while driving.  (I make sure that he stays awake by feeding him lots of candy.)

We aren’t going to Wall Drug but have already started seeing signs for it.  And when we crossed into South Dakota, we told the kids and Anderson asked  “did you mean to come to this state?” and Graham asked “so we are now going south?”  Eventually, we had to turn off the movie because the kids grew tired of listening to it so we let them have their kindles to play for a while.  Graham took forever trying to find them and soon I heard Anderson shouting at him “2C, 2C.”  Took me the longest time to figure out what he was saying but he was telling Graham the number that I had written on the outside of the box.  I am glad that someone appreciates my packing system!

Our lunch started well after 2 this afternoon.  Robby had found a park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Anytime, you drive to a park that you have to pass the state penitentiary on the way, you begin to doubt the validity of the stop.  The kids did need some time to play and run around so we pressed on and weren’t frightened by the nearby slammer.  We first saw a pretty good playground that was completely empty and in the hot sun.  We tried to keep the kids from seeing it and kept driving through the park.  We soon saw why that playground was deserted-ahead there was the most beautiful falls.  It took us a long while to figure out that those falls were the falls that Sioux Falls was probably named for.

While Robby and I worked on lunch, the kids climbed on the flat rocks nearby our shaded picnic table.  Even Whitman got into the action-he climbed on top of one rock and was so proud of himself. He just stood there waving his arms and clapping his hands.  My Graham took so much care in watching out for Keaton as they walked around on those rocks-he would help her up every hard part and Campbell was often right by their side talking Keaton through the climb.

We ate our sandwiches, fruit and chips and then I cleaned up while Robby and the kids played some ball and finished climbing on those rocks.  Then we went down to the falls area-we walked around on those rocks and even found someone to take our back picture.  We saw an old mill that was once built on the side and then went into an overlook store to get some ice cream-and they only had 2 flavors left from the busy holiday weekend.  Robby promised his disappointed children ice cream somewhere else and we left in search of that ice cream.

Before we left the falls, we did go up in the tower overlook to view the falls from that spot.  I had to go and ask how much it cost and was surprised to hear that it was free.  The boys really, really wanted to walk up the steps but I told them we could walk down-I just said walk down because I was tired and hot and didn't want to climb the steps right then, I wasn’t even thinking about having to actually walk up those steps.  Thankfully, I picked walking down those 3+ flights of stairs.  The overlook was nice and more importantly windy which nicely cooled us off.  

Robby walked all the way back to the car to bring it to us.  I could see most of the sidewalk and I could see the car-and I couldn’t see Robby and didn’t see the car moving so I was puzzled.  I finally decided that Robby was pouring drinks for the kids but when he finally pulled up there were no drinks poured.  Instead he just handed them a coke bottle to share.  

A few miles down the road, I understood what he had been doing-looking for an ice cream place. The Milky Way was a happening spot-imagine about 15 people crammed into a tiny entryway waiting to order.  But it was well worth the wait for this dive and we all had ice cream.  The kids were so pleased with their ice cream and devoured what didn’t melt all over them.  I tried to clean everyone up the best I could with napkins and wipeys but really, I needed a hose to get the sticky off of us.  

Back in the car and we headed to the Corn Palace-the kids had their kindles so it was pretty quiet in the car for a bit.  I did pass back napkins to Anderson, whose nose was bleeding, and Whitman had himself a big fit because he was not handed anything.  He ruined our quietness but soon he was a sleep.

I expected the Corn Palace to be just a hokey tourist attraction and it was to some degree but we love things like that so we had a big time.  For years when we would travel, we would find the state capitol buildings and it never failed that every single one we visited was under construction.  So when Robby read that the Corn Palace was under construction, I was bummed but not discouraged.  So the front of the building was being worked on but the sides and then insides were still on display.

The Corn Palace started in the 1892.  The building now, has palace type things on top but the attraction is that there are scenes all over the building that are made from corn cobs.  I had thought that it was made from individual pieces of corn but it was corn cobs.  Because of the renovation the gift shop had moved to the floor of the basketball court inside and it filled the court.  And I love, love gift shops-I rarely buy anything except for the occasional Christmas ornament (oh, today we saw the cutest stuffed toy of Lewis and Clark that I would love to have bought for my Christmas tree but it was 30 dollars)  I do write down name after name of book that I want to see if the library has from my gift shop browsing.  All of that to say, as the kids and Robby watched the 15 minute film about the Corn Palace, I was able to browse as I pushed fussy Whitman around the gift shop...and I did find an ornament to buy (just my second of the trip.)

We had told the kids that we would pick up pizza one night and go swimming at the hotel.  We decided that tonight was as good of night as any and got the pizza.  When Robby pulled into the pizza place parking lot, the kids started cheering.  We immediately started trying to explain that we didn’t even know if the hotel had a pool or if it was working.

And a few minutes later, when we pulled up into the hotel the kids saw a huge water slide protruding from the building.  I tried to shout over their cheers “we don’t know, we don’t know.”  I was trying to tell them that we didn’t know if we would get to do this, we didn’t know if it cost, we didn’t know the hours, we didn’t know anything.  They however continued cheering because they knew we would do whatever possible to make sure that they were able to swim.

As soon as we came into the room (almost 9), Robby started telling the kids to take the clothes off and I rummaged around for bathing suits.  The water area closed at 10 so we had to get busy--our pizza had to wait.  The kids opened the door to the water place and their eyes lit up-a pirate ship area with slides for Keaton and Whitman and the huge waterslide for the others.  

There was a list of rules that we tried to quickly read-no trains, 48 inches, have to swim, wristbands-we looked around and none of that was being followed so we told the kids to have at it.  Reagan, Anderson and Graham went down first to check things out and when each of them came down that 200 foot water slide, you could tell they were having the time of their lives. You always knew if Graham was on the slide because he screamed the entire way down!  Robby told Campbell that he would go with her and down they came.  After one time with Robby she didn’t need anyone to go with her since she was wearing her floatees and we hardly ever saw her for the rest of the night.  

Keaton was on the other side of the place playing in the kiddie area.  They had a pirate ship to climb up and then 2 kiddie slides to go down.  She would go up and down them like a pro.  When I finally let Whitman in the pool, I helped him up the steps and then hurried to go and catch him.  I made to him as he was going down the slide head first into the foot of water-I swooped him up and he just grinned and went off to do it again.  He kept me on my toes but he had a great time-wore the poor kid out.  

Keaton enjoyed the little area for awhile and then was ready to go down the big slide.  I ended up having to take her down and though did it quite a few times, I really didn’t like that big slide.  But you know who did?  Whitman!  Robby would hold him as they went down and he would splash at the bottom and grin from ear to ear.  We stayed and slid until closing time at 10 and then it was back to the room for showers and pizza.

While Robby was giving the kids showers one by one, I was feeding them pizza and finding pajamas, clothes for tomorrow and folding dirty clothes.  And then while I was showering, Robby did the ice chests (fridge tonight-yippee) and worked on his cords.  With 2 computers, 2 phones, 5 kindles and an ipad to charge each night along with a night light and fan, the cord business is a serious job. Along with the cords comes the responsibility of clothes pinning the drapes clothes so it is super dark in our room.  Finally, I washed dishes and got toothbrushes ready while Robby laid out the beds.  
After all the showers happened, we were about to put Whitman into bed but we let him stay up a bit later because we are on a first floor room so he was able to stomp all that he wanted!  Then he went to bed and the others played their kindles for a while.  We finally turned the lights out around 11:15-oh, my babies are going to be tired in the morning but tomorrow is Laura and Mary day.

Now after lights out, the kids tell/ask me the oddest things.  Anderson said that the water at the end of the slide was about 4 and a half feet deep.  Campbell thought it was very important to tell me that Grannymom calls Grandpa “honey.”  And Keaton wanted to ask if we were almost going home.  I asked if she wanted to go home or stay on our trip and she said “stay with you.”  So I guess we have the ok to stay for a few more nights!

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