All 50 Road Trip-June 3, 2018, Day 23

(click here for today's pictures)

Hot Springs, South Dakota to Rapid City, South Dakota

At 6 this morning, Robby and I woke up. The curtains in this hotel weren’t very good because it was crazy bright in our room. We were tired enough though that it didn’t matter and all snoozed perfectly well. Everyone was still sound asleep when I went to take my shower. It took a bit of time to stir the kids before they really woke up.

Reagan, Anderson and Robby took a load of stuff to the car while the rest of us went to breakfast. We ate quickly because the old hotel lady seemed to be staring at us as we ate. The breakfast wasn’t all that so we didn’t stick around too long.

Once in the car, we headed straight to Wind Cave National Park. The kids somehow know when to be quiet. They were silent last night getting into the hotel. Then this morning when Robby got pulled over for going 46 in a 35, they were perfect. No one said anything, though Keaton got a bit upset since she thought Robby was going to jail. Thankfully, he was just given a warning which is nice since we could see the 45 miles per hour sign.

We soon and safely made it to Wind Cave National Park. We saw more buffalo and a coyote in the fields around the park. Then we walked inside to pick up tickets for the tour. It was first come, first serve, and as we walked towards the door, I urged them to walk quickly to get ahead of the people in front of us. Thankfully, we did beat them, and Robby jumped in line for the tickets. We snatched the last 8 tickets for the next tour which was great.

The tour guide could not have been any better. He was really great, and everyone was attentive. The tour was about an hour and a half. We walked down many stairs and through room after room decorated with intricate boxwork. The ranger turned off all of the lights at one point. Whitman stuck right by me during all of this holding my hand, but he wasn’t scared at all.

The cave was pretty neat to see. Afterwards, we headed to the car and pressed on towards a real lunch. After last night’s supper and today’s tiny breakfast, we needed something real-ish to eat.

We found a Subway in Custer, but before we stopped we did get the car washed. It was the longest car wash ever and quite possibly the loudest. I am not sure if all of the noise came from Campbell and Keaton in the back squealing with delight or if the noise was actually from the car wash. One the car was back to white or at least semi white, we went next door to Subway.

We devoured 4 sandwiches, chips and a dozen cookies. Most everyone had my favorite chicken teriyaki. We were there for a for a good little bit enjoying our food. Then we loaded up to head to Jewel Cave National Monument. They were out of tours until 4 so we didn’t stick around for a tour. We did however, walk around the Visitor’s Center, bought an ornament and walked a short little .25 mile circle trail that was uphill the entire way.

Now by the time we climbed back in the car, the weather was warm. I know that the weather is here is about 15 degrees cooler than it is at home, but the warm air has made my people a bit fussy. I tried to explain that this was still coolish, but no one agreed!

From there, we drove a short distance to Custer State Park. Robby and I have been there before on two different occasions. The first was just us, and we enjoyed it so much that we wanted to bring the kids back. We did bring the first 4 back at some point and even have a video of them here. Today, we a bit of a bust though in Custer State Park. We did see some antelope and a few buffalo. Before we remember seeing just herds of buffalo. Also, the big attraction here is the begging burrow, but today the burrow were off in some field being resting burrow. We watched them, we waited on them and even tried to call them, but they didn’t move at all. There was no feeding of the begging burrow today.

We then drove up the Needles Highway for bit. Then we realized that was not the highway that we wanted to be on. So we diverted to the Iron Mountain Road. That is the highway that has the tunnels that frame Mr. Rushmore. We tried to get a picture but it was so bright outside that the picture didn’t really work out too well. Some of the bridges on the highway are called the Pigtail bridges and they were definitely that because we made a triple loop going down. It was a pretty drive into Mt. Rushmore. 

We walked around the exhibits at Mt. Rushmore and even walked what was open of a short trail in front of the the mountain. Of course, we took a few more pictures before heading down to Keystone for supper. We had a fear that it was already too late to find a supper spot, so we did stop at an overpriced BBQ place. Not only was it overpriced, but somehow we ended up with an extra kids meal. The food was decent so it still ended up being a much better meal than last night. Other than the cruise, we have only eaten at a sit down restaurant (not fast food) probably only 3 or 4 times. We have only had fast food maybe 4 times, but we sure have gone through 9 loaves of bread!

From Keystone, it was about 20 minutes to Rapid City. I have always enjoyed the drive outside of Rapid City because there are tons of touristy attractions to look out. Soon we were in our hotel room. It is a brand new hotel room with a complete kitchen and the price was just the same as last nights old lady hotel. As soon as we came into the room, Robby gathered the laundry and started on it. 

Right now, Campbell is finishing up her shower with Keaton and Whitman being next. The clothes are in the dryer so hopefully we won’t be up too late tonight.

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