Monday, July 28, 2014

Driving, Rapid City, and Mount Rushmore. DAY ONE.


What an incredibly amazing vacation we had. Matt and I said on our way home on Saturday that it felt like we had been gone for weeks but in reality, it was only four days. But it was four really great days.

The plan was to leave at 4:30 a.m.

The plan was tossed out the window around 5:00 a.m. when I realized all kind of things I forgot to pack and I frantically ran around doing that and packing coolers. But we got on the road around 5:30.
Jackson fell asleep again by 9. He was clearly sick of the car ride. 

Olivia followed suite a few minutes later.

The next 2 hours were glorious.

Then it was time to stop. We designated our picnic spot to be Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD because I had seen it in pictures online and decided that's a sight to see. And it really was.
 This is when I realized that I forgot to pack cheese. And I packed the lunch meat I didn't care for. I also forgot mayo for Matt. The kids ate their lunchables and then we went exploring.
 Fashionista Olivia posed on rocks while Matt took Jackson to the bathroom. He hates public bathrooms so it's always a nightmare.
 So we posed some more because dang, 15 minutes is a long time for a pee break.
 But then Action Jackson arrived and wanted to show me his "cool guy" pose.
 After that, we walked to the falls. They were pretty great.

 And then this cute couple posed for a picture.
 I realized I don't have many pictures of Matt and the kids so my goal this trip was to fix that.
 But then we saw this statue. One of Olivia's favorite things is to be goofy with Grandpa Jay (my dad) and do statue poses. So we decided to copy the statue and send it to my dad. He thought it was great. AND the park ranger thought we were nuts. Hilarious, but nuts.
I mean, how can you not love this view?
We climbed the observation tower and you can't tell, but I was totally winded.
After our one hour stop, we got back in the car on our way to Rapid City, SD. That's where we were staying the first night, in a hotel. It turned out to be an amazingly boring drive until you get a little past the Badlands, then it's just gorgeous.
I absolutely loved the Black Hills. It's everything a tourist area should be, but it's so amazingly beautiful you don't even care about the billboards everywhere.
Once we checked into our hotel, we went and got some dinner at a weird restaurant nearby. Then the plan was to go see Mount Rushmore. I've had a few people tell me that the night ceremony is worth it, so we planned it just right to see it a bit in the day and then stay for the night. So we arrived around 8 p.m., about an hour before the ceremony started.

Olivia was so excited to see this. They both brought notebooks, though Jackson was doodling in his. Olivia took notes about what she saw and liked.

And honestly, it's pretty damn spectacular in person. Super lovely memorial area, the whole park was really nicely done.

Truly, the night ceremony was amazing. The night we were there, there was this group made of children and teens who have family members who have or are currently serving in the US Military. They each made up their own call, and they were on a leadership retreat. Pretty cool opportunity for those kids.
But truly, even if you don't consider yourself a real patriotic person, it's hard not to feel a little American spirit here. We saw a video on why the monument was created, why they chose those Presidents, and kind of how they did it. Which I enjoyed because to be honest, I knew very little about the memorial.

What kills me though, is that towards the end, they invite all currently serving military personnel and veterans to the stage. They all line up and they say their name and which branch they serve. Which, I don't know why, but I always tear up a little bit because you just think, they've probably served over seas and seen some really horrific things, but here they are. And some of them sounded choked up and it's just really moving all on it's own.

But there was a family in front of us who declared, "ugh, who even cares??". They were getting up to leave during this, which is just... it's so rude. It's like a slap in the face. And I know Matt would prefer I say nothing at all, but I was really pretty offended. So I replied with, "Well, as an American citizen who enjoys their freedom, I do.". Those people gave me an eye roll, but the people behind me patted my back and shook my hand. Don't even get me started on the people talking or texting on their cell phones during the national anthem. Or men who didn't remove their hats.

I guess the main thing I took away was that, even if you don't like the policies of a President, the fact remains they are the President. A certain level of respect needs to be given because that's what a good American does. You support the democracy. It doesn't always work, and it's not always the best at getting things done, but that's what this country was based on. So now when I see people who make offhand remarks about "taking the President out", it just feels more offensive to me now. Because I hope I'm teaching my kids to respect people in positions of power. It's not always the best people in there, but it's really not a job I'd want either. There is never a right answer for anything and I think when you're President you make the best out of terrible situations. It's hard to not respect a person for having the balls to try.

So that was day one. Day two was more action packed, believe it or not!


middle child said...

Sounds like an awesome trip. And I am with you on the patriotism thing and so very proud of you for speaking up. Love the pics.

thotlady said...

Some day I will make the trip to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands.

I can't believe I lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin all those years and never made the trip.

Kattrina said...

Your trip sounds so amazing! I'm glad you guys had a good time and can't wait to hear about the rest of it. And as a military brat, I feel so much pride and respect for all the military personnel and their families and I hate it when people are rude and disrespectful too. Good for you for saying something!