The Trip, Part One: Black Hills

27 Jun

Suppose it’s about time I post some pictures from our family vacation. It was pretty un-Grizwold like, fun and games really. Twelve days of nothing but family and free time–unplugged from email, the news, alarm clocks and meetings. My five favorite women on the planet, and me, seeing the sites and loving life. Ahhhh.

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Rapid City

We headed out in the rain for Rapid City on a Saturday. Along the way, we hit a detour for water over I-90. That’s a first. We pulled into RC to a whopping 51 degrees. Good thing the pool and waterslide was indoors. With a bar. 🙂

Sunday morning the rain let up for a few hours, so we hung out with Humpty Dumpty, Pooh, Dorothy, Cat in the Hat and hundreds of other fairy tale stars at Storybook Island. Maybe the kids’ favorite part of the whole trip. If you get a chance, and you have munchkins with you, check it out. Did I mention it’s free?

Then it was on to the famed Reptile Gardens, a private zoo full of snakes, gators, crocodiles, birds and lizards. They also have gigantic Galapagos Tortoises, and one of them was celebrating his 101st birthday that day. It rained the whole time we were there, but most of it is indoors our under canopies. We saw a dude wrestle some gators, a really terrific bird show, and a guy play with deadly snakes.

Sylvan Lake

We headed down 16A, past and behind Mt. Rushmore, toward Sylvan Lake, a gorgeous mountain lake in the north edge of Custer State Park, along the famous Needles Highway. It was foggy, raining and really cold for two days. We did have some sweatshirts, but we were planning for a June vacation, not March. Monday morning I headed to Custer to find some breakfast for us. The temp was 37 degrees. That’s about as close as I ever want to get to snow and ice on a summer vacation.

Despite the cold and rain, we did a get a bit of soggy hiking and rock climbing in. Then, on the morning we were set to leave, the sun came out and it was summer again. Glorious day. We took one last family hike, climbed some Sylvan rocks, and headed to Mount Rushmore.

Mount Rushmore

It was Mesa’s seventh birthday. Her birthday wish: to have a party at Mount Rushmore. We saw the great faces, hiked the long trail, looked up George’s nose, and celebrated with ice cream and a happy birthday song at the restaurant.

That wrapped up the first leg of our trip. We stuffed all our things and kids back into the van and headed southwest toward Johnstown, Colorado for part two.

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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Family, Travel, Vacation


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