Friday, July 22, 2011

and in the afternoon we'll go to Disney

I'm a bit lost in my days of the week, but I think this is the order of events:

We left Nebraska Monday morning and hit the open road.  Seriously open.  I'm not sure if this photo out the front windshield is from Nebraska or Kansas.  I do see some bug smears however and Kansas had some huge suicide-seeking bugs.  The landscape was beautiful and we took lots of photos out windows, for better or for worse.

We reached the first truly unusual landscape at the Badlands. The kids were fascinated.  If it hadn't been so hot

we would have taken a few hikes, but, as Bug noticed, it was too hot to even sweat.

The Badlands were a trip to the moon.  Surrounded by flat plains and scrub, the cliffs jut out of the ground and crack open into the earth in a most amazing way. (This artsy picture with the sunflowers in the foreground was taken by CD.  Credit where credit is due.)

Our stop that evening was in Rapid City, SD.  We stayed in a fancy conference center and the boys had time to go for a swim.  A great break after all the heat of the day.
When I was in Europe as a student I sometimes heard people tell me of their plans to visit the US.  They would see the Statue of Liberty in the morning, hit Disney World that afternoon and maybe San Francisco the next day.  We attempted a similar feat on Tuesday.  I'd known it would be tough and tried to plan for it. We'd stayed only half an hour away, so we headed to Mount Rushmore early.  We didn't spend a lot of time there, but there really isn't much to do after you've seen it anyway.  A ranger talk about the carving process would have been nice, but instead, as I stood at the bookshelves in the visitor's center, I noticed a book by someone I knew,"Mr. Spy" so we'll continue our education as we read it.

The rest of the day was long. I'd told the boys that there was a nightly rodeo in Cody, WY, and that we'd go IF we got there in time.  Big mistake.  I could tell they would be disappointed (I would too) but there was nothing much we could do.  Traffic construction, bathroom breaks, other delays that the Google family never encounters. However, as we reached Cody we realized that Gertrude, our GPS, had never adjusted to Mountain time. We had a spare hour!

Off to the rodeo!  Just in time for the highest winds we'd ever experienced.  Like the crazy fools we are, we only waited for the worst of the storm to pass then huddled with other foolish tourists in the cold and searing wind.  The double rainbow and the looks on the boys (especially Bug's) faces made it worthwhile.  Another long day.  Tomorrow we'd head across Yellowstone to our rental condo in West Yellowstone, Montana and the boys would add yet another state to their list of visited places.  And we'd rest a bit.  We have five nights planned in Yellowstone.


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