3,000 miles. 11 states. 5 days. 3 girls. 1 trip.
You can say that we were a bit tuckered after the trip, but it was so worth it.
On Friday, August 31st, my sister, my cousin and I headed west. The ultimate goal was to see Mount Rushmore, but the west has so much to offer that we planned for extras.
The first day, we drove through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin (then back to Iowa for the night). We saw some gorgeous landscapes and had amazing God talks after visiting a super creepy shrine.
Since we spent the majority of Friday just driving, we made sure to check out museums and stretch our legs a little on Saturday. Before we even hit the road again, we stopped by the Norwegian museum in Decorah. Since I found out a year or so ago that my ancestors were vikings, it was really fascinating to learn about Scandinavian history. Those peeps were heroes, friends. Well.. after they stopped killing everyone. *cough*
Even with another museum and several side-of-road photo shoots, we managed to dash into Minnesota, then cross the great and gorgeous expanse of South Dakota.
We awoke dark and early on Sunday and the girls chilaxed at the hotel while I went to the nearest Urgent Care (which was 30 minutes away). Unfortunately, I was suffering from a mild-turned-excruciating toothache that just got to be a bit much, so they set me up with some antibiotics and painkillers.
Once that dullness was out of the way, I returned to the hotel to get the gals and we headed out for the main event. Mount Rushmore. And of course, we were feelin’ fairly celebratory. Especially since it happened to be Bre’s (the cousin) birthday. It was her 18th to be exact! What a way to celebrate, eh?
Side note: Rushmore was about 20 minutes from our hotel and the round trip officially tipped us over the 3,000 mile marker.
After seeing jaw-dropping creation – both the original masterpiece of God’s handiwork (I mean the surrounding landscape when you’re up there will leave you in tears) and the ambitious sight of man’s sculptiwork (I realize this is not a word), I dropped the gals off for lunch in a nearby tourist town. The town boasted a very Wild West vibed boardwalk that made you feel like you’d stepped back in time. While the gals feasted (well, ate some rushed food because the place was a zoo), I napped in the car (the drugs were easing the pain enough that I was finally able to catch some shut-eye). Tummies filled and eyes sandy, we headed back to the hotel to relax, and gear up for the two-day trek back.
The next morning, we hit the road and didn’t make it far before we found a new experience to try. Less than twenty minutes from the hotel, we passed a helicopter tour business. As we continued down the road, we fell into discussion about how much we’d like to try that in the future and the need to plan such an occasion. Ever the ENFP and game for spontaneity, I asked the gals: “Why don’t we just do it now?”
They both agreed immediately and called the moms to make sure it was okay while I made a u-turn and rushed back. With parental consent granted, we walked up to the doors of the.. CLOSED business. We were ready to wait though, as our hearts were now set on a bird eye view of the Black Hills. To our great delight, we didn’t have to wait. One of the employees came to the door, ushered us in (30 minutes before open, mind you) and had his coworker describe the tours to us. We selected a 20 minute tour that would take us around the nearby area and over to the Crazy Horse monument. The initial employee coached us on safety, checked with the pilot and took us straight out to board. We were getting premium treatment and we were ecstatic.
With the adrenaline rush of the helicopter tour fueling us, we hit the road hard and made our way through Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and most of Kansas.
We crashed hard on Monday night. Er.. we fell asleep. There were no crashes on the trip.
Anyway, we hit the road for the final leg of our journey on Tuesday and made a beeline through the remainder of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. We were crunched for time (Bre had school the next morning) and a little bum-sore after that many miles in Ronnie (the car), so we didn’t make any stops outside of gas stations and restaurants.
All of a sudden, we were home.
And we were already craving our next adventure.
Post-Script: Yes. I drove all but two hours. Sarah filled in for me some so that I could nap a little on Monday as laying down felt a lot better on my tooth than sitting up.