Black Hills Caverns was our first stop today. We went on the Adventure Tour – an hour+ tour through limestone caves. Our tour guide, Cooper, was awesome! He was very knowledgeable and answered all of the kids’ questions. Jake and I agreed with the ratings of the tour – family friendly and fun!
Our lunch spot was at an overlook of the dam reservoir. With our appetites tamed (at least for a bit) we drove by Crazy Horse.
And then through Custer State Park where we saw where the buffalo roam. (Along with the donkeys.)
As we wove through and eventually out of Custer, we stopped to see the Four Faces at several spots along the way.
Upon arriving at Mount Rushmore, a storm approached.
We made it about halfway to the monument viewing spot before we turned around to take shelter in the gift shop for a while.
When the rain subsided, we went to the cafe for dinner. By the time we finished, the rain had completely stopped, so we ventured back to the main viewing area to take the obligatory photos in front of the presidents and went on a walk around the monument grounds for different views of the Four Faces.
And one final photo from the nighttime program that we hung around for tonight.
Heading to the Badlands! (If you ask Shecklet #4 what you do there she will tell you, “It’s where you fight!”)
Quick stop to check out some prairie dogs.
Around 10:30am we entered the Badlands National Park. We stopped and did a little hiking. Shecklet #2 is already planning a return trip to do some more hiking!
Next up…Wall Drug!
On the way to our hotel outside Rapid City, all four Shecklets managed to talk, sing, or read out loud at the same time. 😬
We made it to our crash pad for the next 4 nights about 5:30. We’re all happy to be here!
A full day means a good night’s sleep.
When the hotel breakfast is a bust (things just weren’t working in the continental breakfast kitchen) you hit up Hardee’s for raisin and cinnamon biscuits.
The church we attended for 8:30 mass, Holy Family Church, is a parish that uses the Family Formation program that originated in our home parish. I talked with Fr. Stevens after mass and he spoke of the importance of parents being the primary educators of the faith, which is why he likes the Family Formation program. He is moving to FL this week and I told him he should bring the program to FL. 🙂
We all agreed that we enjoyed the mass – the kids thought the pipe organ in the choir loft was pretty cool. During the homily, Fr. Stevens talked about not living life in fear – not to fear things external to us and not to be fearful internally. He encouraged people to go to confession at least 4 times a year (once in each season is an easy way to remember) and how going regularly can help combat fear.
We lit 4 candles for our intentions – for our family, for a safe and fun trip this week, for Michelle, Kari, Leo, and Angela, and for the families of Holy Family participating in the Family Formation program.
The crew helped re-pack the suburban and then we stopped at Cabela’s to check out the live fish and stuffed animals.
Then we headed to the big attraction of the day – The Corn Palace.
Pit stop at the Lewis and Clark rest stop by Chamberlain, SD.
On our way to Murdo, SD. Lots of hay bales! I’m loving the blue sky and white, fluffy clouds.
Just finished dinner at the Rusty Spur. Now it’s time to swim!
We’ve been looking forward to taking this trip for months! This morning we packed the suburban, loaded up, and headed for Mitchell, our first overnight stop of the week.
After being on the road a little over an hour, we made a pit-stop at the World’s Largest Candy Store. There we ran in to the Hulk and found the TARDIS.
Next up was lunch – Dino’s in Mankato. We decorated the tablecloth while we waited for our pizza.
After eating we took advantage of the swings down the street – one of the fastest and smoothest swings I’ve ever been on.
As we left Mankato, Godzilla was reaching for a hug.
Midway through today’s drive the kids said things were going great so far!
Nothing says summer like road construction.
Stopping at the Porter Sculpture Park, we nearly blew off the hill! The kids had fun posing with the random sculptures.
Mitchell and its wind welcomed us around 5:30. We checked in to the hotel and went out to dinner- everyone clears their plates. Clearly traveling makes us hungry. Now we are off to swim.
Tuesdays are $5 movie days. Perfect opportunity to watch the new Pixar movie.
One listens to an audiobook while the other works on her “computer.”
Continuing our end of the school year tradition, we stopped at Cherry Berry for frozen yogurt and toppings. Nana was able to join us again this year.
Today was the graduation ceremony for the third graders who completed the STEP reading program. Shecklet #2 completed last of the the 12 steps mid-year.
During the spring trimester he also accumulated over 200 AR (accelerated reader) points by taking quizzes on books he has read or listened to. His teacher said she has never had a student score as many points as he did!
Shecklet #3 graduated from kindergarten today. It’s been a great year for her, full of social, emotional and academic growth. So proud of all that she has accomplished and grateful for an awesome teacher!
Jake and a team of other teachers/parents planned and put on the 6th golf tournament to benefit the Shecklets’ school. This year’s proceeds will go toward the outdoor spaces at the new school. I had the opportunity to golf with my dad, co-worker and my parents’ old neighbor. We had a great time (despite my hitting everything to the right and losing many golf balls 😬.) We even placed 5th out of 30 teams. Not too shabby! I lol forward to this event every year – such a fun opportunity to spend some time with my dad ❤️