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July 10, 2005

I'm back

Well, I'm back from vacation. And as you might imagine, I was none too pleased to see these signs in my windows as I drove up:

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Yep, Cheesehead Craig has struck again, but this time he got me where it really counts. CC put these signs up the day after I left, which means they were up for at least 3 days. The thought that my house could have persuaded someone to be anti-stadium is almost too much to bear. I must admit CC got me, and he got me good. If anyone has any ideas of how I can get a cheesehead back for this, please email me separately.

Can you believe it? "No Stadium Funding" was in front of MY house for three days! I would be really, really upset if I didn't think it was so funny! Man!

The rest of my mini-vacation was wonderful. If you are interested in all I did and saw in the Black Hills of South Dakota, click on the link below. If you aren't interested, see you later!

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First we drove to DeSmet, SD to stay at my wife's sister's house before heading out to Mt. Rushmore the next day. I was impressed with all the windmills we saw generating power in western Minnesota.

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We also stopped by the Ingalls Homestead historical site and took a ton of pictures. This is a picture of my daughter in prairie garb. More on the Ingalls Homestead later.

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The next day we headed west for the Black Hills. Before we got there, of course, we went through the Badlands. Truth be told, I think my kids enjoyed this more than anything. We got out and hiked around and I think they were impressed by how different the landscape was than what they are used to in Minnesota. In fact, we enjoyed the Badlands so much we came back the next day!

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Of course, we stopped in Wall for our free ice water at Wall Drug!

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We got to Mt. Rushmore in the early afternoon. Here is the obligatory picture of this marvel of art. While at the monument we walked the Presidential Trail, we watched the explanatory movie, walked through the museum, and shopped at the gift store. The kids, especially my oldest (10 years old), were highly impressed.

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Next we went to Bear Country USA. If you've never heard of this place, it is a nature park where the animals roam freely and you just drive through. The highlight of the drive is going through the bear area, where bears are literally walking next to your car. The kids had a blast screaming and moving from window to window trying to get the bears' attention. I got more video of this part of the excursion than pictures.

After this, we went back to the hotel to swim. After dinner, my two sons and I went back to Mt. Rushmore to see the light show (which was very, very good) and then we went to bed.

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The next day we got up early and headed south for Needles highway and Custer State Park. That was an amazing drive with great views, and as you can see, sometimes very narrow roads!

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We also saw a ton of bison, prairie dogs, donkeys, and antelope. This bison my kids lovingly named "Big Butt."

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After lunch we drove down to Wind Cave National Park, but we were unable to take a tour of the cave as the tour started 2 hours after we got there. So, we drove down a little further until we got to Hot Springs where we swam at Evan's Plunge. This place is truly amazing. You literally swim in a huge pool filled with the hot springs. The water is transferred out at 5,000 gallons a minute which means that the water in the entire pool is replaced 16 times a day. This means that you are always swimming in clean water. And if you believe in the medicinal qualities of the springs, I should be healthier for taking the plunge! Obviously, my kids loved it.

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That evening we made our journey back towards DeSmet. We stopped at the Badlands to see the sunset. Again, this was amazing and the picture above simply does not do the scenery justice.

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The next day we got up early and drove through Pierre where we saw the state capitol of South Dakota. Nifty!

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That afternoon we toured the Ingalls Homestead in DeSmet (again). This area was more impressive than you might imagine. It really brought home what it was like to be a prairie settler, and the hardships they went through. Fascinating stuff. My kids enjoyed it more than I thought they would, even though it was easily over 100 degrees.

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That night we stayed for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, a yearly play put on by the citizens of DeSmet. The play starts at 9:00 and lasts until around 11:30. It was very enjoyable and it was attended by people from all over the country and from as far away as Alaska! I was not a big fan of "Little House on the Prairie" while I was growing up, but I couldn't help get into the spirit of the festivities. The play, the acting, the "ambiance" ... it was such an overwhelming piece of small town Americana that I had a smile on my face the whole time.

Anyway, that was my five day vacation. It was a whirlwind, but we had a blast!

Posted by snackeru at July 10, 2005 9:45 PM | Life

Comments

I grew up in South Dakota and currently live in New Orleans. Thank you for that trip down memory lane.

Posted by: Jimmy at July 10, 2005 11:00 PM

You really should know better than to give keys to your house to a Cheesehead. I can only imagine your shock as you reached your driveway. Good one, Cheesehead.

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at July 11, 2005 8:04 AM

I think the bar has been raised. You two will no longer be able to leave on vacation unless you both take them at the same time!

Posted by: Brian Maas at July 11, 2005 9:14 AM

Looks like the governor and legislators all went by your house this weekend.

Posted by: SBG at July 11, 2005 9:40 AM

When I was about 6 or so, we went on a very similar trip. I have lots of fond memories of the trip, and I'm sure your kids will too. Even the temperatures were similar...

Posted by: DouglasG at July 11, 2005 11:16 AM

You might as well cancel the rest of the Backyard Border Battle. Victory is Cheesehead Craig's. It'll take some doing to reclaim bragging rights from him after that prank. Nice going, CC.

Posted by: frightwig at July 11, 2005 10:46 PM

Hilarious, frightwig. I, of course, will not concede defeat in the great Backyard Border Battle, but if there was a "best prank" competition I would lose. No doubt about it. CC is too devious.

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