Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day Seven - Rushing

Unlike every other morning, mom and I were unable to wake, grab coffee and breakfast, and update our blogs. In fact, we didn't even know the password to the hotel until 30minutes before we left - only enough time to start uploading pictures and typing up my blog. We packed up what we could, woke the boys (who had to stay in another room since each room only had 1 bed), and prepped ourselves for another day of driving. At this point we hadn't heard form the movers so we didn't know if we'd be staying in one more hotel (most likely in Sioux Falls, SD) or driving through the night. Just before leaving the hotel, I left a small note for the housekeeping.

We saw this the night before on the nightstand, so I added to it: "Tip: Don't forget the dirty towels behind the bathroom door again"
Yeah, when we got ready to take showers, we found a dirty towel hanging behind the bathroom door. Yuck! We got a good and tired chuckle out of it and headed out to find some breakfast (since the hotel didn't offer anything more than bland coffee). My yelp suggestions are being turned down more and more often; we ate at McDonalds. As with every meal that requires straws, Clarke and I have attempted to hit each other with the wrappers (by shooting them off with the straw). Most of the time, my water doesn't require a straw so Clarke has been much more successful than me. Since we were eating on the road this time, I attempted to turn around (Clarke has sat behind me the entire trip) and shoot Clarke (I missed). Jaz called my name (also sitting in the back seat) and when I turned around, my right eye was met with a very aggressive straw wrapper. Shot in the eye! Thankfully the scenery outside remained the same for the next few hours or I would've missed how gorgeous Wyoming is.

Driving through sharp curves for the first hour, mom continued reading her book to us and before we arrived at our lunch spot, she had finished. Satisfied with the ending, we sat back and napped, read our own books, and listened to music. As I said earlier, Yelp meals have become no more so lunch was Subway for most and Burger King for the rest. We were hoping to save some time, since we had left late again, by eating on the road but when we got to Subway the line was crazy long and the "sandwich artists" took forever. Oh well, we were Alien mountain bound (also known as Devil's Tower).

Growing up, my family loved watching scifi movies and that includes Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We of course had to stop before making it to the mountain to reenact the beginning of the movie.

The picture is blurry because it is just a freeze frame from the video I took of him shaping his mashed potato mountain
There were some huge dandelions
Since we didn't have as much time as we had wanted, we only had time to do a short hike to the base of the mountain before heading back down for another 2 hour drive (including crossing into South Dakota).

For some reason, I really expected the back side to look different than the front
Nice facial hair!
Finally, we made it to Crazy Horse. Now Crazy Horse is similar to Mount Rushmore in that it is a face carved into the mountain. However, there are some stark differences: Mount Rushmore was federally funded, represents the growth of America, and only took a few years to complete. Crazy Horse on the other hand is funded primarily by admission (not federally, at all), represents the Native American culture, and was started in 1948... still not even close to being done. Eventually, Crazy Horse will not only be the face it is right now but the upper half of the Indian it depicts and the horse he is riding. Current work is being done on the hand holding the horse's mane. Since our "America the Beautiful, National Park Annual Pass" doesn't cover admission to see Crazy Horse, we had to enjoy the mountain from a near by parking lot.

If you look close enough, you can see the profile of the face and, the flat part stretching out from it will eventually be the hand
Only stopping in the parking lot to take a picture saved us the time we needed to get back on track. We made our way to dinner (which I gave up planning meals at this point, assuming everyone else would be too), which ended up being a small pizza place located in a strip mall. On our way, we actually got to see Mount Rushmore from the road and were pleasantly surprised by its size. The kids all thought it to be small but mom and I found it bigger than we expected. More on that later, though.

Backside of Mount Rushmore
At dinner, we found out from the movers that they would be at the new house to unpack on Saturday so decided to that we would stay the night at a hotel. Reservations were made for a nearby Marriott (using dad's points) so we wouldn't have to be driving in the dark at all. Also at dinner, there was a pin board map marking where various people were from. This wasn't the first of these that we had seen from our journey but it was the first that didn't have a pin in Albany (hometown) or Newberg (my current home). Jaz and I made our mark in Keystone, South Dakota.

White pin for Newberg and red for Albany
Our last official stop of the day and, really, the trip - Rushmore!

First look!
Walking along the trail to get a closer look
Well, hello Mr. Washington
Clarke, reading up on his favorite president, Lincoln
Posing like the presidents, though I don't think Roosevelt did the duck face
Sibling selfie!
We had a lot of fun posing around the monument but, as it started to get dark, we decided to head to our hotel (only 30 minutes away). I wanted to stay for the light show but, I'll be honest, it had nothing to do with feeling especially American that day. I'm saddened that at this point, our journey to Arkansas is over and I wanted to just slow down at this last stop and spend just those last few moments with my family. However, I also recognized that everyone, including myself, was extremely tired and ready for bed. I know there's still time to spend with them... like the 15 hours we're about to spend in the car together, but it just doesn't seem like there's enough. Monday night I fly back to Oregon, leaving them in the new home - a day I am most certainly not looking forward to. Well, next time you hear from this family, that's where we'll be: Fort Smith, Arkansas. Until then, friends, live long and prosper!

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