found! not lost blog

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver

Life is a highway

I want to ride it all night long. Well, maybe all day long, with a break at a Hampton Inn on the way… Yes, now that I’ve got my new family wheels we locked in our summer vacation: a road trip west to Mount Rushmore, The Black Hills, and the Badlands (South Dakota); and Devil’s Tower (Wyoming).  If you’re a regular reader you’ll notice this is NOT one of the many places I was looking into a few weeks ago!  The idea to do this iconic Midwestern road trip, practically a rite of passage for Minnesota families, came out from me soliciting ideas from friends about an ideal family vacation plan and hearing not once, but multiple times about how much fun their kids had on this trip.

Having grown up in Minnesota you’d think I’d have visited our neighboring states by now, but this will actually be MY first time to these states as well as my kids’. (The only one who has been to some of these sights before is my husband, who while working for the airlines was lucky enough to see almost all 50 states and many other countries!)

This is new territory for all of us in terms of our family vacations. We’ve done a lot of things, but a road trip (aside from driving to Chicago, which isn’t really a road trip) is not one of them.  I’m optimistic that the kids will enjoy the scenery, the little pit stops and snacks (always a highlight on plane rides, so we’ll be sure to pack lots of goodies), and some exploring at each of our stops.  The plan is to do the trip in a 6-7 days, and see a few of these highlights:

  • Corn Palace, 1880 Town and Wall Drug en route – all known tourist traps but I hear the kids like all the cheese!

{Corn Palace – basically a big building covered in corn}Bear Country

  • Bear Country – you drive through it like a safari, but with BEARS!
  • Jewel Cave
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • The Badlands

{That looks pretty cool, I’ve heard it is amazing to walk around in the hills}

  • Needles Highway in Custer State Park – I’ve heard you will see many bison, wild donkeys, and who knows what other wildlife approach your car
  • Deadwood – touristy, but maybe fun for the kids
  • Devil’s Tower

I found a place that looks great to stay in the Black Hills, called the State Game Lodge.  We heard the resort is nice and rented a cabin so we can spread out a bit more and because it has its own fire pit – s’mores anyone? I also liked that it’s a part of the Custer State Park Resort so there are other properties with different amenities that we can also use. In particular, the swimming beach and well-reviewed restaurant at Sylvan Lake Lodge.

It should be a fun and pretty easy trip since we get to avoid the whole air-travel-with-young-children thing and the itinerary is very flexible so we can play it by ear a little on how much or how little we want to see.  I’m getting excited to see this part of the country and will be sure to post whatever I find interesting.

My only reservation is my poor car — odds of it looking remotely new when it returns from this trip, low to none.  Now for some inspiration from our friends @ Pixar…. one of my kids’ favorite movies (the original, not the sequel!)

2 comments on “Life is a highway

  1. Jill
    July 14, 2012

    Hope you guys have fun! I went with my sister and her kids last fall during MEA and we all had a blast! We rented a cabin through VRBO in Hill City. I highly recommend hiking the full way around Lake Sylvan- it was gorgeous and the kids liked it so much they did it twice. Skip Crazy Horse- you can see it from the road and the musuem is kind of creepy. Another tip- if you plan on going to any of the caves- make reservations now- many people were upset when they arrived to find the tours full! We needs to catch up sometime!

    • found not lost
      July 19, 2012

      Jill! Great to hear from you, and thanks for the advice! We’re excited for our adventure, and yes, we’re def going to make a reservation at Jewel Cave, it seems like fun, though we can’t do the longer tour since Evie’s only 4 and they require 5-6yrs I think. Would love to catch up, message me next time you’re headed to the Cities and we can meet for dinner/drink/brunch, whatever fits your schedule!

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This entry was posted on July 12, 2012 by in adventures and tagged , , , , , .
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