Every summer the kids and I create a family bucket list of things that we want to accomplish or places to visit before school starts in the fall. This summer when I asked the kids where they wanted to go, they decided that Mt. Rushmore was at the top of the list. Sam’s dream vacation is to visit the Redwoods but that wasn’t in the cards this summer. We are headed to Michigan at the end of July for a class reunion so we couldn’t add another super long road trip to our summer plans. Unfortunately, Scott was unable to join us so the kids and I packed up the car last Wednesday and hit the road very early on Thursday morning. Almost exactly seven hours later we pulled into the campground which sits just six miles down the road from the Mt. Rushmore National Monument.
Normally I would have prefered to stay in a public campground but since this was our one vacation for the summer (and I had left my backup at home) I decided to splurge and take the kids to the KOA where the facilities would be a bit more predictable and there would be plenty of activities for the kids. We stayed in a camping cabin which is basically a shelter with a locking door and bunk beds. We hit the kid jackpot. There were two pools, a water slide, a climbing wall, bounce houses, playground, miniature golf, paddle boats and horses. I know. Serious kid fun zone.
Apart from a trip to the Custer Hospital and a nifty set of stitches for Alice, our trip was a blast. We were sad that Scott wasn’t there to enjoy it all with us but we know that we will go back someday.
Mt. Rushmore was so awesome that we actually made two trips to the monument. It was pretty cool because Sam and Alice had both studied government in school so they were pretty familiar with the history and information on Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. If you get a chance to visit, the nightly lighting ceremony of the faces is totally worth it.
We also checked out Rushmore Caves while we were in the area. We were all super excited for the tour but about 25 feet into the cave, Sam realized that he had a bit of claustrophobia and needed to leave the cave. I encouraged him to stick with it but after about 200 feet of a very thin route through the cave, he was in full panic mode. Alice and Paige continued on for the hour-long tour but Mason, Sam and I headed up and out as quickly as Sam’s little legs could go:) I am pretty sure that mining won’t be in his future!
The Black Hills area is so cool and we had a ton of fun just exploring the areas around our campground. One day we pulled off the road and had a picnic and a quick hike to check out the views. Gorgeous.
And this is what Sam did, every time we stopped. He loves to read. He has read this book 5 times. Oh well:)
The trip was so much fun and we will definitely be taking more road trips. The kids traveled really well and we only stopped a couple of times each way. I was really proud of all of them. We have officially become road warriors:) Here are few more shots from the trip, mostly of our fun at the campground.
The view from our campsite. Beautiful. This is actually the back side of Mt. Rushmore.
We arrived home yesterday just in time for a neighborhood bbq. We have really wonderful neighbors and it was exactly what I needed after a long drive…..someone else to cook.
P.S. Check back for a post written by Alice. She is going to give you the nitty-gritty on how she ended up with five stitches in her chin:)