Saturday, August 8, 2015

Family Road Trip--Days 19-20--The Sprint Home

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Miles Traveled: 590 miles (4709 total)
States Visited: South Dakota, Wyoming
Cost of Gas: $2.79 (Chamberlain, SD) and $2.56 (Custer, SD)
Breakfast: Hotel breakfast
Lunch: Subway in Kadoka, SD
Dinner: Little Caesars in Casper, WY
Sites: Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Jewel Caves (sort of)
Lodging: Best Western Plus in Casper, WY

Thursday, June 11, 2015 

Miles Traveled: 397 miles (5106 total)
States Visited: Wyoming, Utah
Cost of Gas: $2.66 (Rawlins, WY)
Breakfast: Hotel breakfast
Lunch: Leftover pizza and snacks in the van
Dinner: Home!
Sites: Home!
Lodging: Home!

By now we were getting anxious to get home. We stayed in two different hotels between Des Moines and home. One of them was damp--the more expensive one, where we splurged on two rooms instead of one family room.

Sights we saw on our way home:
Driving by--various metal statues--bulls head, skeleton man walking skeleton dinosaur, metal cut-out of a stage coach being chased by metal cut-outs of Indians.

And 400 miles of Wall Drug Billboards! 
After about 200 miles, I was really curious to see Wall Drug. After 300 miles I decided I just couldn't give in to the relentless propaganda. So we left Wall Drug unseen.
(Since getting home, I looked up Wall Drug on the internet. The advertising is even bigger than I thought. )

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse--Looking back, we should have skipped Crazy Horse. You can't get very close yet, as it is far from finished. We could have taken pictures from the road that were nearly as good. If we'd had more time, we could have appreciated the exhibits enough to justify the fee. Still, I like to think our 28 dollars might help them finish the carving that much sooner.

We then headed just up the road to the Jewel caves. Unfortunately, they were half an hour from closing the visitor center, and no more people were allowed into the caves.
So we used their restrooms and drinking fountains, and then left. 

Note: The Black Hills of South Dakota really do look black. It's because they are covered in some kind of dark evergreen trees and through the humid air at a distance, they are black.

We were pretty worried about our van the whole time, but it seemed to run rough mostly when we drove slowly or tried to idle. Pushing it up hills, or driving at freeway speeds it did better. As part of trying to check for problems, I discovered that the air filter was packed FULL of cat food and bird seed. I've since learned that it is not that uncommon to have rodents nesting in your engine. Just one more problem with the van....

The next day we climbed up to the high elevations of Wyoming--7300+ feet. I had not realized before that we would drop down into Utah on the way home. Wyoming was so empty, it's a good thing our van never got any worse.

We stopped at Little America, Wyoming for ice cream.
And then we drove all the way home. Through the worst rainstorm yet, according to me. Casey says it was worse the night he drove in Missouri. Regardless, it was so bad that I had to pull over and I wasn't the only one. It was made a lot worse by the semi trucks rushing past and spraying everyone. It was a relief when that was over and a bigger relief to finally get home! We had a great time. 
A final thank you goes to the kids for being pretty happy travelers. It was a wonderful trip!


Katie said...

Ha ha - I love that first picture of Rushmore. What a funny family. Oh don't you just love getting home from a big long trip? Well, I really hope your Kia is good to you. We love you guys! Thanks for making the trek!

Phillip Hale said...

We've enjoyed your trip so much! When are you leaving again?

kate said...

You made it, phhhew!! That was kind of an epic trip! You did such a great job documenting it, pictures and words. Loved every episode!

kate said...
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