Mt. Rushmore and beyond

In 1975, our family took a trip to South Dakota pursuing a vision of LeRoy’s Aunt Tressie, Grandma to our kids. Tressie had been in South Dakota on a harvest crew before LeRoy was born and she wanted us to see what she had seen and enjoyed. We remember the area around Mt. Rushmore being mostly just a parking lot and a viewing area. We may have even camped on the grounds.

What a difference now! While most attractions like that have an admission charge, Mt. Rushmore charges you to park but admission is free. I’m glad to see lots of young families, showing kids of all ages the majestic monument.

Our family has had an additional “kid” on this trip, the Flat Church Kid from Northridge Friends Church. (He’s similar to Flat Stanley, if you know about him.) We’ve taken his picture at all the state signs and places of interest.

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Even LeRoy and I got in one picture.

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We enjoyed the videos and displays about the making of the sculpture. I can’t remember ever seeing what the mountain looked like before the faces. We checked out the list of workers and found several Peterson and Philip names but no Willis or Pohlman names. Who knows but what some of our ancestors may have been involved in creating this masterpiece?

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The campground owners where we stayed raise wolves and we got a chance to get up close and personal with them, from the other side of the fence, of course.

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Once we were in Gillette, it was just a matter of waiting to be parked. The “park-ers” had quit for the evening because the volunteers were being treated to a dinner that evening, so we stayed in the parking lot overnight. We spent the evening playing Uno and Scrabble, two favorite pastimes from the days when our kids were younger. Next morning bright and early, we got to move to our spot among the some 2300 other coaches parked around the Cam-Plex. Our lot was convenient to the Energy Building where the youth activities were centered. The kids ate pizza there the first night and part or all of us took part in bowling, swimming and roller skating.

Any child under 12 had to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to the swimming complex so LeRoy and I HAD to attend! The actual swimming pool was hardly inhabited during the whole afternoon, but the lazy river and the slides were in high demand.

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That is the larger of the two slides and the occupants rode down on inflated tubes.

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Those are LeRoy’s feet, I think, just coming out of the big slide on a trip with Jadelyn.

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We had some rain on Tuesday evening after we arrived and more another night. With so many coaches parked mostly on grass, we were a little concerned about getting Liberty out in case of more rain, so we pulled out after Bailey’s and my craft seminar on Saturday morning. Our concerns turned out to be warranted when a big storm blew in that afternoon and many coaches had to be towed out of the bog. By the time the storm hit, we were safely on our way.

Between Gillette and Cody we encountered lots of steep grades, both up and down, even though we took what was proclaimed to be the road with the easiest climbs. At the top of a pass, we saw snow off to the side. Who can pass up a picture by the snow in late June?

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While we were there, we saw lots of animal droppings and even one paw print that we wouldn’t see at home. That’s Bailey’s foot beside it. Think it might be a bear print?

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One of our favorite stops on our Wyoming trip two years ago was at Thermopolis, so we took the kids to the hot springs this year. It amazes me that the water comes out of the ground so hot and leaves so many mineral deposits around.

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The swinging bridge is always a big hit and I’ll have you know, I didn’t touch the railing the whole way over and back!

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We’re parked at Yellowstone Valley Inn and RV Park, just less than 35 miles from Yellowstone. We spent time in Cody today and will probably go to Yellowstone tomorrow, depending on how Jadelyn is feeling. We thought at first she just had bad allergies but today she’s running a fever.  Prayers would be appreciated!

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