Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Across the U.S.: Day 54

by Kathy 9. October 2009 18:31

<< Day 53: Custer, South Dakota  | Day 55: Devil’s Tower to Cody, Wyoming >>

Rapid City, South Dakota


Sebastian woke up early this morning—today was his birthday, and he was eager to start the celebration!

Before breakfast, he opened his small pile of gifts and cards, smiling with joy as he read each loving birthday wish.

Then he and Genevieve ran off to the playground while Ben and I prepared the RV for departure.

Our campground host, Larry, stopped by to see how we had enjoyed our stay at the Broken Arrow Campground.

Larry and his wife, Geri, have created a warm and welcoming RV park near Custer.

In planning Sebastian’s birthday activities for the day, I had considered a multitude of fun options in the nearby Rapid City area. After consulting with the birthday boy, we had whittled the list down to three activities: a giant maze in the morning, a movie in the early afternoon, and a chuckwagon dinner show with a “western gunfight” in the evening.

As we left the Custer area, we had one last, distant view of the Crazy Horse Memorial.

We chose a meandering route through the Black Hills, passing through the Hill City, which promotes itself as “the Heart of the Hills.”

The downtown area looked like a nice place to relax a bit, but we didn’t have time to stop this morning.

We passed an almost never-ending stream of bikers who had arrived early for the annual Sturgis Rally.

The Little White Church in Hill City announced that it was “Getting Ready for the End.”

The “end.” Hmmm. The end of racial hatred? The end of fear based upon ignorance? The end of suffering based upon economic disparity? The end of war based on greed? The end of misery created by those who clamber for money or power? Let’s all “get ready”!

North of Hill City, we passed a lumber mill.

Some people were fishing on the calm waters of Sheridan Lake.

The twisty roads took up through groves of trees and farmland.

We liked Biker’s Bob’s message:

As we got closer to the outskirts of Rapid City, we passed by some new housing developments.

There was also a new, large church.

In Rapid City, we did a double-take at the huge sculptural pile of lawnmowers outside of Chainsaw Willy’s repair shop.

Finally, we reached our first stop—the giant maze.

After buying our tickets, we were given cards depicting Mt. Rushmore with four blank faces. The goal was to navigate through the humongous maze to reach four separate towers. Each tower had a stamp for one of the Mt. Rushmore faces. When all four faces had been stamped, you had to find your way to the exit and present your completed card.

Genevieve and Sebastian wanted to work together as a team, without Ben or I. Off they went:

Ben and I then scurried through the maze together, laughing as we encountered deadends and backtracked around, finally finding our way to the first tower.

Posted along the maze walls were various tidbits of factual information, along with some humor.

Occasionally, we could hear the children giggling and calling to each other excitedly, and sometimes we even caught a flash of them as they ran by under or above us:

More plaques:

Here, the children showed us that they only needed one more stamp to finish:

Ahhhh, yes—this has always been a favorite saying of mine:

After about an hour of fun, Ben and I successfully found all four towers and made our way to the Exit.

The children were fast on our heels!

Our next stop was the movie theater. Sebastian had seen an advertisement announcing that the Disney 3-D movie “G-Force” was opening on his birthday, so he had put in a special viewing request.

Here are some photos of Rapid City along the way:

Arrival at the theater:

For those (fortunate) people who have never heard of this movie, the plot summary is described as: “A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire, who plans to taking over the world with household appliances.”  On a positive note, Sebastian and Genevieve both seemed to enjoy the movie very much, so that was good.

The day’s highlight for Sebastian was the entertainment at the Circle B Chuckwagon dinner this evening. We arrived early and participated in the pre-dinner activities for kids.

First, Ben pushed Genevieve and Sebastian on the merry-go-round.

We wandered over to the pen of small goats.

Sebastian and Genevieve both wanted the chance to see what it was like to fire a "real" gun. The gun had wax bullets, and the goal was to hit some hanging metal buckets.

Sebastian was first to have a turn. I think that he was a little nervous, but Dale (who runs the Circle-B, with his wife Kathy) was a patient and gentle instructor.

Genevieve was next, and approached the task with her usual determined spirit.

The children each went for a pony ride.

We all marveled at how this grey grasshopper blended in perfectly with the rocks on the ground.

We discovered the small jail cell and took turns being "captured."

Fifteen minutes before dinner, we found some good seats for the “gunfight” show.

Sheriff Dale came out and explained to the crowd that a “biscuit bandit” had raided the kitchen and stolen some biscuits.

The in a bold move, the biscuit bandit ran right past Sheriff Dale, down the middle of the walkway, and disappeared around the buildings at the other end, firing his gun as he departed.

Sheriff Dale called for all of the children to come and help find the biscuit bandit.

First, the children had to raise their hands and be sworn in as deputy sheriffs.

Sheriff Dale instructed the children to go down around the corner where the bandit had disappeared; when they saw the biscuit bandit, they were supposed to come and tell Sheriff Dale. The kids took off running down the street . . .

. . . and around the corner.

All was quiet for a moment, and then we heard loud shots, “BANG, BANG, BANG.” Then a wave of children came running back around the corner and up the street. (This was sooo funny to watch.)

Next came the bandit from around the corner. He stopped near us, facing the sheriff.

The cook was on the roof in case the sheriff needed some assistance.

Sheriff Dale asked the bandit three separate times if he wanted to give back the biscuits.

Immediately after the third question, the bandit whipped around and fired at the cook on the roof.

Which prompted Sheriff Dale to fire at the bandit, knocking him to the ground.

Sheriff Dale then told the children that they had to go and make sure that the bandit was okay, as the bandit had another show to do tomorrow night.

Sheriff Dale announced that the bandit was only shot “a little bit”; he then proceeded to help the bandit up, and the bandit hobbled off holding onto the sheriff.

Sebastian was enthralled.

All in all, I thought that the show was very well done, with a blend of the historical gunfight with some lessons to the children in using violence as a last resort, and only then to protect yourself or someone else who is in imminent danger.

We then filed into the dinner area and were welcomed by Dale’s wife, Kathy.

After a hearty dinner of cowboy fixings (beef/chicken, beans, potatoes, and cornbread), we had the pleasure of listening to Dale and his sons, Todd and Zach, perform cowboy/western music and slip in some funny jokes.

During the show, the whole crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Sebastian.

After the show, we sang our own “Happy Birthday” song to Sebastian in the RV. I stuck a candle in his bowl of ice cream, and he got to make a wish and blow out the flame.  Sebastian said that this was one of the best birthdays ever!

As the sun set, we continued driving westward.

Our destination tonight was the base of Devil’s Tower Monument in Wyoming.

(It was dark when we entered the state of Wyoming, so I didn’t get a photo of the state’s “welcome” sign.)

As we neared the Devil’s Tower, I could see the dark shape in the distance against the grey night sky. Because of the night light, the shape would dissolve into the surrounding darkness if I looked at it directly; however, it was fascinating to see it get bigger and bigger in my peripheral vision. Our campground tonight was near the base of the tower, and I couldn’t wait to see the tower’s full glory in the morning sunlight.

<< Day 53: Custer, South Dakota  | Day 55: Devil’s Tower to Cody, Wyoming >>

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin