Showing posts from September, 2012

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Wild West Road Trip: The Black Hills of South Dakota

Southwest South Dakota has A LOT of things to do! After spending half the day at Mt. Rushmore, we headed toward Custer State Park.  The only way to go is directly through the Black Hills, the mountain range that Mt. Rushmore is carved into.  

It is a beautiful drive with several places to pull over.  I took this shot from one of those places.  There are a lot of winding curves though, so it is not a quick drive.  You must just relax and enjoy the scenery.  If you are in a hurry, do not head south after Mt. Rushmore. :)

Excuse the horrible reflection on the window, but this is a one car only tunnel directly through the Black Hills.  Like I said, relax and enjoy the ride.  I took some video of trying to get through the tunnel.    

As you saw in the video and in the picture below, if you pay attention, you will be rewarded with distant views of Mt. Rushmore.  It was actually neat to see it from so far away.  It seemed so strange and out of place.  I guess I get so excited because seeing it …

Wild West Road Trip: Mt. Rushmore

After our bad day in the Badlands, we were excited to be back on the road.  Next on the agenda was an American icon, Mt. Rushmore.

It was a super hot day, which I did not expect in South Dakota, so we lathered up with sun screen and joined the hoards of other people waiting to see what we had all seen in our school books growing up.  At Mt. Rushmore you can view the Presidents, but they also have a gift shop, restaurant, amphitheater, museum, trail and artist's studio.  Some of these places are less crowded than others.  Naturally, the food area and place to buy stuff is packed! The museum is a little less crowded and the trail was THE place to escape the crowds.
The Avenue of Flags is fun for kids.  Just ask them to find their home state flag.  Ours was super easy since it is the first one on the left side.  Then we had to search for my daughter's, since she was born in a different state.  
We also took this time to peruse the gift shop.  I was able to  find a South Dakota s…

Wild West Road Trip: Bad day in the Badlands

Sometimes things don't go as planned.  That is bad enough when you are close to home, with all the conveniences that you are accustomed to.  But when you are in the middle of the Badlands it is a whole different ball game! I mean look at that landscape, nothing but... landscape! :)  After our lunch and checking out the Ben Reifel visitor center, we were ready to hit the road again.  We had only seen about a fourth of the park and we were ready to see the rest.  Unfortunately, our car had other plans! To make a long story short, we somehow managed to set off the theft deterrent system in our car.  It thought we were trying to steal it, so it wouldn't start.  I always try to look on the bright side of things and believe it or not, this story has a few bright sides.  First of all, we were parked at the visitor center.  This is the only place on the entire Badlands loop with food, AC and nice restrooms.  Since we ended up spending the next four hours there, that was a GREAT thing…

Wild West Road Trip: The Badlands, South Dakota

As the sign reads, this is The Big Badlands! After driving across South Dakota the day before, we finally arrived at one of our big stops, Badlands National Park.  It was like nothing we had ever seen, or at least my husband and kids had ever seen, I came here as a child. :)  It is hard to describe a landscape that doesn't really compare to anything else.  It kind of reminds me of the Grand Canyon, except that it is so spread out.  It also makes me think of the Napali Coast in Hawaii. But while it has the same shapes as the Napali Coast, Hawaii is lush and tropical, which the Badlands clearly are not!  I think the Badlands are best described in pictures.  Then you can decide what they might compare to. 

One thing is for sure, if you have small children you better stay on the pathways or hold their hands.  My kids scared me to death getting WAY to close to the edge for my liking!

I, on the other hand, did not heed my own advise and took this video for you.  I swear it didn't seem…

Oprah's Lifeclass Experience: Chicago

Recently I was blessed with tickets to Harpo Studios in Chicago, IL to see a taping of Oprah's Lifeclass with Iyanla Vanzant.  What an exciting experience! Definitely something that not a lot of people get to do.  Honestly, I could attend every taping and never get tired of it.  I am a huge fan of Lifeclass, as well as many of the new shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN.  My favorite shows are ones that teach me something or help me grow as a person.  Super Soul Sunday is the best, along with Lifeclass, Our America (with Lisa Ling) and Oprah's Next Chapter.  Anyway, it was a blast and I wanted to share my experience with you.  Here are my pictures and even a few videos from that day.  

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