South Dakota Vacation

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So, I'm taking a brief break, from DT projects, today to bring you all a little rewind of our family vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota (SD).  We left home, as quick as we could get the car packed, a couple of Saturdays ago; grabbed Panera bagels, for breakfast, in the car; and hit the open road with plans of only a little picnic lunch...
before our first big stop at the Lincoln, Nebraska, Art Festival, where, with the permission of the artists, I took several pics of pieces that really stood out to me; but for the sake of time, I'm going to save those photographs for my October Friday Faves.  The kiddos did get to make a few of their own creations, too.
By the evening of day two, we had arrived, at Blue Bell Campground, in Custer State Park, been greeted by the locals...
set up camp, made dinner, and hit the hay for an early morning drive through the wildlife loop...
for the Buffalo Roundup.  There were a couple of delays with a bunch of burros and a broken down RV blocking the roadway, and we ended up being in stop and go traffic for nearly two hours.  Ugh!  I think we may have waited until the kiddos were older had we known that might be the case.  Then, by the time we arrived, our side of the viewing area was full.  So, they ushered us all over to the north side; where we quickly set up our seats, just in time to get a glimpse of the buffalo coming over the hills.
We're told that it was a much slower process this year than in the past.  They even had to leave about 500 of the herd on the mountain until the next day, because they were being stubborn; but all in all, it was a really great experience.  We decided to pull out a picnic lunch by the car, when it was all over and while we waited on the nearly 14,000 other viewers to make their way out of the park, just so we didn't have to sit through that horrible, long line again.
Before we left the park for good, though, we did head down to the pens for a few close-ups.
This guy was one of the bulls, many of which are left on the mountain so they don't stir up trouble in the herds, blocking the roadway.  I think he was lonely.
A little ice-cream, on the way back to camp, lifted our spirits and cooled us down.
Since our first day, in SD, wasn't uber kid-friendly, we decided to make the next day all about them and went to the Reptile Gardens.  If you're ever heading through Rapid City, SD, this is a fabulous stop!  We all enjoyed the alligator show...
and our dog, Summer, even accidentally became a part of the snake show.  LOL!
Ezekiel thought the prairie dog bubble was the coolest...
and Adina fell in love with this big tortoise.
Plus, it was so fun to get to see so many critters up close and personal.
Our third day, in SD, brought the much-anticipated trip to Mount Rushmore.  We actually got our first glimpse, on day one, right after heading through a little tunnel; but it was nothing like, when we got there.
For hours, we trailed the grounds around the presidential faces; learned of why, how, and by whom they were sculpted; and even visited the sculptor's studio.  I won't bore you with all the details of such, but I will say that we were all in awe.  It was a relaxing/educational day for us all.
While Adina napped in the car (This actually became our afternoon, vacation routine.), we took the scenic way back to camp through Needles Highway.  There were so many gorgeous views, especially this time of year while all the aspen trees are standing tall in their multi-colored glory, but these pics just don't do it justice.
Our last day, before heading home, we spent doing a little souvenir shopping in the cities surrounding Custer.
Ezekiel and BJ also got to visit the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research.  You should've seen the excitement on Ezekiel's face, when he came skipping out those doors.  It was priceless!  He's still talking about those prehistoric creatures!
A Newlin vacation just wouldn't be complete without a little time to swim.  So, we made it a point to stay in a hotel on both the way out and back and had two, absolutely giddy kiddos.
That's just a few of the nearly 200 pics we took of our trip.  We couldn't have asked for better weather, except maybe a little more warmth in the wee hours of the morning, when we couldn't convince our kiddos to stay in their sleeping bags and before the sun came up over the hills, or a more memorable trip, even with the puppy puking, campfire-stained clothing, refusal to poop in a public restroom, and kiddos bickering in the car and all :)!

Thanks so much for humoring me with a little visit!  I just love it when you all stop by to see what I've been up to!  Don't forget that you have until the close of today EST to link up your entries, on Challenge #101, over at The Play Date Cafe.  Then, I'll be back, tomorrow, with a brand new color story fit for the season upon us.  Have a terrific Tuesday, ya'll!

8 comments:

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

AMAZING photos!! That round up looks AWESOME! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Lindsay said...

Oh my goodness Jinny, how absolutely fun! Glad you had a great time!

Lynn said...

Wow! Such absolutely amazing vacation! I adore all of the pictures! The kids look like they had a wonderful time!

Cath said...

Looks like a GREAT trip, Jinny!

Patrice said...

What a fun vacation! Glad you're back safely

lynn said...

wow! these pictures are awesome, jinny! i think i'd love to see the roundup:)

Andrea Ewen said...

What fun pictures! Looks and sounds like you had an awesome time! I can see that you have plenty of scrapbooking inspiration, now!

Maria said...

Fabulous vacation pics!!! Thank you for sharing!!!