Wow, I am blown away that it has been over a month since my last post! We are back home and settling back in after a great 2-week road trip as a family. With over 1000 photos, I will REALLY try hard to pick only some favorite or I’ll never get to the end of this, nor will you! I will also probably do a few posts to keep it from getting too long. Our ultimate destination was Orange City, Iowa for my younger brother’s wedding. But we took about 5 days to get there in order to do some sightseeing along the way. We were then in Iowa about 5 days and then about 5 more days on our return. We covered a lot of ground and really enjoyed seeing some fun American landmarks. And what a treat it was to be together as a family as we celebrated the addition of a new sister-in-law/aunt to our family. I think I’ll let the photos do the talking at this point…enjoy!
All set to hit the road! All smiles so far! (Let’s just say, if we had taken a photo of us pulling back in the driveway 2 weeks later, the facial expression MAY have been a bit different!!)
We started with a stop in Las Vegas (with caution of course!) and had a lot of fun, including the seeing the Luxor (pyramid hotel), the dancing fountains, Caesar’s palace, and M&M World. Here are some photos: These are tubes of M&Ms…who can go wrong in a store like this!
On Day 2, we headed to Zion National Park! How beautiful it was! We took a hike on a trail called The Narrows. It was about a 1-mile hike that brought us to a river. We then could continue our hike IN the river, which the kids thought was pretty great! It was quite deep and we all got nicely wet and cooled off! The further we hiked, the narrower the canyon walls got, which made it fun. Found a warm rock to dry on after getting out of the river!
This is the tunnel that took us out of Zion National Park, which I believe is one of the longest ones in the country. The drive through Zion was beautiful!
That night, we headed to Provo, Utah to stay with some friends, the Stolarski’s, for the night. We then got to go to their church and hear Mr. Stolarski preach the next day before heading out again.
This is a Mormon temple in Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We stopped to walk around and see what it was all about while passing through.
After a LONG stretch of driving (through Wyoming), we finally arrived in South Dakota! Our first stop was at Crazy Horse Memorial. It is a huge carving in the rocks to honor Native Americans. However, this was begun in 1948! The finished project is in white, while the actual progress is the brown rock.
Only about 30 minutes away was Mt. Rushmore…definitely a trip favorite! We stayed at Mt. Rushmore from about mid-afternoon through the evening program and had a great day. We walked a trail called the Presidential Trail, which gives a unique perspective of the faces by putting you more under them. This is an actual model of what was proposed for the carving.
Lauren was a trooper. She went strong until she could go no longer! The evening program was a bit too long of a wait for this tired girl!
And the drive to our hotel was a bit too long for anyone to make it!!
The following day was spent taking a drive through Custer State Park and Needles Highway. It was a beautiful scenic drive before we headed out of the Black Hills area. There were many of these single-lane tunnels to go through on the drive.
From the distance, we could still see Mt. Rushmore at times along the way!
At only 9 feet wide, this was definitely one the narrowest passes! The Needle’s Eye at the top of the drive!
Who can pass through Wall, SD without stopping at Wall Drug?! That is where these photos were taken from…all piled into a phone booth at Wall Drug!
This dinosaur was a favorite for all…
…except for this one! She was terrified when it did its thing (every 12 minutes), which was to move, roar, open its mouth and smoke.
En route to our hotel, we made a necessary detour through the Badlands. There was actually a Tornado Watch out at this point, but things never got bad and it never even rained! We didn’t spend much time here, but drove through it, stopped at a few overlooks, went climbing on the rocks at one point and saw a lot of big-horned sheep! It is an amazing place! Lauren got to stay down on the ground with me for this hike…just stopping to smell the flowers!
Some big-horned sheep that we spotted while driving.
This is just a representative photo of how Lauren entertained herself at EVERY hotel! She immediately found the fridge and microwave and played “housel”
Our final day of travel before landing in Orange City, IA brought us to the Corn Palace in Mitchell. It is actually going through some construction to update the place, but we still saw the murals made of of colored corn cobs and watched a video on how it all began:
Next stop…Orange City, IA!! I will definitely be doing more posts on this! And good job traveling this far with us!!