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Saturday, August 20, 2011

South Dakota: Badlands and Mt Rushmore

We left the Sarnia Walmart early on the 18th and spent the day driving and driving and more driving. We ended up driving to Morris Illinois which is just West of the outskirts of Chicago on  Hwy 80. After driving 689KM's we were happy to settle in for the night at the Morris Walmart.
Early on the 19th we were up and driving once again. When we hit Iowa we discovered that a lot of their rest areas have dump stations

so we decided to stop, use their facilities and let the girls out for a bit while we made lunch. They had a great time climbing the one tree that had low enough branched to climb.




There were many butterflies flying around but they were all camera shy.

We headed back on the road until we arrived in Sioux Falls where the Spring flooding was still evident. I was too busy looking at the devastation to concentrate on photos.
 Finally we ended up at the Sioux Falls Walmart and after travelling 935KM's today we were glad to stop!
This morning we were up early once again and back out on the highway. We are so thankful that both Sierra and Aayla are pretty good travelers for the most part. With such long days of driving I am amazed at how well they are doing as a whole.

As we left the parking lot, the sky threatened to rain, but in doing so made a beautiful light show in the sky.

It did rain a bit on the drive but in the end the sun won that battle :)

We passed field after field of sunflowers today. A nice change from all the corn fields we saw in Illinois. I swear half of Illinois is corn fields! (excuse the blurry photos...no time to stop on the highway)


Finally we arrived at Badlands National Park.
Our America the Beautiful Pass came through once again and we did not have to pay the $15.00 entrance fee. We have had so much fun visiting friends and family this past month but it was nice to do a bit of sight seeing again and the girls sure had fun climbing all over the rock formations.





Hold my hand daddy please...

No Daddy you stay there....

OK Daddy maybe I do need a little bit of help :)

Take a look at that stance...can you say attitude!


I just can't walk by a flower :)







Can you see the bird?

Here is the birds little home

WeeeeeeeEEEeeeeeee

We found a few toads

Will he turn into a prince???






Sierra don't pick the...flowers...ok well I guess since it's already picked
 I can take a picture







Nope I'm not moving!!!






Sierra like the Hippo-like Rhinoserous and Aayla liked the bunny

As we sped along we saw pronghorns

Prairie dogs...

and mountain goats???

When leaving the Badlands we drove through the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands but we didn't see any buffalo but we did see some pretty fields.




We then Headed to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
















Meadow...this special pose was just for you!






Cheeky monkey

There was a choir practicing while we were there


Last look at Mt Rushmore

 While we were visiting at Mt Rushmore we saw this Ranger and spoke to him a couple of times and as we were leaving he followed us to our trailer and handed the girls Jr Ranger badges. He said since we didn't have time on this trip to do the program, he still wanted the girls to get a badge to take back home to BC. Awww! Thank you so much!!! We haven't done any ranger programs this summer as we found a lot of them don't offer Ranger programs for preschoolers so we stopped asking somewhere along the way, figuring we would start the Jr Ranger programs at a later time :)

We left Mt Rushmore and headed back into Rapid City to Cabelas for the night.  It's hard to believe that today we saw the Badlands, Mt Rushmore and still managed to travel 689KM's again today. We are on warp speed home with a day at Yellowstone planned very shortly :)
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