Rushing Less at Rushmore

I thought I was going to make up for random years of forgetting to call my dad on his birthday by showing up on his birthday, so he could see the kids and we could visit. I was also looking forward to seeing my Grandmother and the rest of my family. Most of them have never met all of my kids and in recent years, I’ve only seen them all together at funerals.

Except, the party was in Maryland, 4 days after we left Washington State. It’s like a 43 hour drive, I’m not sure how much the uphill=slow affects the drive time, but after about 2 days of driving past amazing things we wanted to explore and the discovery that our fuel mileage is less than what we imagined it would be… we were stressed. We felt rushed and cranky and discouraged by the amount of gas we were going through.

We decided to stop for a few days and give up on the birthday party goal.  I felt relieved and deflated all at the same time.  Also, severely frustrated because I haven’t been able to work in almost a month. I mentioned in a  previous post (Statuses you missed) that I hadn’t been online in the weeks prior to our departure and even though I got myself a new phone for the trip, our house was in a dead zone and, coincidentally, everywhere else I’ve been is in a dead zone, too. The black areas below are places where I get no service at all:

no cell phone service for simple mobile customers

everywhere I have been for the past month has no cell phone service. Thanks, Simple Mobile

Anyway… so we were frustrated and stressed. And we decided to visit Mt Rushmore, which is #7 on my list of “50 things I’ll do on the road” The instant we made that decision, the trip suddenly felt fun again. We were in Spearfish, SD (totally missed the historic fish hatchery tour darnit) and went straight to Rapid City to hang out with Dead Presidents while the day was hot, then as soon as it cooled off we headed up the (steeeeep) hill to Mt Rushmore.

Us at Mt Rushmore

Can you tell, I'm thinking "They won't show up" I was SURE he had the camera pointed too far downward. He was right. I was wrong AND I look lame. The day was still a win <3

Mt Rushmore was beautiful, the air was clean and the Ponderosa Pines were beautiful. The kids got to participate in their first-ever Junior Ranger’s Program. The Ranger on duty took his job very seriously, the kids raised their right hands and took an oath to protect the natural areas and to tell people about their experiences (video below)

Visiting Mt Rushmore 6-16-11

Maddy at Mt Rushmore

When we pulled into the Mt Rushmore parking lot, the lady said there would be a “light show” at 9:00 so we stayed, thinking we’d be seeing lasers and some neat shadow effects on the faces, but that wasn’t the case at all. it was a video about each of the Presidents and about the construction of the monument. The presentation was cool, watching a giant movie outdoors with thousands of other people, but “light show” wasn’t exactly an accurate description.


On our way up, we noticed several RV resorts and decided that once our day was done, we’d head back down the hill to stay the night. The kids had their hearts set on Mystic Hills because the sign advertised $1 pancakes.  (Note to the web designer for Mystic Hills- PLEASE lose the blinking buttons, this isn’t 1992 and it’s really an eyesore)  Anyway- Mystic Hills didn’t have any openings for a rig our size so we headed up the hill to Rushmore Shadows. We were lucky to get in first of all, because there were only 2 spaces left and since it was almost midnight, we had to wait to check in until the following day. We saved on our space rental by touring the facility and hearing the membership pitch.  It’s a nice facility and the benefits for membership are phenomenal, but we opted out anyhow.  Maybe another time, one trip at a time! If you’re in the area, you should definitely check it out. We have dreams of owning our own resort one day so it was nice to hear the history of the facility and to learn more about the company and how the resort industry operates a little.

Rushmmore Shadows hosts fun events and the weekend we were there, they had a BBQ. I stayed back at the RV with sleeping Grace (peaceful moment YES) while Brandon took the kids to get burgers, hot dogs and other things I don’t normally eat. They had a band playing and a raffle, the kids won all sorts of goodies. They enjoyed watching the band play, a local girl named Keenie Word. Here’s her newest video:

Evie enjoying the BBQ at Rushmore Shadows

At one point, Brandon was scooping baked beans up with a potato chip and Evie eyed him suspiciously, asking "Are you following the directions for how to eat that?"

Maddy won this snazzy hat at Rushmore Shadows

Each of the girls came home with hats from the BBQ. thank goodness, because their cheeks were pretty pink from a day spent in the pool

On our final night at Rushmore Shadows, we met Cliff and Barb, a couple who came from Selah, WA. They have a grandchild that goes to school with our oldest. Small world, isn’t it?

Rushmore Shadows Pool

Grace and Evie sharing an ice cream at Rushmore Shadows, poolside

So basically, I guess, the moral of the story is that if you envision having the freedom to decide, on a whim, where to go and when, then don’t arrange a trip that involves rushing from one place to another.  Chill out. Lesson learned 🙂


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