Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 4..South Dakota

Today we explored the great state of South Dakota.  I have to say it was breathtaking and makes you consider packing it all up and moving out west!! 

We started the day at Cabela's (for those that are not familiar..think Bass Pro Shop....just MUCH better.)  We went in and explored the store and bought a few things...I actually enjoyed going there and looking around.

We started our trek through South Dakota and stopped midway to the Badlands to eat lunch.  We ate at a place called Ditty's and when we left, Jay said that he would like to have one good meal on this vacation!! :)  I commented that I missed the southernness of NC.  There is no really sweet people with "Hey Y'all" and "How can I help you"....its more like here is a menu and your wasting my time so hurry!

After our lunch we set off for the Badlands and stopped at a scenic overlook only to look over and see a truck from Boulevard Chevrolet (Lillington, NC.)  I had to ask if they were from NC and sure enough it was true!  That honestly was the first NC license plate we have seen since we left West Virginia so it was nice to see them and very ironic that they were from right down the road!!!

We really enjoyed the Badlands, it was gorgeous!  You know it was amazing when the kids say "That was beautiful."  It is not very typical for kids to really appreciate nature's beauty.  I am attaching some pictures but they can never do it justice.  The way the clouds sat on the sky was just serene.

Our next stop was Mount Rushmore....great place to visit and see at least once.  The best part was when we stayed for the 9:00 show.  They did a Memorial Day tribute and then went on with the regular speech about the presidents displayed.  I have to give a word of praise that throughout this I have been amazed at what my kids know compared to other kids we have encountered.  While the Park Ranger was giving the speech, Haley chimed in with him regarding what he was saying...word for word.  Makes me very thankful for my HCS family and how they help us train our kids!!!

I wish the pictures could do justice to what we are seeing.  So many I want to post but not enough room on here or time!  Pray for us today, we have had a slight change in direction regarding Yellowstone.  They have had flooding and Avalanches in parts of Wyoming so we are going a different way in.  For all of you complaining about the 98 degree weather at home....we are going to 30 degree weather!!!!  How is that for a big difference!  We are getting ready to be in snow!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 3...Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota

Today we were able to go to the "Rusty Palace" also known as the John Deere World Headquarters.  It was fun to let the kids see all of the equipment and climb in for a few photos...make that a lot of photos!!  We met this really wonderful greeter there who provided lots of helpful info for when we go to Yellowstone....she had been there several times.  I plan on looking her up when we get back and sending her some pictures.  She loved the kids, especially Haley whom she wanted to take home with her.  It is really nice to meet great people along the way!!

  After visiting the display floor we took time to go into Iowa and see a friend....Jay's old boss lives in Iowa now so we were able to visit with him a few minutes which was very nice.

We had more bad weather today than we have had the whole trip.  A lot of serious thunderstorms along the way.  I had purchased a weather radio before leaving and have been impressed with the alert system, which does scare you a little when it comes on.  We are not big on radio station flipping so this was the only way to solve the problem of knowing if something was in our area.

We were driving along the Interstate in Iowa (where there is NOTHING to do) and happened to see a sign for where John Wayne was born.  Now my Grandaddy and my Daddy are HUGE John Wayne fans so we had to just ride by and see the place.

As we were getting off I saw a sign for the Bridges of Madison County...as in the movie...and thought it would be neat to see a couple while we were here.  Amazing what is out in the middle of nowhere!!

Jay said a few times that we should take a pic of the road because in Iowa you may be the only person on the Interstate!!!  We were amazed...it was the equivalent of driving down I-40 at 3 in the morning, but I still think you would see more people on 40 at that time!

We made it into South Dakota for the night and checked into our room.  About 1:00 am we had a Horrible storm with significant hale.  Needless to say it woke Jay and I up.  We were scrambling to find the forecast so we would know if a tornado was coming.  The kids slept right through it.....ahhh the joy of being a kid!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 2

Today we drove from Ohio to Illinois.  It was a little exhausting I must say...but we will reap the benefits of skipping through a few states with relatively little stopping!

I commented to Jay that I had never seen so many Bob Evans in my life...only to realize that he (Bob Evans) was from Ohio.  We drove by his farm where he lived and built the restaurant that has become a very popular eatery!

We did not do a lot of "exciting" things today. But did take the opportunity to drive through Indianapolis to see the speedway (of course Caleb asked us 100 times could we go by) they are having a race on Sunday so it was packed but nevertheless very neat to see in person.

I enjoyed seeing the open farm land and windmills along the way.  That was pretty neat...as my kids and I had never seen that.  Jay used to spend a month here every August for work so he has seen all of these sites before.  I think he has enjoyed showing me and the kids all of the picturesque farms along the way...He is a farmer at heart after all!!

Our most enjoyable part of the day was the kids learning to blow bubbles with chewing gum....I know...very silly but it was something to pass the time!!!  After awhile my neck was hurting because every time someone grunted it meant that they had a new and fantastic bubble for Mom to see!!

We did get a nice shot of the sunset while traveling.  The sky was gorgeous after we had a hard rain.

We stopped at a rest area at one point and Haley climbed in the front with me and pretended to drive.  As I took this picture I could not help but think that in a few short years this will be the case.  Made me realize just how important vacation is.......

Hope everyone is enjoying this....let me know what you think!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day One

We left after Awards Day and started the journey.  I am happy to say that the day went well!  I enjoyed teaching the kids how to read a map (I bought a Child Atlas for each of them) and we played travel hangman for a lot of the way here.  We did not even rely on TV until the last hour of the trip, which I thought was pretty good!!

We stopped in Greensboro so that my husband (being the pork lover he is) could partake of some NC BBQ  at Stameys before we left the great state of NC.

We left and went on to WV and stopped at the New River Gorge.  It was BEAUTIFUL and we are already making plans to come back and spend more time. :)  We were able to get some pictures in before we were soaked by a rainshower.  You can see the fog that came after the shower in some of the pictures. 

We have just settled in at our hotel in Ohio for the night....looking forward to driving to Illinios tomorrow.  That drive will be our longest trek.  Looking forward to our further adventures.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting Ready

We leave tomorrow!!  I can't believe that after six months of planning it is here.

Please pray for safe travels for us all and that we have a wonderful family time!

Looking forward to sharing our adventure along the way!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I began packing today for our 15 day excursion.....it is a daunting task.  It would be easier if we did not have a 50 degree shift in temperature!  Looking forward to blogging and sharing the beautiful sites we see along the way.  Pray for us that we still love each other after spending that many days in the van together!! :)