Monday, May 25, 2009

Aaah.... Now that's refreshing.

As some of you may know, I am an old school Mountain Dew addict. I can thank Mr. Sartin for that. Like any other Dew lover I noticed when the recipe and subsequent flavor changed. It was no longer the drink I could have a case of during a Rambo marathon but more a drink that I enjoyed occasionally. I was delighted when I discovered that PepsiCo has launched Mountain Dew "Throwback" an original recipe all natural sugar drink. I took my first drink and I immediately remembered why I had a caffeine headache for years and my teeth are slowly rotting out. It was like reuniting with a long lost friend. I know that sounds silly but just go with it. As I was doing a bit of research prior to writing this blog I am devastated to find out the drink will only be available for 8 weeks. I've only got about 3 or 4 weeks left until it leaves again sadly. Enjoy it while you can! However, if you live in Mt. Washington you will not be able to find it as I am expecting to stockpile as much as possible before the deadline.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 6 - Starting For Home

Today began with a hearty breakfast in the hotel and a prayer that today would go by quickly. At least we had a good breakfast. Joseph drove about 400 miles today and did his best to get us to Des Moines quickly but losing an hour going into the Central time zone we didn't get to the hotel until about eight. Another early early day tomorrow will be hard to do but knowing that a familiar bed, a familiar toilet, and a familiar friend will be waiting for us at home gives us energy for the trip. We stopped on the freeway today to get a picture of an awesome sculpture. If you can't tell from the picture it's a plaster cast of a real T-Rex dug up on that property being led on a leash by a human skeleton. We thought it was worth a picture anyway since we didn't have anything else to show you from today. Off to bed now. We're going to need all the energy we can get.

P.S. The free grilled chicken meal was the worst idea anyone has ever had. Just thought I'd put that in there.

From Des Moines Iowa (AKA : The fun capitol of the world)

Joseph And Devin

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 5: A Change Of Plans

Originally we had planned on visiting Devil's Tower in Wyoming today. After a restless night of sleep and too much riding in the car we told the rest of the family to go on without us and we would find something to keep ourselves entertained. We started off the day by walking to the downtown area of Rapid City. It was a nice walk and once there took pictures of the "City of Presidents". Covering 2 streets and about 6 blocks there are bronze statues of 36 of our 44 Presidents completed and standing guard on the street corners. The rest are set to be completed by next year. We took a lot of pictures and got stared at by passing motorists but it was entertaining. My favorite statues were of JFK and Nixon. The detail on them was amazing. I've posted some pictures below if you're interested.

After finishing the Presidential tour we decided to venture furthur from our hotel and see if there was any good shopping at the Rushmore Mall. We figured there might be some local shops or at least a couple of interesting tourist traps but were surprised to find the Jefferson Mall had grown wings and flown to South Dakota. The only exception were the 3 cowboy hat and boot shops. The Hobby Lobby next door didn't have anything of local flare either so Devin will have to shop EBAY for scrapbooking supplies when we get home.

Needless to say, after about 6 miles of walking and shopping we were ready to head back to the hotel. Joseph spotted a taxi during our walk to the mall and quickly put the number into his phone. A quick phone call when we were ready and we were more than happy to pay the taxi driver as much as he wanted for the drive back to the hotel. That was Joseph's first ride in a taxi and I think he'll always remember it fondly. It's off to relax in the hot tub and get some grub. We'll be starting our drive home in the morning losing 2 hours along the way. So it's going to be an early start. We hope everyone has been enjoying our blogging. It's given us a chance to unwind every night and look through all our pictures. We can't wait to get home and see the dog and everyone else. We'll be home soon.

From South Dakota one last time,

Joseph And Devin

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Blog For Tim (Day 4 Part 2)

Here are some pictures of the cemetary located outside of Deadwood. I thought you might like them.

Day 4: The Badlands & Deadwood

Today we ventured into the Badlands. An area of land built by volcanoes and washed away by the rain to leave an area of uniquely colored and beautiful rock formations. There is a 20 mile loop that takes you past the most stunning overlooks and through terrain that made you believe you were in the desert of Arizona. Who would have thought it possible to get a sunburn on vacation here in South Dakota? The meal at the visitor center in the park was nice and we ate some Indian Fry Bread which is always tasty. Probably just as good at Harvest Homecoming though.

After leaving the Badlands we drove out to Deadwood. A town of casinos, casinos, casinos, and a Pizza Hut. It was nice to look at but other than that we probably could have lived without seeing it. The Pizza Hut was nice though. The town featured the site of the infamous Wild Bill slaying outside of Saloon #10 (Now Wild Bills). We drove up to the cemetary where Wild Bill lay buried but you can read about that in part two of this blog. Tomorrow Devil's Tower and Spearfish waterfalls. Josephs foot is getting better and his limp is slowly going away. Of course he'll be fine by the time we get home. It figures.

From South Dakota,

Joseph and Devin

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 3: Rushmore, The Horse, & The Dumping Bison

It's day 3. Today was the first day we could actually look at anything we came all this way for. Of course, it couldn't be a Prather vacation without some amount of trouble. Heavily medicated and full from the omelet bar at the hotel Joseph was able to limp his way around Mt. Rushmore pretty well. It was breathtaking. I know that sounds corny but unless you've seen it, it's hard to imagine how beautiful it really is. The trip was now immediately worth it. The forecast was for rain but we managed to get through without more than two drops and got some amazing pictures. We ate bison burgers for lunch which were good but more than likely overpriced.

After some more Tylenol it was off to Crazy Horse. This was an interesting stop. Crazy Horse Memorial has been under construction for well over 50 years and only the face is completed. They rely solely on private contributions for funding the entire project. I suppose that would be the reason it cost $30.00 to get in and several more for anything else you wanted to do there but it was very cool. In 75 years or so when a little more of the monument is completed we will have to return and view the progress.

More Tylenol, Add some Pepto Bismol and it was off to the Needles Highway and scenic wildlife loop in Custer State Park. The first part of which was a crazy looping highway that would make an iron stomach flip, full of beautiful overlooks and blasted tunnels through mountainous regions. The wildlife loop featured a 20 mile drive through prairie land where bison roamed free along side donkeys and strange deer. The bison seemed to use the bathroom a lot. Enough for me to get a picture anyway. The donkeys were friendly enough to walk right up to the window and try to steal a kiss. It was a great day. Devin's car sickness finally faded as we drove back to our hotel and dinner was nice and relaxing. Tomorrow it's off to the Badlands and maybe Deadwood. We'll let you know.

Regards from South Dakota,

Joseph & Devin

For Danielle

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day Two: Injury and Windmills

We made it to Rapid City. There's not a whole lot to see here in the town besides some restaurants and stores. Everything to see is at least an hour one way or another from the hotel so even tomorrow there will be more driving. Joseph didn't sleep well last night because of the bar that shared a parking lot with our hotel. It was interesting at 2AM when the bar started kicking the drunks out. The second leg of the trip had some more exciting landscapes. Thousands of windmills lined up in Iowa were amazing.

We decided to stop at the corn palace in Mitchell South Dakota to see what all the hype was about. It would have been a nice stop to get out of the van and rest but Joseph tripped in the parking lot injuring his foot and will be completing our vacation with a noticeable limp. It made for a couple of good pictures though. After leaving Mitchell there wasn't much until reaching Rapid City. Some open spaces and finally some scenery once we got closer to here.

We are both looking forward to tomorrow. After two days of riding in the car we're ready to see what we came here for. Presuming Joseph can walk and we don't have to rent him a hover round.

Regards from South Dakota,

Joseph & Devin

Saturday, May 2, 2009

From the heart of Des Moins, Americas corn capital

As you all know we are on a big adventure this week. We have just tackled the longest drive we have done in a long while and we're only half way there. We have seen more corn fields than I would like for a life time and have seen some nice pottys on the way. I have to say that Illinois has better pottys than any other state I've seen so far. Very clean and well kept. We were pleased.

So far the family is getting along well. We were a little worried that 12 hours might be a little long to sit in a hot car and stare at corn but everyone is handling it pretty well. No car sickness, no major arguments....yet. The highlight of the drive was the worlds largest truck stop. A combination truck stop / walmart/ doctors office/ movie theatre/ crazy thing in the world. I've attached some pictures of that. It's been a long day and tomorrow will be an equally long day to get to Mount Rushmore. So it's time for bed and hopefully an early start tomorrow. More updates daily so check back. As of yet Joseph has not found a statue of his co-worker (Iowas most famous resident) but he will continue to look.

Greetings from Iowa,

Joseph & Devin