Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mt Rushmore Days 3,4,5

Stardate 59070.4
Day three of the vacation we went to Reptile Gardens. It was interesting to me that the favorite attraction was the prairie dogs, and not the alligators, snakes, or other reptiles. The gator show was good, but the snake show was a little boring. It rained for about ten minutes just before. We then went to Bear Country USA. It’s one of those drive through wildlife places. We saw the elk, reindeer, mountain sheep, goats, wolves, and of course, the main attraction: bears. The bears wandered around the cars, and once they had to be chased away. There was a small zoo-like display you could walk thru with some bear cubs.

July 3rd we spent 12 hours at Mt. Rushmore. The long time was because of the fireworks that night. The parking lot filled up by 10 AM, and you had to get and hold seats early. So we were up at seven, a quick pancake breakfast at the KOA, and off. It went well, the kids got pictures with actors playing Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, except about 2 PM it started to rain. It really poured from 3:30 until almost 6. April had a plastic poncho, but we all got pretty soaked. The fireworks display was the best I’d ever seen. I heard that if it doesn’t rain, they won’t do the show because of the fire danger. In reality there is only enough there for 2 hours on any other day. The rain did one thing: I retreated with the kids (and hundreds of other people) to the exhibit hall to escape the rain, and the kids played cards with the kids next to them, and were laughing and having a good time. The only down side was leaving. We were expecting to be there a while as all the cars filed out. The unexpected was that the parking was underground, so the park rangers would not let anyone start their cars because of carbon monoxide. So we sat in a parked car for about an hour and a half. It was another hour and a half back to the KOA. We finally reached it at 1:30 AM.

Today was spent sleeping, mainly. It rained here for a while. The kids went swimming and rented some four-wheel bikes. We went to the Badlands later in the evening after having a good dinner at a local diner. April, Rachel, and Patrick went on a six mile hike in the back country. I was a little nervous that they would not make it back before dark, but they just did make it. Thomas got to see some wild rabbits.

The local town of Interior, S.D., had a pretty good fireworks show of their own.

I hope everyone had a great Fourth

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