Pictures are in reverse order of course, but the first one is of us going off to see the Wizard at Storybook Island. The next is the inside of the train car. I love the windows!!! It was built in 1913 and looks what I assume is about the same, except paint and seat covers. The next is during the train ride. You can see the steam engine. And the last is the broken column at the cave. It broke recently then the bottom part sank because it was so heavy. Cool.
Day two of our advenure began with me waking up to a beautiful sunny morning and an unidentified bird singing a pretty song. What a great way to wake up!! I woke up to this bird and the feeling that I need to go for a jog and enjoy the pretty morning, which doubles as therapy. I got ready without waking the boys up and jogged for about 45 minutes around the lake here and next to a very nice golf course. My legs were tired from walking yesterday and the hill jogging the past few days. It was so pretty and I didn't want to stop, but thought I needed to get back to camp.
We got cold last night and we all woke up several times, but after getting more blankets, we were fine. It got me really concerned about sleeping in Yellowstone, so Andy and I have figured that we will probably NOT do that, and just keep camping outside the park where it's not as high of elevation so not as cold. I am enjoying the camping so far although I do realize that it's day TWO of seven. We have a long way to go!! I just wish I could bring this weather with us to Cody and Yellowstone...a dry 80-85 during the day, clear, and nicely cooled off at night. And I guess if pigs flew they wouldn't land on their butts every time they tried to fly either.
Today's events began with of course, the nice run, and we took off to Rushmore Caves outside a little town called Keystone. It was pretty much all tourist attractions there but was a cute town. None of us have been in a cave before, so it was a neat experience for all of us. Ryan was done about 3/4 the way through but remained patient the rest of the way. Tyler loved looking at all the rocks and crevices the water had made. Seeing the stalagtites was so neat...many were broken off from all the non-guided touring done in the 1960's time where people felt it necessary to break them off and take home. We went into a "Big Room" (which is what they called it, how imaginitive), where there was the biggest stalatite pretty much anywhere. It was a broken column actually, but was amazing. I guess it was about 10 tons but was the size of my two little boys put together. It made me wonder about all the people who had discovered these caves and the gumption it took to dig into the ground and explore INTO the mountain. It's just not my style, but I admire and appreciate the people who do that for the rest of us to enjoy.
Right after the cave experience, we went to get tickets for the 1880 Train. It's a steam engine that takes us from the town of Hill City to Keystone and back. I've never ridden a train before and have always wanted to, so this was a great time. The sound of a steam engine whistle is so romantic to me, so the fact that we had to cross the highway about 17 times EACH WAY was perfectly fine! We did meet up with the same truck several times and I realized that people do like to wave to trains. Of course we waved back. The train about rocked me to sleep and the boys fought their sleep very hard but they livened up after we were done. We got a really cool train car that was built in 1913. I loved the stain glass on the top part of the windows. It creaked and creaked as we clicked along and it made me wonder who had ridded the car before and more importantly, what were they wearing? How do they survive in those wool outfits and hoop skirts? Or was this the time of the shorter wear of the 20's? The whole entire concept of a steam engine amazes me...I don't understand how burning coal and boiling water to create steam can pull this huge engine up a 6% grade. It's like physics, you can explain it all you want, but I'm never gonna really get it!
The last event of the day was taking the kids to Storybook Park. Oh goodness, this place was amazing...AND FREE! They had little houses, slides, swings, sets for about any kids book you could imagine. They ran and ran for about an hour. My favorite thing was seeing Pooh Bear's tree. Well, I liked the Cat in the Hat's house too, with the kids (Sally and I) peeping out the window for their mom.
After that, it was just after 5 pm and was time to get the grill started for dinner. The boys decided to argue and pick at each other for the next hour, so we took their s'mores away AGAIN for the night. They weren't happy about that and Tyler sang a sad song (cried in the tent) for ten minutes after I made the decision that yes, consequences do apply during vacation, especially when they tease/hit each other right in front of us. It's obvious that we ARE spending enough time with them, so who knows why they are doing this so badly right now. All I know is that it'd better not last forever or I'm gonna...we'll, I don't know what I'll do, but I sure won't like it!
As for the people that we've seen here, we've seen plates from 38 states and four provinces of Canada. Pretty cool! And we're not even to Yellowstone yet! I think we may drive through Sturgis just to say we did and have "been" there, and we are thinking of going to Devil's Tower. Because of the adjusted plans of NOT camping in Yellowstone, I think we should just drive and see it.
Well, it's time to get some very dirty kids cleaned off and to bed. I never knew that pea gravel on our tent site could be the main entertainment for them, but they're having a ball with it. It's making them very dirty, but who cares???!!!
I would like to mention that as most of you know, I am a partner of Siouxland Paw Prints Rescue. Vacation never stops the cat rescue business so yes, I'm checking my emails and checking in with Beth as to the adoptions and things going on. She told me that we saved yet another victim of a car and he had surgery on his leg today. I am asking anyone and everyone that if you feel inclined, Paw Prints would love to have assistance with the $350 vet bill with this cat. We have already received some donations for him, but this is a heafty, although discounted price to pay for one cat. His name is Daytona (after a car who hit him) and he's already neutered and declawed. He is a pretty tuxedo color and just hit the lottery when the person who found him injured in their driveway called us at Paw Prints. Donations are tax deductible and can be made to us at Siouxland Animal Hospital or sent to Beth or me (made out to Paw Prints of course) and sent to 2025 Bell Ct, Sioux City, IA 51104. We appreciate every single cent we get.
Thanks for the plug...we are not able to get things published in the Journal for things like this so I'm using my blog....
Anyway, I look forward to our Bighorn adventures tomorrow. What will the kids say when they see BIG mountains???? What will they do when they see the teepee we will be sleeping in?? We shall see, we shall see!