Travellog Part One: The Black Hills

Note: This is being posted very quickly before I run off to work in the morning. It’s 7:17 AM. My brain does not fully function at 7:17 AM, let alone is it capable of plugging thing A into thing B to download pictures from my digital camera, especially when that process is generally fraught with little tricks that my computer likes to play on me. Pics to follow… I swear!

We have not had what you would call a family vacation in ages. I cannot remember when we did anything even remotely resembling vacationing together. Most trips consist ofeither strictly visiting relatives, or going to Rochester, MN to go to Mayo Clinic. Since the husband has been working fairly nonstop for about a year, we decided we needed to do some vacationing on the way to visit my folks this year. We started by going to the most over-hyped place in the world:

Wall Drug

If you drive on I90 anywhere near western South Dakota… or any road in western SD, northern Wyoming and Nebraska, and most of Montana… you’ve seen the bill boards. FREE ICE WATER– WALL DRUG… NEWLYWEDS GET FREE COFFEE AND DONUTS AT WALL DRUG… WORLD’S LARGEST WASTE OF TIME–WALL DRUG

Actually, it wasn’t that bad. They have this backyard for kids that mine adored. (Here’s where the picture of Son #2 sitting on a jackalope will come in later.) The only thing was that they were afraid of the giant, snarling T-Rex. Oh well. They got to shoot in the shooting gallery, play some video games, and even got some cool coloring books at the bookstore there. I found a couple of good books, too, but they were too expensive. Internet, here I come… gotta find those books.

All told, we actually piddled away two hours there, and had fun. So I guess I’d recommend a stop through Wall Drug. Whether or not you drink the free ice water.

Next we moved on to the world’s most fleabag hotel. I’d tried and tried to get the husband to decide what day we’d leave, which he finally did about mid-June. Well, you cannot get a decent hotel in the Hills on that short of notice, but we went with this national chain that’s pretty good on the whole and, while we were getting taken on the price, it had a huge waterslide for the kids.

We pulled up outside and were pretty pleased. Looked pretty good. Then we went in. Caveman Joe with his interestingly shaved head (with a long ponytail haning out the back) was registering at the desk and leering at everyone that went by. I swear I saw something crawl out of a hole near the front desk and crawl back in, but no one believed me. Then we got to our room; the lock didn’t work. Couldn’t get a new room, the management said, but they’d send someone down. Yeah. He came down to the room, looked at it and informed us it didn’t lock, and was never seen nor heard from again. We spent the night on snadpaper sheets listening to Caveman Joe rutting about in the hallway. It’s kind of amazing he nor any of his inebrated compatriots barged in at 3 AM.

The kids won’t stop talking about the waterslide, though, so it’s not all a complete loss. I guess. Still, when they emailed me for a review, I slammed them. Well, the word slammed paints a harsh picture. I told the truth.

The Hotel Hell in Rapid City? Not going to recommend that one.

But the sitter is here and I need to get my rear in gear… so Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse are going to have to wait until later.

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