Thursday, June 24, 2010

Progress Report

We made it to Montana!! It was not uneventful, but we're here. I'll go back to where I left off in Atlanta. We were supposed to head back over to my cousin's pool, for more diving board fun, but when I tried to start my car, it barely cooperated. The oil pressure light was also on and flashing. A bad thing according to the owner's manual. My cousin's awesome husband took my three older kids to the pool and my Mom, Lexi and I headed over to the dealer. They were able to get me in that day and put a new battery in my car. That was the source of both issues. Since I was already there, I went ahead and had them change out my timing belt. My cousin, Wendy was kind enough to shuttle us back and forth to the dealer. What a blessing to have that trouble there, rather than all alone at some gas station in small town Iowa or something!
As I was dealing with that, Jess called me and told me that his flight had been delayed and would be getting into Atlanta at 9pm and would be staying the night there. Score! We all packed up and headed to the Hilton right by the airport to stay with him, so my Mom could get up at that unholy hour herself and catch the airport shuttle. His flight was then canceled completely and he never made it. It would have been fun to take him out to breakfast for Father's day. Instead, he had to settle for finding our fun surprises that we had hidden at home.
We stayed in O'Fallon, MO the next night. The one after that, we stayed in Sioux Falls. We got a hotel that had a little indoor water park. This was a big hit with the kids. We also did room service, which they thought was fun. The next day we stopped at Wall drug in Wall, SD. It was probably really charming 20 years ago. It was a huge tourists trap, but the kids got a kick out of all of the photo op set ups. Then we went to the Black Hills Caverns a took a tour. This was T Jay's favorite part about the trip so far. When we were finished the kids got a bag of dirt that they could use to pan for gold and rocks. It was a total set up, but the kids loved it. It will be fun to identify them on a slow day. After that, we headed over to Mt. Rushmore. We found a new nature walk that we missed the last time that we were there. Between the caverns and Mt. Rushmore we climbed some serious stairs! Lexi really wanted to do all of the ones at Mt. Rushmore herself.
We then head through the mountain to Deadwood. While on our way, the biggest rain storm I've ever driven in started. I was glad that the bugs of all of the previous states were being washed away, until it started raining really hard. By the time we arrived in Deadwood, water was rushing across the roads and the puddles were huge! I was a little nervous that a flash flood would wipe up away. The kids counted every puddle that we busted! Needless to stay, Deadwood is still on my lists of places to visit so I can comb through all of the historic places! We continued on to our hotel room in Belle Fourche, SD and got a really good nights sleep. The next morning, I gave the kids the option to swim or get on the road and get to grandma's. They chose get on the road, so we did. Half of the drive was through the mountains and it was beautiful. At the intersection of the highway and the I-90 we stopped at a gas station. As I pulled up, I noticed a sign that said park at your own risk. I thought that was odd and proceeded to take my kids into one of the smelliest bathrooms I've ever been in. Once I got everyone relieved and reloaded back into the car we headed out. We were stopped with a bang, literally. I had backed into a cement based light pole that was in my blind spot. Aaaaah! I was so mad that I was that careless and mad that the pole was essentially camouflaged (thin and brown) right behind parking. At least now I know what they meant by the sign. We arrived in Livingston and for a mere $3600, my car can be fixed up good as new!
Jess arrived today and all was right with our world. He's got the kids out at the ranch right now while I am doing laundry and repacking for our trip to Whitefish and Glacier Nat'l park. I hope that this one is uneventful. I'll check back in soon.