Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day One of our Weekend in South Dakota (Vacation Post #2)

We got up early Saturday morning and left Billings for Rapid City, South Dakota. I have quite a few pictures of Randey's niece's children that were taken while we were in Billings, but I don't want to post them because I don't think she or her husband would appreciate that too much. Just trust me when I say they are beautiful girls who look absolutely nothing alike! And I mean nothing. Talk about night and day...
Anywho, we left Billings and headed east. We stopped for pictures as we crossed into Wyoming. (We acted like such tourists sometimes. ha!) Here's Randey and me beneath the Welcome sign. We didn't stop as we entered South Dakota, though. I guess it's because we were tired, we were sick of driving/riding and we were on the verge of beating each other senseless over frustration with the stupid GPS thingy we had. But that's a whole other story. Moving on...
We had reservations at the Alex Johnson Hotel in Rapid City. This hotel is quite the historical building there. As their advertisements proclaim "Presidents have stayed here!". Yeah. Bet they didn't stay in the same room we did, though. Here's some shots of the exterior of the hotel.

I'm willing to bet the room they gave us won't be found in any brochure touting the Alex Johnson as THE tourist lodging for the discerning traveler, though. Here's a picture of the TV.
The boys were so flippin' funny when they saw it. They acted like it was an antique and should be in a museum. lol The remote didn't actually work too well for volume control, but it did change the channels okay. The literature for the hotel said it had been "recently renovated" and "brought back" to it's original charm and decor. Soooooooooo, you reckon bright red mini hexagon shaped tiles were all the rage back in the 1930's when this place was built?
And how about that bright orange Formica counter top? Was it a primo feature back in the day, too? lol That toilet you see there was set so close to the wall (and the toilet paper holders were right next to it on that same wall) that you had to kind of go in sideways for a landing. I have to say, though, that while the room wasn't all that great, the hotel itself was very beautiful, the lobby was gorgeous (and I didn't get one single picture of it, dummy me), it had a great little gift shop and the staff was as friendly as could be. Nice place, but I think if I ever go back, I'll look into different lodging. Something a little more modern and maybe with a more user friendly toilet. :)
Has anybody out there ever been to Rapid City? It's such a cute little town! On many corners of the downtown area are statues of our nations great leaders of the past. Here's me, Jake and Kaleb standing next to George Washington's likeness. Who knew George was so skinny? (And yeah, I'm sure it's more a matter of George being skinny vs. me being fat. Go with me on this).
This next picture is of one of their downtown stores. They had so many of them. We went into a couple and would have gone back the next day, but it was Sunday then and most of them were closed. There's tons of little antique places, though. Wonderful shopping - so many interesting things to see and buy. Just make sure you visit on any day but Sunday!
I gave Randey the camera while we were shopping (don't like to be weighed down, you know) and asked him to take some pics of the stuff in the stores. He took forever taking a picture of this glassware. I finally turned around to see what the deal was and that's when he snapped the shot. I think he did it on purpose. But look at all that pretty glassware! It was wonderful just to browse there.
After an hour or so of shopping in Rapid City, we decided to head to Keystone, where we were due to check out a gold mine. Yeah, a real gold mine. lol On the way there, we spotted this:
A CHRISTMAS STORE!! Yee-haw! I was beside myself! Well, actually, I guess I was beside Santa, but you know what I mean, right? See this big glass rock that Kaleb has his honkin' foot on in this next picture?
It's a simulated ice rock and not for sale. I almost had a heart attack when I turned around and saw Kaleb standing on it. Goober. This next picture is me inside the Christmas store. I was sooo happy to be there.
Check out this giant nutcracker. He and his twin brother would look fantabulous on either side of our front door this holiday season. Well. Maybe just his much younger and smaller brother would look good, but still, I would have loved to have taken him home with us.

Ah...the ornaments! Pretty, shiny objects. It so brings out the seagull in me.

And here's me looking insanely goofy with joy as I browsed this place. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
But the gold mine awaited so we had to leave (I went back the next day, though. You won't believe the stuff I got! It wasn't really all that much, really it wasn't, but so cool. I'll post about that later).
Here's the exterior of the gold mine.
And here's the four of us inside the gold mine. Gosh I felt so young, being a miner again. (Get it? Miner/Minor? Yeah, okay, never mind.)
Here's a picture of Jacob and Kaleb with Robert, our tour guide for the gold mine. Amazing how they fit in together. Kaleb and Robert did the thumbs up thing at the same time with no prompting from anybody. Strange youth of today.

This picture was taken inside the gift shop at the gold mine. I was walking along, looking at the shirts when one of them moved a bit. I looked down and saw this cat, snoozing peacefully amongst all the souvenir t-shirts. Funny, huh?
Here's the three of us checking out stuff in the gift shop. The look on Kaleb's face tells you how many times Randey had taken our picture already. lol
I took this picture of Randey as he posed next to this little wooden guy. Randey is definitely the hotter looking of the two, eh?

And here's the boys and me posing with this strange miner dude. Don't even ask what Jake's doing with his hand. Teen.Age.Boy. Need I say more?
Well, maybe I should say more because Kaleb felt the need to do the same thing with his hand. Makes a mother proud, let me tell you.
Speaking of making a mother proud, check out my youngest as he rode the wild mustang in front of the gold mine gift shop. (Sigh. Heavy, heavy sigh.)
Here's Kaleb and Jacob mining for gold after the tour. Kaleb really got the hang of it quickly. Jake? Not so much.
But not to worry...dear old Dad stepped in to help him out.

He helped him out so much, he pretty much tried to take over from him. Anybody out there who knows Randey can just imagine how his eyes were glowing at the prospect of finding real gold. I still can't believe he thought he would. lol
But look at him go...ever the optimist.
In the end, this is what Jacob ended up with. Uh yeah, you can't really see any gold in there, but truly, there were some flakes.
And here's Kaleb's "haul". I think they decided that maybe gold mining wasn't really the profession to be in to "strike it rich" quickly. Although we all had to pretty much drag Randey from the trough, so convinced was he that his fame and fortune was just one little pan away....
The next day was our trip to Mount Rushmore! It was great - can't wait to show those pictures, too. Hope you guys don't get overly bored with this!!!


  1. Omigosh, Kari, all of these pictures are just awesome and you do NOT look fat, in fact you look gorgeous:-) I've so enjoyed reading your last couple of posts...your trip sounds like it was amazing. I know that traveling can be tiring but look at all the fun you had in between the driving:-)

    How I would love to go to Yellowstone Park...such amazing scenery over there! Can't get over all the snow they got while you were in that area...just beautiful!

    Oooooh now that Christmas store is my kind of place:-) From your pictures, the store reminds me a lot of the little Christmas store Steve brings me to when we're in Niagara Falls...can never resist going there! hehe

    Look at all you fun to be able to pan for gold. I guess all the big gold pieces had been picked through already! lol

    Oh by the way, having the air conditioner break down must be catchy...just had mine put in last Saturday and yesterday it stopped working. Well, it blows air, just not cold air. lol Have to get it looked at. Sigh.

    Take care of YOU! xoxo

  2. Love the pictures keep em coming oh and the stories as well!!

  3. I guess I missed my chance to get rich when we took a pass on the gold mine!!! Darn. The hotel pics and comments had me LOL. Looking forward to seeing the pics of Rount Mushmore (what my 5 year old called it - she's 21 now, teehee.

  4. More great pictures! I got a kick out of the "recently renovated" hotel room.

    BTW, I just wanted to let you know that I love your hair. You look mah-velous!

  5. Kari - I am worn out from trying to catch up on your blog!! You have been after it, girl!!! I am waaay behind - they are wanting me to actually work at work!!! How insane!!!!
    I want to go to WYOMING sooooo bad!! Have never been there and that is the one place I want to go in all the US (including Hawaii) so thank you so much for the wonderful pics.
    The red & white floor was bizarre - don't think I have ever seen anything like that!!!
    You look soooo happy and content in the Christmas store!!! Can't wait to see your goodies!!!!
    I don't think I have ever seen anyone cuter in a yellow hard hat than you!!!!!!
    love ya!!!

  6. More really great photos. I love the ones of your boys in their hats, my son always wore a hat at their age too. And a Christmas store, I bet you were in heaven. And girl, you are looking good. You did alot of things. That hotel was funny. I've never been to any of these places so I am enjoying going along with you.

  7. Kari,
    Your tell'in of ther story of your trip cracked me up. I can so relate to your boys reaction to every thing. Thanks for stopping by my blog, so good to hear from you.

  8. what an adventure you guys had...loving all the pics of your trip! I would have loved shopping in that Christmas store!

  9. much fun seeing the photos and "hearing" what all you did. Did Randey have to drag you out of the Christmas store? LOL


  10. I felt like I was there :)
    Looks like a fun day!

  11. This is soooo coooool! I'm having the time of my life with your vacation account, already!

  12. Oh no! Christmas already??? I love that photo of the four of you...great family pic!

  13. So first I have to say I love the pic of you looking over your shoulder in the Christmas store, beautiful!! The ornaments looked awesome! Randey thinking he could find gold cracks me up along with the pic of Jake on the horse, you guys in your yellow hats, and that god awful bathroom. Looks like a good time!

  14. My favorite is the Christmas shop. 12 Year Old Daughter (who loves you) collects Nutcrackers. She would love to have those.



Thank you for your comment. I love to hear what you have to say!