Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beauty and Frustration

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July 18 – Well, the days and days of driving finally got to us. At least to me.

We started the morning with a spectacular drive through the Black Hills, which offered amazing views of Mt. Rushmore and the mountains. The smell of pine was overwhelming, and I loved every minute of it. But, it was a slow, winding road and much to my frustration, the girls showed little or no interest in any of it – Jordan was texting and Ellery was reading. There was dead silence in the car and the only time anyone spoke up it was to ask for something. My frustration started to build.

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Jordan wanted to see one of the caves, so we headIMG_3581ed out to Jewel Cave National Monument. And we decided to take the long way, the “wilderness loop” through Custer State Park. And, much to my surprise, we did see some bison, and some (not very) wild donkeys, and a few IMG_3585pronghorn sheep (or maybe they were antelope – they were in the distance).

But, it was a two lane road and we were stuck behind several cars who thought that driving 10 miles an hour was a good pace. It wasn’t for me. And Jordan refused to get out of the car when, for example, we stopped to pet the donkeys. For some reason, this really bothered me.

Still, we continued on to Jewel Cave where, much to my surprise, almost all of the decent tours were sold out several hours in advance. What we were left with was a short trip into just one cave, and even that required an hour and a half wait. Jordan wanted to wait for a longer tour, but I just didn’t have it in me.

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After the cave, we hit the road again, back up through the Black Hills where the continuing beauty was completely lost on the girls.

IMG_3601Finally, we reached Wyoming, and our next destination – Devil’s Tower. What I thought would be a quick look and go turned into a really lovely mile walk around the base. Lovely, except Jordan surged ahead because she did not want to do the walk. Yes, we had each reached our breaking point at Devil’s Tower.

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Things did not improve measurably after Devil’s Tower, except the scenery, which did take on that classic red rock look of Wyoming. But dinner at an Appleby’s was complete silence and when we did eventually settle in at a roadside motel, I told the girls that it we were going to put the day behind us and move on, and that tomorrow would be better. At least, I was hoping it would be, because we have two more weeks of this.