I can almost SEE home from here!!!!!
I have never been so excited to go home. Not that I didn't love this trip, but once we were done with the sightseeing the trip just became a quest to get back to good ole 16301. And, after FOUR nights.....we are almost there!
After Yellowstone, we made our way into eastern Wyoming. We started to find we were getting out of the mountains and back into the plains. Our next stop in the booming town of Sundance WY, was merely a place to rest for the night. But it had a pool, and amazing bathrooms, and free pool tables! So the kids were PSYCHED.
But, I have to mention, that day was also a big milestone as my little sweet Caroline turned 13 that day!!! Yes, my "she will never survive birth, one year etc etc etc, blah blah blah, yada yada yada...is a TEENAGER!!!!!! And seriously - doesn't she look like a teen here?
I have to also say - Caroline did AMAZINGLY well this trip!!!!!! The main reason we even bought this huge motorhome was so we could travel with her, and it worked out so well. She was quiet and happy the entire trip. She slept well, was smiling all the time, and was even easy on [most] of our day trips. We were so pleased with how easy traveling with her was that we have been planning many MANY more trips with her for the future!!!
After we left Wyoming, we drove through South Dakota so we can see Mount Rushmore. This was one of those things that we knew we had to see, but really had no intention of spending much time at.
As an aside, as we were driving along I90, we noticed some smoke and actually saw a forest fire in action! I googled it and apparently (at the time) it had encompassed about 1000 acres and was not contained yet. I haven't checked in for an update, but it is a bit scary considering the damage from fires we have already seen.
Mount Rushmore is very cool to see, but, personally, I can't see spending a whole lot of time there. It sort of reminds me of Niagara Falls. There is a lot of STUFF around the area - shops, restaurants, zip lines, wax museums - but the actual attraction is something you can see for a couple hours [if that] and then move on.
We had planned on taking some time to see the Badlands, but after many many miles, and many many stops, we were pretty much done with sightseeing. We did see some peeks at the Badlands from the road, and maybe will stop on another trip when we are less eager to be home.
After Mount Rushmore, we continued on across South Dakota. I have always wanted to see this part of the world - especially considering Laura Ingalls was such a big part of my life as a munchkin! It is a beautiful part of the world - so peaceful.
We stopped for the night in western South Dakota. I have spent a TON of time researching campgrounds on this trip, and I really do try to find something nice, even if it is only for one night.
After a long day of driving, the kids do love to at least stop somewhere that they can run and explore and have fun. And our spot that night was right along the Missouri River. We built a fire, roasted marshmallows and enjoyed the amazing sunset. I was even able to get some fun silhouette shots of all the kids [sans Caroline] along the river. I LOVED these shots - and so did the kids!!! Of course, the light was fading and they were all so eager to get "JUST ONE MORE!!!!!!" But they still were so fun.
And so we have made our way through South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois and now we sit in Indiana. We are SO CLOSE to home we can almost see it. Tomorrow, we hope, we will be home [and in our own beds!!!!] again.
At this point, we just want to be home. Our laundry is overflowing (and now shoved into storage compartments under the rig) and there is no way I want to spend another $15 in quarters to get it done.
Our groceries are almost gone and I have no inclination to stop to replenish.
And my gumption and motivation to keep this little motorhome neat and clean was left somewhere in South Dakota.
This has probably been one of the best experiences of my life. We have done so much, met so many different types of people, and it is going to take a while to fully appreciate it all.
And I happened upon the most perfect quote the other day which makes me feel SO much better about the entire trip:
"Life is short, and money is replaceable.".