In July we were lucky to have some visitors from our home state. First, my Dad came out to visit for the first time since we’ve moved to South Dakota. Unfortunately, I had to work most of his visit but Alex was able to take him around to some of the usual sites.
My Dad arrived on a Thursday afternoon in time to take in some of the music at Summer Nights but it was very hot out. If you know my Dad at all you know he hates driving in the car and hot temperatures, not a great day for him. Luckily, he does like to drink so we cooled off at Paddy’s and Independent Ale House. At this time it was pretty obvious I wasn’t drinking alcohol so we shocked my Dad with the news that I was about two weeks pregnant. We knew he wouldn’t tell anyone so our secret was safe.
During his visit my Dad saw Mount Rushmore, hiked around Custer State Park, and road Alex’s bicycle on the bike path in town. It was a short but nice visit. On his way out of town, Alex and I accompanied my Dad to Wall Drug. I had never been to Wall Drug and I certainly would never need to go back. Think of the trashy/tourist-trap places of Wisconsin Dells and you have Wall Drug in a number of combined small stores. At least the history was interesting to learn and I won’t complain that much because I got a doughnut out of it.
After Wall Drug our group parted ways: my Dad continued on his very long, horrible 12 hour drive back home while Alex and I completed another first of visiting the Badlands. While the entrance fee was way too high, the Badlands were an interesting one-time destination. I liked getting out and reading the plaques at some of the photo op markers along the way. We also hiked on a few of the trails. Basically, the Badlands are a great stop if you are driving all day and need to walk around but definitely not something I would need to return to.
I actually really did enjoy our last stop of the day. Alex wanted another stamp in our National Parks Passport Book so we went directly from the Badlands to the Minuteman Missile Site.
On this day we only had time to walk around the Visitor Center before it closed for the day but I was really impressed. This small building is chock-full of interesting historical information. It also really terrifies you to learn how close a few world leaders can come to just decimating everything.
Our next visitors were a few of our high school friends. It is always way too long between in-person visits with my Wisconsin friends. We were so grateful they were willing and able to come out to our part of the country to catch up and sightsee. We did the typical tourist loop of Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, etc (see a pattern – Rapid City is very small).
Our times catching up are a little different these days. Gone are the days of drunken debauchery replaced instead with children’s playgrounds and nap time but in the end these girls are still the same awesome friends I have had for 10+ years!
(Originally published August 1st, 2016)