This is Saxon, our energetic little man who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was a week old. We gathered together many friends and family members and created Strides for Sax. Our mission is to raise money and create awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to find a cure for cf. This is all about Sax and our team's efforts for the cause. As of the creation of this blog, Saxon is 21 months old, has been hospitalized several times for pneumonia, and had undergone 3 surgeries since his first birthday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

VACATION 2011!! - Days 1 & 2

We had a wonderful vacation!!  We left Wednesday night (May 11) for Hill City, South Dakota and came home on Sunday (May 15).  Of course, it rained once we got to Worthington, and rained all the way there and all day Thursday.  Plus there were a million deer between Rapid City and Hill city, which isn't fun at 3 am, so the going was slow there.  I ended up with about 3 1/2 hours of sleep Wednesday night since we had a lot scheduled for Thursday. 
Our Cabin and the 'bu

Breakfast in the cabin

We started out with Bear Country USA.  It was fun, even though it was raining.  Most of the pictures didn't turn out very well because of the combination of the rain and the camera flash (my digital camera display is broken, so I'm just glad so many of the pictures DID come out!!)

Next stop was Reptile Gardens.  We got there in time to see the snake show, which was interesting.  He had a large python, about 12 feet long, a cobra, a rattlesnake, and a couple others too.  Of course I held the python.  Saxon was afraid of the snakes.  Raine finally braved up and pet the python though!! :)  Sax was ok with the gators, snakes, and lizards that were in the cages.

We had planned on going to Old McDonald's Farm, but they weren't open because of the rain.  We headed up to Mt Rushmore instead.  It was still rainy and cold and it even started snowing while we were up there.  Really glad we remembered to pack the hooded sweatshirts!!  We  had checked the forecast and it was supposed to be in the 60's and clear.  But I guess in the mountains, the weather isn't that predictable!!  A lot has changed at Mt Rushmore since I was there last as far as the museum and the parking.  The kids seemed to enjoy it :)

We had eaten breakfast at the cabin and we packed lunch, so we checked out Chute Roosters for supper.  We were sitting down to supper - leather topped tables and leather chairs - a converted barn - and Raine cracked us all up.  "Geez, Mom, this place is pretty classy!"  Funny stuff!!  They had really good food!!  Scot and I both got steak and veggies, Sax got a corn dog, and Raine got a cheeseburger, and we shared a potato appetizer.  HIGHLY recommend Chute Roosters if you make it out to Hill City!!

We tried getting to bed early that night since both Mommy and Daddy we just beat.  The kids had other ideas.  They weren't tired since they'd slept in the car.  Sax was scared, so he wanted to sleep with Daddy and Mommy, then Raine got scared, so Mommy ended up going over to sleep with her.  Man is that girl a bed hog!!  And a kicker!!  Sax wasn't much nicer to Daddy.  Actually, when I got up, Sax was sleeping with his feet by Daddy's face.  Apparently he spun around all night, so Daddy didn't get much sleep either.

Day 2 - Friday - started out with much better weather than Thursday.  It was only in the 50's for a high, but it was sunny :)  After eating breakfast in the cabin, we headed off to the National Museum of Woodcarving.  Of course the kids didn't want to sit through the video explaining who did most of the carvings, so we headed for displays after only watching a few minutes of the video.  There were a few displays that were animated and activated by coins.  Sax was afraid of some of them and Raine thought a few were too graphic.  I thought they were really interesting.  Daddy liked the train in particular.

After the Woodcarving Museum, we headed to Four Mile Old West ghost town.  Raine kept asking where the ghosts were - lol!!  We explained to her SEVERAL times that it's called a ghost town because it's abandoned.  She still didn't get it :/  Sax was really curious and wanted to look around at the buildings.  We got to see an actual spring too, with fresh water coming up.  That was pretty cool.  Plus the kids posed for a few pictures in the cutouts.  Some of the buildings were dilapidated since the "official" tourist season hasn't started and they were still doing some repairs.  But it was fun!

After the Ghost Town, we headed to Windcave National Park.  At the park entrance we saw a few buffalo grazing and a couple antelope. 

We were a little early for the tour, so we decided it would be a good time to have our lunch before heading down.  It was pretty cool going in the cave, in spite of my claustrophobia!!  We saw the original entrance to the cave... Freaky!!  Don't think I'd every be able to do that!!

Original natural entrance
 Once we got inside, Sax was kind of scared because it was pretty dark in there.  Daddy had a pen light which he let Sax carry, so he was fine after that.  Was glad we took our sweatshirts since it was about 53 degrees in there.  Some of the passages were kind of narrow, and there were places we had to duck.  We went down over 300 steps as we went in.  Much of the walk, when we weren't on the steps, were on downward ramps.  It was a little nerve-wracking in some places where the floor was wet :/  But it was still fun.  We didn't see much of Raine on the tour, since she was "helping" lead the group on the tour with the park ranger.

Our next stop for Friday was the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs.  I had been there about 15 years ago, so it was interesting to see how much more they had dug up since we were last there.  Sax ended up crashing, so Daddy had to carry him most of the time since he was getting pretty heavy.

On the way back to the camper, we debated between going through Custer State Park Wildlife Loop or Needle's Highway.  Well..... we took Needle's Highway.  My first experience actually doing the driving on mountain roads.  SCARY!!  Daddy asked if I wanted him to drive - NO THANK YOU!!  I didn't want to be the one looking down the drop-off!!  We didn't see many buffalo on the way back, but we saw a LOT of deer!!  And some very beautiful scenery.  Of course, do you think we actually got a picture of Needle's Eye when we got up there?  No.  Dang it.  But we saw a lot of snow up there and saw Harney Peak, which is the highest point between the Rockies and the Swiss Alps.  Pretty cool :) 

We'd had a pretty busy day, so we decided to just eat our supper at the cabin.  Daddy got some food from the 50's Diner and shared with Sax, and Raine and I had our leftovers from Chute Roosters.  But it was a good day!!

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