This post has been a little delayed but July was a little busy with getting ready for one of our peak seasons at work (Back to School.) SO without further ado… MY BIRTHDAY TRIP POST.
So where do you think we went? Some place warm with palm trees and sandy beaches? I can just picture myself on one with a good book (or three) and some raspberry iced tea in my hand. If that’s the image you have then you would be wrong. We went north! To the Badlands and Mount Rushmore and a handful of places I’m going to tell you all about. A little unusual Birthday trip but delightful nonetheless.
We started our trip in Sioux Falls. I only mention it because Chris and I love cheese. We will go hard on a good cheese selection. And that grocery store didn’t disappoint. Did we intend on going hard on some cheese on a camping trip? Nope. Did we? Absolutely.
Besides not being able to go five feet without seeing a Wall Drug sign, I had never been so of course we had to stop by. I got a couple of kids books and a book called Bedside Book of Bad Girls. We also got some pretty good fudge. Picked up some quartz crystal and then we were on our way!
Honestly we came north for the Badlands and we ended up just driving through (and I didn’t take any photos. Oof.) It was a very beautiful area with precious prairie dogs and goats. Did you know the prairie carry the bubonic plague? Now you do. Isn’t that crazy? Here is more info on that and they may have found a vaccine for it too!
Chris does a lot of landscape photography (shameless insta plug) but we just weren’t feeling it the first day we passed through. Then on the tail end of the trip we ended up getting rained out so I got to pass my time reading in the car. OH THE SHAME. (sarcasm)
Another first for me! We never did the whole visit Rushmore thing when I was a kid; we mostly did all of our “vacations” as day trips in Iowa or Nebraska. We went to Disney World when I was in elementary school but that was about it. So Chris and I did the cheesy tourist pictures.
Ironically when we were driving up to it I kept thinking about how small it seemed compared to when we see it on tv/ pictures. I didn’t verbalize it at first and then Chris said “I thought it would be bigger.” I think it was just the angle we were coming at it from because it looked legit when we were standing in front of it. Kind of made me feel like a boob but whatever.
We visited the gift stop and read about the Jewel Caves but we didn’t have time to actually go into the caves. I’m almost glad because it started raining shortly after and Chris said they usually end tours when that happens because of flooding risks. I do want to come back here and do a tour. They had displays of how tight some of the tunnels inside the caves can be which kind of sent me into panic mode, but there’s that overcoming fears at play that I talked about in my previous travel blog I posted earlier this year. You can find that post here. If you check out their National Park site, you can see how tiny opening can be to fit into the caves. Yikes.
This was one of the coolest places we saw on this trip. We camped near the base of the tower. This was my first time camping in the rain. We found out that the air mattress we had brought was faulty so I kept having to wake him up to refill it. I know that sounds like a first world problem but I don’t have a great back as it is and it wasn’t necessarily flat land. It was definitely an experience and a half. When you go into the park and look up at the Devils Tower it is so massive you feel as if it’s bigger than god.
The first trip we took this year we got to experience Roswell, New Mexico, which is notoriously famous for Area 51. This second trip had another alien visitation spot that we couldn’t pass up. Devils Tower is most notably in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We didn’t even realize it until we stepped inside one of the gift shops/ cafés and it had a ton of stuffed alien heads and shirts with aliens on them. It was totally fate since stuff like that truly fascinates me. Besides being in the movie there are plenty of legends / myths that surround this structure. Find more here.
Custer State Park
This was my favorite part of our trip. We spent a whole day here hiking, getting on each others nerves and taking the picture that you see as the cover to this post. I had heard of Custer State Park earlier this year due to a really unfortunate event that happened with its original Poet’s Table. Two sisters ended up vandalizing the area and cutting up the table that other hikers had loved for so long. I followed this sordid tale and arrest through social media and news sources while it was taking place so when Chris said we were going to Custer State Park I knew I had to find this table.
Long story short, we didn’t find the table. Our phones didn’t have service inside the park and the directions that we did manage to download didn’t make a lick of sense. But we actually were able to get some sun on this section of the trip and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
That being said, I will be back and I will find this gosh darn table.
We were literally here for two hours but I thought I’d throw it in for good measure. We walked around and saw a multitude of snakes and iguanas and the like. Then we watched a quick informational and entertaining gator show. I typically want to bring home every animal I see but Chris has a hard no on snakes. He’s not afraid but he said they always get out of their cages, no matter how sturdy the inclosure. Wish me luck on breaking down that one.
This trip was another fast one for Chris and I, and he didn’t get a lot of photography in due to bad weather. Truly I just wanted to spend my birthday with him and be able to read/write as much as possible. I got my wish squeezing in four books in that week.
Be sure to check out my insta today and later on this week and I’ll share some more pictures from the quick trip. Also let me know if you have any other spooky/alieny/ conspiracy theory type places that you live by or have been to. Clearly we have a knack for running into them.