Friday, June 18, 2010

Rapids City to Keystone to Sylvan Lake - June 14th, 15th, 16th - depart 17th- spending time with Matt's family

On Monday, June 14th we went to Rapid City and we stopped at the laundry mat to do some laundry before heading out to Keystone. Due to rainy weather we made hotel reservations at the White House Inn in Keystone for the two of us and Matt's family. We arrived at the hotel about 15 minutes ahead of Matt & Shelly so it was great timing. It was so wonderful to see everyone. When I came out of the hotel the three grandchildren came running towards me and hollering "Grandma". We spent the afternoon touring Keystone and the kids went swimming in the pool. John, Matt, Hayden, and Wyatt drove up to Mount Rushmore in the afternoon while Shelly, Emily, and I investigated the shops in Keystone. One of the shops were making taffy so that was interesting to watch how they put it on a machine and pull it and then cut and wrap it before it is purchased.

After dinner, Shelly, Emily, and I went up to Mount Rushmore for the 9:30PM ceremony - there was a movie, flag presentation, honoring veterans, and a laser show - even though it was raining we still stayed as it was really something to see.

The next morning everyone showered and packed up and we headed out to Sylvan Lake. After stopping for groceries we went to the campsite and set up our tents and got our campsite ready. We had a great lunch and then everyone went to Sylvan Lake and did some hiking around the lake. What a beautiful area and it was so fun to spend the time with Matt & Shelly and the kids. Afterwards everyone hung out at the campsite and we played Farkle and just enjoyed spending time with each other. John and Matt made an excellent supper - the woman were on clean up so we got to relax while they made supper. We had potato skins, fried potato's with onions, baked beans, and grilled chicken - delicious!

Afterwards we all loaded up in the van and we drove the Needle's highway in hopes of getting the boys to settle down and fall asleep. Well that didn't happen but it was a good try -actually Wyatt fell asleep about 5 minutes before we got back to the campsite. During the drive we came to an overlook and everyone got out and we took a lot of pictures and did some climbing on the rocks. From there we continued on as we were looking for the elusive buffalo to show the kids. The boys were getting quite restless and figured that there were not any buffalo around when we turned a corner and right on the side of the road was a big buffalo grazing in the ditch. After that we saw 3 more buffalo along with a number of deer, a few prong horns, four elk on the hillside, a bunny, and a lot of birds, ducks, and geese.

Well, we were all exhausted (the adults anyway) and so we called it a night early and were in our tents by 8:00PM.

Wednesday morning Matt and Shelly made breakfast which consisted of waffles, bacon, bagels, and juice. It was a great breakfast and everyone was excited because it looks like it is going to be another beautiful day. Everyone decided we should go on a hike up to Little Devil's tower so we loaded up the van and drove up the road to the path. there has been a lot of damage to the trees due to mountain pine beetles and so there has been a lot of logging in the area. It was a strenuous hike but everyone did a great job. I have to confess - I went to the top but once it came time to take the last few steps up to the very top I decided to stay behind. I have a fear of heights but it is even worse when I have grandchildren hanging over the edges so I felt that everyone would have a better time if I didn't take the last few steps. Afterwards we went back to the campsite and had delicious chicken sandwiches and snacks.

I loaded up the kids and we went down to the Sylvan Lake beach area to give Matt, John, and Shelly a little time to relax. The Sylvan Lake area is so beautiful and the sun was shining with beautiful blue skies. The water was still a little cold so the kids spent the majority of the time making sand castles and trying to catch minnows than actually swimming. After a bit Shelly joined us and before I knew it she was sitting down in the sand and making sand castles with not just her kids but a lot of the other kids that were at the beach. They really had a good time and we celebrated with an ice cream cone afterwards.

That night for supper we had T-bone steaks. Yum Yum Yum! Tonight we also had a campfire so the kids were excited to be able to make smores. The kids had been waiting to do that all day and it looked like it was going to start raining any minute so Matt quickly got the ingredients out and the kids roasted marshmallows and everyone had a treat before the rain came. Matt & Shelly have a huge tent so once it started to rain everyone went in the tent and they put on a "Popeye" movie (with Robin Williams) for everyone to watch.

It rained and stormed all Wednesday night. Fortunately our tent did not leak so we stayed dry but we were awake on and off all night due to the thunder and lightening. John woke up about 5:00AM and decided we should get going because we had a long drive back to Williston to pick up our bike. It was really a wonderful 3 days and John and I enjoyed spending the time with Matt & Shelly and kids. We had looked so forward to it and the time went so fast but we are ready to continue on our journey.
We left to head to Alexander on Thursday, June 17th to spend the night there and travel to Williston first thing in the morning to return the car and pick up our bike.

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