Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Giant Concrete Prairie Dog

Feeding Prairie Dogs

Giant Concrete Prairie Dog… and Kai.

After we left the Badlands, we stopped at a little place called “The Ranch Store” where you can buy nuts and feed them to the prairie dogs.

Prairie dogs, by the way, are really darn cute. Especially when they’re eating nuts. That I’ve fed them.

Just saying.

Kai went around putting a nut in each prairie dog hole, as a “surprise treat” for them.

After that, most of the rest of our trip was pretty… flat? uneventful? full of cornfields and wind turbines? Maybe we were just exhausted, but it was not an exciting drive. The only “exciting” part was that, somewhere along the way, Kai started breaking out in hives from the hotel bedding (we use special detergent at home) so we had to have him sleep on top of one of our blankets from home.

Feeding Prairie Dogs

Feeding Prairie Dogs

Feeding Prairie Dogs

Feeding Prairie Dogs

Feeding Prairie Dogs

Feeding Prairie Dogs

Feeding Prairie Dogs

We WERE excited to get to Indianapolis, though. And now, we’re exploring the area, joining homeschool groups, slowly making friends. It’s different, for sure, but living here is going to be another big adventure.

The Badlands

Doesn’t that name just sound cool? “The Badlands.” It sounds like something straight out of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie.

We spent two or three hours driving through Badlands National Park after we left Wall. The canyons and landscapes we saw were absolutely beautiful. Kai and I went into the center there and got to see some archaeologist working. But the beauty of the place… I don’t even have words for it, so I’m just going to leave a whole bunch of pictures (Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to bigger versions. Worth it for the panoramics.)

I hope you enjoy them.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

The One With The Giant Heads

Originally, when my family started talking about moving to Indianapolis, we asked Kai if there was anything he’d like to visit. His request? Mt. Rushmore.

We started planning how we could get that in. Then, Kai found out that they don’t have really big glasses. And decided he didn’t want to go. If you’re confused, don’t feel bad. I was at first, too.

Blame Phineas and Ferb.

Roosevelt's_glasses

We decided to go anyway. Then, we had the incident with the cat and the gas station. And we’d decided we couldn’t go. Then, when we were on our way to Wall, we discussed how it really wasn’t that far away.

So, during late lunch/early dinner, we decided we’d drive out there to see Mt. Rushmore. Mt Rushmore

I still think it’s pretty incredible that someone saw a mountain and decided, “You know, I’d like to stick a few faces on it.”

We went, we took a few pictures, watched a short film about it, and headed back. I enjoyed going. You can see it pictures and everything but you don’t realize how huge it is until you’re there and realizing, “THAT’S HUGE.”

We got back to the hotel late-ish that evening. The next morning, we set out for the Badlands.

Mt. Rushmore

Sacrificial Celebration Cake to honor one month in Indianapolis.

Making cake

Mixing the ingredients.

A month ago today, our family arrived in Indianapolis. We wanted celebrate somehow and when Sandra Dodd brought up her page on cake as sacrifice, a page I’d read before but particularly spoke to me this time, we decided to make a cake today. We’ve been calling it the “Sacrificial Celebration Cake”.

This cake was a bit of a sacrifice. Kai put in a lot of hard work making this cake (I helped, but only minimally). And then, there’s the cost of the ingredients (because, with our food allergies, cake is not cheap – and money is tight right now). But also, there’s the concept doing something specifically to honor something that’s pretty big for us.

Making cake

Decorating the cake.

Note: this is not in any way a “religious offering”, but I do think that it does people to good to honor and celebrate things – big events, rites of passage, even just the passing of time. So we’re celebrating. Because we can and because it makes us happy.

Sacrificial celebration cake

Happiness is making a Sacrificial Celebration Cake… at least it is today, anyway.

And even though we’ve had some struggles getting here, we’re happy to be here.

The One With The Jackalope and The Giant Dinosaur Head

After we finally got some sleep in Missoula, we rearranged our trip. We realized that the cats could probably take no longer than six or seven hours in the car, so our trip lengthened a few days. Jackalope at Wall Drug Store

Missoula was beautiful. I loved our view from the hotel. It was really the first place I thought, “Wow. There’s so much sky!” There was also a really awesome dinner place called “Fat Cat” that able to accommodate our food allergies and sensitivities. I had a french drip for the first time in YEARS. We ate there for dinner after we woke up.

The next day, we set out for Billings. So, the thing about Billings is that there’s really nothing for me to say about Billings other than I wasn’t a fan. It was very industrial and our hotel staff was rude. The hotel was kind of cruddy itself, too. It was a place to rest our heads after driving across Montana. (Montana’s a really big state!)

After Billings, we headed out for Wall, South Dakota. On our way, I kept seeing these billboards advertising “Wall Drug Store”. Two things were weird to me about the billboards. One thing was that, in Seattle, most billboards have a “frame” around them and are high up. Probably because traffic is so bad, they want you to actually see it! The second thing was that they were all really kitschy. Things like “FREE ICE WATER” or “COFFEE 5 CENTS” and signs with dinosaurs or cowboys. Dinosaur at Wall Drug Store

We DID end up going to Wall Drug and it was so completely… an experience all unto itself. They have a huge animatronic head, lots of shopping areas, a restaurant area or two, and… a jackalope. That was kind of fun!

The other thing that Wall itself had was… Wait. I should back up: While I was booking hotels, I noticed that the ones in South Dakota were oddly expensive and oddly full. Then, once we hit South Dakota, I notice that, gosh, there sure were a lot of bikers out and about. Maybe they had nothing better to do? Maybe they were camping or something?

Well, at some point, Joe mentioned. “Oh. Sturgis is nearby.” Thanks to the power of internet on our phones (truly, that is an awesome invention), we discovered that we were going through South Dakota right during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. They have right around 400k people attending annually. We saw lots of them on the road. All the bikers I met were really nice (I’ve had some biker friends and they’re almost always super-friendly).

As we were eating a late lunch at Wall Drug, we made a decision to go see something we’d previously decided not to see (although we’d originally planned to see it before we’d rescheduled our trip)… Mt. Rushmore.

Covered Wagon at Wall Drug Store Riding Toy at Wall Drug Store