It may be a catchy phrase in the musical world, but it’s kinda sad in real life. It has taken several days to find the top of my desk and get re-organized, back to the life of helping people get what they need.
But the final legs of the trip had their moments as well.
We made reservations for an Econolodge in Wall, South Dakota, intending to see the world-famous drug store (a serious misnomer if I ever heard one) the next day. After enjoying the evening ranger program at Mount Rushmore, with its deeply patriotic overtones, we drove the hour and a half to Wall, watching an amazing red lightning storm off to the east ahead of us. Little Miss and her brother spent the hour picking out constellations from the star-filled sky of the wide-open spaces.
When we arrived, the office was closed.
Closed. Black. Dark.
Taken aback by this development, we paced around a bit, trying to find someone in charge, until B spotted some envelopes stuck into the key deposit box. Yes. Our keys, left in the open for anyone to take. This put us off considerably, but it was midnight and everyone was tired, so we checked out the rooms, in an underground basement area completely blocked off from the rest of the motel–more like a bomb shelter than a comfortable place to sleep.
At least no one had broken in.
So we crashed, and found that the wireless internet we’d been promised didn’t work in the basement. Sorry, no one to call to ask for help. That disappointment was nothing compared to the discovery that the “continental breakfast” consisted of watered down apple juice and a shelf of powdered sugar donettes. I don’t know what continent that was from, but I really hope we never travel there.
The kids and I ate cereal that we’d brought and took the rest of the morning to visit the pool (the only part of the visit that worked) while B & C headed out for a quick tour of the Badlands. Then we went downtown to the unbelievable Wall Drug.
Without question, the favorite part of the block-wide store was the Backyard, a very kid-friendly place where they had a water fountain courtyard. Ditto Boy got thoroughly soaked:
Took both kids awhile to get the hang of the jumping water, which flowed in time to the rhythm of the music playing in the background. But it worked.
We were all mesmerized by the smell of fresh-cooked doughnuts, but the lines for food were outrageously long. Thank heaven for that college degree B worked so hard for! She finally badgered some poor woman into confessing that there was a doughnut shop in the next room and we didn’t have to wait in line! So we grabbed a box of heaven and went on our way.
As the mad rush west produced its hurry-hurry mode through the corn states, we did the same returning. Though it was more amusing as B began the game of “I Spy Corn!” of which we were thoroughly enamored for at least five minutes.
We left Sioux City, an interestingly-laid out place, with the intention of making it to Chicago to see my Health Maven sister, but we just got started too late. Instead we just hauled ourselves cross country, heading home–except for one last bit of frivolity.
Seems we’d burned out a headlight somewhere during the trip East. The blinker, too, mutinied somewhere after Iowa. The kind highway patrol in Ohio pulled us over to point this out, and took pity upon our chaotic state, apparently, as we had a Canadian driving, a Pennsylvanian owning the car, and a Nevadan camped in the back with two children in the detritus of a 14-day trip. We got a warning, telling us we “had been observed committing a criminal offense.” Kinky.
But then several hours later, 3 a.m, an hour or so from home, B spots a car that suddenly turns around to follow us, its headlights flashing. We’re a little puzzled, but we figure it’s probably the Pennsylvania State Police. It was. He let us know the headlight was out and checked the warning from Ohio, and we wondered why he hadn’t used his red and blue lights.
They weren’t working.
So he didn’t give us a ticket and we didn’t give him a ticket and all was well. We were dead to the world for about a day before my young companions went their separate ways, hopefully knowing the extent of my gratitude for their help and the joy of their company. I am blessed.