When Steve and the boys let me know that they were up for a trip out west for the Leadville Trail 100 I was SO excited! They had never witnessed a 100 mile race of mine before. I have finished 9 of them and each one has been during the school year, when I haven't wanted to take the boys out, or during baseball tournaments, when they didn't want to miss out.
I began to make arrangements for Topaz and our other pets. I began to look for accommodations and plan our trip.
The boys hadn't seen The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, The Black Hills, Custer State Park..any of that good stuff that Steve and I have seen numerous times so that was to be our first stop.
Our trip was wonderful. I wasn't sure how the boys would get along being in the back seat of my CR-V for so long, they were great! I packed a bunch of word finder books, crosswords, sudoku, they had their books to read, etc.
The trip to SD was uneventful. Lots of farms and rolling hills. No change of scenery until we arrived The Badlands. The boys were blown away. I had tried to describe to them what The Badlands looked like, but I guess I didn't do a very good job.
We went into the park and hiked for hours. We climbed the crazy odd rock formations, played hide and seek, found cactus, spied prairie dogs..we really had a great time. It felt so good to get out of the car and move around.
From The Badlands we arrived Rapid City. We stayed at a hotel with a water park. Perfect! We swam, slide and had a blast. By 10 PM we were all sleeping.
Day 2 we visited Custer State Park. We saw wild burros, buffalo, antelope, deer and all kinds of other wildlife. It was beautiful. We hiked Harney Peak, the boys and Steve hiked up to 7560 ft with no problem. We were later doused in a hail storm.
Day 3 was Mt. Rushmore Monument-they were luke warm about this. Liked to see the stonework, but there isn't much else to see. We went back to Custer Park for a picnic, more hiking, more wildlife viewing, drove Needles Highway to Lake Sylvan, more beautiful scenery. We ended the day with Reptile Gardens. Troy has two box turtles and was able to see many different varieties of turtles, we watched a bird of prey show, a snake show, good stuff.
Day 4 we headed to Colorado. We arrived to Leadville in the early evening and made our way to our B&B off of Twin Lakes. Gorgeous views of Twin Lakes, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive. Amazing.
Day 5 we hiked up Hope Pass. Well, I made it up to Hope Pass; Steve and the boys made it about 800 feet before they were gasping. They went back down to the trail head and hiked at 11000 ft while I went up and over. It was so beautiful. High snow covered peaks, beautiful blue skies, a light breeze, temps in the 70's, just perfect :) I fell in love with Colorado.
We hiked the Colorado Trail around Twin Lakes and had dinner in Leadville at an incredible little Italian restaurant that began with a Z.
The next few days we visited different sections of the Leadville Trail 100 Race Course. We did lots of hiking, visiting Leadville establishments, race check in and dinner, we really had a great vacation.
After the race I picked up my drop bags and we headed back to SD. We again stayed at the hotel with the water park. Swam, slide, dove and were again in bed by 1000. The next morning we left for home.
Our road trip vacation went better than I ever expected. Steve and I got along great, the boys didn't fight. Actually, the boys became even better friends. They had too, each other is all they had! There was no TV at the B&B and nobody even missed it. We were so busy enjoying Colorado, although I did wonder time to time what was going on in the Olympics and with our MN Twins.
If you are thinking about taking your family to see the sights of SD and on west, go for it. If I hadn't had the race, we would have kept putting this off. I'm so glad we went. It was a real treat.
Who knows..they might all come along with me next year!