The first day of the big trip was a bit bumpy. We were up and out the door by 5 AM – the sun was just starting to come up and we were all giddy with anticipation.
I am not a morning person at all so watching the sun come up, even in the rearview mirror, just added to the excitement. We were all good for about the first two hours – 2 hours out of the entire summer. Not so awesome. One of the older kiddos -unnamed to protect the identity of the innocent- got sick…TWICE. All over two of the blankets. Super NOT awesome.
I was unsure whether to hope for the stomach flu (Could you imagine us going through that in a car on the road times seven of us?) or some heretofore undiagnosed and never before displayed sudden onset carsickness (could you imagine THAT for an entire summer’s car trip?) GAAA.
Fortunately for all involved, I think it was a combination of an early morning wake-up, bumpy back eat car ride on an empty tummy, and too much excitement as this child ate breakfast and was fine the entire rest of the day. (Small miracles)
We met my dad and stepmom for breakfast. It was fantastic to see them and funny enough they had a similar sick kid story on a car trip to Cape Cod when my sisters and I were the littles. It was not me BTW – lol. Delicious hearty Iowa fare followed by a tractor ride! Check Iowa off the list of states as we have officially done the touristy Iowa event. At this point, one of the kids declared this the “best vacation ever”. Just to be clear – we had driven for 2 hours- one of which included vomit and breakfast and that is all. So yea, obviously we do not have high standards to meet here.
After our time eating and catching up, one of the kids declared it was “time to get back to the vacation” which we took as time to get back into the stinking van (literally as it now had two sick filled blankets we were toting around), we said our goodbyes and continued on our way.
For the next few hours, it rained and stormed. Which makes for easy and smooth driving, NOT. We were not off to the easiest start. But we were all still in a good mood and excited to have made it to South Dakota!
We stopped at the Corn Palace , which was pretty gimmicky, but the kids and especially Grace wanted to go. (Grace – as she thought that a princess surely lived there as it was a palace – but she wasn’t too disappointed that there was not.-so that was good) Luke got an awesome raccoon tail hat ala Davey Crockett and had it on the rest of the day and a good portion of that first week of the trip.
We stopped for dinner at some roadside restaurant recommended online that had super fabulous food. It was in a tiny town (they all are tiny really) named Murdo. As we were leaving, a huge plume of white smoke came out of the exhaust, and Scott and I just about gave up and drove home. (Just kidding) Storms, vomit, and car fires really are just too much for one day, especially the first! He checked all the parts and decided that it must have been a fluke. FYI it did not do it again so that was a blessing.
After all the wreckage and the fact that our 11 hour day had turned into a 17 hour day and we still had 2 hours to drive, we thought we’d bypass the Badlands and head to the hotel. We drove past the first entrance to a loop drive and were about to drive past the other exit when we decided to give it a whirl as barring the buffalo stampeding the car- we were all fine (at that moment there was no vomit, no smoke, and no storms – we’d hit the trifecta).
I think it was honestly a God thing – His blessing on our crazed first day. Because one, as we drove onto the park there was a billboard that said: “there is nothing too big for God to handle”. Awesome, we needed that reminder. And two, we witnessed the most amazing sunset over some spectacular scenery. It was breathtaking! And the kicker is, we saw the buffalo AND they didn’t even charge the car! So, I had hope that the next day would a better day.
- Ultimate Road Trip Post 2 – Planned Stops
- Ultimate Road Trip Post 3 – Iowa to South Dakota
- Ultimate Road Trip Post 4 – South Dakota, Wind Cave, and Mount Rushmore