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Mount Rushmore Trip Tally

Roadzies

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I saw Mount Rushmore with my own eyes!! This particular trip was a bucket list item for me and nothing could be more thrilling than driving to Mount Rushmore, in our RV, and with our two kids in summer. Dream come true, really. While seeing the beauty of Mount Rushmore was thrilling enough, the trip itself was waaaay more eventful than we had anticipated.

Last year we drove to Tennessee from California for the holidays and I didn't think we were going to come back in one piece, let alone maybe at all (more on that another time!). This RV trip was far more educational but equally as exhausting. Here is the breakdown:

12 days on the road. Our family is thinking more and more about when it might be a good time to full-time so you would think that 12 days would be nothing. However, 12 days NONSTOP was a lot. I need to consult with the FMCA family to better plan our trip.

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5 cities hosted us over our 12 days. Cedar City, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Hill City and Las Vegas were all good places to stay in their own way. Cedar City and Cheyenne are great for quick overnight stays. Salt Lake City far surpassed our expectations and we cant wait to go back. Hill City is home to the Mount Rushmore KOA and that campground is a certified resort. Incredible set up there. Lastly, Las Vegas is my home away from home. She sparkles, she sings, she plays and she never stops feeding me great food and fun drinks. I love you, Las Vegas.

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2770 miles round trip. Again, not really that much but that does bring up the gas question.

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$1,255.28 was the gasoline bill. Insert large frowny face *here*.

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1 rather large windshield chip. I am sure many of you know that stomach-sickening sound and when you hear it happen it is such a helpless moment. Luckily it was in my line of sight and not on the drivers side. If you want to find any of that lucky.

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155 Gigs of data deleted because I was extremely careless. We bought a dash cam for this and subsequent trips. The Dash Cam pictures were so crisp and so clear and sooo beautiful and NOW THEY ARE GONE. Learn from my mistake and do not multitask when uploading and deleting files. I assumed that I was completely capable of talking on the phone, transferring cam files from the microdisk to the external hard drive and then deleting the data to make more room. Ok I might have also been watching a rerun of Castle. That's when I deleted EVERYTHING off of the hard drive. So now I don't have pretty videos to share. I almost didn't have a husband when I finished. Luckily, after a few beers, Ryan found it funny-ish and told me Lesson learned.

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3 tires that are worn one way and 1 tire that is worn waaaaaaay differently. Truth be told, I packed too much. Remember how we took out the bed underneath the couch and made it food storage? Turns out that you shouldn't weigh that down too much. I am now considering packing only cotton candy and popcorn for all of our other trips. (That wouldn't be too terrible, right?!) Between the 8 gallons of water and the super-heavy pantry I packed, Ryan realized that the left front tire was wearing way too fast. He originally assumed it was a bad tire and that we needed an alignment when we got home. Nope ... alas, I just need to not pack like the apocalypse is coming.

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1 ATV off road adventure that we will remember fondly and make us laugh for the rest of our lives. The Mount Rushmore KOA is a mind-blowing resort. Whether you are tent camping, RVing or lounging in one of their cabins, this campground has it all. One of the activities they offer is renting on of their 4 seat ATVs and take it off roading on the trails they have around their property. Ryan's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when he heard about it and I cant say that I was as enthusiastic. I was worried about the girls and quite concerned that their brains were going to get rattled around in their little heads. But the You will regret this if you don't argument won me over. Again. So off we went and it turns out that this was the most fun activity we did together on the trip!! The kids LOVED it, I haven't laughed that hard in years and Ryan was very smug as he drove along to us hooting and hollering. I even drove and the girls were very impressed. Ryan was right and I would have missed out on such a great time. If you guys get a chance to go, you should absolutely do it. Also no brain damage. Whew!

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4 stoic presidents carved into stone. Mount Rushmore and all its glory was the entire reason we took this trip. As a kid, my parents dragged me to Paris and London for years. Now I realize that this sounds snotty but in reality my father only wanted to drink at pubs and my mother only wanted to shop. I didn't see anything significant or historical until I went with a teen tour years later. I used to beg my parents to roadtrip across the country and they would tell me repeatedly that I was describing their personal version of ****. That's when I swore that I would roadtrip with my family one day and it was going to be glorious! Of course when we arrived at Mount Rushmore it was a surreal moment for me. As I walked hand in hand with my nine year old through the flag covered entryway, I had tears in my eyes. That's when she looked up, saw Mt Rushmore and said words to me that I will never forget. Ok Mom, now we have seen it, do you want to head back now?! Parenting. Not for the faint of heart.

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1 exhausted mother. We didn't actually plan on making Las Vegas our last stop. I just couldn't resist the lure of an endless hot shower, room service, slot machines and bloody marys. I am only human after all! I am learning, albeit slowly, about this RV life. I am coming at it too fast and too furious. We need to slow down and leave room for error and surprises. Our RV trips have undoubtedly brought us closer as a family and the girls are not just sisters but best friends. We laugh more, we play more and we are definitely more flexible. I still need a glass a wine at 4 p.m. (ok breakfast sometimes) and Ryan isn't exactly Mr. Sunshine while driving. But we are working on being better travelers while realizing our dreams at the same time. Now that I checked Mount Rushmore off of my bucket list though, where should we go next?!

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It sounds like your are having a great adventure. Regarding the pace and the cost of fuel, I would suggest you slow the pace, stay a while in a location before moving on. Less driving and more exploring will be more rewarding and a lot less hectic. When you were at Mount Rushmore did you do any hiking? There are great trails, short and long to explore in the Black Hills. Did you visit the Crazy Horse Monument? There is a great Native American museum on site and the monument is a story in determination. How about a drive through Custer State Park? They have roaming herds of bison that you will never forget once you see them. In Hot Springs just south of there they have a wonderful paleontological site, Mammoth Hot Springs is where many of these giants were trapped in a spring and died, were buried and now we're digging up the fossils. To the east of Mount Rushmore along I-90 is Badlands National Park with its stark and beautiful landscape. If the weather is cool you can hike if not, just take pictures and enjoy the scenery. We were there with our grandsons and did all these things several years ago.

All these things are located close together so you aren't driving great distances to get to attractions and you'll have time to relax and sit beside the fire in the evening. Doing some trip planning before hand and finding a number of interesting things near your destination, check with tourist bureaus, most states and many localities have them on line now, get some advice here on the FMCA Forum and go out and have another great trip soon.

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