Monday, July 7, 2014

Westward Ho! {2014}

We went on a family vacation in early June out West.  I just wanted to share what we did, where we stayed and what we liked/disliked. 
We were gone for 10 days total.  I think that I'm going to highlight each day in a separate post.  We will see how this whole thing evolves...not sure yet. 

You can read more about planning, packing, leaving and where we traveled on Day 1, here.

Let's move on to Day 2: 

We left Jackson, Minnesota early on Friday morning.  Earth Inn Motel, where we stayed in Jackson, did offer a few selections for breakfast.  Again, I picked lodging based on the fact that were were just using it to sleep and shower.  Continental breakfasts were perks.  And, I wanted to stay within our budget of $1,000.00 for lodging for the entire vacation.  
Dave had heard somewhere that cleaning the windshield with newspaper would get all the bugs off, so prior to getting back on I90 we filled up the gas tank and he gave it a whirl.  It actually did work.  And, here is why
Guess what I have in my van now?

South Dakota
We stopped at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Chamberlain, South Dakota for lunch.  It's a really nice rest area by the Missouri River off of I90.  It has a neat museum, tons of tourist information and nice areas to picnic.  Plus, there were trails to walk and large open grass areas for the kids to run.  This was about 3 hours into our drive to Wall, South Dakota.

Wall Drugs 
Why?  Because I was told by multiple people to stop at Wall Drugs while planning this trip.  I had it marked down as our touristy thing to do for the day and a nice break from the drink.  Dave, when told what we were doing, was unimpressed.  But he changed his tune once we arrived.  It is pretty cool.  It was a nice stop about 2 hours after we stopped for lunch in Chamberlain on our way to Keystone.  We got out, walked around, did some shopping, grabbed a snack and then headed back to the van to continue on.

We then made our way into Keystone, which was where we stayed for two nights.  The plan was to see the night lighting of Mt. Rushmore on the first night but heavy fog made that not happen.  Instead we drove around Keystone and scouted out places to check out prior to leaving.
One thing that we noticed over and over again was "Holy Terror" signage all over the place in Keystone.  We would find out on Day 4 what that was all about and it's pretty fricking funny.
While in Keystone we stayed at the Econo Lodge.  It was 10 minutes from the parking lot of Mt. Rushmore and 20 minutes from Crazy Horse.  We did have to double back to Wall, South Dakota (about a 45 minute drive) to get back to The Badlands, but it was used as an excuse to visit Wall Drug, again.
Our first night in Keystone we ate at Peggy's Place.  Let me just note that Keystone is a tourist trap.  Nothing bad, that's just what it is.  It's also expensive to eat there.  Peggy's was the least expensive choice option (but, was still expensive for over $50 for five people).  I think, though, out of all the options in Keystone, this is your best bet.  An even better idea would be to stop in Rapid City before heading into Keystone (we did that on Day 3).
View of mountains from our motel in Keystone

So, Day 2 of our trip was mostly taken up by driving from Minnesota into South Dakota and getting settled into our motel room in Keystone.

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