Value Your Own Opinion

Maybe you don’t remember the moment you first opened your Facebook account, your first tweet, or pic on Instagram. But I bet you remember the first negative comment you received on something you TRULY loved that you were sharing. A moment,  piece of magic in your life that you thought “hey, this is worthy of sharing my soul with the World” and then someone says something, and that beautiful minute you were proud of gets buried in self- doubt.   WHY do we do this to ourselves?

When I first started this idea, I had grander plans than I have shared. I was going to share it this way, and that way, and I was going to put it out with every means possible and through any source possible.  And as things started to grow, I felt the enjoyment of what I was about to do starting to shrink. No longer was I excited about having the adventure, I was too stressed about sharing it.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t help myself but share… but here’s why. For me, I see a beautiful Mountain, and I think to myself “Oh my God, this moment, this place, I must show someone else so they too can come here and see it and feel how I feel.”  No longer do I want to, nor need to, feel that I need the Like, Hit, Thumbs Up, etc.. to appreciate how “I” feel in that moment. I want to share because I enjoy it, because it is fun, because it will inspire adventure and kindness in someone else. And if it doesn’t, move on to the next one.

Too many times I put out something of myself through writing or pictures, and by the way, that is what we ALL do, and I obsess on the comments. Why? I loved the pic I took, I want to KEEP loving the pic I took, and it seems that we let others decide for us what we will find worthy IN OUR OWN LIVES. How insane is that?  I am guilty of reading comments on articles BEFORE I even read the article, and I always ask myself “Why am I doing this?” I was interested in the what and why of the story, but I jumped to that section without even thinking about it.  I have got to rewire my brain, read the story, and then move on.

I leave a month from today- holy crap. And I. Am. Excited!!!!  Of course I will share on FB, YouTube, Instagram, and here of course.  But I decided months ago that my sharing would be more of a virtual journal for myself. So one day when I am old and grey (God willing) and I am unable to do these things anymore, I can look back on all of my pictures, videos, and smile about the holy hell of an adventure that I had the guts to take myself.  I won’t care then about the comments, I won’t care about the haters who are clearly jealous, and I certainly am not going to regret a second of any footage taken.  THIS is why we should be recording ourselves and lives, THIS.  To see that we took chances, and we laughed in the face of fear.  To watch ourselves make the impossible, possible, and to enjoy every laugh line, wrinkle, and grey hair. To enjoy our youth today, to enjoy our age today, our kids, our families. How many times do we all look back and long for “those days?” Guess what? YOU ARE IN THEM NOW!!!  Of course we are getting through hard times now, of course the last year sucked. But I guarantee that through all the hardships and loss, that the sun does rise again. 

So I am making this vow to all of you now that I promise to value my own opinion on my amazing adventure. If I don’t share something “on time” (my standards of it) then oh well.  I didn’t answer a bunch of emails? I will get to them AFTER my experiences. In this World of “Stop everything to answer that text, email, etc..” I think we have forgotten that we don’t HAVE too. Now, I do because I don’t want to come off rude, but there is time you can put between them for your sake and self-preservation.  I will remind myself every day of this journey of how immensely blessed, lucky and fortunate I am to be ABLE to do this.  I will enjoy for those who I have lost and cannot be there, and I will enjoy for those who cannot do something like this at all.

One month countdown has begun….

Under 5 Week Countdown….

I don’t know about you, but when I plan a trip I have all these little things I have to get done for it and here at home before I leave.  Everything from buying bear spray (which I never knew was a thing until now) to my own porta john… needless to say, my deliveries have been comical to say the least.   Did you ever order so much that you can’t remember WHAT you ordered and then it’s like Christmas morning every time the Amazon truck dops off? LOL So I thought I would share with you where I am at… 33 days out.

For a year of traveling, there is quite a bit involved. I have so many people I want to visit, meet up with, and so on, so it’s been a bit challenging trying to get everyone on the same page with that.  Not difficult, but think about your year starting June 1st and who you could all visit across the great Nation and then schedule ALL of them.  I have to say, I am getting quite good at it, but still challenging to find the right spots to meet up so they coincide with my travel interests as well.  No, I don’t have to schedule everyone right now, but yes, I have people scheduled out 6-9 months even because I just want the seed planted that I will be in their neck of the woods, and I would LOVE to come and see them! So even if I am just a place holder in their head right now, I will take it.  SOOOOO excited to love on all my friends!!

Reservations have been going well, it is trying to connect the dots that is a little trickier. Some spots were sold out, so I would have to accomodate to the next town or city, which adds more to driving time and less from touring time.  I have booked some amazing places to stay that I CANNOT WAIT to show yall!

So far I have also booked camping in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and more National Parks to come.  Craig says my car will be filled with more camping equipment than actually anything else…. maybe. BUT my Dad taught me to BE PREPARED!!!! (Bonus points if you sang that in your head like Scar from the “Lion King”).  Bought a brand new, pop-up tent that I took for a spin in the yard to make sure I could put it up and take down on my own.  As much as I love something “brand new” when I first use it, this isn’t the time.  Nothing would be more upsetting than to be out in the Wilderness and realize that the tent had a defect or I couldn’t figure it out, and now I am sleeping in my car (which I am ALSO prepared for in case of bears).   Yeah most of what I have bought is for camping, but I figure that if I like it that I will do more and now I have everything for the next time.  And if I hate it, I will give it to Craig or the girls and they can have a go at it.  I got these cute little bonfire cannisters for when I just want to roast a marshmallow and I don’t want to make a huge fire, a mess kit, collapsible bowl for washing my dishes, my porta potty, camping chair, and some more odds and ends. I’m stoked!

Everything else is falling into place, reserving tickets for events and attractions. Today the Glacier National Park reservations open, so that’s on the roster for today, which many of the Parks are doing. I got my NP Annual Pass in the mail, woot! So slowly but surely, I’m making small steps towards the bigger picture.  I even started to pack my “cubes” in my office for my car so that I know what is what.  I use the ones from IKEA and one is for camping, one is for blog stuff, one is for car maintenance and safety, and so on. I can get about 5 in my trunk with room to spare for tent, bucket, chair, etc… Then I have the entire back seat for more stuff, and the front for my cooler and driving stuff. I don’t like to add to much to the front seat because people will be joining me all over the place and I want the space to be able to toss stuff in back and let them ride with me and not look like a hoarders car.

To me being organized for a huge adventure like this is key to not losing my mind. If I can find things easily at the many stops I will be taking, it is less stressful and continues my mindset that I am able to accomplish what I set out for.  If my car is messy and disorganized, I have high anxiety and wind up saying “Screw it, I can’t find it” and then find what I wanted AFTER the adventure and it’s now useless or pointless.  Like last time, my car slowly started to empty out with stuff being used or given away, so it’s a win, win.  I think I’m ready, well I am getting ready, not there yet, but with the week I have had, I am trying to stay busy.  So there you go. Thanks to EVERYONE for their great tips, information, and so on that you comment or send me.  It’s pretty cool to hear someone say something about a State and know that I could try to see it, so keep them coming. Have a great day!

How the Planning is Going- 4.15.2021

At the beginning of this year, I had decided to hang a large map of the U.S. in my office so that I could stare at it every day, reminding me of what was to come.  So that even just by glancing at it, I could make mental notes here and there of what needs to get done.  I joined several Facebook travel groups in hopes to make new friends, but more importantly, to also hear about others travel experiences.  I have screen shot so many things I want to see, that I have to take just a day to go through each one and write them down in my travel notebook.  I don’t mind keeping notes on my laptop, but there’s just something about pen and paper that makes me feel more in control. 

I have begun to buy tickets to events, and THAT is exciting to me! I have been waiting to see how everything was going to play out, and would I even be ABLE to travel because of the state of things, but it looks like I will be able too with a mask on for now. I thought planning this for the summer of 2021 was pushing it out far enough, but as we all know, it just keeps cycling right now, so I am going ahead with extreme caution.  Like last summer, I will follow the protocol I gave myself of always washing hands and sanitizing after touching everything and anything outside my space. Masking up, keeping safe distance, I hope I will be ok. ALSO getting vaccinated tomorrow, VERY happy about that!

So what am I buying tickets too? Well, I have some really odd, amazing, and fun likes in, and of, life!  I bought tickets to a Puppet Museum to see the largest display of Sesame Street items, and then booked a Paranormal tour at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky.   I am going to go and check out the life-size “Noah’s Ark” also, and probably hit up the Kentucky Derby area too.  I LOVE me some nature so any State and National Parks I have time for, I will try and see. This summer, a heads up, SEVERAL National Parks are asking you RESERVE your day for when you are coming to see them. Also, you will need your National Parks pass AND they are charging at some an additional fee to come into the Parks.  Yes, you read that right.  I assume they are watching their numbers, but it is a pain to try and pinpoint when I will be EXACTLY where and not a “go with the flow” on this one.  Basically I will have to reserve a couple days at each to give myself a small window in case of delays. Because I am staying in Yellowstone I assume I don’t need a reservation, but I am still researching this.

By the way, this is basically what I have been doing every day…research.  It’s not only about one city, it’s many. And it’s not just the city then, it’s where to stay. Is it safe, is there food close by, gas, etc… Then how far are the places I want to see from the hotel, are the roads easy to drive or is it all mountains? Things like this I really try to prep for because the “SURPRISE” sometimes isn’t so sweet.  I mean there isn’t much I can do once going “up”, just keep my foot on the pedal and pray! I do A LOT f singing when I am nervous while driving, helps calm me down and get the anxiety out.

Last but not least, I booked my weekend for the opening of the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico!!!  I rewired some of my plans to make it fit, having to double back a bit on what I was going to be doing, but this has ALWAYS been on my bucket list. So I found a hotel a couple miles from the Festival, and booked the entire weekend in case one day has bad weather.  I am going to try for the VIP tickets when they come out because you can go to a private patio and watch them with food and drinks. Sounds like a fun way to meet people and enjoy the view, so hopefully I will be able to snag one!

I am trying to stay focused, but life has a way of sneaking up on us as we plan something else.  Bob is COMING HOME today and so I am SO happy for my Mom who is relieved and just SOUNDS so much better. They hope to head back to Green Bay in the next coming weeks, and I will be up there in June to see them again. And with life it’s one big rollercoaster ride, and as I got news Bob is out of the woods, I still have a dear friend deep in them.  So I am praying and thinking about Eric all week, and so touched that he called me on Monday to connect on what was happening with him. In fact we did have a laugh, I told him that I was having the whole family vaccinated this Friday, and he said “Why, why would you do that?” I said, “So we don’t get it.” And he started to laugh and said “Oh, wait, I thought you said you and the family were being EVACUATED” and we both laughed.  Small things, big moments. I pray he’s ok, they intubated him less than 24 hours after that call… and now we wait. Please keep him and the family in your thoughts and prayers.

So that’s been my week thus far, I keep moving forward, keep stepping out of that comfort zone, and keep hoping that life gets back to a normal we can all agree on, soon.

I Booked Yellowstone!!!

In between taking care of things here, I have tried to work on my trip as much as I can.  I have found that I get this second wind lately and I just run with it, booking right and left.  So yesterday I was doing my research on Yellowstone and wanted to see what I could find for August and maybe find something open.  All the hotels in the area are fully booked, so next was staying either inside the Park and camp or outside the Park and camp at like a KOA Campground. 

I found a site that I could book for 4 straight nights in the Mammoth area, so I am super excited that I got that end because it is where I intended on coming back through after Idaho and the Ghost Towns of Montana.  Not knowing ANYTHING about Yellowstone, I just winged it on what campsite looked best and found a nice one that looks onto one of the Mountain sides.  I had to book on the National Parks website, another first for me, by making an account and then paying for the site IN FULL online.  They do list what the site has, what the amenities are there, etc.. so it was pretty easy to use except modifying the dates.  I screwed up the month, so I had to remove the wrong reservation and replace it with the correct dates which then gave me different site choices.  Doing this for the first time is incredibly scary because I don’t know the Park at all.  I just knew this was the Wyoming end I wanted to come in on, and I figured that I could enjoy 4 days in this area, and then maybe find a site at the bottom for a day or two there. 

I highly recommend joining camp groups and National Park groups/pages for insider information, as I am learning a lot.  I plan on tenting it, but honestly I will probably sleep in my car during the night, and during the day take a nap in my tent and relax there after hiking and such.  I have watched every episode of “Survivor” and owned my own Campground, you’d think I would be more prepared for this. BUT its been over 20 years since I had my Campground, and have camped little since then. SO this will be a learning experience. I am getting a tent that is the EASIEST to put up and take down.  I don’t want to get frustrated with that and ruin the entire experience.  I will also keep food ONLY in my car, not in my tent, as this is bear country and while I would like not be “Datelined,” I would also not like to be mauled by a bear. 

Just need to figure out the campfire situation and how to bathe.  No showers there, just flushable toilets, which is still better than the pit toilets. As a kid I used to have nightmares of what spiders were going to crawl up in there while I was on them….or falling down the toilet into the yuck. I know, give me a break, I was a kid. LOL  I am a bit concerned about that 3 a.m., middle of the night pit stop I may need….hmm. 

I am SUPER excited to be able to explore a National Park in this capacity and detail this time around, and not just a drive through. I don’t mind driving them, but hopefully I will be able to do a hike or two. SAFELY. Yes, need bear spray, human spray, spray spray. I have a list going that I will get before I hit the road in June, and then pick up groceries and bottled water in Idaho before heading in.  I am only there 4 nights, so hopefully I see as much as I can, but short enough that if I am miserable and not feeling it, I won’t have to endure it too long. LOL  

It was only $25 a day to camp inside the Park, and I did have to pay it in full.  They don’t have many campgrounds open this year, so I just went with the one that was open.  I figure I will bring everything in I need, drive the loops to see “Old Faithful” and other sites on my end. Then maybe book another site on the opposite end I will be heading out on, or just see things as I head out of there.  They were filling up incredibly fast, I had no idea the cutthroat world of camping and how people sit and wait for people’s campsites before they even left.  I guess I will see firsthand how this will all work. OH you also get a discount if you have a National Parks pass, I didn’t plan on buying mine until my first Park, so I wasn’t able to benefit this time around.

I am nervous and excited, and I think it will be a true test of my patience and learning to be with myself without many distractions. I CANNOT WAIT to show y’all how I do and how I am doing- pending ANY cell phone reception. My campground says they have it, so I am hoping I have it for when I chill at night and I can check in with people. Other than that, I plan on a campfire and then movie time with a DVD on my laptop- charging in my car during the day.

If you have any suggestions, please comment on FB, on the blog, or PM me. I would love to know your tips and experiences in Yellowstone and what trails I should take, what places to check out, and what you dealt with.  Thank you for any and all help! 

ANNOUNCEMENT!!! More than a Trip, More like a Mission

When I came up with this idea of traveling all 50 States, I knew I wanted it to be bigger than myself. Honestly part of my problem in life is that I have a hard time being selfish, that isn’t a pat on the back, it’s just who I am.  I am always looking to better someone else’s life, to make someone else feel good, because honestly in return I feel amazing for touching someone else’s life. Money is great, being known is great, but there is no rush better than helping someone in need or brightening their day.

So with GREAT excitement, I am announcing my purpose and mission today. I call it the “SPREAD KINDNESS” Tour, and I hope to be performing random, and not so random, acts of kindness across the U.S.A.  I don’t have HUGE resources like a lot of these bigger brands and YouTubers, but I have the heart and I have the personality, so hopefully I can make do on those and make someone out there smile on a bad day.  My hope is that people will want to donate to the cause and help me with acts of kindness- any and all suggestions I invite.

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Along with that, I will be raising money for “FEEDING AMERICA.”  I thought about asking people to donate a penny per mile driven from start to finish (48 States).  I will be setting up a link that goes directly to them, that way I don’t have to touch any of it and people know their money went. Why “FEEDING AMERICA?”  Glad you asked!  I volunteered there when I lived back in WI for a spell 4 years ago. I fell in love with the place and their mission, so much that they created a job for me and asked me to work for them full-time. I was ELATED!!!  Helping out others AND getting paid for it, dream come true.  Unfortunately, I would only be working for them for a couple of months before I had a medical issue that knocked me off my feet, putting me in the hospital several times.  I had to give them the opportunity to find someone else, which they did, because I just didn’t feel right holding them up due to something out of my control. So I gave up the dream job, but someone else was blessed with it instead. The organization does AMAZING things to feed the Country, and with us trying to come out of a recession and those needing food now more than ever, I thought this was the perfect place for donations.

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Many will wonder, why can’t you just adventure, why does their have to be something more behind it? Well, the simple answer is that I live to serve. I enjoy it, I need it, and I WANT to leave a legacy of doing some good on this planet.  We each have an opportunity EVERY DAY to bless someone with our time, our love, our help, and our kindness.  Small acts to big, it all adds up. Hasn’t it ever happened to you where you are having THE worst day and some stranger smiles, or says hello, or you get something fun in the mail completely unexpected? Someone pays you a compliment, a phone call checking up on you, or someone just simply making time for you in a busy day?  Such small moments turned into HUGE blessings.  The domino effect than happens and one by one, you start to help someone else, than they do and so on.  Imagine the domino effect I could have across the Nation, I just need to start the first one.

So I am excited, nay, ELATED, to finally announce this because it is something that I have been working on for months!!!! I hope you are too, as I need EACH of you to help me make this happen.  Please consider donating to the acts of kindness through Zelle at relocatedtourist@yahoo.com and making a one time donation or pledging a penny per mile traveled and donating at the end.  More announcements coming on fun stuff for the “Spread Kindness Tour” and I cannot WAIT to share it soon. Have a GREAT day!!!

Thank you for the support!!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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What Makes us Want to Travel?

My gosh, do I LOVE a good plan. The idea as it starts to simmer in my brain, the action taken as things come together, the product of what comes of all of it. To me it’s like that first bite of a REALLY good steak, or that rush when the wine finally hits your system.  I get EXCITED and that adreline is truly like a drug.  I was thinking of recent what makes me want to travel so much, why I don’t like staying in one place for very long.  Join me on this deep dive of travel thought.

Maybe it starts as kids? My Mom and Dad took Ryan and I to Niagara Falls, Canada, up and down the Midwest, and eventually our first trip to Disney World.  I would sit in the back seat of our station wagon, or “grocery getter” and I would write down every city we drove through.  Foreshadowing much?  My Dad would ask what I was doing, and I would say “I want to remember all the Cities” and even though we were just passing by, I still wanted to write them down.  Those notes are still in my memory box today. THAT Amy had no idea what she was in for.

Fast forward to getting married and having kids, I have always encouraged my family to seek adventure. If we didn’t have a lot of money, I would scour the coupon sections, the newspaper on Sundays, and eventually the Internet, looking for deals like Groupon to do with the fam.  There was and always IS something to do, I just feel people get lazy on WANTING to do the research.  Whereas our parents hopped in their car and came upon something, which you still can, this World is so big and so full now, that much to be enjoyed requires full attention and reservation.  For a Disney trip, we would plan and countdown for a year if not more.  Yes, children and marriage were the center more than travel at the time, but we still found a way to show our kids a slice of the American dream.

And now today. My kids are grown and finding their paths in life, Craig and I are close, but the road calls to me more than anything.  I wish I understood it. I see so many others who are complacent in living these cozy filled home lives, and I wonder why I don’t want the same. But we all know, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and should be avoided at all costs.  I know, I am lucky and blessed to do this, but it is scary at the same time. I leave the comforts of the same bed, same home, same everything for the unexpected adventure that comes with unexpected bravery.  I am not getting any younger, WHAT am I waiting for?  Well, these HUGE journeys take time and money, and I am stacking both as much as I can for what lies ahead.  A side note, thank you to those who have supported this crazy idea, it means A LOT to me! 

So what makes us travel? Well, for me, I just want to see and do as much as I can while I am on this spinning blue marble. I want to meet as many people as I can, help as many people as I can, share love and joy with as many as I can.  I want to leave a legacy of a life well lived and something my children see as a challenge to rise too.  To LIVE adventure, not just choose it. To BE what life presents you, instead of just floating in it. There is so much out there to see, to experience, to taste, to live. And what people don’t realize is that traveling isn’t just about getting in your car or a plane. It’s about leaving the day to day behind and finding something deeper in your soul that’s waiting to be woken. It’s about seeing different perspectives, different cultures, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual you come in contact with.  Yes, for most it’s a week off work, but what can and WILL change you, if you LET it, is letting the travel make home in your soul so that you carry it with you to the next.  To work our lives away, and I know it’s how we put food on the table, isn’t something that should define our adult existence. Yes, it takes a huge chunk, but I bet you haven’t ever wondered about that extra hour you should have worked compared to that extra hour you spent laughing with someone over dinner, or that extra hour your family decided to stay somewhere longer. Honestly, I think everyone needs a good vacation after the year of Hell we have all had. Or a stiff drink and an order of Chinese food…whatever fits your fancy.

Travel, for me, is freedom. What is travel to you?

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Thank you for your support!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!

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Camping Frustrations

I liked to be prepared…. having a plan B or more makes me feel secure. This camping possibility in the West right now is stressing me out.  For a one person, car or tent, it seems like it SHOULD be something as simple as book a piece of concrete slab for the evening or week and let me be, right?  Well, I had no idea what the cutthroat life of a full time camper actually was until I dug into my research this week…I wasn’t prepared.

Now, having OWNED my own Campground with my family growing up, I know how things work. People love a certain site or cabin, book it a year in advance, and so on. We would be fully booked on the big holiday weeks, but for the most part, we always had room for someone who didn’t need hook-ups. Now I am camping in my car, and probably a tent because I don’t know how my back would handle sleeping like that in my back seat every night, and yet I am having THE hardest time trying to book a spot.

My theory? This summer people are more than covid fatigued and want to get the heck out of Dodge. The staycation is over, and they need to get out on the open road, so like I have said before, I see this summer BOOMING in the Tourism sector.  Maybe just within States, but once borders open, it will be massive.

I just had no idea that the entire booking empire of the National Parks and Campgrounds were so sought after and so hard to find. I read camping forums I could find, the information on the National Park websites, yet there is still no one out there that really HELPS you determine what kind of site would be suitable for you.  If you have ANY suggestions for me on how I can find sites easier, please let me know. Yes, there are apps out there, but when you don’t know the areas being suggested, it makes it that much harder.  Of course research must be done on my part, but there is SO MUCH out there that I just get frustrated and stop cold.

Maybe I will just book a hotel or sleep in my car anyways. Any help would be great! I am trying to find something in Yosemite in August. Even if I can just get a couple of nights so I can see a bunch of stuff and then head out. Thanks for any help!

Planning South Dakota

As you all know, it is by far one thing to HAVE an idea, and a whole other ball game to IMPLEMENT it. I can have them all the live, long day, but man oh man does it get hard to actually get it done. What I mean is that planning is fun, it is, but the “where to stay” part has me stressed out a bit.  I knew the West would be a challenge because I don’t know many people out there, but I also knew that the wide open spaces means fewer hotels and availability on camping.  Some book a year in advance for that spot in Yellowstone or Yosemite. I just want to be able to experience them, even if I can’t stay there.  So with a bit of panic in my step, I started hunkering down on where I would be sleeping in each State so that I didn’t wind up without a place to stay.  (Although I will be prepared to sleep in my car should the occasion arise).

The first month of my trip is the familiar- GA, TN, KY, IL, WI, and MN.  These are the ones that I have traveled through many a year to get to and from Disney when I lived in WI along with ones where family lives (WI and MN).  They aren’t easy in any way, and I actually will be doing all brand new stuff in each, BUT, they are familiar and I am staying with family and  friends so it makes it easier in that way. So the first real “ON MY OWN” State will be South Dakota.

Now, I was here in 2018 to see the Badlands as I passed through with Craig. It was one of THE coolest Parks I had ever seen, although Glacier is still my favorite.  I was so bummed I didn’t get to see Mount Rushmore along with many other places, so the first task is always finding a home base for the week.  That in itself takes some research…do I hotel in one place for the week or bounce around as I tour the State?  The issue with that is availability during the summer months.  And with this being the summer HOPEFULLY post Covid, I believe it will be the busiest summer for travel on record. Keep that in mind if you are making plans as well.

So I decided on Rapid City, South Dakota as my home base.  It’s close enough to Keystone, which is Mount Rushmore, and 44 minutes away from Deadwood. Yes, DEADWOOD!! There is a creepy, haunted hotel there I would like to take the ghost tour of, including the fun of the whole town.  I am also an hour or two from the Badlands, so I can check that out again as well.  I am thrilled to have found a hotel for the week so that I can just enjoy myself and not worry about moving around every night.  Obviously, I am not sharing where I am staying, but AFTER the trip I will post my spots for those interested in staying in these areas. 

They have lots of ticketed things to do, including a train ride in Deadwood, and I would LOVE to do that. BUT I am waiting to make sure attractions WILL be open, and not get blindsided with another shut down or wave.  I think everyone is being cautious with plans at this point, but hopefully I can book tours and such by May.

Have you been to South Dakota? What should I see that I haven’t mentioned? I invite all tips and tricks as I have only been there once and would love the details on the stuff I am just not seeing online or have simply missed.  Also their state motto is “Under God, the people rule.”  Being a Believer, NOT an Evangelical, I LOVE this statement. It has a bit of moxie in it, with a side of Country pride. It makes me think they are a God fearing State, and it will be interesting to see if that motto is “felt” in that State.

The State Slogan is: “Great Faces. Great Places” LOVE IT!!  Writing a blog is like writing a book report every day, if you are that on top of it, and so is the research and information. I feel like I am back in grade school again, learning the capitals and the state birds (Pierre and Chinese-ring necked pheasant). Listen, now you know, and knowing is half the battle!  If I have to learn, y’all are going to learn with me. So there ya go, fill me in, tell me what you did or are going to do in South Dakota. See you on the road!