Saturday, August 15, 2020

Mosaic Monday #93: Wide Open Spaces (A.K.A. "The Little Rav That Could")

2,124 miles and six days later, and my two "boys" arrived safely in Kila, Montana on August 9!  The 2005 Rav was dusty, somewhat bug-splattered and sporting a taped-up windshield, but it handled the epic road trip in fine style. 

As I mentioned in my August 1 post, #1 Son has moved home to continue his job search post-college graduation.  Spousal Unit needed no further excuse to join him for a cross-country summer road trip, commencing in Columbus, Ohio.  Here are the details that are fit to print!

Q: What was your favorite thing about the trip?

#1 Son: The nuclear silo.  The mine with the physics experiments.

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in Philip, South Dakota protects two facilities that were once part of a Minuteman Missile Field that covered the far western portion of South Dakota from 1963 through the early 1990s.  

The Homestake Mine was an extensive underground gold mine, and until it closed in 2002, it was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America.  The Homestake Mine is famous in scientific circles because of the work of a deep subterranean laboratory that was set up there in the 1960s.  This was the site where the solar neutrino problem was first discovered.  On July 10, 2007, the mine was selected by the National Science Foundation as the location for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory.  Experiments on neutrinos and dark matter particles often require an environment with limited radiation, a feature brought about by the depth of the mine.  You can begin to get a sense for why this might thrill an Engineering Physics major with a specialization in nuclear engineering!

Q: Dad, what was your favorite?

Dad: #1 Son getting his geek on at the missile silo.  The park (Minuteman Missile National Historic Site) was unexpected and well done.  Devil's Tower.  Driving across country with my son.

Devils Tower was the first national monument in the US, a full ten years before the formation of the National Park Service.  An astounding geologic feature that protrudes out of the prairie surrounding the Black Hills, it is considered sacred by Northern Plains Indians and indigenous people.  Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest crack climbing areas in North America, and climbers could be seen on the day that my husband and son visited.  (Devils Tower may appear as if it thrust up through the ground, but this dramatic formation was exposed gradually through the processes of weathering and erosion.)

Q: What was your least favorite thing about the trip?

(Both answered in unison): Driving across Iowa (laughter).

Iowa was an eight-hour day.  They didn't even take any pictures until Day 3, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  (I hope this does not offend any of my friends in Iowa.)

Q: What was the best meal you had? 

#1 Son: beef tips at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Sundance, Wyoming.

Dad: best overall dining experience was the Livingston Bar and Grille in Livingston, Montana.

Q: What was the best place you stayed?

Both: Bear Lodge in Sundance (not to be confused with the Bear Motel - laughter).  Custom built cottages.

Q: What was the strangest thing you saw?

Dad: outside Sturgis, a motorbike was adorned with a bison skin and hide, making it appear that the rider was astride a bison.  Oh, and the rattlesnake in the drain.

#1 Son: the whole town of Wall, which was essentially the drugstore and 5 other shops/bars.  Many of the walls of the store were decorated with plaques, identical in size and style, featuring the name of someone/an organization, and emblazoned with a unique brand like you might have seen on an animal.  I suppose there was somewhere in the store that you could purchase one, but I didn't see it.

Dad: 200 miles before you arrived, the billboards began for Wall Drug Store.  "Free Water".  "5 cent coffee".   "Boots, Buckles and Belts - Cowboy Up".  "Homemade Donuts."  "Six Foot Rabbit".  In the store, there were hundreds of historical photographs, too.  

#1 Son: and the animated T-Rex.

Dad: Pure American kitsch.  And a great selection of socks!

Q: Do you have any recommendations for someone making the same journey?

#1 Son: Start at the Visitor Center for the Missile exhibit.  Then take the northern loop through the Badlands. Visit the nuclear launch silo.  Visit Wall.  And you will still have time to drive part of the way to your destination.

Dad: Skip Mt. Rushmore or go when it is less busy.

#1 Son: if you have time, walk around Deadwood.  We didn't get to, and it looked interesting.

And that, folks, is the end of the trail!  

#1 Daughter and her boyfriend arrive today for a week of vacation, so many good times lie ahead.  I will comment as normal on all links to today's post, but then I will be taking a week break from Mosaic Monday; please come back and link up to my August 30 post! 

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Tuesday (U.S. Mountain time). 
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog. 
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back. 
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by. 
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully. 
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us. 

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  1. What a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed seeing all of those sights!

  2. Mt. Rushmore is a great dream of me. I wished, I could be there one day. And of course with our bike, to travel around. Very interesting Post, Angie. I enjoyed reading.

    Stay healthy and well.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  3. Looks like it was one fantastic trip, thanks for sharing with us. Enjoy time with your daughter and her boyfriend! I'll be back tomorrow to link up. See you again on the 30th :)

  4. Your post has brought back such wonderful memories and I want to thank you for that!! Enjoy your family time!!

  5. What an interesting trip. The waterfalls were gorgeous. Just wow.
    YAY!! Daughter visit, so much to look forward too. We will miss you next week and the link up but look forward to hearing all about the visit.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  6. ...some iconic sites that I'd love to see someday! Thanks for Hosting Angie.

  7. Love the photos and the commentary on that epic road trip. Such joy filled days ahead for your family time. Good idea to take a week off for sure. I'm going to check these spots on a map. Enjoy the time and welcome home to your guys!!

  8. Your two boys sure did have a fabulous driving across your beautiful country. I have never seen the avenue of flags leading to Mt Rushmore, somehow it doesn't seem right. How lovely all your family will be together for a little while. Enjoy!

  9. Badlands looks quite interesting but I am not sure I want to go there.
    Love teh waterfalls, your socks and the "mobile" of the mining shafts. :)

    Take care.

  10. What a great trip your husband and son enjoyed. They saw some amazing places. Enjoy your family time.

  11. Hi Angie :) I'm here as a suggestion from Monica, and I'm glad I stopped by! New follower! :) The trip sounds like one in a million. There was a time I wanted to do a cross Canada trip in a little mini van converted to a trailer...but then I got more dogs lol...then cats...and a hubby...and it didn't happen! Maybe one day in our old age we'll do it! :) I loved seeing the photos, thanks for sharing the trip! :) Have a great week off and I'll be seeing you on August 30th! :)

  12. What a fun trip to and fro! My husband and I drove through quite a bit of South Dakota years ago and saw Mt Rushmore, The Badlands NP, Devils Tower, Needle Highway, The missle silo, Sturgis, Deadwood ...but we missed Wall Drugstore and will have to rectify that someday. Enjoy having your son home for awhile--good luck on his job search. Make sure he has a good Linkedin profile set up--that is always helpful as recruiters look at that site. Enjoy your daughter's visit and your blog break! See you August 30th.

  13. Oh this is utterly gorgeous looks like a perfect Father & Son bonding trip. I'm saving this, was only saying to MR Wren yesterday if we ever get back together again, he should do a trip with our son! I love the way you have things from their perspective! Brilliant fun post what an interesting road trip :)

  14. Nice socks! Sounds like they had a great road trip. It's nice to stop along the way and see different sights. Enjoy your family time.

  15. Hello Angie,
    What a great post and a wonderful trip for your husband and son.
    So many wonderful sights to see, I have many of these places on my wish list. Devils Tower looks awesome and Mt Rushmore are favorites. Great post and photos. Thanks for hosting. Enjoy your week break and visit with the family.

  16. Love the descriptions and Q&A about their epic trip, it felt as if I was along for the ride. Great socks BTW!
    Have a wonderful time with your family, looking forward to catching up with all your stories at the end of the month.

  17. Another great travel story, but I think my fave image is sunrise from the porch, but then I am a sucker for sunrises and sunsets.

  18. What a great commentary and fantastic photos, Angie. Makes me want to travel again so much, however, we are quite strictly isolated here in Victoria and not only is travel impossible even within Australia, but also we can go no further than 5 km away from home... Good news is that the second wave of COVID-19 infections is decreasing.

  19. That was a fun way to share a trip! What great photos and interesting places along the way. I like those socks! And you did a great job with the interview, Mom! I loved it! Now I want to go!

  20. PS: thank you for hosting, always appreciated, Angie.

  21. Happy times with your family and more to come! We’ve been to all those places except the missile thing on our RV travels, so it was a fun look back for me. Agree completely with your guys on Wall and Mt Rushmore. If anyone ever makes the trip again I’d recommend Custer State Park instead of the latter,beautiful park, lots of drive by wildlife viewing, pretty much the same area, way less crowded (although maybe not during Sturgis) and from one spot in it you can even see the back view of Mt Rushmore. ... we also liked the Crazy Horse monument much better than Mt R. ........ anyway, glad you have your family home and safe . Thanks for hosting and enjoy your well deserved “vacation” from it. ...

  22. I'd really like to go back to the badlands. I've never seen the devil's tower. Must-do sometime soon. Enjoy your break!

  23. My kind of road trip. The rest of the family just wants to get where we are going. Me, I want to stop and check stuff out. I'd love to see the missile silos and the mine with the experiments.
    I stopped in Sioux Falls, SD last year and marveled at the falls. Such a great little park. I found five geocaches while I was there as well. Right across the river is the huge hog producing facility that was one of the first superspreader facilities in the country.

    We went through Wall Drug when I was a kid, I'd love to go again.

  24. Angie, Love how you approached this blog post! I am glad your husband and son#1 are home safe! Thanks for sharing and have a great week! Sylvia D.

  25. I visited the Badlands back in 1975. I remember feeling depressed thinking it looked so bleak and forlorn. Maybe it was the time of day. Their photos don't show that at all.
    I'm glad to know that's Devil's Tower and not a nuclear plant, which I thought it was at first and thought it ever so spooky. lol
    Cheers to Family Fun, Angie!

  26. Sounds like an epic trip! Enjoy your time with family. Thanks for hosting!

  27. What a trip, what a tour, great photographs.

    Enjoy your time with the special.

    All the best Jan

  28. What an amazing trip! I am so glad you shared the photos and the 'conversation'!


  29. I hope all is well with you, Angie. Couldn't find this Monday's post...


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