Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saturday Recap

More on our short mini-vacation....

Saturday we got up around 7:00 to get breakfast at the hotel. I thought the sign for breakfast serving time was 6:00-8:00...We got there and saw that it was actually 6:00-9:00. Totally could have scored an extra hour of sleep, but oh well. Being up early on vacation is kind of nice. We had some coffee and apple juice and bagels and cereal and pastries. Not too bad.

Then we called and made reservations to tour the Jewel Cave. We decided that first we wanted to go back to Mt. Rushmore since it was MUCH nicer outside and we could actually get some photos and enjoy being there, rather than try to shield ourselves from the vicious wind.

This was tough to get. Times like these when I wish we had a little point & shoot camera, instead of my DSLR. We made it work, though.
Pretty cool. =) It was nice being here on an "off" season day. There was hardly anyone else around so we didn't have to fight a crowd just to walk around. 
Of course, gotta have the "I'm from this state!" photos. Brian says "I'm from California!"
"I'm from South Dakota!"
We drove a little around the mountain and there was this cool view from the road.
Some pretty shots from the drive from Mt. Rushmore to Jewel Cave.

I could never get tired of this view.
...Or this one, either.
And then we arrived at the Jewel Cave. We were told to be there by 1:30 (tour was at 2:00,) but we weren't really sure how long it would take so we left a bit early and ended up getting there before 1:00. So they had us watch a nice PBS video about the caves to pass the time. Boooooring. Brian almost fell asleep. My mind was wandering so I hardly absorbed any of the information. Once that was over, we sat outside a bit and grabbed some snacks from a vending machine. We hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, so we were both pretty hungry. Finally the tour started and we went 500+ feet underground.

I didn't take very many photos inside the cave. It was kind of one of those experiences where a photo just wouldn't have even come CLOSE to showing how massive and awesome this place was. Here are the few I did get:

Right before the tour guide turned off all the lights in the cave. Complete and total darkness. It was super eerie.
Brian said this area looked like the walls were throwing up. Yeah.
Crazy stuff.
We learned some cool stuff and had a good time. We didn't see any "jewels" or anything really PRETTY. I was kinda sad. Mostly it was just this gunky looking stuff and what they call "popcorn." Still interesting. Lots of walking, though. I think they said it was like 700 stairs throughout the whole thing. Our legs were pretty tired by the time we left.

Just as we were pulling out of the parking lot, there were 4 deer just hanging out along the road. They were adorable and I wanted to stay there and take pictures of them all day. =)

Look at this guy's ear. Is it super funky to anyone else?? Looks like it has 3 ears!
It was shaking its head. Hahaha....So cute!!
Beautiful, huh?
The drive from Jewel Cave back to Rapid felt super long. There were some really pretty scenic areas, though. Brian really really REALLY wanted to see some buffalo. We even spent some time on the Wildlife Loop at the Custer State Park. Never saw one buffalo. We'll have to keep an eye out in the summer if we go back.

Cute little creek.
And then we saw some MORE deer!
They just kept eating and eating. I'm surprised they're not fatter. Ha. Just kidding. 

Brian shouted "BYE!!" out the window to each deer we saw. They all just looked up at him and appeared to not care. So rude! Luckily there were hardly any other cars on the roads so we could stop and watch them for a while, without the locals getting mad.

I have some other scenic photos, but this is already heavy with images so I'll just wait til another day with those. Or check facebook, they'll probably end up there eventually.

We got back to Rapid City and had dinner at T.G.I.Fridays. One of my favorite restaurants - I was super happy they had one, since the one in Sioux Falls has been closed since FOREVER, it seems. We ate lots of delicious food and had to take the dessert that came with Brian's meal back to the hotel with us. Vanilla bean cheesecake - Mmmmm! Then we rested at the hotel for a little while before throwing on our swim suits and going down to the pool area to sit in the hot tub. Which lasted about 15 minutes before we both got hot and bored and tired. Ha. Watched Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, took showers, and went to bed.

Saturday was basically a LOT of driving. It was fun, though.

Today....Working on homework/projects. I have the balcony door open and it is the PERFECT temperature right now. Ahhh I love spring!

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My name is Denise and this is the home of my Photography 365 Project. Here you will find many photos and lots of words and hopefully something interesting. Feel free to leave comments and kind words whenever you wish. Thanks for stopping by!