October 14, 2010

Sponsored by Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation.  as part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be.  read mine and Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

fresh and dewy-faced out of our college graduation jon and i drove across the country. we logged over 10,000 miles and were gone for more than a month– making it all the way to alaska... and back. alone. without a map. i doubt i'll ever be able to recreate that kind of freedom, to just take off work and life and drive away into a storm of question marks and go wherever the day takes me.

nico jon and i above at the artic circle- we drove the dalton highway up towards deadhorse AK

on our way back towards the midwest we swung our route through south dakota so that we could stop at the all-important walldrug. where the heck is the walldrug? (if you aren't familiar with the walldrug, it's this bizarre giant store in the middle of nowhere. it's grown over the years into a huge tourist attraction full of the bizarre.  it has its own shops and restaurant, and you can see it coming about a thousand miles away from it's famous walldrug billboards) on the way we also figured hey, what the hell, we might as well swoop down and see mount rushmore while we're at it.   it wasn't too far out of the way (too far was relative at this point, it was about 5 hours extra driving).

mount rushmore is much smaller than it seems on tv and i was thoroughly disappointed.  in fact i believe i called it both "a crock" and, "that pile of crap."  but as jon and i drove through keystone, the little town that has sprung up around mount rushmore, we turned and looked at each other and i said, "we HAVE to come back here when we have a kid." now i'm just counting down the days, baby, to the time when the jude is old enough to make the trek.

let's just check off here the many bonus points of this particular area: casual road tripping- check! hilarious offbeat tourist attractions- check! camping, but with a swimming pool- check! amazing wild animals- check! pretty scenery in national parks- check

the entire area is themed like an old west prospecting town.  just north of there on the way to the walldrug we saw all these amazing signs for DRIVE THROUGH SAFARI and WORLD'S LARGEST MAZE and REPTILE GARDENS. and a desert waterslide park.  and then of course, the walldrug.  brain. explosion.   how fun does that sound with a 6 year old?!

and yes, if you're wondering, this is the same area where they have the sturgis motorcycle rally.

unfortunately, jon refused to let me stop at any of these awesome tourist traps places, citing the fact that he "does not like mazes".  i believe we did stop at the wooden nickle museum, but only to use the bathroom.  i figure he can't say no to two of us, right?!  you're outnumbered, buddy.  get ready for the trip of your life.

don't forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation.  i was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses blog with integrity, and so do i.
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