Monday, January 16, 2012

South Dakota is a Tourist Extravaganza!!! (Part Two)


Sorry for the long wait . . . here's highlights from our afternoon in South Dakota!

But first, Lola would like to give a shout out to the Apple Store in Boston.  She heard she has fans there and wanted to say thank you so much for your support!  <3

A couple of new friends we met at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota . . . 
Lola REALLY liked her ; )

It should be noted that the Jackalope statue was the #1 reason that Lola and I could not resist Wall Drug. Once we arrived it was apparent that we made the right decision.  Also, after 100 miles of AWESOME billboards I was certain that driving past was not an option--We needed to get some free water!
(Notice the cup in my hand?)

I really loved the piano-playing Gorilla, even though it stole my quarter and DID NOT play the piano.
Lola thought he was pretty cool too.

Before I began the road trip, as I have mentioned before, I had a mental checklist of things that I wanted to take Lola's picture with.  I found the dinosaurs and Paul Bunyon, so I was pretty excited that there was
 at least a picture of a "teepee" to take her picture in!  If only I could have figured out
a way to get her face in the infant spot . . .


Lola often likes to pretend that she is a herding dog when there are cats around,
so this seemed like a natural scenario for her.  I like that the rope
 almost looks like it is attached to her

Do you ever get that feeling that you're being watched?

It took Lola a while to pay any attention to the stuffed bison, but once she caught the smell she was very intrigued.  She really liked sniffing his beard, but I just couldn't catch a picture of it. : (
To me, it looks like the Bison is royalty and Lola is kissing his foot.
"Oh please your Highness, I beg your mercy!"

Woo Hoo!  We made it to Mount Rushmore!!!  What a hike!
Just kidding, believe it or not this is a fake, lol.
But it gave us motivation to be on our way to the real thing . . .

Along the way to Mount Rushmore we hit our two-thirds mark!!!


And saw some beautiful views of the scenery.  It was nice to get into the mountains for a change of pace; those straight, flat roads posed no challenge for a woman driving a 16-foot truck.  Where's the excitment in that?  My life hadn't flashed before my eyes since the Minnesota Monsoon!  But finally we hit the steep hills and sharp turns, I thought for sure our brakes would give out . . .

Just look at that sunshine!  (and all of the dead bugs!)
Note: Moving trucks do not seem to come with much window fluid.  We ran out on both trips!
If you plan on using one for more than 2 days, we recommend adding window fluid to your packing list!

Almost there . . .   Yay!

We made it!!!  For real this time!!!

So, I hate to disappoint anyone, but this is pretty much the best picture we were able to get of the Presidents.
As it turns out, dogs are not allowed in the park!  For some reason, South Dakota and Wyoming seem to think that outdoor parks/landmarks are NO place for dogs.  RUDE!  I was able to take some beautiful pictures of Lola though.  We got there just before sunset, so the lighting was on our side at least . . .

A nice, patriotic shot.


Just because dogs aren't allowed on the "developed" parts of the park doesn't mean I didn't push my luck!

Besides, when you have a model who is this well behaved,
it's almost a crime NOT to take a few pictures!

For these next few shots, I lifted Lola up onto a wall along the way to the parking lot. 
Yes, I was definitely a little nervous, but again, with a model like Lola . . .

The wall was next to a path with a downward slope, so it was cool to be able to take advantage of
the underneath shot that I rarely get to take of her.

A better view of the wall.  I picked her up and stood on the lower ledge to lift her up.  The real sight was getting her down, she actually put her front paws over my sholder so I could lift her off!

I love these shots!

Up on a Pedestal

Looking over the Presidental Landmark

While she was on the pedestal, a grouchy old man (usually my favorite type of person),
came up to me and said in a crotchety voice,
 "That'll be a $200 (or so) fine if the park ranger catches her up here!"
I'm sure he was just trying to be helpful, but honestly, was she doing any harm?
Again, totally worth the risk! (And no fine, I might add . . .)

Even though we did not get to go into the park, Mount Rushmore was still worth our time. 
I absolutely love the pictures we took,
and I guess viewing the Mountain from far away is better than not at all. 
Mount Rushmore is a beautiful place, full of wonderful smells, 
and Lola impressed some new people, aside from that grouchy old man . . .

(Sorry to my nieces and nephews for the lack of  Mount Rushmore gifts though!)

Doesn't she look regal when looking out over the land?

A stunning view!

Lola and I had a fantastic time in South Dakota and I never imagined that we would be able
to see so many exceptional things in one amazing day.

From Mount Rushmore, we still had 2 hours to go before arriving at my Cousin's house near Moorcroft, WY.  We arrived to a house full of expectant reletives, just after 9 pm ct.  At this point in our Journey, We had traveled 2,185 miles in 5 days and I was starting to miss being around people I knew.  Needless to say, I was happy for a little break and some time to enjoy family.  Lola was in dog heaven with miles and miles of mountainous land to explore and her very own pack of dogs to run with.  It was just what we needed!

Our next blog entry will take us out of Wyoming and through Montana.
Thanks so much for following us!

~ Crystal & Lola

Thursday, November 3, 2011

South Dakota is a tourist extravaganza!!! (Part one)

South Dakota is AWESOME!  I know, I never thought I would say that either, but I was amazed at all of the tourist possibilities!  Lola and I managed to explore 4 fantastic attractions in one day,
but there were many that we had to pass up. 
We started the day in Mitchell, SD at "The World's Only Corn Palace",
visited a few dinosaurs along the way,
traveled back in time to 1880 Town,
hunted down Jackalope memorabilia at WALL DRUG,
 and eventually made it to Mount Rushmore! 

Here are highlights from the Corn Palace and 1880 Town. 
There were just too many pictures for one post!

Who doesn't love a grinning ear of corn?

Lola is studying up on how the Corn Palace was made. 
First they grid it out and decide the colors to use, and then find corresponding colored corn cobs to use.  The cobs are cut in half and put in place.  The outside of the Corn Palace is decorated in this way. 
 We did not go inside however, so I'm not sure if it is any different. 
I did notice many visitors leaving the Corn Palace with corncobs-on-a-stick, even at 10 am! 

I love this picture! One of my top 5 of the trip. 
I took this one with my cell phone too!
I love how the rays of light shine down evenly around her and "American Pride" is centered above her.
 Just another Majestic photo! 

Each of the pictures on the palace is made with corn cobs, as described above.  Pretty cool actually.

I wish that I could say that I have trained Lola to look in the right direction when taking pictures, but I have not.  For this perfect shot I must give credit to a helpful flying insect and good timing!

Artsy Road Trip Shot  : )
(You might recognize this as the background on this blog)

Another favorite thing about South Dakota: 
Most of the Sinclair gas stations still have these Dinosaur statues!

Roaring with the Dino

Just outside of 1880 Town. 
The sky was absolutely PERFECT for these shots!

Mooby the Golden Calf? 
Just a random golden cow outside of the entrance to 1880 Town.
(Random cow shots WERE on our checklist . . .)

One of many stuffed "people" in South Dakota.

This wagon was featured in the movie, "Dances With Wolves".
Upstairs in the main building is an entire showcase of Dances With Wolves props, parts of the movie were filmed here! Oh, and before I forget, the people at 1880 Town were WONDERFUL!  Very friendly and welcoming, even dog-friendly!  Lola and I enjoyed it very much!

Senior Portrait.

I smile every time I look at this picture!

One of the things I loved most about 1880 Town was that the buildings
and props were open for exploration and GREAT for pictures!

See?  The sky was PERFECT! 
So Beautiful!

Oh, and did I mention they have A CAMEL?!?
Lola was pretty unsure about it, especially when I petted it.
I couldn't resist, it was a very friendly and curious camel.
There was also a miniature pony that had black and white coloring and
was barely bigger than Lola.  I tried, but neither of them wanted a picture together! 

Another great picture! 
This shot took all of Lola's strength and patience to make it through--There was a little kitten slinking around my feet helping me take the picture and it was killing Lola that she couldn't come see it. I was surprised that she did such a great job staying in the coach until I was finished! And what nice posture!  Good Girl!

Oh yeah, I tried it out too!

Another saloon! 

Lola just looked so natural in front of a Fire Station, I couldn't resist.

Lola jumped right up and stuck her face out the back of this stage coach.  Sometimes I swear she knows she's a model.  She comes up with the best poses from time to time!

This is where I had planned for her to pose.  It took some convincing though. 
Lola was pretty sure the back of the Wells Fargo coach was better.

I much enjoyed the symmetry of this shot.
Lola behaved so well at 1880 Town!
One of those "A-HA!" Picture moments, another favorite : )  Once again, PERFECT sky that day!
 (And no, Lola is not in this picture, she was helping me take it)

Even though Lola was a good girl, she still ended up in The Clink! 
A few too many drinks at the Saloons perhaps?

But don't worry, I busted her out in no time and we continued on our way through Marvelous South Dakota, The Land of Tourist Opportunity!
Stay tuned for Part two!

~Crystal and Lola