Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring Thaw Vacation: South Dakota

I have allergies. Always have. They are a pain and they only get worse the longer I am in the same location. My allergies started acting up while I was in CA and then they exploded when I was in Utah this last week. I really mean EXPLODED! Spring is in full swing and the wind was blowing so my face decided to fill up with mucus. When I felt the allergies coming on I went to the store and bought Zyrtec D. I also went to the Young Living Farm and got some Lavender and capsules. I have been taking the Zyrtec D and 7 drops of Lavender every 12 hours but it doesn't seem to be working. My face hurts. When I eat I can feel the pressure in my sinuses, I can't breathe very well, I have a dry cough, my throat hurts, my nose is draining into my stomach and it makes me nauseated, and it feels like my lungs are filling up with fluid. Ugh. I've also been taking meds at night to help me sleep but I'm still really struggling during the day. I hate being a "mouth breather" (like Napoleon Dynamite). I don't know what else to do. Any advice?

Back to the trip!

On Thursday (May 2nd) morning I woke up in really bad shape from my allergy attack. I wasn't really in the mood to go exploring but I decided to put my "big girl" pants on and do it anyways.

Our first stop was the Mount Rushmore National Memorial!

The monument was pretty incredible! There is a museum that shows all the work that went into building the memorial and it blew my mind! Did you know that originally Thomas Jefferson was being carved in the rock to the left of Washington but they ran out of room so they blew it up and started over on the other side? Pretty crazy! There isn't a lot to do at the monument after you see the faces and the museum so we decided to head out. I know there is a small hike you can do but it was snowing and I wasn't in the mood to deal with that.

On our way out we came across some mountain goats! They were super cute and you could tell that they were use to being around people.

Before we left the area I had to use my water and search for the missing city of Cibola! I didn't have any luck though... (National Treasure reference)

After seeing the Presidents, we headed over to the Crazy Horse Memorial.

This monument is going to be AMAZING once it's done. They have been working on it for 60+ years and then only thing that is done is Crazy Horses face, which is impressive for how big it is.

This is what the monument will look like when it's done. In 100 years? Maybe?

We weren't really in the mood to hike around the Black Hills (I was still in pain from my allergies), so we decided to head over to see the Badlands. On our way there we saw a sign for Bear Country USA. We stopped out of curiosity and I am glad that we did!

The park consists of two parts: a drive-around wild animal park and "Babyland".

First comes the drive-around wild animal park. For this you stay in your car (keep the doors locked and the windows up) and you drive around the park and see all these different animals. They will come right up to your car! 


[Artic Wolves]


[Bighorn Sheep]



The animals are roaming free and they didn't have a care in the world. The bears were my favorite! There were so many of them and they are not afraid of the cars at all.

After you finish the drive-around (you can take as long as you want), you park the car and walk over to "Babyland!"

This is where all the baby animals are! They are so adorable!




[Canadian Lynx]

[It was snowing but sunny and I wanted to capture the moment]

[Red Fox]

[Baby Artic Wolf]

[River Otters]

[Bear Cubs]

The bear cubs were so cute! I just wanted to jump into the cage and take them home with me! They kept growling and wresting with each other! Ahh! I love them!

Overall the Bear Country USA was a lot of fun, expensive ($16/person), but a lot of fun. I miss the baby animals already!

After leaving the bears behind, we continued to our original destination: Badlands National Park.

We decided to do the "scenic" drive through (no hiking this time) which was still great. We got to see a lot of the park and there were plenty of places to park and take overview pictures from.

The features are gorgeous and they look like they should be in some kind of horror movie. Or where some villain, like Maleficent, would live.

[The "Yellow Mounds"]

[Pano with the "yellow mounds" and the shadow of my rockin' Xterra (9 years and 97,000 miles)!]

After the Badlands we headed to the famous "Wall Drug" to get some free ice water :-)

If you don't know what this place is you are missing out! It's a huge tourist trap that has been opened since the 1930s. Apparently they became famous by offering free ice water to the travelers that were passing through. Pretty classic!

We arrived just before they were closing (they probably stay open much later during the tourist season) but still managed to get ourselves some buffalo burgers and a piece of fresh, homemade apple pie. Yum!

I wish we could have spent more time exploring the Black Hills area and the Badlands but we have a date with Wisconsin to get to!


Lindsey said...

I have talked to several people about raw local honey. My family has bad allergies so I am actually going to pick some up from a guy today.You just take like a spoonful a day. If you put a toothpick in some cinnamon oil, then mix it in the honey, it is to die for!!! Maybe research it...

Biff said...

I was going to post the same thing about local honey. I've heard that you really need to start the fall before (October-ish) and eat a teaspoon a day. Still couldn't hurt to start now.

Katie said...

Your trip looks awesome. The animals are adorable.

I've tried singular and fluconazole in addition to my zyrtec. That seems to work for me. I also rinse with a neti pot. That also helps.