We woke up nice and slow the KOA Charlotte and I went to the office to get coffee and hot chocolates for everyone. After “the dude’s” complimentary coffee at Big Bear motel I didn’t expect it to be $1.75 per 12oz cup but I should have based on what they charged for the cabin. I saw a water bottle that I liked that came with two tops and since the one I brought for myself was a full gallon and unwieldy to drink from while driving I decided I was going to get myself one too. At this point I was about the only kid on this trip that didn’t have a cool water bottle and the price was actually decent. We took a long time to get on the road today. We’ve got a fairly short day today just like 3-4 hours to the badlands so there’s no rush. We’ll probably stay at the Sage Creek campground tonight.
Loralea saw me cutting that sage when we left Madora and decided she wanted to get some too. There was a bush in good proximity when we stopped at a rest stop so I gave her the scissors and a bag. As she was getting out I told her to walk slow, look at the ground, watch and listen for rattlesnakes. I wasn’t joking their had been warnings at about every other place we’d been recently. So now she had to take Charlotte for protection and to watch her back. I love their relationship.
Once they got all the sage they wanted we parked at the front of the building and I took Leo out for a bit. At the very beginning of this trip we all talked about things that we definitely wanted to do and one of the things they wanted to do was to crush the “corn dog part of a cat tail on their hand” because they thought from the looks of it that it would be very gratifying. I totally get that. Well as I’m exercising Leo I saw an opportunity to make that happen. There were some cattails growing just a couple hundred feet down from the parking area. I got the ones that wanted to do it and off we went. Charlotte and George weren’t interested so they stayed in the car (locked in the car with the AC on and a movie playing dooon’t worry, or go calling CPS ).
This one apparently wasn’t as “ready” as we were hoping. Meanwhile my son thinks it’s funny to honk the horn at people. Now mind you I’m in a spot where I can see the Suburban clearly and I’m seeing people walking by, and he’ll duck in behind the steering wheel and honk at them as they get in front of the car scare em, they're getting mad as hell for a second and then realize it’s just a child, then look around disgusted for where this inattentive parent could be. It was so damn funny I let it go on longer than I should have because it was so damn funny to stop.
Their ain't no denying this one, that’s MY boy for sure.
We hit the road again and about 45mins from the badlands Sage Creek Campground and google starts doing some nonsense routing us on dirt roads, inner dialogue since that’s worked out so we’ll for us so far, eye roll. Obviously I’m trepidatious about wash boarded dirt roads and want to maintain that smooth speed. When we turned down the road for the campground there is this van going just the right speed to exacerbate every bump of the washboard. I could not, so I went around. They were going sooo slow! When we got to the campground we all had to pee. It’s a vault toilet. I don’t let the younger two in a vault toilet alone. I have this nightmare yahSee. It makes Carlea sooo mad, George doesn't care, but I tell her either I come in and hold on to you or you can put on your floaty before you go in “but daddy I’m big”. She ain’t. I don’t know how deep those things are but I’ve seen the surface of the nasty be at least ten feet below and that wasn’t the bottom, so they’re deep.
(VAULT TOILEY NIGHTMARE LINK)
It’s a nightmare of mine that I will not allow to be realized so they just gotta deal with dad’s craziness on that one. I'm pretty laid back about most things but not this. I mean as parents we all have at least one thing we are irrationally worried about. For me it’s my smalls falling in vault toilets. Think about it, how wretched would that be? How would you rescue them?
Well when we come out guess who’s setting up at the very last available primitive campsite, the van I passed on the way in. You know what though, as I drove past I saw that it was a woman by herself and I was glad she got it. If we’d been there setting up and saw her I’d have packed up and let her have that site anyway. I’d rather she have this safe site surrounded by not scary camping people rather than going into town and sleeping in her van. There were prairie dogs and buffalo everywhere so Leo would probably been crazy here anyway.
We headed to get some fuel and made it back to be in the badlands for sunset and it was beautiful. The children wanted to take soooo many pictures.
We continue on through the park and out the south side at nearly dark. We pulled into a motel/RV park/campground place, they were closed but a guy walked up and said that they only had tent sites left. I didn’t really feel like setting up the tent and getting out bags and pads but I can if that's the only option. We stayed there while I called places in Wall, SD incase it is the only option. The second place I called said they only had a suite left. It was a two king bed suit and it was really only like $20 more than a single king bed room. The children will love that, and to Wall SD we went. Once in the room the children ran back and forth from one room to another for a bit then all picked their beds and one says “well daddy I guess that leaves you the couch“. It didn’t end up like that but it was funny. Tomorrow we’re going into the badlands National park for Jr. Ranger programs and a bit more exploring.
State Line Photos