Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fireworks...or just fire? : the RV trip heats up

We settled into a great 4th of July evening with nice, clear weather and our first cookout by the campfire complete with crowd-pleasing weenies (I'm referring to the food not the company).
Everyone is in high spirits except for Honey, the Retriever...Springer...I'm not sure what kind of dog she is. Honey does not appreciate the noise from the fireworks going off around us. Still, she manages to shed less than Windsor, the Lab...Shepherd...I don't know what kind of dog he is. Windsor has been able to eject one clump of matted black hair every 3.5 minutes. And Pixie, the Springer Spaniel (got one right) was entertaining herself by barking at anyone who set foot near our campsite. With our furry security force we had no fears of being robbed.
Now need to see some real fireworks. The nearby racetrack is holding a big display after tonight's races and it will be easy to know when to head there because, from our campgrounds, we can hear every lap the cars make.
Just then, Lisa and I see bright light and a lot of smoke just over the hill. Maybe they are starting early - then we hear the firetrucks (maybe not). Soon the racetrack noise is drowned out by emergency vehicle horns and sirens.
Bubba and the Bubba Juniors (sounds like an act from America's Got Talent) race off in our rented van leaving Lisa Loo Li and I to tend our own fire and the pets. They return with video from Al's Flip Cam. A stray firework landed on a quonset hut filled with 3,000 bales of hay. It is right near the racetrack and now Lisa and I want to get a look.
The whole Durfey clan drives to a lot across from the races. Despite the loss of feed to the local livestock the night turns out to be pretty magical. From our spot we can watch a least 8 gorgeous firework display along the whole vista of the Black Hills and we can gawk at the fire which is just up the block.
We all jump when the racetrack is suddenly plunged into darkness. Seems the generator tor the track was in the building behind the burning hay. At least no cars were racing. Lucky for us they decide to start the fireworks. I am in incendiary heaven as I snuggle with Nick in the open back of the van.
Join the Durfeys at our first tourist trap day:
Bear Country or "Mom what are those animals doing to each other?" : the RV trip

Monday, August 3, 2009

Who pooped in the pool? : RV trip continued

Before we get any further I need to explain the Bubba reference from my previous blog - Bubba and the gang : RV trip continued.

My son Alex bought a little Flip camera to film short videos to chronicle our big trip. He wanted to spice it up by calling it "The Durfey's Vacation to South Dakota." Durfey being a name we made up years ago as a name for all the dazed families that wander around the Wal-Marts and the K-Marts of the world looking for a mile-long list of school supplies.

In South Dakota, the Durfey's would represent any less-than-intelligent folk often seen on shows like Hee Haw, the Beverly Hillbillies or King of the Hill. Our cast would go like this:

Mike - Bubba Durfey - patriarch of the Durfey family

Lisa - Little Lisa Loo Li Loo Li Loo Durfey Jones- Bubba's wife

Kevin - Bubba Junior

Alex - Bubba Junior

Nick - Bubba Junior

And me - Becky Sue Bell Jessie Jo Mae Bob Jones Durfey - undetermined relationship

(The cat and the dogs would play themselves)

Camping in Rapid City started off rocky as some poor child got run over by a golf cart on the campgrounds. It wasn't fatal but it put all of us parents on high alert. We eventually make our way over to the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast where a cook as old as the hills themselves makes what I can only call pancake art. If you are a young camper he would make you a perfect Spongebob, or butterfly, or whatever you wished out of pancake batter. I was jealous.

Later that day Lisa and I decide it is high time we got our butts in the pool so we join our boys in the swim area and spot a tempting hot tub. We make a bee-line to it and that turns out to be the best decision we make all vacation. We are soaking only about 15 minutes when we notice the pool the looking kind of empty. What we witness next was a scene eerily similar to the candy bar in the pool scene from Caddyshack. (It seems this whole vacation will be a reliving of every film moment Chevy Chase has ever had.) The difference for us is that it is not a candy bar we are looking at. Someone informs us the pool is closed.

It is now the evening of the 4th of July and we want to see some fireworks. Boy do we get our wish! Stay tuned for part 4: Fireworks or just fire? : RV tip continued

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bubba and the gang: RV trip continued

Our first night on the road and at about 2:30 or 3:00 am we pull over to sleep in a rest stop parking lot. This is my first experience with this. My sleeping spot happens to be right by the door and the parking lot light is shining right onto my face. No worries, I'll sleep, the cars constantly pulling in and out and all the slamming doors won't keep me awake. No sir-ee. I'll be out like a light as soon as that dog gets off my bed. I can sleep on this hard little cushion with the one inadequate blanket I brought to keep out the cold. Sure, I can sleep. Yes I can. You betcha.

What? It's 9:00 am?

We're ready to go. Okay, so I am pumped for the trip. Who needs sleep anyway? I should have realized that the innocent idea I had of an easy RV vacation was gone as quickly the digital camera my son left at the restaurant breakfast table this morning.

After the quick stop at Wall Drug where my son and his friend bought real Samurai swords (a warning to parents - not everything at a tourist trap is a fake as it looks) we drove on to Rapid City skipping the Badlands until our trip home, since we had to get to a rental car place before it closed.

We eventually find our first KOA Kampground which is nice and pretty much right in Rapid City. We are very close to a race track and that plays heavily in our second night here. After a bit of maneuvering to get the RV in the right spot so both the water and sewer connections will reach, we start to unpack. The kids race over to the pool as the parents walk dogs, haul folding chairs, test the AC, find the supplies we need to eat and drink, sweep out dog hair, get the mysterious blue tablet in the toilet, etc, etc, etc. We're camping now.

My sister-in-law, niece and her daughter drive up and after we visit for a while we follow them to a spot in the hills where the locals go to watch the 3rd of July fireworks. That is, if it weren't so foggy up in the hills that you could see the fireworks. Nevertheless we have a great time talking and get back to camp tired enough to actually sleep.

Stay tuned for our next adventure called "Everybody out of the Water" or "Who pooped in the Pool?"