Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hot Springs, South Dakota

Our trip to North and South Dakota was two-fold:  to declare residency and to visit Mike's sister.  Basically, because we are military and don't know where we are going to retire we can legally claim residency wherever we want.  Previously we were residents of Utah but since we don't expect to retire there we decided we didn't want to pay state taxes to them anymore and we chose South Dakota, where there is no state tax.  I'm sure when we actually do know where we want to retire we will have to change our residency again.  But for the time being, we are now legal residences of South Dakota.  Their rules for being residents require a license and spending the night in their state once every five years.  So, on July 24th, Mike woke up early and headed to Rapid City to get a license.  While he was gone I packed up the hotel room and got the kids breakfast and ready for the day and then we headed over to the Mammoth museum next to the hotel.  The boys were ecstatic, as I'm sure you can tell from Will's expression in the picture below.  We got there too late to really explore the museum unfortunately but we did a quick tour and took some pictures and then headed over to the junior paleontologist dig.  The museum was pretty cool so it's too bad we didn't get to see more.  It was really fun to see real paleontologists working at uncovering real woolly mammoths.  

Honestly, these boys were in heaven.  Their favorite shows on Netflix are discovery channel about extinct animals like dinosaurs and woolly mammoths.  They already knew so many facts and each told me on separate occasions how interesting they thought the museum was.  But the real fun came when we went to the junior paleontologist dig.

They had a quick lesson about the difference between an archaeologist and a paleontologist and the technique behind digging.  Then they got to do the digging themselves.  They got to dig for about 45 min to an hour and found bones as big as their bodies.  They loved it--I'm not sure if they stopped smiling the entire hour.

they even let Piper get in the action.  She just ate the brush...and dirt

Mike got back from Rapid City just as the boys ended their little dig.  He checked us out of our hotel room and then came and joined us for the last five minutes or so.  Then we headed to North Dakota.  Let me say, I thought the drive to South Dakota was uneventful but the drive from Rapid City to Bismark has even less to see!  We went hours without any rest stops or towns.  We mostly just drove past cows and grass again.  Good thing the boys had movies to watch and I brought a book to read to Mike.  We stopped in one of the only towns on the entire trip.  After lunch the boys and Mike decided to climb these massive tires.  I wasn't really happy about it because we had a long time still to go and they all got filthy.  The tires left them a disgusting mess and the ground was muddy and wet.  I guess boys will be boys though.

We arrived in Bismark that evening.  It was a long drive but as I said in the last post, the boys and Piper were pretty much a dream as far as little travelers go so it ended up being a really good drive for us.  

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