Day 18-Custer, South Dakota and Mt. Rushmore

Day 18: Custer, South Dakota & Mt. Rushmore

Oh what a Happy day! We got to “sleep in” until 6:30 this morning, waking up well rested (some of us at least) once again in the fabulous Ponderosa Campground. Once we were up, we gathered our belongings, the girls rushed to the bathroom (as usual) while the boys took their sweet time.  Some of us completed our jobs, which included packing the bus and cleaning the campsite.  After everyone was ready to go, we loaded into our vehicles for the day and started our journey to Custer, South Dakota.

In the early hours of our adventure, we were served gourmet Great Value pop-tarts with flavors including: brown sugar cinnamon, blueberry, strawberry, cookies & crème, s’mores, and chocolate fudge with a side of clementines.  Shortly thereafter, those riding on Carolina Girl were awoken by their tire rolling down a ditch into the middle of nowhere. Half an hour later, the tire was exchanged with a spare with help from Harrison Parrott, Cowboy John Miller, Matt Gardner, Daniel Calhoun, and Joseph Hamilton.  We then loaded back up for our drive to the first rest stop of the day.  A lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread with chips and cookies was served after returning. Our next stop was Wally World in Gillette, Wyoming, where the cooks got groceries for our dinner.  A few tried to check out the blog through the computers in Walmart, but were interrupted by the “lovely” Linda, who was jealous of our awesome blog and requested we get off.

Many different activities kept us entertained on the bus and vans, such as: singing, sleeping, bracelet/keychain making, cards, brain games, and hair braiding. Our boys looked very pretty as they stepped off the bus with freshly braided locks. While the cooks prepared our dinner at a park in Custer, groups separated to prepare for our dance competition to the song “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. 

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner prepared by the Sleepies consisting of hamburgers, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cookies with raspberry lemonade to drink. The vehicles were all loaded up to head to Mt. Rushmore when we found out that Carolina Girl was missing her keys. Many helped to find the missing key including Genevieve Fortier, Dallas Cobb and coming to the rescue once again, Eagle Scout, Harrison Parrott, went dumpster diving to find them at the bottom of our trash. Shortly after our Easter egg hunt, we dropped off the trailers at the YMCA in Custer, South Dakota to easily maneuver to Mt. Rushmore. As we reached the gate of Mt. Rushmore, we spotted a wild billy goat munching on some clover and then strutted across the street. Entering the monument, we rushed in for a group picture in front of all the state flags with our founding fathers in the background. We then had free time to venture off to eat delicious ice cream and shop for souvenirs before we sat down to enjoy the illumination presentation of the amazing monument.

The presentation began with Mrs. Park Ranger giving an inspirational speech on the background of Mt. Rushmore. A video was played explaining the influential men whose efforts provided us the liberty we have today. Finally, the grand illumination took place under the starry sky with Mars in sight. To conclude the presentation, we all honored the veterans present as well as our very own Joseph Hamilton while they lowered the flag in the amphitheater. SOUND OFF! SEMPER FI HOORAH!!! Concluding our excursion, we raced back to the vehicles to see which group could all arrive first to the vehicles to settle down at the cozy YMCA.

As we unpacked in our home for the night, Nadia Constantino and Rachel Sealy presented to us in a battle of information on Mt. Rushmore. Following the duo, Ben Killian gave us fun facts on Custer, South Dakota. One of our Happys, Hannah Uglehus, informed us on the great state of South Dakota. We also caught up from past days research. Aiden Spelbring talked about the Shoshone River. Dallas Cobb spoke upon Salt Lake City, Utah. Alex Slaughter gave us her research on the Great Salt Lake. Cody Ballard ironically presented about Cody, Wyoming. Garrett Duque talked about the Cody Nite Rodeo. Lastly, Vanessa Posada finished up our research with the Mormons of Salt Lake City.

"On the road again."

Just a neat rock

Sleepys raiding the Walmart 

Sleepys are the grill masters






Searching for the van keys
Running for Mt. RUSHmore

Mt. Rushmore 2.0

Nadia Constantino and Rachel Sealy presented to us in a battle of information on Mt. Rushmore

Ben Killian gave us fun facts on Custer, South Dakota. 
Hannah Uglehus informed us on the great state of South Dakota.

Garrett Duque talked about the Cody Nite Rodeo. 

Aiden Spelbring talked about the Shoshone River.

Cody Ballard ironically presented about Cody, Wyoming. 

Dallas Cobb spoke upon Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Alex Slaughter gave us her research on the Great Salt Lake.

Vanessa Posada finished up our research with the Mormons of Salt Lake City.

After an eventful day, we are so excited to take showers and bed down for the night. Until tomorrow, XOXO -Happys

Day 17- Cody, Wyoming

Day 17: Cody, Wyoming

Howdy y’all, it’s the Happys in the house!! This wonderful group consists of: Hannah Uglehus, Sophie Butler, Matthew Whalen, Avery Walker, Molly Church, Ashley Blum, Kate Williams, Bailey Tindall, Carsyn Parrott, Preston Bisson, Cody Ballard, Emma Roby, Margaret Gourley, and Wilson Moore. Today, the beginning cooks became the bloggers and y’all are in for a treat!:)

Today we woke up at 6:45 at the Ponderosa Campgrounds in Cody, Wyoming. It was a whopping 52 degrees! First, we headed off for white water rafting on Shoshone river and got picked up by white school buses with vintage leather seating. It was a quick trip to the first stop to get our life jackets and wind breakers. After another quick trip, we headed to the river and split off into groups of nine and ten. Before we could head down the freezing cold river, we were given a safety precaution and met our granola guides.

Getting into our rafts, we embarked on our 12-mile journey down the river. The rowers were on the outside and the people on the inside were along for the ride. Everyone got wet! Some, more than others. Many of us were still in sleep mode until we were splashed by the freezing cold water. In the first hour or so, we were delighted by the smell of boiled eggs coming from the geysers full of sulfur.

Each raft had its own adventure. Some consisted of singers, splashers, divers, dancers and storytellers. The wildlife we encountered included; geese, deer, blue herons, ospreys, as well as many fishermen. As we floated down the river, we experienced many different types of splashes. There were many class two rapids, and one exhilarating class three splash that soaked everyone. In the calm sections, we had a chance to jump out into the chilly waters.

Headed back to the campgrounds, we were greeted by John the Cowboy, shaved specifically for the rodeo. John, Grant, Dallas, and Joseph prepared a delicious brunch consisting of; eggs, grits, sausage and toast. A couple of participants got to try apple butter for the first time! We washed our pallets with refreshing orange juice and apple juice. Hungry rafters went back for seconds and even thirds!

After breakfast, the Sleepiest of cooks headed to Walmart to gather food for the next couple of meals while others finally showered. You would be amazed by the fresh smelling scents…about time! Also, we had a chance to do our laundry. In our free time, Kat led a yoga session, people passed the soccer ball around, many called home and others walked to Dairy Queen. During our free time, the cooks made an original meal of PB and J’s. After, TWB turned into cowboys and cowgirls for the big rodeo!

Once we all got dolled up, our fine dining experience consisted of chicken nuggets, brown rice, corn, and cookies. Our thirst was quenched by raspberry lemonade. After dinner, we saddled up for downtown Cody, Wyoming, where many partnered up for a two for twenty-dollar deal on cowboy hats. While venturing through downtown, some experienced a gun show, some bought soda, and some got a great deal on belt buckles.

Meeting back on the bus at seven, we headed to Cody Nite Rodeo, where some sat on top of Mongo the bull for ten dollars. Some also rode the mechanical bull, including our fearless co-director, Dallas Godbold. Around eight o’clock, the rodeo began. Taking up most of section D, we were the life of the party as we cheered for the barrel racers and the bucking bulls. Some highlights of the night included Dallas catching a t-shirt, and our new twelve year olds (Mary Lewis Jonson and Hana Blair) who made their way down to the arena. In the arena, they chased calves around to attempt to grab the ribbon off of their tails. We led many sing-a-longs from section D and were so loud that the rodeo clown (Wild Willie) threw a t-shirt to the most enthusiastic participant, which was once again, our one and only, Dallas Godbold. The bull riders capped the night with a high score of 74. Shout-out to cowboy Matt! After departing the rodeo, we shortly arrived at Ponderosa Campground to bed down from a long eventful day!

Catch y’all tomorrow, YEE-HAW!!!

Early morning rafting!

Most of us decided to plunge into the frigid water

Picture with one of our river guides (Zack)

Dinner time!!

Harrison likes his orange juice

Shopping for our rodeo hats

Gun show in the middle of downtown

Off to the rodeo!

Hanna Blair and Mary Lewis Johnson participating in the calf competition

Happys (us) working on this awesome blog