Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hello Pennsylvania

Hooray, we are heeeeeeeerreeee! It has been quite an adventure,
and I am happy to report that there were no serious injuries
sustained, and Collin & I are still very happily married. Phew :]
(When we left CO, Grandma warned us that all
this time in the car together - 3400 miles of time in the car together - would
either bring us closer together, or drive us crazy!
Thankfully, it wasn't the latter!)

Our journey's second destination point was
Mount Rushmore.
Perhaps you're wondering, how is it that you get from Denver to Mount Rushmore ?
Wellllll, you drive through Wyoming!
And let me tell you, for all of you who have never been in Wyoming before,
there is one town that stands out above them all...
No it is not Cheyenne or Rawlins or even Sundance.
It's Chugwater.
Yes, we realize the sign says population 244,
but it's actually only about 175.
Every year the people of Chugwater host one of the greatest Chili Cook-Offs
in the entire state! Since Collin
and I didn't happen to be rolling through
during that time of year, we had to settle for a milkshake
at the Soda Fountain.
Clarification; when I say settle I actually mean we were
blessed to have been able to sip from the blenders of the Soda Fountain.
I know, there are a bunch of chain restaurants that claim to
dish out hand scooped milkshakes
(like some kind of hoax Arby's or Applebee's might try to play.)
But not in Chugwater.
When they say hand scooped, they really mean it.
So if you're ever driving through the middle of nowhere in
Wyoming and need a quick fix, the Soda Fountain is there for you!

By the time we crossed over into South Dakota, our milkshakes were
gone, and we had passed through one serious
rain storm (the kind with lightening and everything!)
We arrived to the Black Hills early in the evening and decided
to head straight to the Nation Landmark.
I'd seen Mount Rushmore in pictures before,
but nothing prepared me for how awe-insipiring it was!
And the fact that construction began
in 1927 made it even more incredible! They built the monument
using pullies and dynamite!

That evening we stayed for the lowering of our Nation's Flag and the National
Anthem. To be so close to Rushmore, and to be living everything those men - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln - fought and died for
was an incredible feeling. I am so blessed to be an American citizen. The things
I've seen and learned along this journey have deepened my appreciation for this wonderful country.
That night we decided to camp on the mountain.
It scared me to death!
(And we'll just leave it at that!)
We arose with the sun the next morning.
Off to Nebraska!
South Dakota was BEAUTIFUL! The homes were lovely,
the cities were clean, and the rolling green hills were endless.

Did you know that the Nebraska/Iowa border is the Missouri River?
And Approximately 200 years ago
when the states were being added to the Union, the River was in a different
spot than it is today. I don't know exactly
what that means for the state line today (lol) but I thought
it was a cool little tid bit.

We made a really cool stop along the Mormon Pioneer Trail in Winter Quarters.
Collin and I both had the opportunity to bare testimony of
what those Mormon Pioneers left their homes, friends, and families for,
Many of whom left in the middle of winter.
At Winter Quarters our Church has a wonderful Visitor's Center!
Turns out, the Senior Couple Missionaries working that day had the same last name as my sister Kylie! Elder Mangum (husband of Sister Mangum) is my sister's husband (Joe)
3rd cousin! Such a fun coincidence!
In downtown Omaha we of course sniffed out a local ice cream shop.
It was delicious! Collin had Cinnamon and I had chocolate pear (chocolate ice cream
with literal chopped pear pieces in it!)
Mmmmm :]