Week 7 ~ Rapid City, South Dakota

This week was a unique one for us in the sense that we stayed in the same place the entire seven days.   That's quite unheard of for our newly mobile lifestyle! We arrived in Rapid Springs Saturday afternoon with plans to attend a local Christian Music festival, Hills Alive, for the next couple days.The festival was free for all, and boasted of several big-name artists, including Crowder, Third Day, Matthew West, Mac Powell, Meredith Andrews, etc. 
Visiting Mount Rushmore was a must, and the biggest reason for our week in South Dakota.  The area was much more extensive than I had expected, and had several trails around the monument, as well as a nice visitor center and museum. 
One of our favorite activities to do at National and State Parks, as well as National monuments, are the Junior Ranger Programs available.  Brandon, David and I earned over a dozen on our first RV trip, and the younger ones are happily following suit. 
I laughed when I saw how this picture turned out. "This describes our life pretty perfectly right now!" I told mom. She had to agree. 

 Custer State Park, located fairly near Mount Rushmore, was a favorite for us.  It was beautiful, and we got to see several bison and other wild animals. 

Toward the end of the week we made the short trek to downtown Rapids City for lunch and a long afternoon. The younger ones visited an incredible playground called "Storybook Island" that had many different disney and fairytale characters. It was almost as magical as Disney Land without the rides! 
Being stationary longer than usual also gave us some extra time to get laundry done, watch a movie outside and hang around the campground. 

Our final day in Rapids City we went to a Chuckwagon Dinner show and explored an area where scenes from the movie, "Dancing with the Wolves" was filmed. 

On our final evening, we took a hike up the mountain to an amazingly beautiful view.

And Saturday morning we packed up and left, making a stop at an archaeological excavation sight of mammoths and other animals. 

Being stationary for the week made week 7 somewhat of a new experience.  I enjoyed the opportunity to work on my many projects and to-dos that the down time afforded,  though I have to say I'm very ready to get on the road again.  We have almost arrived at our trip's Middle Mark, and I have mixed feeling about it. As a whole, we seem to have both found the grove we need to make RV life work while beginning to miss being home.  The younger ones talked extensively about the many adventures they'd have with Jon (our neighbor brother) once we got home.  During it, Bethany turned to Dad and asked simply, "Dad, where are we going?" Truth is, we have no real destination.  These months are simply meant for us to spend together.  It is beautiful and challenging all at the same time.  I find myself both missing the structured productive life at home while willing myself to remember how sacred this time is.   Reading together as a family, watching the sun set over a mountain after a hike, and falling asleep hand-in-hand with Bethany every night are cherished moments that I'll never get back.  So, while I sometimes feel that I'm literally on my last nerve, I am incredibly grateful for this wonderfully unique time.  We have an exciting week ahead of us, and I'm eager to see how it will play out.  We are off to Colorado and hopefully some cooler weather!  Welcome, week 8! 

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