My dad jumped in the plane with us!! Spontaneity at 72!!
A beautiful weekend planned for Rapid City, South Dakota, before the incredibly cold weather and snow sets in.
We left McKinney after Greg got off work. Flying at night is one of my favorite experiences. It just seems quieter to me. At night, I can't see the hustle on the ground. Cities look more beautiful and of course sunsets from the sky take on a whole new meaning of beautiful.
We flew to Great Bend, Kansas. They have an excellent airport ran by Ryan Coulson. We stayed the night with my parents and left bright and early for Rapid City. I think the most exciting part of this adventure is that my dad was able to go with us. How exciting to be able to share this with him.
The long flight allowed me study my ground school. I am in the middle of FAA regulations. BLEH!! It literally put me to sleep, but I caught an incredible sunrise.
We had a strong headwind that seemed to extend our trip a little bit, but beyond that, it was smooth and uneventful. I don't tell Greg this enough, but he is a fantastic pilot. He is level headed and alert. I love flying with him and I hope that I develop into the same skillful pilot that he is.
We landed in KRAP!! Yep...that's right. I love that some airports have locators numbers that crack me up. Needless to say, we flew through KRAP to have one of the best weekends ever. We have 24 hours in Rapid City. We packed it in!!
Bears, monuments, buffalo, mass, burgers, and breweries. No stone unturned.
Bear Country USA was so good!! I really wanted to see bears. The driving tour was fun and the animals were up close and personal. I got a big kick out the lazy bears, but there were several other animals to enjoy and see up close.
Buffalos, wolves, fox, reindeer, goats, and so many other animals made this great stop.
There is also a park that you can get out and walk through. The smaller bear cubs were playing and wrestling. If you choose a spring trip, you may be able to see the new cubs born that season. It might be worth a return trip.
From Bear Country, we visited Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. I have always admired these monuments, but seeing them in person brought on a whole new meaning!! Mount Rushmore gave me a sense of elevated pride and patriotism in our country. It was the vision and hard work that meant so much. The possibilities of this great nation are vast! It was nice to be reminded of that. With the technology of the age, it is phenomenal what they were able to accomplish.
Crazy Horse is an ongoing project that will honor the spirit of the Native Americans and their culture. If you stop at the museum, you will learn that so much more is happening than a monument, but an entire cultural and education center. Both monuments are well worth the time. So much reading...so much learning...so little time.
From Crazy Horse, we made our way back to Rapid City via Custer National Park. I was here to see a herd of buffalo roaming "free". Sadly, not one in sight. It was beautiful with the rolling hills and trees holding winter off with their gold and orange leaves. We were stopped by a herd of mountain goats that were more interested in being on the highway than eating grass. I have a feeling that the animals are very used to the traffic.
We celebrated mass with our fellow South Dakota Catholics then headed to the Firehouse Brewery. The place was packed! There was a wait for a table, so that gave us the sign that the food would be delicious.
All the burgers looked delicious!! My dad enjoyed the "And Then Some" burger. Topped with crispy fried onions, relish, pulled pork, and queso...it did not disappoint.
Greg and I usually do not get the same burger, but we couldn't pass up a classic bacon cheese BUFFALO burger. YUM!! Everything was delicious and the service was fantastic.
We left KRAP and literally flew through crappy weather. Mist, snow, and freezing rain had us detouring multiple times. I learned a lot watching Greg fly. He is always thinking ahead. He was calm and made decisions ahead of the weather. It took us a little longer to fly around the storms, but we made it safely. We even flew over my dad's old farmhouse that he grew up in. That was very cool. It was our first time seeing it from the air. What a cool moment for us.
Our time machine gave us an incredible mini vacation. With Greg's schedule, these quick mini trips are such a blessing. We get to travel and pack a lot of fun in a short time. Tell us your favorite places to travel!
Have a great day!
Pic of the Day
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