Well, we're back from South Dakota. Beatiful country, and some of the nicest people I've ever run across...
The Missus gets off work at one, we quick, throw the stuff in the Bonne and haul *** outta the cities. Stop for the night in Sioux Falls, but since it'* still kinda early when we get there, we take a walk around their mall. The wife figures we should figure out where we're staying that night, so we stop at a little bar in the mall called Shenanigans to look at the Triple A book. Well, long story short, 3 pitchers later we have reservations at a local motel and a good buzz going. We'll fas forward to
The Missus wakes up sick (hung over. She normally don't drink beer. And certainly not her fair share of 3 pitchers). While she'* in the shower, I pack up the car and get the heat going. Something doesn't quite sound right, but I chalk it up initially to the miles the day befre, and the cold dry weather. We finally get packed and cleaned up and go to check out and get rolling. I go in for a last cup of coffee to get us to the next gas stop and when I come out the car won't start. (Insert several colorful words here). A quick look over shows that I have no coolant in the reservoir, or that I can see in the radiator. Insert even more colorful words here, because due to the club I know exactly what'* wrong. While the wife calls Triple A for a tow, I smoke a couple of cigarettes and kick every tree in sight.
The tow truck driver shows up and is ready to jum,p the car. I do some more cussing in my head, because I don't know if the missus or the Triple A lady screwed up, but my baby is way byond a jump start. He tries to start the car, even after I tell him what'* wrong and it won't even crank anymore (DUH!!) "Wow, I guess she'* hydro-locked. You just might be right". Nice guy, but not the brightest bulb on the tree. So, he hooks her up and wants to know if we want to go to his shop (UM, no..) or the big dealership down the road. Hoping the part will be in stock, I vote dealership. Sorry, bud, but based on the last few minutes, I don't even want to know where your shop is.
Well, we get to the shop, and contrary to popular opinion, I think it'* the best choice I could have made! The people are super nice, they listen to my diagnosis, without the "I hardly think you're a mechanic" look you normally get at them places. The head guy at the shop says that we just might get it fixed today, but doesn't want to promise anything that may not happen. So, do we want to maybe rent a car? We decide that beats sitting int he lounge watching CNN all day, so he introduces us to Kristi.
On top of being cute as a button, she says that the only car she has right now is a Cadillac CTS that can't leave Sioiux Falls. But, since it'* my birthday nad we're on vacation, she can give it to us for 32 bucks for the day, and we can come back that evening and get a Grand Prix for the weekend with unlimited miles. That way we can finish our vacation and get the Bonne on Monday. Sounds like the best plan we got, so as we're doing up the paperwork the phone rings. She excuses herself, grabs it, and talks for a bit. When she gets off, she asks us if we'd like to head out right now. Someone just turned in an Envoy she can give us for the same 32 bucks a day (Normally an $80 a day vehicle) and we can leave in the next 20 minutes for Mt Rushmore. Oh, hell yeah! The Caddy would have been fun, but I don't really want to waste a day in Sioux Falls.
Well, about an hour later, the Envoy turns out to be a Trailblazer, but hey, the wif is still sick so it'* a nice big vehicle to sleep it off in, and it'* got all the goodies, so we're off to Rapid City finally, leaving my poor Bonne there in Sioux Falls for surgery
We stopped in Mitchell to see the Corn Palace (not much to it, but the murals made of nothing but corn are kinda cool) and a bite to eat. The manager at the Country Kitchen stops by the table to see how everything is, notices the wife don't look so good and has hardly touched her food and weasels our story out of us. Based on our bad luck so far that day, he knocks 25% off the bill, and wishes us better luck on the rest of our vacation. See? Nice follks in South Dakota.
Jsut after getting back on the road, Mike, our "Service Specialist" calls and confirms what I've been saying all along. Upper Intake failure. He can fix just that for just around $500. BUT, they also just got in the new, redesigned lower intakes as well. For just under 1200, he can fix it all with a 99% assurance that it will never happen again. I run these nubers byt the Missus/Chief Financial Officer and she agrees. let'* do it all and get it over with. Not good news, but the car will be ready any time we want to get it on Monday.
We finally make it Rapid City later that night (not sure what time with the Time Zone change and what not) grab a quick bite at Denny'* and head to our room.
Day Three: We do all the touristy stuff today. First stop is Mt Rushmore. Man, that place is awesome. The pictures can't even come close to describing what it'* like to see those faces carved right into the side of a mountain. If you get the chance, you have to go check it out for yourself. We take a buttload of pictures, grab the $4 Prsidential Breakfast Speacial (Chicken fried steak, eggs and the fixins), hit the gift shop and head out for the next stop...
The Crazy Horse Memorial. The Statue/Carving/whatevery-you-call-it isn't as impressive as Rushmore, because it'* nowhere near finished, but the story behind it makes up for that. Privately funded, and the family of the guy who started it (at the request of the American Indians) is still working on it (7 of his 10 kids). A lot of history and pridein that one place. More pictures, another gift shop, and we're off agian.
We drove through the Black Hills National Forest, took a walk around a small lake, went through Deadwood, and had to stop for dinner and a T-Shirt in Sturgis. At dinner, we plan on heading back to the room and resting up a bit to head out and find some night life. Didn't happen. After all the walking and sight seeing, we ended up just passing out in our room.
Day Four: The 1200 dollar car bill is still weighing on our minds, we've seen the sights, so we decide to head back for Sioux Falls so we can make sure we get the car first thing Monday. Y'know, just in case there'* any fussing or fighting to do when we get there.
On the way, though, we stop at Wall Drug for their Breakfast Buffet, and to say we'd been there. From there, we tae the BadLands loop instead of just jmping on the freeway. Oh. My. God. That place is amazing! Again, tho, words and pictures do not do it justice. We saw prairie dogs, mule deer, big horn sheep, and the most amazing landscape I have ever seen. It'* another "If you get a chance, you gotta go" kinda place...
One through there, though, it'* a straight ride back to Sioux Falls. Grab a room, and relax ihn front of the TV. Apart from watching hunters heading home with thier deer, and the blood stains on the highway from the road kill (Animal Rights folks should just avoid South Dakota!) it'* a long boring ride.
Day Five: Well, the car is ready and waiting for us as promised. The engine looks nice and new on top. Paying the bill, tho, kinda killed the mood of the weekend, so there ain't much to tell after that. We got in and headed back to the cities. Seh ran great the whole way, and was a major relief on the wallet. After putting over a hundred bucks of gas into the Trailblazer, it was sure nice to make it 250 miles back home on only half a tank in the Bonne.
Well, that was my vacation. The pics are at http://www.mos95b.com/South%20Dakota/
You better like scenery, tho, there'* lots of pictures of just that....