The road trip of crazy people

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We had quite an eventful week a few weeks ago.

The second week in June we had the amazing privilege of attending my sister’s graduation from DUI Court.  It was a difficult week as Monday was June 9th, which was the day that we believe Mom and Dad went home to heaven. And then the same day of my sister’s graduation, June 12th, was the anniversary of us finding Mom and Dad. What an amazing coincidence that it would be on the same. Except it of course wasn’t a coincidence but God demonstrating His power in our lives to make all things new, to make beauty from ashes.

We were planning to go up on Wednesday night, but on the morning of Tuesday, June 10th we received word that a good friend and employee of Danelle’s was killed in a horrible car accident. What car accident isn’t horrible, right? However, this accident was just beyond comprehension. Here is a link to the article about the accident. [Please continue to keep this family in your prayers!]

As you can imagine, having this happen during the worst week of our lives was devastating. And so we decided to head up to Aberdeen on Wednesday morning so spend some extra time with Danelle. Wednesday we just hung out and let the kids swim and it was really nice to just have that time together.

[Pat braving the water slide with the kids.]

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Thursday was the big day of Danelle’s graduation. The local paper did an amazing article on her and the DUI Court program. Here’s the link to that if you haven’t seen it. Many people don’t understand the complexity and strictness of this program and so we were really happy that they did such a thorough job of explaining it.  The following day the newspaper also wrote a powerful editorial. Here is the link to that.

Since the graduation was on a Thursday, it was really hard for out-of-town family to make it. However we were so blessed to have our Aunt Joanne (Mom’s sister) and our Uncle Bob and Aunt Bev (Dad’s brother) come for it.  Danelle didn’t know Bob and Bev were coming. They are from Montana and so it was a wonderful surprise for her when they walked into the restaurant when we were having lunch.

Another coincidence, or not, was that Joanne and Bob were the first two people Danelle called two years ago on June 12th. It was so amazing that they both were able to be here with her on her graduation day, and another example of God working in her life.

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After graduation we all went back to Mavericks and had a little party for Danelle, and then we spent the evening visiting with Joanne, Bob and Bev. It is seriously so amazing when we are together with our family. We love them so much and they are such an encouragement to us all!

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We headed for home on Friday, June 13…with a little detour thrown in the mix just for fun.

When we moved out to the farm, Pat sold his Jeep and bought a pickup. When we left the farm last month he was able to sell his pickup and has been looking for another Jeep. He’s very particular about his Jeeps and the kind that he wanted is hard to find. Especially one in our price range (next to nothing!).  There were a couple up in the Cities and so we decided that we would go through the Cities on our way home from Aberdeen. In case you aren’t familiar with SD and MN, this isn’t really on the way home. But we decided to make the best of it. We stayed at a hotel that had a water park and so that was super fun for the kids.

Unfortunately the three Jeeps he looked at up in the Cities weren’t anything he wanted to buy. We headed for home Saturday morning, stopped in Mankota for a little break and got home Saturday late afternoon.

He then proceeded to find a couple Jeeps down by Omaha. They were all a little more than we had to spend, but we kept them as options. He then found one in Rapid City that was pretty much exactly what he wanted. And the price range he wanted.  Sunday morning came and we packed up again, this time leaving Molly at Grama Barb’s house, and headed for the Hills. We decided to make this a little bit more of a vacation for the kids, since we ended up not being able to really do anything in the Cities.

It was the first time for us to drive through Chamberlain since selling Mom and Dad’s house last summer. We stopped at Al’s Oasis for lunch and drove up to Mom and Dad’s house. It was hard, but also a good thing as the new owner’s have done a lot of upgrades to the house. It’s nice to know that they will take care of it and love it as much as Mom and Dad did.

We stopped at Wall Drug and reenacted some pictures from when we were out there last, 4 years ago!

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Wall Drug 2010

[2014]

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We visited the dinosaur.

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The dinosaur ate Caleb.

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And then he ate Angel.

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Hahaha. I guess I’m not as funny as I think I am.  Poor Caleb was traumatized!

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We stayed at a hotel in Rapid with another water park. This one was much better as it wasn’t as big as the one in the Cities and the lazy river wasn’t too deep for the kids. They also had a fabulous arcade and we might have spent all of Pat’s severance pay on arcade games.

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But hey, we have 4 balls, 3 stuffed animals, a bunch of junk toys and these cool pictures to show for it.

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Pat went and looked at the Jeep and it was perfect (or so he says.) He ended up having to tow it, which unfortunately meant we weren’t able to go see the new Mavericks restaurant in Deadwood, or visit our good friends Lisa, Gunner and their boys. The kids were super bummed about that, as we were.  We did make it to Bear Country and that was so much fun.

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On our way back to the hotel we decided to go see Dinosaur park. And then proceeded to have a heart attack. Goodness, I need to get myself in better shape! But the kids loved it.

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We spent more time swimming Monday night, and then left for home Tuesday morning.  But first we had to stop and see some more bears!

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It was slow going since we were towing the Jeep. We stopped in Murdo to see the Pioneer Auto Show. Neither Pat nor I had ever been there and it was so interesting. We both love antiques and of course he’s a car/truck/motorcycle loving guy and so was in his element!

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The kids got a kick out of all of the caricature boards.

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It was also super fun to learn that the American Pickers were filming there!

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Our crazy road trip ended Tuesday night as we pulled in to town late.  Pat is a happy camper to have a Jeep again and to be able to find one that was exactly what he wanted!

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As crazy as our crazy road trip was, it was also a lot of fun, and we made some great memories!

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