Day 12 – 9/11 Bear Country USA, Reptile Gardens, Rapid City

It was a little cold again overnight, but still just nice to sleep under the blankets, I think the furnace at 66 is just right for us.  It sounds like we had some light rain overnight as well, I can see out the window the roof of our neighbors trailer is wet, and I keep hearing something dropping on our roof as well, which is likely rain drops from the tree.  Sometimes we get hit by a small branch too, which makes me think that it can very much happen that a larger branch would fall or something falls just in the right spot to give us trouble later.  Like the bathroom sky light, which is super thin plastic, probably would break if a smaller branch fell on it.  I woke up pretty early again, at 5am, and have 2 calls today.  We have done pretty much most of what was in our lists, so we’ll likely take it easy today, and just enjoy tomorrow as we leave on Sunday.

Bia was able to wake up at right before 7 today and go on her live class, which helps as she doesn’t then have to wait for the teacher to upload the recording, to then watch it later, so that saved a ton of time for her.  She was live most of the morning, and was done with all her school work (minus art) around 11.  Bella was playing around a bit, and woke up around 8:30.  She got her computer stuff done around the same time as Bia, but had some paperwork to do, which took a bit longer as she was doing it while we were all eating lunch as well, so she got done a little after 12.  Carol was focused on washing the bedding and towels, and our regular laundry.  She worked on that all morning, and also worked on some computer stuff.  I had my two calls, worked on some website stuff, went to town to get new lug nuts. 

This trailer comes with these lug nuts that have steel covers, but they are crappy and the covers crack.  This is a problem because the lug nuts seem to lose torque, so I have to re-tighten every trip I take, and the cracked ones risk breaking which would make it hard to screw or unscrew as the bolt underneath is a different size from the tools I have.  So, I got all new lug nuts for the trailer, and also got a torque wrench and the proper bit for it.  Tomorrow I’ll replace all the lug nuts and torque them to 90 lb/ft, recommendation is between 85 and 95.  We had left overs for lunch, finished cleaning up and decided to go to Bear Country USA, which is right near us. 

That was a bit expensive at $60 for us, but it was kind of cool.  You drive around this park where the animals are all free, and sometimes you get lucky and they come right to your car. 

They have lots of bears, elk, mountain lion, pronghorn deer, etc.  We had some reindeer close to our truck, but the rest of the animals were not too active.  Most of the bears were sleeping, like that family reunion where the older relatives eat a lot and have a few drinks then they are all taking naps… that’s what it looked like. hahahahaha… the Bears were all sleeping, some had their legs on branches, some were on a tree, it was pretty funny.  It was nice to see the animals kind of close though, the girls were super excited. 

At the end, you can stop at the gift shop and they have a smaller area with smaller animals you walk around to see.  They had foxes, woodchucks, beavers, badgers, and bear cubs (I may be missing a few other animals).  Kids loved these too.  The bear cubs were playing, it was like in the movies when two cubs are playing with each other, wrestling, rolling over, nibbling.  It didn’t take long to be all done at this park, so if you plan on stopping by, it’s less than 2 hrs. 

After Bear Country USA, the girls wanted to stop at Reptile Gardens again to see if they could touch the giant tortoises this time, and to show the place to Carol. 

I was feeling a bit tired and since I had gone already I stayed in the car.  The girls were super excited to show the place to Carol, and were pulling her in every direction in there.  Mom, come see this, mom, come see that. hahahaha… Carol loved it. 

Right away when you walk in they have an area where they have some birds and plants, and they have a few orchids there, which Carol loves.  I’m sure she took a few pictures :). Carol loved the amount of reptiles they have, and how it is easy to see them all.  Unfortunately for the girls, the giant tortoises were not outside again, so they could not touch them.  But, this time it was not raining, so they had another great time. 

From there we went to town again, I had to replace a part I had bought and buy 4 more lug nuts that were missing, and we decided to go to dinner from there.  I asked Carol to find the best buffalo burger in town :). We went to Tallys Silver Spoon for dinner. 

It’s right downtown, it was easy to find parking, and since it was 6pm, we didn’t have to pay for parking.  Downtown Rapid City they have statues of all the US presidents in each corner, so we got to see 4 of them 🙂 hahahah… girls took some pictures and had some fun with it. 

I did order the 1/2lb Buffalo Burger, and it was pretty good.  All our meals were good.  Nothing super special about them.  They had good beer too.  It was a bit pricey for what we got I think, and the place is a little fancier than I expected, but it was still a nice evening. 

We sat outside by the sidewalk as we had Maggie with us, and it’s nicer to be outside.  The girls were a little hyper when we got there, and only slowed down a bit when Bob and Judy called and we were talking to them.  We finished our meal, decided we are doing a bike ride tomorrow, and came home.  Got ready for bed and called it an early night to see if everyone wakes up somewhat early on their own so we can get our ride in mid-late morning.

Today was 9/11, and it’s been 19 years since…. flags were half staff, many messages everywhere, #neverforget.

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