There is one thing to be said about hotel coffee:
It's usually really bad. Not usually so bad that I won't drink it at ALL, but it's more like coffee flavored water than a good strong cup. In fact it's cousin, the staff room coffee, is very close. The styrofoam cups also kind of compound the problem because then you have all the styrofoamy taste mixed in there too.
Ew. Lukewarm, coffee-ish flavored water with a touch of styrofoam.
Wingate by Wydham in Bozeman, Montana? You make awesome coffee. So awesome that I had two cups. You also get extra points by serving it in REAL mugs. We liked that.
Anyhow, we sat and ate our yummy breakfast, wondering how on Earth we missed this gem of a hotel while we stayed in Bozeman two years ago. How did that happen? How did we end up in a place that we fled in the dead of night because it was so bad that even Jake named our room after a horror movie?
It was resolved right then and there that if we ever return to Bozeman, we are SO going to stay at the Wingate by Wydham again, thankyouverymuch.
We were off again. Next stop: Rapid City, South Dakota!
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We read. Play Uno. Look out the window. Count the pronghorn antelope outside. Wait, is that a ride on lawn mower at the gas station?
Jake can't get over the fact that there are sea gulls at one of the rest stops. There's no ocean here, what the hell are seagulls doing here, of all places? A kid keeps chasing them, running around and scaring the birds as they flap up in to the sky, and swoop back down again, greedily trying to snap up the bits of food she's throwing around. She invites Jake to join her, but he declines.
"It's all fun and games until one of them poops on your head," he announces as he ducks into the car.
Smart kid. He remembers the time we were eating fish and chips in Steveston, and a gull pooped right on a man's head as he was enjoying his battered cod.
We make it into South Dakota and we're close, so close....and then.....
Construction. Traffic is stopped for MILES. The flag girl is friendly, though. We chat. She tells us all about the cute trucker who is pulled over and has engine trouble, and how she's hoping to get a date. We talk housing prices and health care, about her job, and the weather. She thinks we're funny and interesting because we're from Canada.
We arrived at the Howard Johnson in Rapid City just in time for dinner. On the way I notice some HUGE outdoorsy store and point it out, but I'm ignored. We're tired, we're irritated, and what the hell is with the construction on all these roads and the stupid Tom Tom keeps telling us to go left? Left! Can't go left you silly GPS, there is no ROAD!
Sorry. It was..um...frustrating.
We finally get there, check in, and hit Applebees for dinner because we don't feel like driving around anymore.
Now Applebees, I sorta like you but oh my, do you really have to put bacon and cheese on everything? Does every meal have to be 5000 calories and portions big enough to feed a small African village? I mean it tastes good, but if I eat like that the whole three weeks I'll be taking home a lot more ME then I want to.
We collectively resolve to eat anywhere BUT Applebees for the rest of the vacation.
Later on, it's rest and relaxation at the hotel. It's been a long two days, and we've covered a lot of ground. Finally we can relax because now, it's six nights at the Howard Johnson Rapid City. We really like this hotel, because it's well maintained, not too expensive, and in a good location.
Tourist Tip #2: When booking for the July 4th weekend in Rapid City, do it EARLY. This place was packed.
Jake comes running up to me with another boy in tow.
"Hey Mom, this is a kid I met. He's from Indiana. His parents used to be Amish. He's never met a Canadian before-we're the FIRST."
Okay-so there I am at the hotel pool and there's a beer party going on in the hotel hot tub (while strict instructions on the wall say NO drinking of ANY kind in the pool area), I just heard that a tornado ripped through town a week ago, and Jake has made friends with a formerly Amish kid.
Something tells me this vacation is going to be interesting.