Friday, May 29, 2015


Kathy's post to Facebook: The little sister has to ride in the back seat, just like old times!
Miles: 1,725.
Days: 4.
Siblings: 3.
Nieces: 2
Years since the last family vacation: 42
Time together: Priceless (or so I hear)

This week, Randy went on an adventure with his sister, Kathy, to visit their brother, Lyle, in South Dakota. Kathy's girls - Amanda and Emily - went along for the ride. They wanted to know how long it had been since Randy and Kathy had been on a family vacation. After some difficult math calculations, the siblings figured out it would have been 1973. The summer before Randy's senior year in high school, their family went to Ohio to visit family.

This was a last-minute trip. With rain in the forecast for another week, Randy called Kathy on the way home from Topeka on Saturday (May 23) and they left Monday morning (May 25) for Deadwood, South Dakota. He got home at 11:30 last night (May 28).
For the uninitiated, that's a farmer-style vacation. It's a last-minute excursion based totally on the weather. (The last time Randy and I visited Lyle, we left in a drought-stricken August.) Jill says that's how nearly all our family vacations happened, with the exception of some spring break trips. Since I had meetings every day this week and KFRM reports to do, I couldn't go at the last minute.
So, I will be the ghostwriter for this adventure. There is a marked difference when I actually go on the trip. In October 2010, we went to South Dakota (and Nebraska and Wyoming). I took 437 photos, and it took me seven blog posts to tell the tale.

Randy says he often commented to his traveling companions that "Kim would want to stop to take a picture." He did send me 11 photos from his phone - after he figured out how to do it. (I told him that he had three knowledgeable technology consultants in the car with him and just to ask!)
He sent me this photo of the Platte River at Grand Island, Nebraska. He literally took it standing in the parking lot at Arby's. He was well aware that I would have probably searched for a more scenic angle. 

Kathy was a good travel agent and booked a nice hotel, the Grand Mountain Resort Holiday Inn in Deadwood. Randy called and said that it was where Iowa farmer Chris Soules and his entourage from ABC's "The Bachelor" stayed and filmed an episode.

They got a good price since it was the off-season. One guy told Randy that October and May were the "times for newlyweds and nearly deads." I guess the Fritzemeier travel party didn't fit the parameters.
They toured the Broken Boot Gold Mine in Deadwood. Randy says it was probably more tourist trap than gold mine, but they still had fun. He got a stock certificate "which has no voting power and has a par value of plenty of blue sky when traded on the Deadwood Stock Exchange."
They also went to the 76 Museum in Deadwood. (FYI; The shirt and the hat were photo props - thank goodness!)

The museum had a basement full of buggies.
One of their favorite side trips was to Mount Rushmore. It was a must-see for Kathy and the girls.
Randy texted us to say that when he turns 62, he can buy a pass to all the national parks for a mere $10. Jill told him that it wasn't all that long.
Amanda, Kathy & Emily
Thankfully, they were able to get a few snapshots in and explore the monument before it started pouring rain, along with some hail.
They went through the Badlands on the way back to Kansas yesterday. This is the one photo I got via text. I took dozens from the same area.
Another difference: I probably would have suggested we not make the drive in one day. How can you get 437 photos otherwise?