Robby Poore

Tag: Family

The Black Hills of South Dakota

Breakfast in the great outdoors, Black Hills SD

Desmond and Gretchen with new hats

Biovarg family selfie at Mt. Rushmore

The twins getting Junior Ranger badges

One of the many Needles tunnels the Black Hills– we barely made it through with our family sportwagon!

A herd of buffalo!

Ranger Earl begins the Wind Cave tour. Robby thinks this is one of the best National Park tours he’s ever been on

June 23, 2017
An exciting, ever-changing evening of wind and rain. We woke up reasonably refreshed and happy, though. We made coffee and oatmeal with our little camp stove, and warmed up in the western morning sun.
We’re staying at a private campground called Spokane Creek, it’s quite nice. Lynne and I haven’t stayed in very many private campgrounds, and this one seems to be a rather popular with the big Sturgis Motorcycle Rally folks. After leisurely breakfast, we drove the twisty roads through the Black Hills up to Mount Rushmore. These roads wound around each other, over bridges and corkscrew like hills, it seemed to me a lot like an adult roller coaster! It was really pretty around Mount Rushmore, and the kids filled out their junior ranger packets. We also got them some junior ranger hats– they look absolutely adorable wearing these matching hats. After this we drove around more twisty roads in the Black Hills, had a lovely picnic in Custer State Park at a beautiful lake named Sylvan Lake. Robby opted for the “1970s lunch,” consisting of Triscuits and Underwood Deviled Ham. The rest had more modern, “healthier” cuisine.
More twisty gorgeous roads took us down to Wind Cave, where we saw a heard of buffalo and several calves, big prairie dog towns, and even one fox cavalierly trotting amongst the prairie dog mounds.
We took a fascinating guided tour at Wind Cave, with Ranger Earl leading the way. So far, there are 149 explored miles underneath a one square-mile patch of land. We took stairways up and down, looking at all kinds of beautiful rock formations. The kids loved it, especially when Ranger Earl turn off the lights. We went in the modern entrance, but the natural entrance to the cave is a small hole about 18″ wide that the Lakota Sioux Indians believe that the first herd of Buffalo emerged from this gateway to the spirit world. The air pressure below and the air pressure above vary just enough that there’s almost constant wind either going in or out of the cave.
After the tour, the kids got their junior ranger badges, and we drove our way around the Black Hills back to our campsite.
The kids found a pack of other kids to play with, and Lynne and I relaxed by the fire. We were exhausted, and went to bed around 10.

Wall, Badlands, and Black Hills

Desmond and Robby hike the Badlands

Gretchen shows off her Junior Ranger badge and patch!

Desmond and Lynne explore Wall Drug

Desmond working on a Jr. Ranger packet

2017: Robby and Lynne at Wall Drug

1954: Maybelle McCombs, Dorothy and Emery Poore, Wall drug.

Gretchen and Robby on the ridge at Badlands.

June 22, 2017

Sorry for the delayed blog posts, folks! We are in areas of the west that don’t have any Wi-Fi, or even cell service. So we had to put our phones on airplane mode. Will try to update this  when we can!

We had a great night sleep in Wall–so great in fact that we couldn’t make it to the hotel breakfast! After packing the car we headed to the legendary Wall Drug store, ate a massive breakfast and took several photos. I remembered seeing a photo my grandparents had taken in 1954 at the same location, so Desmond took a new one of Lynne and I in the same wagon.

We motored to the Badlands, and it was spectacular. Beautiful rock formations, all rapidly eroding and exposing fossils. Kids got the Junior Ranger packets at the visitor center, watched a short (and interesting) video, then went for a hike on the Notch trail. Gretchen is quite an intrepid explorer, looking for “the road less travelled” and scrambling up rock faces with ease. We had a great time, it’s so nice to hike in the west again. The weather was great, too, only about 75°.

We had lunch at the visitor’s center, then the twins got their Ranger badges (and the obligatory assortment of curios), and we were off on the spectacular drive through the park. Beautiful views, and we spotted a
few bighorn sheep, and one lonely buffalo.

We were tired so we motored to Rapid City, then headed south to our campsite at Spokane River Campground near Keystone. It’s our first time at a private campground, and it’s quite nice. The kids made instant friends with other youngsters who understood the World of Harry Potter, fidget spinners, and other oddities. The tent got pitched, the fire lit, and we had hamburgers and beer, and marshmallows. Lots of late-night arrivals at this place. The wind picked up at night and rained a little.

GRETCHEN: So far, today was my favorite day on the trip. I absolutely love Badlands National Park and am glad to be a junior ranger there. The hikes and landscape there are beautiful. Even though the hikes were long, tiring, and hot
The amazing views made up for it. I also like to take the road less traveled and go for a hike with my Dad. Now I realize that Badlands is such a wonderful place and deserves it’s title as a National Park.


Columbia Missouri to Wall South Dakota

Twins at Cracker Barrel

It’s hot and windy in Iowa

Gretchen at Breadico, Sioux Falls SD

View of the Missouri River

June 21, 2017
We got in late and got right to sleep last night. We had a quick breakfast and hit the road around 9, we’re trying to make it to South Dakota today, almost 800 miles!

We listened to some of Robby’s tragic/comic 70s truck driving collection to start our day, peppered with some George Jones and Buck Owens. Gretchen sang her own country song, that went something like “I’m away from home but my dog misses me”.
Lunch in St. Joseph Missouri at a Cracker Barrel, the kids’ first, and we played the peg game, where we found out that Desmond is a genius! The kids now love Cracker Barrel, in part because they have a gift shoppe conveniently located at the front of the store.

We took a right turn at Kansas City and headed north, finding more corn growing, and oddly enough didn’t even drive into the state of Kansas. The rolling hills of Missouri changed to flatter lands growing more corn. We followed the Missouri River and we talked about the Lewis and Clark expedition, and headed north to South Dakota.

We ate delicious pizza and spaghetti at this great converted train depot in downtown Sioux Falls called “Breadico,” it was a nice break. Then we headed west toward Wall, South Dakota. The trees faded away and we were left with the Great Plains,  vast expanses of rolling grasslands. At sunset we stopped at a rest area at Chamberlain and saw a monument to Sacajawea and the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Another 4 hour drive took us to Wall, South Dakota, where we checked in to the Best Western, very tired.

Second Day: Mammoth Cave, Munfordville, and Beyond!

June 20, 2017

Second day! We woke up about 7, after an entertaining night of coyotes, fascinatingly loud owls, and a noisy 1am airstream trailer. We actually did get rest!
After packing we headed to the camp store for some “much-needed caffeination” for Lynne, and a second breakfast for our hungry hobbits.

Next stop was the Mammoth Cave visitor center, where the kids got Junior Ranger packets, and got their 4th grader National Park passes.
We took the 1/2 hour self-guided tour of the cave, a brief look at the rotunda cave and a chance to chat with the nice rangers and enjoy the cool cave air.
The kids correctly filled out the Mammoth Cave Junior Ranger packets, got their badges, then purchased some additional baubles at the gift shop.
We drove up to Munfordville to visit Aunt Doris, Robby’s father’s cousin, and her daughter Holly. The Poore family were from here and around Hart County. We had a lovely lunch and caught up on Munfordville past and present. It was so nice seeing you, Doris and Holly!
Afrer this all-too-brief stop, we headed north to Louisville, then west to Columbia Missouri. We stopped for dinner in Fairfield Illinois. We had wanted to stop at the “Barbed Wire Grill” but it was closed, so we had to settle for Subway. By this time we’d noticed that the landscape had flattened out, fields turned to corn, and the trees were smaller.
We glanced at the St Louis arch and the Mississippi River, then blasted west to Columbia, arriving late!

Gretchen:Today was such a long day. Tomorrow will be longer. It will be good to finally settle down after so long. Even though today was long, it was very fun. Aunt Doris made us the most amazing food and Mammoth Cave is quite the place! We also watched Part one of the first Lord of the Rings movie, witch is amazing! I hope many more days on this camping trip will be as fun and exiting as this!

Kids going to Mammoth Cave

Gretchen in Mammoth Cave

The kids working on Mammoth Cave Junior Ranger packets

Gretchen, Doris, Holly, Desmond, Robby

Fairfield, Illinois

Crossing the Mississippi at St. Louis

First Day on the Road!

Kentucky highway

Campsite B17 Mammoth Cave

June 19, 2017
First day in the road! We are headed to Mammoth Cave for a night of camping. As usual, a delayed start and some last-minute packing adjustments. We were out the door at 10:15 and stopped for biscuits and to top off the tank. The roads are pretty crowded from Durham to Winston-Salem, but thankfully traffic thinned out a bit. Gretchen kept us occupied/entertained with her state trivia cards. Did you know that Wyoming had the first woman governor?

We played Gretchen’s alphabet game (a game where we pick a theme, then go around the car and name things in alphabetical order), sang some YMCA camp songs, and made machine gun noises while going through tunnels.

We passed over the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, twisting and turning through some traffic and big trucks, and through the rolling hills of Tennessee and Kentucky. I love how the roads in Kentucky are carved out of that shale-like rock. We made it to Mammoth Cave about a half hour before nightfall, set up the tent and got a fire going, and cooked hotdogs. There were a dozen or so kids on scooters zipping around, so we sent the kids out to go buy some firewood.

Gretchen: I feel very good about this trip. No matter what setbacks like traffic or sleeping in we had, we always over came it and managed to have fun! I can not wait to go to Yellowstone and I am very exited to become a junior ranger in as many parks as I can. 3 words to describe our trip so far: Love, Adventure and Snacks

Life on the road



We went to Atlanta for the weekend, to watch my niece Isabelle graduate from high school! It was a great time seeing friends and family again, and I’m so proud of Isabelle for graduating. She’s headed to Athens in the fall.


Isabelle and Ian!

Isabelle and the twins


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