This year, my parents bundled me and my younger sister into the car at 4 in the morning to begin the 12 hour trek to my Grandma's house in Hosmer, South Dakota. As per every year, the trip in and of itself was an adventure. We drove four hours and stopped for breakfast in Ogallala, Nebraska (try saying Ogallala. It’s fun!). Another 4 hours and lunch in North Platte, Nebraska and another 2 hours for the final rest stop in Pierre, South Dakota.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
For those of you who don't know, South Dakota has been experiencing massive flooding over the last few months. In Pierre, we have to pass over the Missouri River to continue eastward. This year, the river was so swollen that nearly every building in the surrounding area had a sand fort built up around it. The playground near the river was so flooded that all we could see was the top of the tallest slide.
We continued on past Pierre until we hit the nine mile road to Hosmer.
*INTERACTIVE SECTION -Let’s learn the cheer for beautiful Hosmer. "Weiner Schnitzel Sour Kraut, Hosmer, Hosmer, nine miles out!"*
The last leg of the trip brought us past acres of farmland. We passed the Heier Farm, where my dad and his 12 (12!!) siblings grew up. At last we arrived at Grandma Heier's house. Unfortunately Hosmer hasn't had a hotel in many years, so we stay with my grandma.
We didn't stay in little Hosmer the whole time, as tempting as it was (My grandma is probably the best cook in the USA). We went to Brookings, SD for my cousins wedding. There we stayed at the Fairfield Inn. It was beautiful and fun and I got to see family members I haven't seen since I was 2. We stayed there for two nights and then we went to Aberdeen, SD.
In Aberdeen, my family and my Uncle Ed's family got together and went to Storybook Land and Wylie Park. Storybook land has always been one of my favorite places in the entire country. You walk through and it’s like you step into a story book. We got to follow the (slightly flooded) yellow brick road, see Jack and the giant, and take a picture with Captain Hook.
Then we popped on over to Thunder Road (also part of Wyllie park) and did bumper boats and race tracks (all very fun!). My mom and I went shopping after that, but my sister and Dad went to Aberdeen Aquatic Center, which they said was fun.
We drove back to Hosmer. The trip between Hosmer and Aberdeen took us through Roscoe, where the flooding was particularly bad. At one point in the road, the street had to be built up over 7 different times and the "No Passing Zone" sign was covered up to the triangle.
We spent the last week in Hosmer. I was really sad to leave, but ready to get back to a place where mayonnaise didn't cost $5.
While I would love to recommend Hosmer for your next family vacation, you really need to know someone there to have fun. So instead I recommend you make your next vacation destination a small town. In our world, it is rare for someone to laugh at the absurdity of locking a door. Small towns present the opportunity to feel completely safe and I wish everyone had the chance to experience that. So when you’re planning your next vacation, head for the nearest small town!