The second time I came to South Dakota was with a middle school mission trip with YouthWorks. We spent a week in Rapid City serving the community. I had 4 boys and 1 middle school girl along with a female adult leader.

While driving across the open expanse of South Dakota on I-90 we counted the Wall Drug signs, lots of them, and saw many many cows. One of the boys did not like corn but loved Doritos so others pointed out the many fields of corn. We were coming the first week of August and the Sturgis rally was coming up, so we had LOTS of motorcycles.

At break for gas, we decided to stop lunch. We were in the small town of Murdo. After fueling up we headed across the street to the local restaurant. After standing at the counter for 10 minutes and not even being greeted we chose to leave. We looked for other options. Just down the street, across the railroad tracks we found a little drive-in.

So away we went. We pulled up and discovered that the place was cash only. But I had learned long ago to carry lots of cash. It was AWESOME. Lots of choices and everyone was able to order something they liked. One of the kids declared it to be the best place ever. In fact, the kids decided that we had to stop on our way home.

The boy who declared it the “best ever” made his family stop the next year.

I was brought back to the memory of this trip this week. I spent the night at the Best Western hotel in Murdo. The Drive-in is still there; i drove by in the morning before I continued the trip.

The memories of the trip to Rapid City are incredible. We had a great time and my boys, Nick and Sam, were on the trip. Sam did the potato dance and Nick was in my small group. We visited Mount Rushmore and helped with a community cookout. We served at a thrift store where I ended up purchasing 2 gumball machines.

Looking back I loved all the trips we took. But it was always incredible when I was able to have my kids with me. And a couple of times we had the whole family including Emily and Jackie. Serving together gives us shared stories. That same summer we visited Toronto together, all 5 of us, with a stop at Niagara Falls thrown in.

Nick once counted the number of states we visited together. 24. And Canada. Over the years I visited Juarez Mexico, New Orleans, and Pine Ridge with Emily, Toronto, and New Orleans with all 5 of us. Rapid City, Washington DC and Cortez Colorado with Jackie and the boys. And Detroit with the boys.

I hope that you can find ways to help others with your families. Because God loves you and so do I.

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