Mt. Rushmore + Planning Surprise Party


Sometimes there is nothing to blog about (like a month ago) and other times there is so much to share I don’t know where to begin (like this past week).

There are two things I haven’t done in 40 years:

  • Travel with [only] a girlfriend

  • Plan a surprise party for someone

This past week I did both of those things.

My friend, Gail, and I took a trip to see America’s most iconic monument, Mt. Rushmore.

Brief-backstory: In the early ‘80s, I took a trip with a college friend, but I have spent three-quarters of my life travelling with family, or alone. Vacationing with a girlfriend at Mt. Rushmore in 2021 was extra unusual and exciting for me.

Gail and I planned and executed car, flight and hotel details in a flash and before we knew it, we were standing in the Blackhills of South Dakota in awe of magnificent Mount Rushmore.

If you wonder whether it's "worth it"...these are MY photos. As the saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
God Bless the U.S.A.!
A national treasure
My buddy for life, Gail!

While there we also:

  • Reveled among the largest biker rally in the country, Sturgis ‘21! - Fancy bikes and bikers were literally everywhere. Many had American flags waving wildly behind their rides. I must add that the bikers themselves were a very nice group of people and Patriotic to boot;

  • Took a train to an old mining town (Hill City) -- Though we missed our train back (nobody told us we only had ½ a second to eat, shop, and teetee) to Keystone, we hung out under a beautiful draping tree and enjoyed the shade, scenery and each others company before catching the next train, 2-hours later;

  • Played saloon-girl dress up -- thankfully these two photos were bearable to come home with because the majority were o.m.g. dreadful;

Do we look like we're up to something!
  • Met Sidney Powell -- Sidney was in Keystone speaking at the first annual Old Glory Patriot Ride and she was gracious as she could be;

  • And, while the above fun and games were happening I mentally and emotionally prepared for a surprise going-away-to-UIUC-lawschool for Diana, immediately upon our return...

Perhaps, you’ve bid farewell to college or grad school offspring? Perhaps you’ve planned a surprise party and visited Mt. Rushmore? All the above was unchartered territory for me.

Savanna and I wanted to throw a surprise party to add a dash of happiness to an otherwise mixed-emotion farewell. We began organizing on a Tuesday with the following Saturday (8/14) being the “big day.” Typically Sav and I are far-in-advance, prior planners. Throwing an event inside a week (surprise to boot) put us outside our comfort zones.

What was the hardest and easiest part of “surprise” planning?

  • Easiest: Texting and email makes surprise-communicating virtually magic;

  • Hardest: Lying is positively not my style. For four days I had to pause and make sure my “stories” were straight

The gathering came together better than we ever dreamed of.

Diana was truly surprised and all who attended [hopefully] had a good time and will cherish the memories as much as Jeff and I do. Diana is blessed with exceptional friends.

Tony photo-bombing the cuties!! (not sure about the obey pic in the back)
Best friends EVER!!!
Diana's dear friend from GT, Maggie (also going to lawschool and also just passed the Patent Bar!!)
Just love these young people too much!!!!
I always wanted to have SIX girls (not kidding) so I'm going to pretend that these are my six girls! (nevermind the obey pic...)
You two looked especially handsome that night!!

What was the best part(s) of the whole ordeal?

  • By FAR the best part of any party are the PEOPLE WHO COME! THANK YOU, EVERYONE!

  • FELLINI'S PIZZA - Fellini’s virtually allowed us to occupy the entire back room. Thank you #fellinispizza for patience and accommodation!

I have endless gratitude for loving friends, aspiring children and blessings from Above!

ALL the Glory belongs to Him

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

Let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving

And extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,

The great King above all gods.”

Psalm 95:1-3


As I write this, Diana and Elijah are on their way to Illinois. Here she is waving good-bye to all of us...


Thank you for reading!

Love, Shelley

Side note video:




One more off the bucket list!
A blessing of a friend!

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