August is upon us. It seems like our children were just dismissed for summer vacation. Alas, it has been nearly eight weeks since the backpacks and lunch boxes were stowed away and youngsters looked forward to sleeping late, summer camps, and family vacations.
We are now closer to school starting up again that we are from it ending and time is running out for summer vacations. Have you taken some time off to rest and recharge? The Schmidt family did with one of the great American road trips to western South Dakota.
Readers outside of “flyover” country might wonder what in the world western South Dakota has to offer. Oh, just some of the most amazing things in the country – both natural and created.
Badlands National Park is truly a treasure. Erie and otherworldly, the rolling hills and plains about an hour east of Rapid City, SD give way to rugged canyons. We thought we were in an elaborate movie set or on another planet as we wound our way roughly 30 miles along the Badlands Loop Road. Here’s a traveler’s tip – prepare to spend at least half a day here.
We were on the edge of our seats when we drove the Needles Highway through Custer State Park. If you take this drive in the future, do yourself a favor and obey the speed limit signs. Sheer cliffs and few guardrails at over 5000 feet mean business. And bring your patience; there are many one-lane tunnels carved into the granite.
Speaking of granite, there are two points of interest not to be missed – Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument.
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located about 25 miles southwest of Rapid City. From 1927 to 1941 Sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his team worked to carve the faces of four former presidents into a mountain peak at 5,725 feet. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist, but a lack of funding shut the project down. Yet, the “incomplete” sculpture’s faces are still 60 feet tall.
The faces on Mount Rushmore seemed huge until we travelled another 17 miles to the southwest and viewed another incomplete sculpture, the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Under construction since 1948, the completed statue will be massive at 641 feet long and 563 feet high. The memorial being carved into the face of Thunderhead Mountain will represent Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing to his native tribal land. The memorial is also home to the Indian Museum of North America®. The museum contains art and artifacts detailing the histories of more than 300 Native Nations. Like the Badlands, half a day here is a must.
At this point regular readers of my blog might be wondering when I will apply this experience to the IT world. How does this family road trip relate? It doesn’t, and that’s precisely the point.
I suppose I could stretch an analogy out, but that would not convey the central message I want to deliver. Time away from work is good for you, your family, and your organization. Heck, it’s good for everyone. And, according to some, it might even save your life.
CorporateWellnessMagazine.com summed up the benefits of taking a vacation in one sentence when columnist Elizabeth Halkos wrote, “…rested employees are more productive employees. Taking vacation can reduce stress, help prevent burnout and promote work-life balance by allowing for more time to be spent with family, significant others and close friends.”
Need a little help catching up on projects so you can go on vacation too? As always, the team at LRS stands ready to assist you with a wide variety of needs. Contact us to find out how our seasoned experts can give you the time you need to pack up your own Wagon Queen Family Truckster and hit the road.
Oh, and you might want to hurry as the Needles highway is closed in the winter. You don’t get a listing on Dangerousroads.org by being straight, flat, and boring. Trust me, it’s worth it – Just make sure your passengers have their cameras ready and the driver keeps eyes on the road. You can enjoy their captivating photos later.
Patrick Schmidt is a Technology Lifecycle Management Specialist with LRS IT Solutions. For more than 25 years, he has been helping customers get a firm grasp on their asset and contract management with a combination of comprehensive service level analysis and lifecycle management best practices.