Vote Now

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota (map)

It’s been quiet around here hasn’t it?  Reality has kicked in, we went back to work, and vacations are too few and far between!  The good news is right before EmSue started her new job we managed to squeeze in one last trip to a National Park I have always wanted to see, but never had an excuse to do so.  Mount Rushmore!

Now here comes the voting part. As some of you may know I started working for the world’s largest vacation property rental website, HomeAway, but you probably know them better as VRBO or by one of the many other subsidiaries they own.  Well, at work we are having a fun little contest to see which employee can generate the most website traffic to their blog post hosted on the HomeAway website.  I thought this is great since I already have tons of blogs they can borrow and copy/paste up to their webpage about traveling.  Well, the trick is in order to show up highly in google search results and generate future traffic for HomeAway it needs to be unique content that is also useful. This is known as SEO ranking – Search Engine Optimization.

So my request for this blog post only is for you to see our fun filled trip to the Mount Rushmore area just by clicking this link and enjoying the pictures and story on the HomeAway website (that is how you vote!) –

Also since it is a contest if you can try and resist checking out anyone else’s blog posts on the HomeAway Employee Destination Guides website, at least until the contest is over on October 19th, that will help me win! 🙂

Thanks in advance!

Since HomeAway has since taken down the post and replaced it with –

Here is the original submission in it’s entirety.

The Badlands of American Road Trips

Back to school road trip

HomeAway staffer Dustin Orrick takes us on a  journey through the Badlands:

Why in the World would you drive 21 hours to go on a family vacation?? This was the question my co-workers were asking as I headed out the door from work on Friday afternoon.

It all started just a couple weeks before when my wife let me know that her parents and sister’s family had been planning a pre back to school vacation to see four of our United States presidents sculpted into the side of a mountain.  Having already been to many of the more popular picturesque National Parks the USA has to offer I had been meaning for some time now to figure out how we could make a convenient trip to the southwest corner of South Dakota. Realization is that there is nothing convenient about the southwest corner of South Dakota.  My in-laws had been planning this trip for months now and pre-booked airlines far in advance, still for a substantial rate, but with us deciding just days before to join them it left our transportation options bleak.

For my coworkers I tried to come up with clever responses like “to see the less explored spaces”, “we enjoy car camping”, or “the journey is the reward” but it was too late. I had already been branded as the frugal traveler.  It’s only logical!  Two $550 round trip air fares plus the cost of a rental car once you arrive versus $200 in gas to transport us from Austin, Texas to Rapid City, South Dakota and back…load up the family truckster, we are road tripping north!

I know what you’re thinking, other than Mount Rushmore why in the world would you travel across the Great Plains of the United States just to arrive in an area covered by more plains?  Well, the National Park service hasn’t let me down in the past in qualifying what parks deserve to be conserved at a federal level versus a state level.  So, if the park service says it’s worthy of National status then I have to believe that it is right up there with World Heritage UNESCO sites.  That and a little more googling homework and we came up with a 3 day Mount Rushmore Itinerary:

Seeing how we tagged along on the family vacation last minute, I was excited to hear that my sister in-law booked the vacation home through a property manager of the Double Diamond Ranch who lists their properties on work’s HomeAway site (job security and all).  We got lucky in that the home we booked was located in the heart of Black Hills country centered between Hill City and Keystone which gave us easy access to the sights and multiple dinner options to choose between at the end of the day.  Plus, with a fire pit outside on the cool nights it made for some fun memory making huddling around trying to cook our marshmallows to just the right point before falling off the wire hangers into the fire.

Memories to build on!

Crazy Americans at Mount Rushmore


EmSue Hiking

North Nebraska Sunflowers

Southern South Dakota Sunflower Farm

5 - Badlands Notch Trail

6 - Badlands Saddle Pass Trail

4 - Badlands

7 - Mount Rushmore

8 - Mount Rushmore Dysfunctional Family Photo

10 - Pack Out Trash

9 - Sylvan Lake

8 - Needles Drive

12 - Custer State Park Smug Family


13 - Naked Winery Hill City SD

14 - Welcome to Wyoming

15 - Devils Tower

16 - Family in front of Devils Tower

3 - HomeAway Black Hills

1 - Road Trip


11 thoughts on “Vote Now

  1. So, would sharing this on facebook help y’all out?

    Also, want to some visit me in Playa del Carmen?


    1. We are open to all forms of shameless self promotion. EmSue and I were just talking about how we want your job. How can we work remote from Mexico?

  2. I just clicked on the link 10 times. Hope that helps! 🙂

    1. Thanks Lee the gesture is much appreciated but unfortunately the voting is tracked by IP, so the number of clicks doesn’t matter. It does help though if you view it from multiple devices on different network’s; for example your laptop on your home Wi-Fi then your cell phone on the cellular network. Thanks Again

  3. Hey guys,

    Just clicked on the link a bunch of times for you. Hoping you and your readers might do the same for me as I’ve applied to become the Chief World Explorer for Jauntaroo. It takes 2 seconds to click the link and hit LIKE. Or 60 seconds to watch the video.

    I just got back from a RTW and am not ready to stop travelling! Hoping to inspire others to do the same, as you’ve done through your blog and pictures 🙂 I’ve been getting your blog updates for nearly a year, which were helpful as you were always a few months ahead of me. Anyway, sorry for my shameless promoting! Please forgive me 🙂

    1. No problem Deb, happy to share the Travel love and clicked “Like” on the video page, only took a second.

  4. Are those sunflowers for real??!!!! Amazing 🙂 Will vote for you!!

    1. haha yep Gail, was pretty cool and unexpected surprise for driving through NW Nebraska

  5. Just loved the creative way you shared our trip. You are the best!!!
    You should win first place!!

    1. Thank You, hopefully you don’t know that our post was better than the rest (otherwise that means you peaked at their posts 🙂 )

  6. Thank you for choosing to book through the Double Diamond Ranch. It looks like you guys had a great time. It was a pleasure meeting you! Loved your pictures! Lee Ann

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