Sunday, August 26, 2012

North Dakota and Back into Canada

Monday: Mostly a travel/fix it day. While Dan was waiting for the satellite TV repair person, I walked ½ mile to see if I could get the Internet back. The TV ended up being fine, Dan was just having trouble finding the signal. Our anti-virus provider managed “protect” us so well with the last update that we couldn’t connect to the Internet. We would have had go through the company we bought the computer from to fix it because we didn't have a disk to uninstall/install. We bought a new anti-virus and had that installed. Yabba-Dabba-Do, before leaving Flintstones Campground in Custer I saw several deer including fawns feeding next to our campground. That night, we saw a lovely sunset.

Tuesday: A beautiful drive to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We took a walk around town, but got here too late to do anything but laundry.

Wednesday: We took some up close pictures of buffalo on the 35 mile scenic drive in the south unit of the park. We also saw gorgeous views of badlands and juniper forests (badlands on the south side, and forests on the north).

Thursday: Bismarck, North Dakota temple. It was blistering hot again, in the low 90’s. There was a metal statue of Lewis & Clark with an Indian chief at the information center.


Friday: We’re in a remote, but popular campground in Midale, Saskatchewan Canada. It’s cooler up here, a lovely day.

Saturday: Drove to Regina, Saskatchewan Canada and attended the temple. After that, we went to the RCMP Heritage Center. Today only a special unit in Ottawa rides horses in spite of still being called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Corn Palace, Badlands, Mount Rushmore & More

Sorry this post is late. Our anti-virus, McAfee, managed to break our Internet connection. To make a long story short. We have a new anti-virus.

Monday: Fun times! We went to Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. It’s the largest mall in the US. They have an aquarium and an amusement park in it. Then we drove on to Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Tuesday: We started the day with a hike in Hoffman Hills near Menomonie. It wasn’t particularly long or difficult, but it sure felt good to be hiking again. We left there and drove to Blue Earth, MN and saw the Jolly Green Giant statue before settling in a campground in Welcome, MN.

Wednesday:  Have you ever seen a corn palace? I have. The only Corn Palace in the world is in Mitchell, South Dakota. Every year they decorate the outside with corn and other natural materials like the Rose Parade does, but no flowers, mostly cobs of corn of various colors cut in half and nailed on one by one following a pattern. It changes every year. I suggest going no earlier than August because they start decorating in June and they still weren’t quite finished. They also have some permanent pictures inside as well as photographs of most of them since 1892 when they built the first one. They painted the designs during World War II.

Thursday: Today we visited Badlands National Park after a long drive. I like the way my husband described it in our journal, “...stark, dramatic, raw beauty.” We went on our first real hike in over a month. It sure felt good. It was moderate to strenuous. Notice the log ladder we had to climb. All of us adults planned on going down backwards, but a girl sat down then went forward–much easier for the steepest part. It was easier to go backwards when it became less steep. Tonight we’re in Custer, SD.

Friday: Busy, delightful day. This morning we visited the Wind Cave, unlike any other cave. It’s a dry cave, so no stalagmites or stalactites. It has boxwork (95% of all boxwork known worldwide), popcorn and frostwork formations. (If you want to know how they developed, look it up.) It was a sacred place to the Lakota Indians and worked into their creation legend. The natural openings have a constant wind: Blowing in if the barometric pressure is higher outside than in the cave, and blowing out when it’s lower outside than in the cave. There is only one natural opening that’s big enough for a small person to slip through. The first explorer was 16-year-old Alvin McDonald who kept meticulous journals.

In the afternoon we visited Mount Rushmore. It’s an amazing site. I’ve seen pictures of it since I can remember. It’s interesting to learn more about how it was created, and to see it for myself.

Saturday: More fun stuff. In the morning we went to the Crazy Horse Memorial statue. It’s in the process of being carved out of a mountain. It will be the largest statue in the world when it’s finished. The four presidents carved in Mount Rushmore would fit in the head. I really admire the way they’re doing it—on their own. They will not accept funds from the federal government, strictly by donations and people visiting it and buying stuff. We need more of that attitude in this world.

The afternoon was great too. We went to Wall, SD and visited the Wall Drug Store. It’s the biggest drug store I’ve ever been to. It’s like a whole mini mall inside one building. Yes, it does actually have a drug department. To make a long fascinating story short, the original owner gave himself 5 years to make it profitable back in the day of the Model T. His wife had the idea to offer free ice water to the multitude of Model T drivers that passed by. They still offer free ice water and 5 cent coffee (for those interested). They have a giant T-rex that roars to life every 12 minutes. The rest of the town is set up western style and is also interesting to see.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More of the Mid-West and on to Minnesota

We’re about 2/3 of the way through. A young woman at the campground laundromat asked me if I was sad that it was almost over, or if I was anxious to get back home. I asked her if I could say both. She said I could. That's how I feel.

Monday: Today was our last day in Branson. It’s been delightful. If one had unlimited funds and time, there are lots of shows to see, magic, country, pop, comedy and such—all family friendly.  There are a lot of interesting buildings along the main drag, but we were the only ones walking down the street. We also saw Pierce Arrow, a good musical performance with a comedy routine flowing throughout. The prices are reasonable, most under $30, but a few higher. There are a lot of places to get tickets at a reduced price, our campground told us who to go to, and he even delivered the tickets to our campsite.

Tuesday: Independence, Missouri. We toured the visitor’s center then we walked across the street to the empty lot where the temple will be built before the Savior’s second coming. There was a peaceful, spiritual feeling about the place.

Wednesday: In the morning we attended the Kansas City, MO temple, then on to Kansas and Amelia Earhart’s birthplace in Atchison, KS. I love it when we trip over stuff like this. They have a small museum which mentions Lewis & Clark along with other historical people like Amelia Earhart. Did you know David Rice Atchison was really the 12th president? (It was only for one day, I don’t have room for the details, look it up.)  We also visited the home Amelia was born in, and lived in for several years with her grandparents.

Thursday: We drove to Nebraska. I had another special experience. In the visitor’s center next to the Winter Quarters temple, I found more genealogical information: One of my great-aunts died there at 17. It’s too bad her grave is in Cutter’s Park with no grave marker so we couldn’t visit it. This really makes the pioneer trek personal. Before this I didn’t know where they went after Nauvoo, just that they came to Salt Lake. At the visitor’s center we also saw a sister from Poway who knows a lot of the people we do, and another sister missionary from our ward. The temple was awesome as they always are.

Although I have avoided posting this type of picture here is one of the dry cornfields we’ve been seeing throughout the mid-west.

Friday: Another driving day—from Sioux City, Iowa to Madelia, Minnesota. As we drove into Minnesota the corn fields became greener.

Saturday: The left rear tire was low in the morning, so we drove to the nearest medium sized city and had it looked at. The valve stem needed to be tightened. It didn’t cost anything. Phew! We already bought 2 tires on this trip. The first one was on our way out of town, but we weren’t as lucky then. It was too old, and had to be replaced—9 month trip with a nearly 3 hour delay and $$$ spent the first day. We hoped it wasn’t a sign of things to come, and it wasn’t, although we did make a few more stops at RV repair places for minor items the first few weeks. See the blog entry “It’s All Part of the Adventure” for the other one. We arrived at the temple just in time to make the 1:00 session. There we saw a sister we used to work with in the San Diego temple. We didn’t know she had moved to Minnesota. What a great blessing it was for all three of us. We went to her ward Sunday. (Both of us wearing purple was not planned.)