Wednesday, June 29, 2011

De Smet, S.D. - The Little House on the Prairie

June 27-30.  We are outside De Smet at Lake Thompson State Park.  The flood waters are all around us, but we are okay.  If you look at the first three photos below, you will see the park entrance, which has water up to within inches of the road.  The next picture shows a road that goes to De Smet and the third photo shows a road to Brookings.  We went a different route, not using either of those roads!
On our first day here we went to De Smet to see the homes and schoolhouse made famous in the Little House of the Prairie books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We saw two of the houses she lived in after they moved from the Sod house and from Walnut, Minnesota, and another built by her father. (Pa)  We also saw the school that Laura taught in for 1 year when she was 15.  The first house was the Surveyors home that they lived in when they first moved to De Smet and a second that her Pa built.  In later years her Pa built the family home, but that was after Laura was married to Almanzo Wilder and had moved.  Trivia: If you ever saw the weekly TV show "Little House on the Prairie" Pa & Ma adopted a boy named Albert.  In real life, there was no such adoption, alas, no Albert.
The next day we went to Brookings, S.D. and spent the day at South Dakota State University.  We did a geocache sponsored by South Dakota Magazine, that had us climb the Coughlin Campanile, a 165 foot  monument with chimes in the steeple. We turned in our geocache at the Alumni office and receive a South Dakota Magazine calendar.  We also went to the Agricultural Heritage Museum and South Dakota Art Museum to see the works of Harvey Dunn.  We also went to the college bookstore while we were there.  S.D.S.U. has a very nice, very large campus. We had a great time there. 
On our last day here, we went to Huron.  We visited the Dakotaland Museum, Wal-Mart for haircuts, had a picnic in a park, and went to Gladys Payne's home.  Gladys was the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate.  She fought for women's rights in South Dakota and got women in South Dakota the right to vote, two years before the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote nationwide. Gladys was also the first woman to have an electoral vote.  On to Philip, S.D. tomorrow.
Road toward De Smet
                   Road to campground          

Surveyor's house
Road towards Brookings

Deb at the school Laura taught at
Ma & Pa's house after Laura left

SDSU Entrance
Deb milking a cow at Ag Museum

Coughlin Campanile

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Salem, South Dakota

June 24-27. We are at the Camp America Campground in Salem, right between Mitchell and Sioux Falls. It is a gorgeous campground and very well maintained. On Saturday we went to Mitchell to see the famous Mitchell Corn Palace. Both the interior and exterior of the building, are covered with pictures, made 100% out of corn and grasses. They change the pictures every year between August and October. They first take last years corn off and put up drawings of the new pictures. It looks very much like a paint by numbers painting, except each area has a note, telling the volunteers what color corn, rye, or wheat to use in each area. It takes 2 months to change all of the pictures. When you look at the first two exterior pictures, note that all you see, except for the green & gold roof, are corn.    All of the interior pictures are 100% corn or grasses.  We had a picnic & went to see the high water in town that was going over a dam.Saturday night we drove to Hartford to the dirt track races. They had numerous classes of races on this 3/8 mile track. We especially enjoyed the 360 Winged Sprints.
On Sunday we went into Sioux Falls and visited Falls Park. Another incredible site, these falls, on the Big Sioux River, are in the center of Sioux Falls.   At one time there was a water driven turbine mill. Now it is a beautiful park. While we were there, two wedding parties came to have pictures taken.
Debbie also got to see her first chipmunk and some baby chipmunks in their underground nest.       P.S.-Deb also wanted me to tell you that the speed limit on South Dakota interstaes is 75 m.p.h.
Debbie & Mr. Corn
The Corn Palace

Freedom Riders 
Mt Rushmore
Hunting Pheasants
Panning for gold
Water over the dam in Mitchell
The races at I-90 Speedway
Our Campsite at Camp America  

The 5 photos at Falls
Park really don't show
how magnificent they
really are. The sound
of the water, from
every fall is loud!

 Trivia:  South Dakota's state bird is the Ring-Necked Pheasant and this state is only 1 of  3 of the 50 states that allow you to shoot (and eat) their state bird. The others are California (the Quail) and Rhode Island. (the Rhode Island Red Chicken)

North Sioux City, South Dakota

June 22 & 23.  We stopped at No. Sioux City at the K.O.A. to relax for 2 days and use their pool, as we have not been in a pool in months.  Being from Florida, we are use to being in the pool most every day, 10-11 months a year.  But, the weather didn't cooperate.  It was overcast, drizzly,and in the low sixties both days, so we just relaxed, did laundry and food shopping.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Danish Villages-Elkhorn & Kimballton, Iowa

June 19-21.  We are at Prairie Rose State Park, in the middle of nowhere in southwestern Iowa.  There are three small towns, Elkhorn (population 350) and Kimballton, (population 196) know as the Danish Villages and Walnut, which is the "Antique Capital of Iowa."  We visited the Danish Villages today, but there was not much going on.  No red lights in either town.  In Elkhorn, the bakery was closed, the famous general store museum was closed and the food market was out of business.  There was a windmill (the only windmill in the U.S.A. that originally stood in Denmark, was disassembled, brought to Iowa, and reassmbled) and museum, but we did all that when we were in Pella earlier this month, so we skipped that. We did take a photo of the windmill in Elkhorn and we did take a photo of a replica of Hans Christian Andersdon's Little Mermaid in Kimballton.   We will go to Walnut tomorrow. 
One thing about Iowa, it is the "greenest" state that we have been in.  They have wind farms everywhere, generating electric power, we have seen hundreds of them.  Solar panels are on a lot of roofs, and we found our first site to plug in electric cars. Just swipe your credit card, plug the car in, and charge the batteries. On to South Dakota the day after tomorrow.
Charging Station
Wind Farm

Debbie & the Little Mermaid

Our Progess Map-8 states
Elkhorn's Windmill

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rose Festival-State Center, Iowa

June 18.  We drove to the town of State Center, which is in the center of Iowa, of course, to the Rose Festival.  This town is called the Rose Capital of Iowa, as they have a big town rose garden.  They had a BBQ competition with 40 competitors, a parade with 140 units, but only one (1) band.  The parade had lots of tractors, fire trucks, local floats, and the Masonic Temple cars and scooters. We listened to the 60's band the Rivieras,  and drum only band, we saw a rib eating contest between 6 men and a rib eating contest between the Rose Queen and the Runner-up for Rose Queen.  The Runner up won the rib contest.  We saw a Tractor Pull Contest for the little kids, which was great fun. We had a blast!
Some BBQ competitors

The only band in the parade

Runner-up Vs. Rose Queen
Drum entertainers
Masonic Temple Cars

Grand Marshall

One of many fire trucks
One of many tractors
Some State Center Roses
Some farm thing!!


Ames, Iowa

June 15-18.  We are just outside Ames, Iowa at Ledges State Park.  We went into Ames to see Reiman Gardens on the campus of Iowa State University.  The gardens are famous in this area.  We saw every type of garden possible, as well as a butterfly garden and a temporary art show of giant bugs made out of wood.  We also went into Boone, Iowa to former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower's birthplace and we took a 2 hour ride on the Boone & Scenic Railroad.  We ate lunch at the Dutch Pantry restaurant and bakery and loaded up on Dutch Apple bread and danish pastries.
If you drive 50 miles through Iowa, you will pass 25 farms of mostly corn and the rest are soybeans.  This is a great agricultural state.

Trivia Question:  Why do butterflys live only two weeks?  They burst out of their coccoon and find a mate.  They mate, the female lays the eggs and they both die from exhaustion.

Trivia Question:  Why do moths only live 3 days?  Moths do not have a mouth, stomach or digestive system.  They die of hunger in 3 days.

Ledges CG-double click to see Debbie
Mamie Eisenhower's birthplace

Boone & Scenic
Boone & Scenic
Corn as far as you can see
                    The train we rode on

Debbie at Reiman Gardens
Trumpet tree

Giant Ant
Praying Mantis


A rose is a rose
Entrance to one of the gardens