Saturday, December 17, 2016

The 10 things I learned on my trip to South Dakota

What a trip… 4144 miles! 

The perfect trip for me always has nature, parks, zoos, animals, genealogy, natural history, science, geology, and some really good sweetie time! 

1. The Minnesota NorthStar Genealogy Conference was GREAT! I did three presentations. We stayed by the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wisconsin. We saw the Minnesota River and the Mississippi River, too. They were gorgeous. When in Hudson, Wisconsin, make sure to go to the best German restaurant, Winzer Stube. AND we found gluten-free pancake house... 

2. Minneapolis and St. Paul have a tic-tac-toe freeway system that was confusing with double-direction roads. I’m usually a map girl, but GPS was a godsend.
3. You can google “huge church St. Paul” and find it. It’s St. Paul’s Catholic Cathedral, and it’s amazing.
South Dakota was pretty interesting. Lots to see and do. 

The Missouri River (in the middle of South Dakota)

4. I can’t imagine how the Ingall’s family survived that first winter on the prairie of DeSmet, South Dakota. I want to read the books again. And I want to read the books to my grandchildren. There was a cabin with photos and book excerpts from their many homesteads.

5. South Dakota has one theme from the freeway—cows and hay bales. I could live here, but not in a tiny house. We were in a tiny cabin, just one room. It was really cute, but right now, my tiny house love will be vicarious through the television shows.

cabin (this was all of it)

Our porch

wild turkeys

In our first outing from the tiny cabin, this happened... oops.... That little culvert wasn't so little. I could have stood underneath the van (but I didn't)... #lastselfie

6. Hipsters should shop in South Dakota. Denim jeans and flannel shirts are everywhere!

7. I’m still celebrating 100 years of the National Parks. I added a few to my list: Badlands, Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, Buffalo Gap, Minute Man Site. And we stopped at Deadwood, Spearfish Canyon, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Mammoth Site. If you go to Mount Rushmore, go at sunrise. It's spectacular. Everywhere we went... prairie dogs, bison, elk, and more!
Spearfish Canyon was magical...

The Mammoth Site was pretty awesome... It's an active dig site.

And I loved the little signs we found in diners...

8. Wyoming and Devil’s Tower was beautiful, but you can keep your deer. One thing that I have nightmares about 12 years later is that a second deer accident will orphan my children. We only had a little front-end damage to our van (and had our cardiac testing for the year). 

9. Having no wi-fi and disconnecting is amazing and a little bit frustrating, but mostly amazing. And 10 days of no work is a gift!

10. 80 mph speed limits made 4144 miles seem super easy. And it wouldn't be a trip out west without stopping at the St Louis Zoo to see hippos and then stopping to see our favorite little (not so little) walrus at the Indianapolis Zoo on our way home.