Friday, August 3, 2007

Our Star Spangled Adventure Day Forty-Nine

Tuesday, July 10th, Day Forty-Nine:

We were awakened quite early by very heavy wind. Our tents were blowing down on us, kind of doing a tent dance, maybe the twist. Does that help as a visual? :) It was one of those really blue-sky kind of days, with those gorgeous fluffy, cotton-ball white clouds blowing by.

I believe we got out of the campground around 7ish.......and then, we had one amazingly full day!

And.....we learned over the next two days, that we LOVE South Dakota! When I was planning the trip last spring, I fell in love with it, sight unseen. Who would have thought South Dakota would turn out to be a favorite state! We all want to come back, with more time to explore.

Today is the third day of our "Little House" days. We could have a 4th day, if we wanted to explore the LH connections in Keystone, but we had to draw the line somewhere, and not be on the road for our lifetimes. :) I also cancelled our side trip to Burr Oak, Iowa, another LH site, so we could have some quality time at the other houses.

We crossed the border into SD quickly, as we camped only about 15 miles from the border. We made a Wal-Mart stop, to stock up on groceries for the next few days, and headed to DeSmet, where the LH books: By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years take place. One could spend two whole days here seeing the sites. We only had about half of a day, so we stuffed our time. We arrived at the LH museum and signed up for the house tours, the only way to enter the homes. They had a fun LH gift shop........I resisted all temptations to purchase anything, especially all of the cute tea stuff. The two younger boys bought a bag of marbles each. They were really cool, based on famous artists' colors. Malachy had to borrow $5 bucks from Sarah to buy his, as he was all out of money. He will pay her back from his piggy bank at home. :) He got "Van Gogh" marbles, gorgeous blue and yellow. Garrett's marbles represent the planets.

The first stop, were the bathrooms at the LH park across the street, marked "Ma" and "Pa" instead of men and women. :) Then, our tour guide took us into the Surveyor's Home.

Surveyor's House

The original first schoolhouse in DeSmet is the white buiding in the background.

This was the actual home the Ingalls lived in when they were By Shores of the Silver Lake. The Lake is gone now, but there is a sign showing its place. The house was moved to town. It was the biggest house Laura had ever lived in at the time. It had lots of original belongings. Our tour guide was kind of different. I am not sure how to describe her. She would say things like this: "And they, were like, noooo waayyy....." Kind of a Valley Girl crossing with a midwestern gal........just a little odd. Though sweet. And kind of funny as she was middle-aged. Behind the Surveyor's House, are two buildings. One is either the original school house, or a replica (I think a replica), of the little school that Laura taught in when Almanzo began giving her rides home on weekends. Very small, but I could just see what the descriptions were telling us in the story.

School where Laura taught.

And then, there was the original first school house in DeSmet, which Laura attended, of course. It is being researched right now so they can restore it. It was very cool to see the way they do the research, looking for original blackboards. And, you should see the museum of items found in the walls! :)

First schoolhouse in Desmet, SD.

Then, the tour takes us to another part of town, where we find a house that Pa built with his own hands. The home where Carrie married in the living room, and Ma, Pa, and Mary died. So many pieces of their real lives, just waiting here for us to discover. One of the dressers had drawers we could open, to see belongings from the family. How exciting to be so close to this literature and history.

The house that Pa built.

I know we did a lot already on this day.........but, there is so much more to go! First, we drive west and then south, to get to I-90. This is the first time we saw signs for WALL DRUG, only a hundred miles away. Once we are on the main highway, we have a lot of stops to make. The first stop was in Chamberlain, where we were looking for St. Joseph's Indian School. We get "junk" mail from them all of the time. What a surprise to me to find we would actually visit the area. It seems the school and students have created a wonderful Indian museum. As we were passing through the "old town" part of the town, we found a quilt shop. Of course we stopped. One thing we have learned on this trip, is that most quilt shops have a distinct personality from other quilt shops. The quirk for this shop??? Glittery fabric! We never saw so much sparkly fabric. I knew I did not want any eventually will rub off, or wash off. We found a lot of fabric we liked, but not much to go with our themes. I finally settled on the two fat quarters below the flag fat quarter, which I picked up the next day, still in SD. Very funny joke on me: I found when I got home that the fabric with the pine cones.........was sparkly! It had been folded inside out. Oh, well. I may just use it with the non-sparkly side out.

For the Star-Spangled Quilt: South Dakota

The museum was free, donations welcome, of course! What a surprise treat this museum was! First, we watched a very well-made video. There were many artifacts & amazingly beautiful art. The bronze sculptures seemed like they could rival Remington's work. Just gorgeous. One thing I noticed about this Indian museum was the way they taught about their culture without using any blaming. They just told their story. It was a nice perspective. We cannot change the past, but we can minimize prejudice in the present and future.

Garrett & Malachy outside the Saint Joseph Indian School Museum.

Our day still had more.........somehow. :)

I had been given flyers everywhere I turned, about various large antique stores in the area. Since we ended up going the opposite way out of town, crossing a special bridge (though I cannot remember why :)) over the Missouri River, we bumped into one of the antique shops. It was hard to resist the begging from various members of our caravan. I did stop.

We actually spent about 2 hours there! The prices were fair, and we spent the majority of our time trying to decide what we would NOT buy. :) All of them were enamored with all of the wonderful old books, especially Matthew, who had a heck of time choosing which books to purchase. Since I had bought tri-cornered hats for the boys at John Adams bookstore, the girls convinced me to buy each of them an "old-fashioned" hat. I also came away with the book below, knowing that we were heading to Mount Rushmore the next day. When we came out of the store, we found our Thule (pronounced: Tooley--the storage on top of our car) kind of crooked. I have no idea what we would have done without Matthew to be the Thule manager. I can barely reach it, and I definitely had no idea of how it went on and off the car. He was a huge help.

Even though we left the store sometime after 5 pm, we still had one more thing to do before we went to our next camp. And, even though we had to backtrack a few miles to reach our next destination, and even though the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (great photos here) was already closed, I just had to see the area where Lewis & Clark stopped by the Missouri River. It was a lovely place for a rest stop, over looking the Missouri River. We explored, took some photos, admired the artwork: a tee pee as a monument to Lewis & Clark, and the metal display below. It was hard to capture the true beauty in the natural light that was available, but maybe you can find it? The metal art graced the front of the visitor's center. It is hard to tell in the photos, but they were very large, the whole side of a large building.

Bryan kids at the site of Lewis & CLark's camp area,
with the Missouri River in the background.

Scene 1 with Lewis & Clark.

Scene 2 with Lewis & Clark.

Finally, attempting to put an end to our day, we headed to a KOA in Kennebec, SD. Where we got our tent set-up barely just before dark, but ate yet another dinner in the dark. :)

America sure has lovely sunsets!

We caught this one just before we pulled into the KOA.

Saint Felicitas & her sons, Pray for us!




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