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Day 12 (9.13.07) - Ft Pierre to McLaughlin (Photo's Added)

Visited Museum in Pierre, South Dakota, then my sister, Penny in McLaughlin

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Starting Mileage: 111853, Ft Pierre, SD
Ending Mileage: 112002, McLaughlin SD
Weather: Windy, some overcast in AM

If you are wondering where phylisej's entries are, she has been writing - but on paper. We haven't had time to input them yet, but should shortly. In the meantime, I did get her photo's uploaded up to Mt. Rushmore, they just aren't in a blog entry yet. However, you can view any photo’s we upload without having to read through the blog text by clicking on an author. Once you get to that author’s info, I think there is an option for Photo Gallery or Photographs (or something like that). So you can see Mom’s photo’s up to Mt. Rushmore even though they aren’t in a blog entry yet (or mine for that matter).

The camp ground we stayed at in Fort Pierre was the exact same place the Lewis & Clark expedition stayed for five days back in 1803 - pretty cool! It is at the mouth of the Bad River, where it joins the Missouri River that they were traveling up.

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We left Fort Pierre, South Dakota and decided to stop at the Visitors Center at Pierre, S.D. the next door city. This is also the State Capital of South Dakota which, with 14,095 people is the second smallest city that is a State Capital in the U.S. (next to Montpelier, VT). The lady at the visitors center was very helpful and gave us a city map, pointing out some things we might want to see. I liked the mailbox however.

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We stopped by a nice city park so Mom could collect some sand from the Missouri River for her friend, then drove by the Governor’s Mansion and saw the Capital building across the lake.

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Up the hill a bit was the Cultural Center and Museum. We’d been to several good museums already and this one didn’t look very impressive (most of it appeared to be underground), but we were already there so decided to give it a quick look. It turned out to be much more interesting than we expected, so of course we stayed there much longer then we expected (this is starting to seem like the theme of this trip?).

The museum was organized into exhibits by era, from the Native Peoples, through the early Settlers, minors, to turn of the century, to WW1, the Depression, WW2 and through today. Each exhibit had lights and sometimes sounds that turned on when people were detected. At one point there was even a mechanical cow that you could try to milk. A display compared your speed to that of a mechanical milker (I was much slower of course).

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Mom was shocked when she finished going through the gift shop to find that she’d spent about $50 on books & such! (Usually I’m the one to overspend at the gift shops, while she buys a few postcards).

When we finally left the museum and again headed north, I was surprised at how quickly the town disappeared and the prairie and vast wheat and sunflower fields reappeared. There were no miles of strip malls or fast food joints on this route out of town, maybe a couple of tractor stores – then just prairie.

And wind – today was quite different then yesterday (which had been hot, dry, and without a wisp of wind). I had to drive below 50 mph the rest of the day to keep the RV under control and poor mom gasped every time a big semi passed us as we got blown around even more. I was a little low on gas and the wind was quite stressful, so I stopped near Blunt, SD to get gas. The station wasn't quite like the one's I'm used to seeing:

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They had a cafe there so we decided to stay for lunch. The food wasn't very good, but it was nice to get off the road for a while. After we got back on the road, the wind didn't bother me as much. We kept up our spirits however and played our CD’s and drove on. We often passed ponds (probably dug or dammed by the farmers & ranchers in the area), and in one particularly big pond complex, saw a large number of waterfowl. Of course, they again took off as soon as we tried to pull over, but we got a few pictures off. I did see a large bird in a field once, probably a hawk, but didn’t bother to pull over that time (one of the few we didn’t stop for, did we say the trip would only take 8 months?)

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We also stopped in a couple of small towns along the way (population less than 800 each, as have been many along this trip) and took a couple of pictures. A couple of days ago I realized that we had only been taking pictures of wildlife, wildflowers and scenery – but it might be nice to show some of the towns we went through also, so I’ve been trying to remember to do a little of this. I think both of these towns had more grain silo’s then people however.

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After several hours of driving, we finally made it to the town Penny lives in, McLaughlin. It is VERY small and has a good section of it’s roads totally torn up to be rebuilt. The directions she gave us to her house weren’t quite up to date (she told us to turn at a shop called the “Dipper”, but the shop is now called the “T-Spoon”). So we had a little trouble finding her place, but since the town is so small we just drove around for awhile and eventually figured it out.

Penny took us on a short (?) tour of the area and showed us some of the places where she works. The town is surrounded by the Standing Rock Reservation and she works in Social Work, so has some very interesting insights and experience working with the Native American population and some of the issues they are dealing with. If she has time, I hope she can add some comments to this entry about some of this.

Mom took advantage of Penny’s small house and took a hot bath tonight. She has already crashed for the evening and I’m about to, but am borrowing her PC to get our blog caught up a bit. (My laptop has wireless internet and cellular data card, neither of which are available here – so again will have to upload the photo’s at the next RV park).

Tomorrow we plan to continue on North to Bismark, then another hour or so NW to a Knife River (Indian museum or cultural center – I’m not sure exactly). After that we’ll head east again, either on I94 or Hwy 2, eventually ending up at Lake Superior, then down to visit my Uncle Bob and Aunt Madeline in Berrien Center Michigan (not sure exactly when).

I hope we aren’t boring you with the delay’s keeping the blog up to date. Please post a comment or two and give us some feedback about it – do you want more text? Photo’s? What would you like us to write about?

Posted by jl98584 06:40 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Comments

The write-ups are interesting, but desperately need the photos! (especially pictures that have you guys in them). Understand the technical difficulties, though. You sound busy!

by TexasRTJ

I'm enjoying these entries very much. I've read them all, and now I followed your suggestion to view all the pictures under the authors' links, and they are great too, though it wasn't easy finding my way back from the last page of J's pictures to the first of P's. We look forward to your visit, whenever you get here, and we can take you to the beach for sand from Lake MI.

by msj

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