Archive for September 17th, 2010

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Yes, today was a much better day! No more malls, and lots of being outside. I’m a little scared – I can’t be turning into a nature girl, can I? Well, I’ll leave all the tree and bird identifying to my cousin Tara, but I do love exploring the great outdoors. And today it was the prairie – specifically Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Walnut Grove, Minnesota, which was featured in her book On the Banks of Plum Creek and the early years of the television show Little House on the Prairie. Every little girl’s dream!

As you can see by the slideshow above, all the places along the way had photo ops just waiting to happen. I admit I took a few of them while driving, but not many – and I tried to make sure no cars (or poles or other big things) were around me when I did it. Most of the places I actually stopped – not hard when you’re one of the only cars on the road. Not many travel Rt. 14, The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway. I certainly had plenty of time on my hands, so here are some of my thoughts/observations along the way:

  • There are way more tractor dealerships than car dealerships out here.
  • It seems the further west you go, there aren’t as many adult superstores, but more casinos. Maybe they alternate until you get to Vegas, since we know they have it all there! (And no, haven’t had a chance yet to practice the poker tips my dad passed on to me – think I’ll have to practice more when I visit him this weekend…)
  • There are a zillion small towns out here, most with populations under 1,000. I know this because they all have signs that welcome you (that mid-west friendliness shining through) and say their populations. How the heck do they keep that up to date? Poor Revere, MN, with it’s population of 100 is going to be screwed up when someone either has a baby or dies. Unless they both happen on the same day, then it will all even out, I guess.
  • I wish I started Dairy Queen – they’re everywhere!
  • I want to go horseback riding.
  • Couldn’t they have been a bit more creative when naming rivers? Mississippi River, Minnesota River, Iowa River. Duh.
  • Passed pumpkin patch – I want to buy a pumpkin! Maybe I could affix it to the roof somehow??? Maybe not my best idea…

Once I arrived in the Walnut Grove area, I had a great time eating in Nellie’s cafe, seeing the sod house replica of the one the Ingall’s lived in and visiting the site of their home on the banks of Plum Creek, as well as others like where Laura’s school was. Have to admit there’s not much else out there, but it was well worth the extended detour, unlike yesterday.

I then turned south and went into Iowa – specifically Ames, Iowa, to catch up with my friend Jen. I definitely think that’s the best part of the trip, playing catch up with good friends I haven’t seen in years. It feels like no time has passed at all. So, yes, tonight I’m in an actual house again – woo hoo! Now to enjoy the warm, comfortable bed before hitting the road in the morning…

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