The grandkids had a few days off from daycare, so I got to spend some time helping entertain them last week. One day we went to the Oregon Zoo. When I ride the MAX to and from the airport, I have often imagined what the Zoo was like when the train stops at that station. Now I know. Two animals there especially caught my eye.
I am not sure if I have ever seen a bald eagle, but I know that I have never seen one this close. We were about 3 feet away from this one. I can’t tell if it is the male or the female.
The idea for a boutique shopping experience at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Fort Collins was born during the pandemic. My sister, the liaison with faith-based communities, thought of ways to maintain connections with various congregations. With ideas from Pinterest, she organized projects for people to create and sell in pop up events using donations given to the Habitat ReStore.
One idea led to another, and soon a corner of the ReStore turned into The Shed. Here shoppers will find upcycled and handcrafted items. The Shed has been open for a while, but the Outdoor Shed launched last week with great items for the backyard.
We are so excited to not only be traveling, but especially to see family again. It’s been since October when we were last in Oregon, and Anna and Abby’s Yard has been completed and opened since then.
This playground celebrates the lives of two young girls who died in a freak accident in 2013. A huge tree in front of a house across the street from Rogers Park came down and serves as the foundation of a number of structures in the park. You can see photos of sections of the tree here.
Being big fans of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, we had to leave I-90 and drive north to the town of De Smet, South Dakota. It’s here where By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years took place.
Today you can tour the Surveyors’ House where the Ingalls Family spent one winter, as well as the house that Pa built in town.
You can also drive out to the homestead just outside of town and see the five cottonwood trees that Pa planted for Ma and his four daughters.
After this tour, we took the Laura Ingalls Highway (#14) from De Smet to Walnut Creek in Minnesota to see Plum Creek where the Ingalls family had lived in a dugout. It is on a private farm these days, but you can pay your entrance fee in a little box and drive out to the site and even picnic there, if you wish.
This was my favorite day of our Dakota adventure, as I remember so distinctly reading about these places.
Most Americans have heard of Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. It used to be that you might see Wall Drug bumper stickers fairly often, but I have not seen one in many years. When driving through the rolling green hills along I-90, the occasional billboard advertises this tourist attraction. And yes, they had free ice water, although the day we drove across South Dakota it was cool and rainy, and coffee sounded better.
The other famous attraction is Mitchell’s Corn Palace. It, too, is conveniently on I-90. Every year the building is decorated with corn in various themes. In 2007 the theme was Rodeo.
Although I would not plan a trip to South Dakota to see these two stops, they are nice distractions from interstate driving.
Crossing over into South Dakota, I checked off state number 50!
We enjoyed scenery in parks in this state. Our daughter had once been to Mount Rushmore and told us that we didn’t need to pay money to see it since she thought it underwhelming. So we gave our tourist dollars to Custer State Park instead.
From Custer State Park, you can see Mount Rushmore through the trees.
Our second and final stop in North Dakota ended at Teddy Roosevelt National Park. My trusty little Canon PowerShot S410 did its best to capture the wide vistas, but I’m sure a wide angle lens with more pixels at sunrise or sunset would have made for better photos. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our time in this National Park.
It’s time to start buying plane tickets again, but this week I am remembering past trips while anticipating future ones. Also, if foreign travel is not in the cards this year, this diverse country of ours offers many places to visit.
After our attending our daughter’s college graduation in Minnesota, I knew that this was my best opportunity to visit my last two states. We rented a PT Cruiser and headed to North Dakota.
Our first tourist stop landed us in the middle of the state on I-94 in Mandan. Here we visited Fort Abraham Lincoln. Visitors can view a replica Mandan Village called On-A-Slant, named because the land sloped toward the river.
Also in this park is the last house where Custer lived before his infamous defeat.