Trip to South Dakota
Mike and Judy Henderson
May 22, 2012 to June 3, 2012
The four of us had dinner Saturday night at the Custer State Park Game Lodge. While buffalo steak was on the menu, beef was mostly what we ordered (I ordered a pork loin). Judy reported that her steak was one of the best she had ever had.
Sunday morning we had to say "goodbye" to Tom and Lesta and the ranch. We headed back east towards Vermillion where the National Music Museum is located on the campus of South Dakota State U. Instead of driving north to I-90, we went south and took SD-18 which runs along the southern border of South Dakota. While not a freeway, there was not much traffic and we were able to make good time, about what we would have done on the interstate. This time, the wind was at our backs and we experienced great gas mileage, over 30 miles per gallon.
We had made reservations at Valiant Vineyards in Vermillion, a B&B. It turned out to have only five rooms, which was nice, but the other four rooms were occupied by an extended family - and they partied late into the night. It also rained and thundered that night. Such things don't bother me - I can't hear them - but it did bother Judy and she didn't get a lot of sleep that night.
Monday morning (Memorial Day) we went to the National Music Museum in Vermillion. It was an interesting and educational visit - they have lots of all kinds of instruments.
Then we headed northeast towards Bay Lake. On the way, we passed through Russell, a small town near where Judy's dad was born on the family farm, which is now part of Camden State Park. We stopped in Marshall for lunch and then went on to St Cloud, where we spent the night in a very nice hotel that was mostly empty. We had a top floor room with a good view.
Tuesday morning, we continued on to Bay Lake to see Janice and Larry Lange. We were earlier than we said we'd be, so we went to Mill's Fleet Farm store in Baxter, very close to Brainerd. Mill's Fleet Farm has all kinds of things, a complete shopping experience for a farmer or rancher. Judy went clothes shopping and I even bought some clothes, including a warm jacket. It's nice to buy clothes on a trip because when I wear them at home, it brings back memories of the visit.
After completing our shopping, we headed to Janice and Larry's place. They have a house on Bay Lake which they mostly built themselves - and they did a very nice job on it.
Wednesday morning, we went sightseeing in the area. Here's a picture of Judy with Janice and Larry.
That evening we went to a restaurant on the other side of the lake - we went by boat, of course. Here's a picture of Janice and Larry's pontoon boat that we went in.
And here we are at the restaurant.
The sun was setting as we headed home.
And it was getting cold!
Thursday, we drove to Lake Itasca to see the source of the Mississippi river.
And here I am standing in the Mississippi river. You could walk across at this point if you don't mind getting your feet wet.
There's a "retired" Forest Service fire watchtower at Lake Itasca park and they let you climb it. It's 100 feet high. Judy's bold and decided to make the ascent. I decided to stay on the ground.
There she goes, up and up.
And she made it to the top and took pictures of the view from there.
Friday, we said "Goodbye" to Janice and Larry and headed up to the north shore of Lake Superior. Along the way, we stopped in Duluth for lunch and then drove down Canal Park, a long peninsula forming the harbor of Duluth.
We had made reservations at a B&B close to Two Harbors. The lodge turned out to be really out in the woods. The main road turned into a gravel road and the access road to the lodge was long and rough. But the lodge, itself, was modern and nice - and the innkeepers were nice people.
Saturday, we went exploring along the north shore, visiting several of the state parks located there. Our first visit was to the Split Rock Lighthouse.
We walked the grounds and went up into the lighthouse - where the light is. There was a docent dressed as a lighthouse keeper.
When we left Split Rock, we went to lunch and then to Tettegouche State Park where we did some hiking, which brought us to a river and some falls. Here's Judy at one of the falls.
That concluded our Saturday. We went back to the B&B, had a couple of beers, a good night's rest and left early the next morning to drive to Minneapolis airport. The flight back home was uneventful and we were glad to get home.
And so we reach the end of this story but we plan to have many more adventures.
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