Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Our next stop in Mitchell was the Prehistoric Indian Village.

More than 1000 years ago, bands of native farmers and hunters used this land as farming ground, where they raised corn, squash, tobacco, etc.  The women tended the crops, while the men hunted and fished along the nearby Firesteel Creek. 

In 1910, a Dakota Wesleyan University student discovered the first signs of ancient human activity around the site.  The history of the site has been preserved and is the only archaeological site in South Dakota that is open to the public.  The Village is an active research center and is a National Historic Landmark.  Visitors to the site can see the many artifacts that have been excavated during the annual dig and you can tour the dig itself in the Thomsen Center Archeodome.    
Students from the University of Exeter, England, come to the Village to excavate the site during June and July each summer.  By the time we visited the Village, all the students had returned to England.
It's rare to find a complete skeleton of a bison because the Indians used every part of the bison for something.
These Native Americans lived in lodges, where 12-20 family members lived together.  The Prehistoric Indian Village depicts what those lodges perhaps looked like, based on research and archeological findings.  Each lodge was roughly 20' by 35' and the walls were made from a mixture of clay, grass and branches. 
The "bed" in the center of the lodge was reserved for the respected person in the lodge.
We have one more adventure in the area to tell you about before we move on down the road.  Hopefully, I will be back in the next day or so to tell you what else we found, so stay tuned.

Monday, July 29, 2013


We pulled into the RandR RV Park in Mitchell around 4 in the afternoon of July 23. 

We stayed at this RV park in 2010.  Nothing fancy, but you can use Passport America for 7 night. You don't find that very often.  They do charge $4 for 50 amp, so for four nights, we paid a little less than $23 a night. 
Dalton loves animals -- he hunts with his dad, step-brother and his other grandpa, but he doesn't like shooting guns.  Since it was late in the day, the first place we took him was Cabella's.  There is no Cabella's in North Carolina that we have found.
Cabella's sells a large variety of sporting goods, including guns, ammo, fishing equipment and clothing.  But, what we like to see is the display of animals.
Cabella's also allows RV'ers to stay overnight in their parking lot.
The next day we headed to the Corn Palace.  What's a Corn Palace you ask? 
The World's only Corn Palace can  be found in Mitchell, South Dakota, and is an American folk art icon.  The first Corn Palace was built in 1982.  It was a way for the early settlers to display their agricultural bounty in an effort to prove the fertility of the region's soil.  The building is famous for the huge, colorful murals on the front and sides of the building and are redesigned every year.  The 2013 theme is "We Celebrate," depicting various holidays. 
The work is done by hand and it is a delicate  and detailed process.  The border trim of sourdock and rye is cut, tied into bundles and stapled to the building.
In August, the workers begin to change the murals one by one as sketches created by local artists are transferred to roofing paper and nailed to the mural panels.  These sketches also serve as blueprints, as each color of corn and the area it covers is indicated on the drawing.  Twelve shades of corn are planted in separate fields to maintain color purity and the very best ears are hand-picked by local growers for use on the Corn Palace.  Each ear of corn is then sawed in half, shaped and trimmed to fit the designated spaces and nailed into place.  Roughly 275,000 ears of corn, grown in over 100 acres of land, are used to redecorate the murals each year.  The Corn Palace is the only place in the world where this type of folk art is being preserved.
The building is used for various events throughout the year, such as dances, banquets, sporting events, etc.  In fact, USA Today has named the Corn Palace as one of the Top 10 places to play high school basketball games and called it the Boston Garden of the Midwest. 
The best part is high school and college kids are hired each year to pull off the old designs, install the border trim and prepare the building for the new murals.  It gives these young folks something constructive to do with their time during the Summer.  High school and college kids also help with the concessions, tours, etc. inside the Corn Palace.
 Did I tell you more than you ever wanted to know about a building with corn on the outside?  All the info is provided in case Dalton wants to write a paper on "What I Did This Summer."  HAHA
Foolery Shots

To be continued...stay tuned for what else we found in the area.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


On July 10, we set out on a summer journey with our 15yo grandson, Dalton.  Dalton lives in North Carolina and hasn't been out of the state very much.  He's been to Virginia, DC, South Carolina and he came to see us a few times when we were still living in Arkansas.  We were surprised he actually wanted to hang out with his grandparents.  We figure this will be the last year he will want to go much of any place with us because next year he will be 16, driving and maybe have a job.  We tried to tell him we could at times be very boring, but he still wanted to come with us.
We discussed several options of where to go -- Williamsburg, Virginia; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Florida, but eventually settled on South Dakota.  We really didn't want to go South -- we were hoping to find cooler weather North.  SD is our legal residence and we've actually only been there once -- in 2010. 
Alan made an appointment to have the transmission oil changed at eight o'clock on the day we left.  Why he didn't do it BEFORE we left is beyond me.  So, at six o'clock on Wednesday morning, July 10, Dalton knocked on our door loaded down with his pillows and ready to go.  I cleared out a drawer in the bedroom for his clothes and made room in the closet so he wouldn't have to live out of a suitcase.
All packed and ready to roll.
First stop, Cummins at Kenly, NC, about an hour down I-95 from where the kids live.
We hung out in the RV lounge and tried to be patient, but it ended up taking much longer than we anticipated.  Finally, at 12:35 we pulled away from Cummins and our trip really began.

We already wore him out!
Since my hope is to catch up on this blog, I am not going to give the details of every stop along the way.  Our route went from Kenly to Mt Airy, North Carolina to Milton, West Virginia to Dayton, Ohio, where we spent three nights at the Wright-Patterson AFB FamCamp.  We toured the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Alan worked F-111s like this at Cannon AFB, NM
Alan worked on C-130s like this at Little Rock AFB, AR
Aircraft that carried the shuttle to Wright-Pat AFB

For the most part, the museum is manned by volunteers.  The second day, we planned to tour the Presidential section of the museum.  This part of the museum is actually on Wright-Patterson AFB.  I noticed that when we were at the museum I did not hear anything about the Presidential display.  In 2010 when we toured the museum, they bussed non-military individuals to and from the Presidential section on base.  Because we have retired military ID cards, we are able to enter the base on our own.  As we drove thru the gate, we couldn't help but notice how deserted everything was, but just thought it was that way because it was Sunday.  We asked the gate attendant if the Presidential display was open, but he didn't know.  We found our way to the hangar where the display is and ended up being followed by Security Police.  We knew then something was up.  Sure enough it was closed until further notice "DUE TO SEQUESTRATION." 

We were so disappointed.  We had told Dalton about the Presidential planes he would see, including Air Force One that transported President Kennedy from Dallas after he was assassinated.
There was a muscle car show going on at Wright State University so we headed there.  We have never seen so many GTOs in one place.
Papa enjoyed showing Dalton what a "real" muscle car looks like.
On Monday morning, July 15, we left Dayton, heading northwest by way of Crawford, Indiana and Rockford, Illinois, where we stopped at the Blackhawk RV Park. 
This park had many seasonals, but their areas were well maintained.
We wanted to try and see our grandson -- Allen, the one who recently graduated from Navy basic training.  He and Dalton had not seen each other in a couple of years and we wanted to take him to lunch for his 21st birthday which would be on July 27.  We wanted to stay off the toll roads if we could, so we took the backroads.  It was slow going thru small towns and it ended up taking us two hours to reach Great Lakes. 
We took Allen to lunch and enjoyed Chicago-style pizza.
And instead of a birthday cake, we had "smores" pizza dessert.
We also visited the local mall where we ran into these guys.

We enjoyed our visit with Allen although it was too short for this Nana, but at least we got to see him and celebrate his birthday.  We are very proud of him and his decision to serve our country.

Our last stop before reaching South Dakota was Rochester, Minnesota.  When we pulled into our site, these were our neighbors -- 6 guy all over the age of 60 bike riding 3500 miles in 55 days in support of the Wounded Warrior Project.  They started in Astoria, Oregon, and, God willing, will end their journey in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

It was a pleasure visiting with them.  They said when they started they thought they might raise $25,000 for the Wounded Warriors and were amazed how quickly they surpassed that and currently had raised almost $100,000.  I'm sure by the time they reach New Hampshire, they will have passed that mark as well.

If you are interested in reading and learning more about their mission, or would like to make a donation, please check out their blog at www.6over60raa.com.

The following day we reached our first destination of Mitchell, South Dakota. 

In our next post, we will outline what we saw and did in the area.  Thanks for stopping by -- may God bless you and my God continue to bless our voyage.