ND/SD vacation! - part three

This brings us to Part 3 (of 3) of my ND/SD vacation - whew! Almost there. If you are just joining in, you may want to check out Part 1 first, and then Part 2.

I left off last time in Sioux Falls, SD - pretty much on the SD/MN border and on our way home. Unlike in Rapid City, I didn't make any new buddies at the hotel and I didn't sleep as well because the air conditioner was blowing soooo much cold air. I finally got up, used my cell phone as a flashlight (it's not a very good flashlight) and turned it off completely. I thought for a moment about just turning it down so it wouldn't get stuffy, but it was the middle of the night and I didn't know how to work the thing and, again, I was using my phone for my flashlight. So, in the morning we got up and stopped for breakfast at a place called Camille's. I think it's a chain, but I'd never been to one - but if you see one while you're road tripping sometime, stop in. It's tasty! Kind of like Panera, but with wraps instead of sandwiches. Mmm... it was a good way to start the day.

I've had a couple of people ask since my last post if we saw the pretty falls in Sioux Falls. ... No. ... In fact, it didn't even occur to us that there are actually falls there that we should search out. Oops. In my defense, we had driven so much by this point that I wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, anymore.

Anyway, we got on the road and were quickly in Minnesota (woot! another milestone!). As we drove, we saw a sign for Pipestone National Monument and it seemed like a good time to stop and stretch our legs. And stretch, we did! To get to the falls (see, I did see some) we had to do a short hike - it was warm and summery and wonderful. Here's some photos from there. If you're ever in the Pipestone area, stop in and check it out!

After Pipestone, we got back in the car (this was the trend all weekend) and headed toward friend's trip highlight: Walnut Grove, MN - the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder on the banks of Plum Creek! It was pretty cool - the town had several building replicas, including the church, school, dugout, and a house. This is also the place Laura lived that the TV series is based off of, so they had a bunch of memorabilia from that, as well as a museum of general Ingalls info and a gift shop. AND, outside of town about a mile was the actual location of the dugout and the actual plum creek. The dugout isn't there anymore, but there is a landmark sign. There's also a lot of gnats there on a humid day, apparently. It was cool, though, and recommend it if you're a Laura Ingalls fan. Here's some pictures:

The Laura Ingalls sites.
A couple of years ago, we went to the Laura Ingalls site in Pepin, WI. I've also been to the one in Burr Oak, IA. For this trip, we initially planned to go to DeSmet, SD, too, but that go cut with the Mt. Rushmore business. That's going to have to be another trip, I guess. ... I wonder if I can fly to DeSmet? ... But I digress. Here's a map of where the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites are - there are still a few to go.

I feel like the rest of the trip was a little anticlimactic and a whole lot of blur. We were exhausted and went over 1500 miles in 3.5 days - and by the time we got home, I wanted nothing more in the whole wide world (no, universe) but to be home and to sleep.

I realized as I was writing this series of posts that my friend is pretty lucky that we live in the world of GPS and Google Maps directions on our phones. Let's put it this way:

Day 1: Minneapolis to Fargo to Gardner

Day 2: Gardner to Rapid City

Don't forget about the Lawrence Welk stop here,
as well as the 40+ mile detour.

Do you see how far that is? Serious.

Day 3: Rapid City to Mt. Rushmore
to Wall Drug to Mitchell to Sioux Falls

This one doesn't look SO bad. It was still long.

Day 4: Sioux Falls to Pipestone to Walnut Grove to Minneapolis.

And now that we've gone day by day, this was the entire trip:

The whole Sha-Bang:
[insert Lawrence Welk Homestead]
[insert 40+ mile detour]
Rapid City
Mt. Rushmore
Wall Drug
Sioux Falls
Walnut Grove
Minneapolis (thank god.)

Holy crap, huh?  Had I seen that in this format along the way, I would have felt less whimsical about it.  ... So G - next time we're going to fly. And looking at the maps, you owe me two beaches. 

That being said, it was fun. And even though I was blurry and fuzzy-minded and perhaps (just perhaps) a little crabby by the time we got home, it was a lot of fun with a great friend. I wouldn't trade that for the world.

Have you ever done a huge road trip? Tell me about it. I can now sympathize with you. :)


  1. Imagine 500-600 miles a day, in 90-100 degree heat, for several days with 2 kids under age five, or even under age ten, every summer. Odd as it sounds, we had fun. (Ask her, but she may not remember it all!)

  2. Looks like fun! I want to see Walnut Creek, too!

  3. @ Erin - you win. I'll have to ask Em about it! :)

    @ Laura - you should!


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