Day 1 - Travel 12 hours to friends in Leon, Iowa. Discover a new era in travel where mom sits in the front seat the whole 12 hours (in fact, the entire trip)!! Read Miss Buncle's Book aloud from start to finish because every time you stop someone begs for more. Eat supper with Arlyn and Sue Kauffman and family and spend the night at Marvin and Rosanna Kauffman's place.
Our rig for the week
Day 2 - Enjoy breakfast and stimulating conversations. Depart for DeSmet, South Dakota. Arrive Monday evening and run into church friends who were traveling nearly the same path we were! (No picture to prove it but it happened) Visit downtown DeSmet and the graveyard.
Windmills that signal the west... We had fun looking for gravestones of the Ingalls family and other people in Laura's books.
Day 3 - Tour Laura's houses and school. Surveyor's house and DeSmet school are original buildings. Visit homestead and enjoy all the hands on activities.
Comparison pic from three years ago when we were in DeSmet
Day 4 - Head toward Mt Rushmore. Visit the Badlands. Take a small hike because Miss Drama isn't feeling well. Arrive at Mt Rushmore. Enjoy supper in motel room by our chef. (Who knew you could have chicken and mashed potatoes in your motel room?) Drive up to Mt Rushmore to see the lights.
We saw buffalo, prairie dogs, antelope amazing rocks and scenery and drove through tiny tunnels...
On to Storybook Island where we saw "The Three Men In The Tub", "The Cat In The Hat", "The Pumpkin Shell" and lots of other fun storybook scenes/characters.
Drive on to Deadwood and watch a shooting reenactment. Leave Charles and I at the motel while the rest tour the town and take in the evening's activities - including the mock trial of Jack McCall and Jennifer helping serve on the jury. They had a grand time!
Day 7 - Traveling, with stops along the Oregon Trail ---
Oregon Trail Ruts. Amazing to see the path made through the rocks by so many wagons passing through!
Register Cliff. Landmark on the travelers way with thousands of names carved in it's side.
Chimney Rock. A spectacular landmark that could be seen for two days when traveling by wagon. Amazing.
These flowers were everywhere.
I want some.
Day 8 - Head to Kalona, Iowa and spend the evening/night with Elam and Loretta Stoltzfoos. Lovely time.
Day 9 - Leave at 6:00 for New Bloomfield, Missouri to be near the center of totality and view the eclipse. I have no good pictures of the eclipse, sadly. The experience was absolutely amazing and one that is hard to describe with words or pictures!
Watching the people was almost as interesting as the eclipse. The man on the lower right amused me greatly.
This is how we travelled -
racing games on the laptop and Play House/School/Hospital on the iPad were main activities with Adventures In Odyssey, a biography of Ulysses Grant on CD and various other books, games and snacks in between.
Arrive home at 12:15 a.m.
Day 10 - First Day Of School! No picture to prove that either but it was and now vacation is over and it's back to school and a new schedule.