Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 5th Mitchell, SD July 7th Wall, SD

Thursday

Looks like another hot one but the forecast is for it to cool down 10 degrees or so in the next few days.  Today we are headed out to find some of the local sites to see.  Tomorrow we move on to Wall, SD

We headed north for De Smet, SD.  I followed the GPS and it took us about 20 miles out of the way.  The speed limit here is 65 on the secondary roads and 70 where posted.  Wow these folks are in a hurry.  It was about an 80 mile run up to the town where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote several of her books and we toured the area the memorial society has set up.

Wide open straight and wide roads, pedal to the metal.

The grounds were beautiful
The Ingalls family spent the first winter in this railroad surveyors house, a step up from there mud house

Coming out the back door
This is the school she attended
At the age of 15 she taught in this school for 2 month long sessions.
This is the original Loftus Store that she wrote about in her books, at the original location.
There there we headed back toward Mitchell with a couple hour stops at.

This place started out repairing wooden wagon wheels
They come in looking like this

This young man makes them look like this

This is an old milk wagon that came in to be restored

Our guide took a picture of us by the Chuck Wagon

They build and repair stage coaches and build all of Wells Fargo's and wagons for Budweiser

This is an old water wagon to be restored

The back of the Chuck Wagon

This wagon was used in the movie How The West Was Won.
This is the bottom of a Stage Coach they build them from the ground up
Well time to maybe hit the pool and relax.

Friday

We were up and on the road this morning heading for Wall SD.  It was not long before the flat land started rolling and we could see some higher land in the distance.

Started into the rolling hills today

These three are from an overlook

Lots of grass land on the prarie
When we stopped at Pilot to fuel up about 70 miles from Wall.  Bonnie noticed that the whole right front turn indicator light was missing.  I looked but it was nowhere to be found, we never heard it fall off.  Once we got set up I figured out that the unit came from a 1995 Ford Econoline Van.  I checked on line (we have good internet here) and they are readily available.  But being Friday it would be the middle of next week before I could get it.  So we decided to improvise.  The woman walked the 2 blocks to the famous Wall Drug Store, which made its name by giving visitors free ice water.



Dad and I went to NAPA twice and ACE hardware to get what we needed.  Here are the pictures to tell the story.

The whole unit is gone

This is the bracket that the light fastens to, this is the drivers side the spot welds broke on the other side allowing the  light to fall out.

The picnic table became the work bench

I wired in the new light

Made up this bracket and covered with gorilla tape.

The finished product, almost good as new
I did take Dad over to Wall Drug but 10 minutes was enough and he wanted to come back to the coach.  The ladies got back just as we finished the light.  I called my sister and relaxed a minute and then put all the tools away.  Its about 71 here so the weather was really nice today. It is to warm some over the next few days.  Well Dad has gone to bed so guess I will wrap this up for tonight.

Saturday

We were up by 7am this morning so we could get started touring today.  Success we caught another mouse, that makes 5.  This one under the bathroom sink which is empty of our stuff.

We jumped in the car went East about 20 miles and found the Visitors center to get out tickets to visit the Command Center for the Minuteman Missiles.


They only give out a limited amount of tickets which are free per day.  We were able to get tickets for 9:45am.

This is what the site looked like to travelers passing by onI-90.  Most never noticed it.

This control center has no missile but controlled 10 missiles and could control other sites in an emergency.

Our guide Al worked at these very sites for 20 years while he was in the Air Force

This is the day room where the men and woman relaxed while off shift.  There did 3 days on and then back to the base for 3.

This was the kitchen each site had a cook

If the elevator failed we had to say we would climb this ladder.  Dad stayed topside

This is the 8 ton door to the control capsule, that is suspended on 4 hugh shock absorbers

These are the control panels

This was the deputy commanders desk he and the commander had to turn their keys at the same time.  They are 12 feet apart.
We had a great tour since we had someone that actually worked on these sites.

From there we headed to the Badlands, but first we passed by a small Prairie Dog town.




They were fun to watch
Then we got into the Badlands, I will let the pictures tell the story.

At the entrance

They are definitely there

Praire Rattler, they really blend in, the edge of the wood is the edge of the trail.  The snake is in the center of the picture just above the wood.  You can see a little of its pattern.





At the visitors center in the Badlands

A stitched together panorama

Got everyone out of the car for a picture



Mom with a Buffalo chip, the little dot in the upper left is a Bison

Within 5 minutes he had wandered a lot closer
While at one of the lookouts today we met a couple that moved away from Varysburg many years ago, and they know many of the people we know, it really is a small world.

We headed for the missile site to view it before heading home.


This is how maintenance personal entered the silo after several codes were entered.  These were unmanned sites

This is the top cover that slid out of the way before the launch.  It is partially open

You have to look down through the glass cover to see the training missile and not good for taking pictures.
This was a self guided tour where you called on your cell phone and listened.  Once finished.

We headed back to Wall and finished up the day at the local Dairy Queen



Sunday

Up this morning this is the third night we have been able to sleep without the A/C the weather has been great here.  We are off to church this morning.  We found a good church just around the corner.

Nice little church with a Baptist preacher

Nice newer building but a lot of the people must be on vacation.
 We did talk to one young rancher who reminded me of Matt M back home.  Nice young man.

Nice Pulpit
 From there we stopped at the Visitors Center.  There we watched a 25 minute video on the national grasslands and learned they are the largest ecosystem in the US.

A nice taxpayer built facility.
We then stopped at an Indian gift shop but   only mom bought something.  Then back to the coach for lunch. The ladies did the wash and I vacuumed and wiped up the floor in the coach.  Once they were done. I said I needed to find us a place to stay tomorrow night and the women took off to shop again.
Yes Bonnie spent lots.

I spent the afternoon trying to book campsites.  I was able to get us booked through the 18th which is when we should start to wander East again. I took a break to fix a chair but spent about 4 hours getting what I hope are good Campgrounds.  Today was supposed to be a take it easy day and it pretty much was physically just mentally draining.  Bonnie is now fixing spaghetti for supper and planning what we should see in Yellowstone.

Supper was great and I forgot to get a picture, our first meal outside on the picnic table, it is beautiful out right now.

Tomorrow we head to the Mount Rushmore area near Rapid City.

Thats it for this week, Thanks For Checking In