A twelve state tour
We took off from Boise to go to Holland Michigan to our Grandson's high school graduation. We opted for a car trip just for the heck of it and to see what we could see and stop whenever we wanted. Armed with information from the internet we found quirky and interesting things to see along the way. When we travel with no particular mileage goal for the day and no one asking if we are there yet, we find ourselves stopping and looking at things more often. Three weeks and 6000 miles later we completed our journey and now after a few days at home we are working on our next adventure. Retirement is fun!
Here's the fun stuff that you might pass if in a hurry.
- Along interstate 90 in South Dakota an artist has set up a display in a farm field complete with the occasional cow pie. I loved this place with a huge variety of metal sculptures.
- The North Dakota town lays claim to the worlds largest Holstein Cow. Her name is Salem Sue and was erected to promote the local dairy industry.
- How can you pass by Paul Bunion in Minnesota without stopping for a photo op?
- In north Wisconsin a man claims to have the worlds biggest ball of twine. An internet search shows more than one person makes this claim so we will have to find more and decide who has the biggest.
- The Caterpillar museum in Iowa is a fun stop to see how big a mining truck is and to try your hand at driving a bulldozer simulator.
- The small town of Le Claire Iowa along the banks of the Mississippi has a great little museum and is also home to the Antique Archeology store from the TV show American Pickers.
- Back in Minnesota we found the SPAM museum. It offers a nice look at the history of Hormel and how canned meet supported our military over the years. Bummer...no free samples.
- We found that the Jolly Green Giant has retired to a town called Blue Earth, Minnesota.
- If you drive through South Dakota you will see signs advertising Wall Drug for hundreds of miles. The town of Wall SD is a fun place to stop and pick up all kinds of touristy stuff.
National Parks and Monuments
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in the south west corner of North Dakota. Mostly typical western landscape but you can see his original cabin and feral horses running around.
- The Badlands National Park is in south west South Dakota. A unique landscape of volcanic ash shaped by years of wind and rain. Spring time is nice here as there is plenty of green grass to offer some contrast to the grey cement like mounds. I don't think this would be a pretty place towards the end of August.
- Devils Tower National Monument is in the north east corner of Wyoming. Not a large park but a very nice stop with hiking trails around the base of this large column that was created by molten lava.
- Mackinac Island, off the coast of northern Michigan was the site of the first land battle of the war of 1812. It was given National Park status for a few years but later became part of the Michigan state parks system. The only motorized vehicles on the island are the fire truck and a police car. Very peaceful place.
- Mount Rushmore has become very crowded since our last visit. Nearby Wind Cave National Park is a very unique cave but not very pretty. Still a worthwhile hike.
- Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming offers some great views. Lots of overpriced food and tourists.
Best unexpected interesting stop
Coming out of the Badlands National Park we stopped at a 1909 homestead complete with the original sod house. This was a wonderful opportunity to see how folks lived in this part of the country.