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2006 - July - Trip North - Log B
Log - Dee Light – Trip up North – 2006

Week of July 23rd 2006 - The Badlands

.. on Sunday after we dropped off Jon at the Minneapolis Airport we met Dick and Diane ( SOUVENIR ) and their twin 14 year old Grandchildren Page and Blake for lunch at the Split Rock Grille .. the Split Rock Grille is located in the Grand Lodge near the Mall of America .. the Grand Lodge appears like it would be a great family place to stay at they have their own Theme Water Park built right into the Hotel .. from lunch we headed South and West thru the hills of Minnesota to Sioux Falls South Dakota ..  when Betty was driving we crossed paths with a Mommy Pheasant and her Brood .. the Rearview Mirror revealed that the Brude count was reduced by one after dealing with Betty on the open road .. once we settled in at Sioux Falls we had dinner and YUP we found a Culvers real close to our Hotel ..

       

 

 

.. on Monday after a quick breakfast at the Hotel we headed to EROS ( http://answers.usgs.gov  ) .. the United States Geological Survey Data Headquarters is located just a short drive North of Sioux Falls .. this is from their Website ..

 

The United States Geological Survey was established on March 3, 1879, just a few hours before the mandatory close of the final session of the 45th Congress, when President Rutherford B. Hayes signed the bill appropriating money for sundry civil expenses of the Federal Government for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1879

 

Mission: The USGS serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

 

As the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems.  The diversity of our scientific expertise enables us to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers.

 

.. we thoroughly enjoyed our time spent at the Data Center .. I was here years ago and it has grown and changed immensely since then .. when I was here before they talked about using U-2 Aircraft to take their photos from and now it is all done with Satellites .. we got their before the organized tour had started so we were able to just walk around at will .. well that is what we thought until we were escorted OUT by an Armed Security Guard .. he did not even smile when I asked if I could take his photo with Betty with Handcuffs on .. UFFFFFDA !! ..

.. from the Data Center we drove to the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD where we also took a tour of an Indian Digging Site .. Betty has always liked Indians with big Tomahawks thus this was her idea .. from Mitchell we drove to Wall South Dakota .. years ago the Highways lined with Wall Drug Signs and there are still many Wall Drug Signs .. Betty had NEVER been to Wall Drug before today so this was a Milestone Day for our Trip North .. the place has really expanded since I was here last .. ie more spots to buy T-Shirts etc from and I got my T-Shirt .. tonight we had another milestone .. this was the first Hotel Room where they had a Basket with towels in it with a special NOTE that said ‘Guest Towels for use to clean vehicles, motorcycles, removing makeup, cleaning shoes, etc ..’ ..

       

 

 

For more photos from USGS 'click' on Photo H here or at the bottom of the Page
       

 

 

For more photos from Monday 'click' on Photo H here or at the bottom of the Page
       

 

 

For more photos from WALL 'click' on Photo I here or at the bottom of the Page

.. on Tuesday morning it wasn’t until after we headed to the Hotel Lobby for the Continental Breakfast that we remembered that we had a Time Change yesterday .. so we got an early start for our day traveling thru South Dakota Badlands National Park .. with the rains that went thru part of the area last night we had a very overcast day for our Badlands day .. not good at all for photos !! .. UGH .. and sure enough by the time we were leaving the Park to head West the Sun finally started to come out .. from the Badlands we drove to Custer South Dakota .. after checking into the Motel we drove to Crazy Horse Memorial to check up on the progress that has been made on it .. the Memorial is being constructed with non Federal Funds and it is going very slow but there has been much done since the last time that I was here .. we also stopped at both Hill City and the city of Keystone to check out the Shops etc .. after dinner at Keystone we drove to Mount Rushmore National Memorial for the evening lighted show .. we met Bob Shaw and his wife from Barron Wisconsin .. Betty has never seen this part of the Country and she thought that it was just great !! ..

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

     
For more photos from The Badlands 'click' on Photo J here or at the bottom of the Page

.. Wednesday morning we woke up to HEAVY overcast, with a forecast of light rain in the morning and afternoon thundershowers .. UGH !! not a good morning to spend at Mount Rushmore .. so we drove to the Custer State Park where we say Burrows, Pronghorn Antelope, White Tail Deer, Buffalo, Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, etc .. Betty fed the Burrows my Trail Mix .. I attempted to eat it as fast as the Burrows did but they beat me ..

.. we drove thru the Needle Rock Tunnel and numerous other very small Tunnels and around many many ‘S” Turns .. since this was a first time to see anything like this for Betty there were many comments like ‘awesome !!’ .. ‘just LOOK at that’ .. etc ..

.. the first two weeks of August are Bike Week in Sturgis SD and we are seeing MANY Bikers in the area already .. they rumble thru the hills and the small Towns ..

.. it appears like the ‘crowds’ are down the only lines that we have encountered are at the Ice Cream Parlors .. after spending the morning driving thru the Custer State Park we headed to Mount Rushmore for the afternoon .. about 02:30 pm the sun started to peak out and the Thunderstorms moved to the East .. it ended up being a great afternoon .. later we walked the Streets of Custer where we found many brightly painted Buffalos .. they were used as a local Fundraiser much like many other communities do ..

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

       
For more photos from Wednesday morning 'click' on Photo L here or at the bottom of the Page
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

       
For more photos from Mount Rushmore 'click' on Photo M here or at the bottom of the Page

.. on Thursday morning we woke up to almost CLEAR Skies .. we have had a Weather Front with rain etc moving thru the area the last few days .. this morning there is a ‘haze’ in the air due to fires in the area due to the abnormal dry conditions .. with the sun showing on the East Side of Mount Rushmore we stopped by for one last look and photos of the Four Guys .. when we left the ‘Guys’ Betty wanted to do the Sylvan Lake area again so we drove back up to the highest spot in South Dakota at an elevation of 7462 feet above Dee Light .. from there Betty thought that we should take the ‘back roads’ to Deadwood .. we did only to discover that the improvements to the Gravel Roads have been minimal since the last Covered Wagon made its way thru here .. but we did finally make it to Deadwood where we took a Deadwood Trolley ride and a Deadwood Tour Bus ride before we headed to the Shootout at the on the Street and the ‘Last Card Game’ in the Saloon No 10 where Wild Bill Hickok at age 39 was shot in the back of his head by Crooked Nose Jack McCall .. after the Shootout we enjoyed a great dinner on the Rooftop of Saloon No 10 .. later we took three quarters to the Casinos and walked away with enough quarters to do laundry for a Month .. Deadwood is the Key West of South Dakota ..

       

 

 

For more photos from Deadwood SD 'click' on Photo N here or at the bottom of the Page

.. on Friday morning we headed to Sturgis South Dakota .. Bikers Week at Sturgis is the first two weeks of August so the city was buzzing with much activity .. temporary Tents were put up for Bars, T-Shits Shops, etc were all over the area and the Streets were already busy with Cycles .. a few Months ago they had a contest for the events ‘Logo’ .. we bought T-Shirts with the winning design on them and were told that the artist that did the design was killed a Month ago in an accident .. from Sturgis we headed North to North Dakota .. much of our Road was a Gravel Road .. our poor PT Cruiser really needs a Car Wash now !! .. on our way we saw a LOT of Road Kill as there are few areas of Highways with fences to keep the animals off the Roads .. we also saw a number of Oil Drilling Rigs..

.. in the afternoon the Skies became hazed with smoke from fires in the area .. we also heard that there was a big firs within fives miles of Rapid City .. UGH !! ..

.. after checking into our Motel Room at Medora North Dakota we drove to the Roosevelt National State Park / North Dakota Badlands .. we drove the ‘Lower Loop’ in the Park and saw more Prairie Dogs .. Betty said ‘sooooo cute’ at least 100 times .. we also saw Buffalo, wild Horses, Turkeys, etc .. later we went to a ‘Pitchfork Fondue’ where they prepared Rib Eye Steaks on Pitch Forks .. after dinner we went to the Burning Hills Amphitheatre where we saw a Western Stage Production under the stars with two large Elks watching us from the Bluff in the back of the open Stage area  ..

Photos from Sturgis South Dakota
       

 

 

Photos from North Dakota ( Friday )
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

       
For more photos from Friday 'click' on Photo O here or at the bottom of the Page

.. on Saturday morning after a quick breakfast we headed North to the northern section of the Roosevelt National State Park / North Dakota Badlands .. with all the fires in the area the Skies were hazed ( overcast ) but we enjoyed the view anyway .. every day we have had highs in the 95 range but they feel like a Florida temperature of about 80 due to the Humidity ..this morning we had a low of 54 degrees and today our high ( 104 ) is to be in the ‘triple digits’ the HOTTEST SPOT in the Nation .. now that’s hot by any standards .. once we made it to the National Park we drove the Northern Unit of the Park to the West to a dead-end and then headed back to the Park Entrance .. we saw sights that took your breath away .. Betty was again full of ‘just look at that’ comments .. we crossed paths with two large Herds of Buffalos .. some were larger than out PT Cruiser .. and one of the Bulls had a conversation with me when I got a little too close to his Cow .. we also talked with two ‘Bikers’ from Appleton Wisconsin .. they were out on their Harley just enjoying the ride .. they had been to Sturgis many times but are not headed there this year ..

.. after the National Park we headed East thru the Three Tribes Indian Reservation and we also crossed the Missouri River again .. it was late afternoon when we made it to Bismarck North Dakota .. after exploring Bismarck in out PT Cruiser we had a great dinner at the Fiesta Villa ( a touch of Mexico ) .. out table was outside very close to the Railroad Tracks that go from the Coal Minds to the West of Bismarck to Duluth Minnesota to our East ..  after dinner found the Cold Stone Creamery ..

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

       
For more photos from Saturday 'click' on Photo P here or at the bottom of the Page
.. on Sunday we had Record High Temperatures again in North Dakota .. ( 108 ) .. we drove East towards Minnesota .. as we approached Fargo North Dakota we decided to take Highway 10 to Detroit Lakes Minnesota and see if we could stop by and see Ginny and Brian who use to have a Boat in our Home Port in Fort Myers .. we called Brian to get direction to their place when we got to Dakota Lakes and we were able to surprise Ginny when we walked into her Shop .. after looking thru Ginny’s Shop ( Ginny’s Style Station Boutique ) and their Loft above the Shop we went to an excellent Restaurant next to the Beach on Lake Dakota .. Ginny and Brian keep their Boat on Dakota Lake .. our next stop was Monticello Minnesota where we found a Culver’s Ice Cream Parlor and spent the night ..

 

       

 

 

For more photos from Sunday 'click' on Photo Q here or at the bottom of the Page

.. on Monday morning we saw on the Weather that we are to have another Record High Temperature today with a high of 112 .. UFFFFDA !!!! .. there are a number of local people staying at the Hotel because they do not have Air Conditioners in their homes .. it was reported that Duluth Minnesota is having the HOTTEST July on record ..

.. after a quick breakfast at our Hotel we headed for Minneapolis Minnesota .. after dropping off our luggage at the Hotel and returning our very dirty PT Cruiser to Enterprise at the Airport we took the Light Rail System to the Mall Of America to look for a Computer / Camera Backpack with rollers but we were unsuccessful .. but we did find the Cold Stone Creamery before we headed back to the Hotel .. after dinner at Friday’s we returned to the Hotel and got ready to head back to Fort Myers in the morning .. our flight in the morning is at 06:20 am ..

       

 

 

For more photos from Monday 'click' on Photo Q here or at the bottom of the Page

.. this completes our Trip Log North ..

 

PS .. Eau Claire had a record high temperature today at 104 degrees .. UFFFDA !! ..

 

Marv ..

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