After a game night our first night in Hadley, we headed to bed early and woke early, setting out for a spot near Walnut Grove, MN where you can see the actual dugout described in “On the Banks of Plum Creek” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What a delight.
Cross a little footbridge (not there in Laura’s time)
No picture of the dugout, inexplicably . . . I think I got enjoying myself too much. But it frankly looks like a hole in a hill. I kept thinking, “Poor Caroline!” My not-very-distant ancestors lived in a soddy, which I guess was a step up from a dugout. Brave women.
Next stop was DeSmet, South Dakota, the “little town on the prairie” of By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years.
We went on a tour that included the original surveyor’s house that seemed so sumptuous to young Laura but seemed so tiny to us! Also there was the school that Laura and Carrie attended (moved to the site) and the house that Charles built Caroline – Laura had married Almonzo by that time, but the other girls lived in that house.
Woody went everywhere with us – it was a birthday gift to Tarquin on the trip. Here he enjoys the Ingalls house:
We also went to the town cemetery, where Pa, Ma, Mary, Grace, and Carrie are buried. My, but there were old graves there.
After that, we went back to the house at Hadley and re-packed the van and tried to get some sleep – the next day we knew we had a brutal drive ahead.
Early up, and about seven hours later we were at Mount Rushmore!
Love this one – Patriarch and other towering men
From Mt. Rushmore we drove to Gillette, Wyoming and stayed overnight at a motel. Our original plan was to wake up incredibly early the next day and drive through Yellowstone to our next destination in Montana. It was going to be a super super long driving day, and we had to begin early as the owner of the Montana house warned us not to try arriving in the dark, that it was a difficult place to find up a dirt road without street signs or lights. Well, when The Patriarch went out to the van the next morning, he noticed that one of the tires was notably deflated. He took it to a Gillette Walmart with a tire center, and they checked it thoroughly and couldn’t find anything wrong. This set us back far enough, though, that there was no way to do Yellowstone, and we instead drove around it and down through Bozeman. What a long drive. She was right, though. Even in the light, we got lost at one point. The place was really remote (and thank goodness again for that cheap Verizon phone) outside of Ennis, Montana. I’ll post about Ennis in the next post.