We're safely home, and Lucky is doing backflips in excitement. And by the way, in case anyone was ready to sic the SPCA on us, I did have a college student come by everyday to feed her and check on her.
We pulled into Joliet ridiculously late. We would have gotten home sooner, but when driving through eastern South Dakota Friday night (after a day at Mt. Rushmore and vicinity) I happened to notice that De Smet --Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Town on the Prairie -- was just a short detour north of the interstate. (Well, it was actually about 50 miles away, but hey! compared to our recent treks, that's short!) So Mark good-naturedly turned north; we got a hotel there, and woke up Saturday expecting to spend an hour or two checking out the Laura sites.
Instead we spent most of the day. For a huge Laura-lover like me, it was magical to see the two houses she lived in there, to walk the actual prairie land she did, and see so many sights discussed in the books. And the Ingalls homestead is set up so charmingly that Mark and the kids loved it as well. We rode a covered wagon, and saw a one-room schoolhouse (complete with sweet, elderly school teacher) dressed up in period bonnets and hats, walked through a dugout, a shanty, and a hay-covered barn like Laura had, and got to enjoy the animals they keep on the site -- the cow and calf, horse and foal, ponies, and (my kid's favorite) a litter of kittens up in the barn loft that they could climb up and play with.
We don't regret the visit, since it ended up being one of the highlights of all whole trip. But we probably stayed a tad too long, and the last hour or two of driving tonight was tough. But we're safely home now, and here's some pics. And as much as I'd like to write more, I think I'm going to ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Loving up the kittens. Within 5 minutes the kids had picked their favorites and named them.
Nate shows off the latest in prairie wear.
Can you tell I'm enjoying myself?
Patting the Shetland pony.
The reproduction of the house Pa Ingalls built outside De Smet.