Sunday, August 3, 2008

We're home! (after a brief Laura Ingalls detour)

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.


Mary Kate said...

That is really cool! I got home from camp yesterday and just saw all your latest posts!

teresa anthony said...

Ok, Anthony and Schultz road trip to Minnesota (to visit Catherine and Tom and fam), and then on to De Smet - it's definitely ON!

All of my children love the Little House books. John Paul listened in a few years ago during some read alouds of "Little House in the Big Woods" and "Little House on the Prairie" that the girls and I were doing, and then last year I read "Farmer Boy" to the boys.

The best thing about those books is the wide range of ages that people enjoy them. All of my kids by the age of 5 enjoy listening in, (Cecilia actually LOVED listening to the first two books at 4) and I've loved reading the entire series through a few times now as an adult.

So yes, yes, yes! Let's road trip together.

I love the pictures, and am glad that you are home safe, and have added a lifetime's worth of memories for all of you.

our little brown life said...

Thanks for taking us with you on your trip through blogging. I feel like I also got to know you a little better too which is a fun added bonus to this blogosphere world. And I'm intrigued by Teresa's dream to road trip to MN...maybe the Browns can somehow hop on to that crazy caravan because we do have family out there and all and plane tickets are sure adding up. I'm also dreaming of the day my kids will be old enough to read these books aloud.

The Schultz Family said...

Let's do a Little House road trip caravan! You Easterners can get to our house in Joliet in one day (No problem! We do it all the time!) Then going to Catherine's house is another 7 hours drive (but on the way we could see the Little House in the Big Woods in Wisconsin.) Then from Minneapolis, DeSmet is only about 4 1/2 hours drive west. And on the way there, we could also swing by Walnut Grove, to see the Ingalls's dugout there. It sounds GREAT!

Though, maybe someone should tell Catherine?



Jaye said...

aggh! i just lost my comment.
okay, here it is again??

First of all, this planning of the next road trip is cracking me up! worth a blog of it's own :)
And i'm so glad you all had so much fun! What a fun family you are!!! I'm going to get out my photo album of my trip since you brought up so many memories for me! (no fires though! just lots of prairie dogs and we got to watch a buffalo attack a dumb human who tried to pet it...he was fine and his wife videotaped the whole thing!)
I do wish we had been able to see the Laura Ingalls sites (we were close but my friend absolutely refused)...someday i'll get there!
I've very much enjoyed checking in every couple of nights on your trip! can't wait to see what else you all are up to :)

Catherine Berg said...

That sounds wonderful!! We would LOVE family to come visit and MN really is a beautiful part of of the country, esp. in the summer time. Our home is always open!!! We miss everyone!!
Love you,

Dr. Walker said...

I adore Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm so jealous!

Melissa Walker