We were planning a trip out to Washington State to visit Tom’s brother, Wayne, and family who were living at that time in Lacey, WA. We were excited, but I had two gall bladder attacks in the months before the planned trip. I certainly did not want to have another attack or even worse need surgery on the road. So I elected to have the gall bladder surgery a few days before the trip. After the surgery I got the okay from my doctor and some pain medication and off we went in our 1978 Winnebago Sportsman Class C.
1978 Winnebago Sportsman and our Black Lab, Sadie.
Of course along the way I took over driving for Tom. I didn’t even give a thought about being on medication. I didn’t drive for long when I commented that there must be something wrong with my eyes as everything was blurry. It took us a while longer to realize that it was probably the pain medication making me fuzzy. That put an end to my driving until I was off my meds.
Our first stop was Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone, MN. Native Americans have quarried red pipestone from this site for countless generations. This pipestone was used to make ceremonial pipes who’s smoke is said to carry a person’s prayer to the Great Spirit. There were actually native artisans working on the pipestone quarried from the site. I purchased this pipestone turtle fetish on our visit.
Our next stop was DeSmet, SD, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little Town on the Prairie.” As I have been a big fan of the Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder this was a must see. Up until this point Tom thought Little House was a complete work of fiction. He was basing what he knew on the TV series, which, although based on real people, the show was an adaptation of Laura’s books and for entertainment purposes. The TV show, which ran from March 1974 through May 1982, made Laura Ingalls Wilder a familiar character to millions of viewers.
DeSmet home of Ma and Pa Ingalls
Many, like me, want to know more about Laura and her family. So we put DeSmet on our itinerary. Tom found the history fascinating. I remember visiting the Ingalls home in town and the surveyors house and information center. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant presented on specific dates in July was wonderful. Use the link above to check for current show dates. For additional information, follow this link to the Laura Ingalls Wilder website.
I can’t say we went to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, as I do not have any photos of it with the photos from this trip We may have continued on U.S 14 west from DeSmet all the way to Wall, SD. We have been to the Corn Palace in the past and it is something to see. Our goal this trip was to get to Washington so we skipped over some sites we have already visited.
Continuing west from DeSmet, we stopped in Wall, SD at Wall Drug for burgers and the experience. We had been there on prior trips, but it was a stop we wouldn’t miss.
We spent a night in Spearfish, SD, in a campground adjacent to Spearfish Creek, a fast moving stream that runs through the center of town. Sadie had to take a dip in the icy water, as she had in every body of water could along the way. This time the icy water temperature caught up with her and we had to wrap her in blankets and run the space heater for her. See 3 photos below.
From Spearfish we motored on to Yellowstone National Park. This was our second or third trip to America’s first National Park. This, however, was our first visit after the wildfires of 1988, which affect 36% of the park, so we didn’t know exactly what to expect. There was a great deal of standing dead trees but the scenery was still stunning and it was easier to see wildlife.
It was early July and the had just opened our campground as the snow had just melted enough to do so. Sadie and Joe took advantage of the snow adjacent to our campsite and played for a while in the “July snow.” We toured the usual sites and saw buffalo and elk. We stopped at a Yellowstone Lake boat launch, boat launches are always interesting. Well, Sadie always liked water and boats and before we knew it she hopped into some stranger’s boat. At least she wasn’t wet . . . yet. Next she ran right into the lake. She didn’t stay in long as it was only 42 degrees according to the guy with the boat (according to his depth finder).