Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 25 - Minnesota and South Dakota!

Minnesota is the state that my Dad was born in! We waved to our right towards Duluth (his birth city) as we traveled westward.

Minnesota countryside is much the same as it has been for the last few states, lots of corn and beans growing. There are lots of farms with big silos. The kids are getting well educated in what corn is being grown in the United States for. We suspect that the corn we see growing is the non-edible type used for the top 3 reasons we grow so much corn: for making high fructose corn syrup, ethanol and animal feed. Yes, we grow non-edible corn for the animals (that we eat) to eat. I think that is so disgusting! It's one of our top reasons to eat grass-fed and pastured meats if you choose to eat meat!

Another thing that we see a lot of in Minnesota are wind turbines to generate energy from the wind. They are quite pretty as they turn slowly with the wind, kind of hypnotic. And there are hundreds of them spread out within the farmlands. We keep thinking of ways to bring the things we see on the road to our house, like a wind turbine would be a nice addition (in addition to solar panels) to our space.

South Dakota is so pretty, about mid-state the crops changed from being all corn to rye, oats, wheat and some other crops along with the occasional corn plot. The hills roll and the roads are straight. There are some crazy attractions here too, we passed 100's of signs advertising Wall Drug (that has just about everything you might need and more), the Ranch Store with a 100lb prairie dog and a Dinosaur Park that we must see. We'll do our best South Dakota to see everything we can.

We stopped by the Badlands National Park this evening to check it out and see what it was all about. How awesome! The terrain is so different from everywhere else, as if 1000's of years ago there were rivers running through and then it all dried up. We read a story about Chief Big Foot and the battle of Wounded Knee. The experience is so different to read the stories in person on the land it happened, as opposed to reading them from a book in our house with no sense of how it really was. The kids are working on their Junior Ranger badge for Badlands too. They aren't easy and they might complain a bit about "all the work" but they LOVE the badges and they want to do them, so we'll keep doing them as long as they want to!

We are so lucky to be able to experience this trip and see some terrific sights that our great country offers and pack them into a few weeks.

We covered a lot of ground today, we hope to get to Mount Rushmore and to see Jewel Cave (spelunking, maybe?). And we are hoping to make it to Sheridan, WY by Friday! Phew, that might be a lot but we are on a mission to get the Yellowstone National Park by Saturday!

Sign at a rest stop...there aren't many prairies it talks about, they are all corn fields now!
Wind turbines
 Missouri River!
 South Dakota sky, a storm's a brewin!
 Last ones to leave the Visitor Center at Badlands NP
 What a view! (that's Hannah)

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