Year 2 Day 266 Little Big Horn Battlefield National Memorial

This morning, Mary Margaret and I drove the very short distance over to the Little Big Horn Battlefield Memorial. It is the location of the last great battle that was fought between the Native American Indians and the white man where the Indians won. However, the Indians now share with us that it is where they won the battle but they lost their land.

The history and events that lead to and then during this battle are complex but I have found an excellent YouTube video of a National Park Service Interpreter giving a presentation of these events and the battle. Instead of trying to paraphrase what I learned from watching it along with what we learned at the Memorial’s Visitors Center, I am embedding that video into this blog. I strongly suggest that you watch it as what you will learn is amazing. The watch the video Click Here

Here is a map of the battlefield that shows the movements of the battle.

Map Of Little Bir Horn

I will post the many photos that we took while walking and then driving throughout the battlefield.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tomorrow, we leave our campsite here and continue west with our destination being Buffalo Bill State Park, that is in the eastern shadow of Yellowstone National Park.

Year 2 Day 265 Home, Home On The Range

…Where the deer and the antelope play… As we made our way from Devils Tower, Wyoming to The Little Big Horn in Montana, I felt like we were living that old song that I grew up with as a kid. We were crossing the wide-open range lands of Wyoming and Montana and, as we were, we saw herds of deer and antelope roaming across the rangeland. For a while, I felt like we were back on safari in Africa with the wide open, grass-covered savannas and herds of wild animals roaming free. It was pretty cool!

Antelope

Along the way we passed places with such names of Powder River, Crazy Woman Creek, Prairie Dog Creek; some were the sites of battles during the Indian Wars. I have copied a description of one such battle so you can get a flavor of the history of this area:
“The Battle of Crazy Woman Creek, Wyoming By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated January 2018.
Crazy Woman Creek (July 20, 1866) – Another clash occurred by Indians resisting travel on the Bozeman Trail when Sioux and Cheyenne warriors attacked a small wagon train at the trail crossing of the Crazy Woman Fork of Powder River on July 20, 1866. Escorted by Lieutenant George M. Templeton and a detachment of 29 soldiers, the train was heading north to Fort Phil Kearny. The party passed by Fort Reno before following Dry Creek to its junction with Crazy Woman Creek.

Scouting ahead, Lieutenants Templeton and Napoleon H. Daniels were attacked by more than 50 warriors. Daniels was killed and Templeton took an arrow in his back and was wounded in the face. However, he was able to make it back to the wagon train, which he ordered corralled. The situation was desperate as of the 37 people in the party nine were women and children and only ten of the 19 enlisted soldiers had guns. A battle raged from early afternoon through sundown, at which time the soldiers were getting low on ammunition. Two men including a soldier and the Chaplain Reverend David White volunteered to ride back to Fort Reno for help. However, before they were on their way, another larger wagon train came along the scene. Comprised of 34 wagons and 47 men, under Captain Thomas B. Burrowes, approached from the northwest on its way to Fort Reno. Burrowes quickly took command of both parties and the Indians left the area. One of Burrowes’ men, Private Terrence Callery, who had been hunting ahead of the wagon train was killed. The next morning the soldiers found the body of Lieutenant Daniels stripped, scalped, and pierced with 22 arrows. Both wagon trains then returned to Fort Reno.”

We were driving due west across Wyoming until we smacked into the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Then we turned due north and followed the flanks of the Rockies until we entered Montana and continued on until we reached the Little Bighorn River, flowing through the Crow Indian Reservation. We will be staying at the only camping place that is near the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. It is a RV park but it’s saving grace is that it is the off season and is mostly empty.

Tomorrow, we will explore the battlefield and a museum before continuing on to Yellowstone National Park on Monday.

Year 2 Day 264 Devils Tower

As soon as we got up this morning we rushed over to the local supermarket to reprovision. Last night, Jeannie and Ed gave us a heads’ up as to where we should grocery shop in Custer. Since it will be not be until well into next week before we will be seeing another market, we wanted to restock our fresh vegetables and fruits.

Once we returned to LeuC and had put everything away, we bundled her up and started goin’ down the road again. This time, our destination was Devils Tower, Wyoming. If you ever watched the 1977 Steven Spielberg classic alien movie: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” starring Richard Dreyfuss, you are familiar with Devils Tower. If you have never watched this movie, the chances are you have never heard of it.

Devils Tower is actually a national monument thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt. Geologists are not quite sure how it formed as there are many different theories that have been put forth to explain it. As of today, it is still a mystery.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On our drive from Custer to Devils Tower we dropped down the western side of the Black Hills and entered Wyoming. On the way, we saw all kinds of wild animals. While we were at a gas station filling up our diesel tanks, Mary Margaret watched a mountain lion crossing a hill in front of her. Then, as we were driving down the road, she spied a couple of mountain goats forging on some grass. We stopped and she took this picture.

20180920_140733

Mountain goats are very skittish creatures and getting so close to one is a rarity. I remember my dad and his brother trying to spy them up in the Cascades of northwest Washington and taking such great pride in spotting one only to discover that it was only a rock. They grew up and lived in the Pacific Northwest and shared with us kids that mountain goats are very hard to find.

Later on, as we were driving down the road, we had to stop as a fawn was in the middle of the road. As she crossed, another fawn and then their mother sprang from the brush and crossed also. Once we reached the Devils Tower, we saw some more deer grazing in the shadows of a large tree next to the road.

20180921_150007

We also stopped to watch a community of prairie dogs. They are common in the plains grasslands here and are so cute. They live in burrows underground but love to come out during the day to sun. They also stand guard over the entrance of their burrow to warn the community of approaching dangers.

We have a lovely campsite here at the National Monument. It is dry camping which means there are no utilities or hookups. We will be running our generator to charge our batteries and using our diesel furnace to keep us warm. It will be getting into the low 40s tonight.

We would love to stop and spend more time here since the campground is so lovely. However, we have miles to make in order to cross the Rockies before the snow season begins so we will be leaving tomorrow morning. Our next destination will be the Little Bighorn battlefield, where Lt Col. Custer died at the hands of the Crazy Horse and the Sioux Indians.

Year 2 Day 263 Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorials

This morning the low overcast was still hanging around but as the morning progressed, the clouds lifted exposing the mountains around us. Yea! We could now drive over to the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorials and actually see them.

When we arrived at Mount Rushmore, memories began to rush past me. I was just 8 or 9 years old the last time I was here. On the way here 60 years ago, with my mom and dad, brothers and sister, I remembered that dad slowed the car down and we all rolled down our windows and moo’d at the cows that were munching grass along the side of the road. Good times!

Back in those days, Mount Rushmore was still a destination that people only dreamed about going to. It was so remote and hard to get to. The roads were just narrow two lanes and wound around sharp curves as one drove up into the mountains. When we arrived, I remember there was just a big asphalt parking lot and there was a pretty simple visitor’s center. If you would like to see what it was like driving up the narrow roads and then seeing what Mount Rushmore looked like way back in the 1950s, just Click Here to watch an old home movie that I found.

Today, as we arrived, we discovered huge, modern parking garages to park your car in, an elevator to take you to the entrance path to the totally cool and modern visitor’s center with awesome views of Mount Rushmore. Not trusting the clouds moving overhead, we rushed to take in the view and snap a number of photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were glad that we did because, after going into the Visitors Center, touring the exhibits and then watching a 15-minute movie of the history of the sculptor and his massive effects to carve the figures out of the mountain, we went back outside and discovered that fog had returned and you could no longer see the mountain. Whew! We were so thankful we took our pictures while we did.

We then decided to drive over to the Crazy Horse Memorial in hopes that the fog would have lifted by the time we arrived. It is about a 25-minute drive further up the mountains.

When we arrived, we were in luck as the clouds were above the mountain that was being sculpted into Crazy Horse. Again, the last time I was here was 60 or so years ago and the mountain had only been worked on for 10 years. You really could not make out anything back then. It was just a mountain which was slowly being blasted periodically to slowly carve out the sculpture that was still buried inside the middle of the mountain.

Today, so many decades later, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but you can see Crazy Horse’s face and the top of his outstretched arm, pointing over what will be the head of his horse. Unlike Mount Rushmore, which had federal funding to do the work, Crazy Horse is being done solely through donations and funds raised by people coming to see the work. The original sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, has been dead for over 35 years and now the work is being continued by his kids. Such dedication!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When it is done, this is what is should look like.

20180920_152144

No one can say when this sculpture will be completed because work is dictated by the funds they raise. However, if it has taken 60 years to get this far, my guess is that it will take another 100 or 200 years before it is complete. This undertaking is that large.

After snapping our photos and touring the massive Indian Cultural Center, it started misting. However, the timing was perfect as the Center announced that an Indian dance demonstration was about to begin. It was under a roofed open-air area so we were able to enjoy the hoop dance while staying dry. Here is a video of this Lakota woman doing her hoop dance.

To make the day complete, we also had dinner with my old high school classmate, Ed and his wife, Jeannie.20180920_202135

They picked us up at LeuC and then drove us into Custer State Park. Inside the park is the Blue Bell Lodge, where we had a wonderful buffalo dinner. Mary Margaret had their buffalo stew while I chowed down on a delicious buffalo steak smothered in mushrooms and swimming in a wine sauce. Yum!

It was great to have time just with Ed and his wife and we spent the evening catching up. It was wonderful as they are such nice and friendly people.

Tomorrow, we are off again goin’ down the road. This time our destination will be Devils Tower Monument in Wyoming.

Year 2 Day 262 Mount Fogmore

We got up this morning with great anticipation. We were looking forward to exploring Mount Rushmore and the Sitting Bull Memorial. However, when we looked out of our big front windshield, this is the view we had.

20180920_083322

Ugh. Lots of fog.

We decided to wait for a few hours in hopes the fog would dissipate so we just hunkered down and played cards. By 11 AM the fog had lifted but we now had a thick low-ceiling cloud layer that was still blocking our view of the mountains around us. As you can see, there was improvement to our visibility but not enough to warrant trips to the monument and memorial. Sigh.

20180919_160306

We instead decided to explore the town of Custer. I needed to post a letter at the Post Office and Mary Margaret wanted to shop for some Black Hills gold jewelry. While in town, we discovered the Custer Courthouse which was now a museum. We love exploring museums so we went to it.

Once inside, we discovered a wonderful little museum, filled with lots of exhibits and history. We were given a 10-minute introduction by the docent which was very interesting. Two of the most interesting things we learned was about the origins of Custer back in the 1870s and the American Indian Movement riots that occurred here 100 years later in 1973.

In fact, a woman that was also visiting the museum and who was listening to the docent with us, shared that she lived here during the riots and was 7 years old at the time. She remembered it well because her mom opened up a door in their living room floor and then placed her and her sister in the little hidey hole and covered them up with rugs to hide it. The Indians were running by their house with torches and had lit a couple of stores on fire and threw a Molotov cocktail into the Courthouse. The docent pointed out areas of the courthouse hallway that still showed scorch marks of the fire. She said that a number of residents of the city were killed that night but the research that I have done on this incident shows that no one was killed. There were about 20 injuries, all of them either Indian protesters or police.

The Indians were part of the American Indian Movement or AIM. I remember hearing about the movement because a few weeks after the Custer incident, they took over the town of Wounded Knee, SD and held the town for 71 days. The Indians were protesting against the racism and discrimination they faced and the return of Indian lands that the US government took through a series of broken treaties over the years.

The broken treaties brings me to the history behind the founding of Custer. After the Civil War, the Fort Laramie Treaty was signed in 1868 between the United States and the Oglala, Miniconjou, and Brulé bands of Lakota (Sioux) people, Yanktonai Dakota and Arapaho Nation, following the failure of the first Fort Laramie treaty. That treaty was signed in 1851 after the 1849 California gold rush bought miners into the Black Hills. The 1868 treaty established the Great Sioux Reservation including ownership of the Black Hills, and set aside additional lands as unceded Indian territory in areas of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska, and Montana. It established that the US government would hold authority to punish not only white settlers who committed crimes against the tribes, but also tribe members who committed crimes and who were to be delivered to the government rather than face charges in tribal courts. It stipulated that the government would abandon forts along the Bozeman Trail and included a number of provisions designed to encourage a transition to farming.

Unfortunately, shortly after the signing the of the treaty, miners kept pour into the Black Hills and many of them were killed by Indians. The US Army was charged with keeping the miners out and sending troops into the Black Hills to find and boot out miners. However, in 1873, President Grant decided to see if there really was significant gold in the Black Hills because the US was in a recession and he thought an infusion of gold into the US Treasury will help end the recession the same way the 1849 California gold rush did. He sent in Lt. Col. George Custer with 1000 troops, surveyors and geologists to determine if there was any significant gold in the Black Hills. They set up camp in what is now the town of Custer and did find panning gold in the creek that flowed nearby.

This motivated President Grant to renegotiate the treaty and he tried to offer a settlement of $6 million for the Black Hills. The Indians refused to give up their sacred lands so, in 1875, President Grant decided to abandon the treaty obligation of the United States to preserve the Lakota Territory. In a letter dated November 9, 1875, to General Terry, General Sheridan stated that he had met with President Grant, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of War, and that the President had decided that the military should no longer try to keep miners from occupying the Black Hills: “it being his belief that such resistance only increased their desire and complicated the troubles.” These orders were to be enforced “quietly,” and the President’s decision was to remain “confidential.”

On December 6, 1875, the U.S. Commissioner on Indian Affairs ordered the Lakota onto the reservation by January 31, 1876, threatening to treat them as “hostiles” and have them arrested if they did not meet this deadline. The Sioux bands were scattered during this harsh winter, some didn’t get the order; others were hunting or camped in the unceded Indian Territory (which was their right). On February 1, 1876, the Secretary of the Interior relinquished jurisdiction over all so-called “hostile” (non-agency) Sioux – those Indians lawfully hunting in the non-reservation territory – to the War Department. The Army was ordered in and the Indian Wars began. Eventually, Lt. Col. Custer was killed during the resulting Indian Wars which this breaking of the 1968 Treaty caused. We will be driving to the Little Bighorn Battlefield in Wyoming this weekend so I will talk more about that battle then.

Year 2 Days 260 and 261 The Black Hills

Yesterday, we just hunkered down as it was a rainy day. A series of thunderstorms moved over our area and, at times, delivered some very heavy rains. It left us trapped inside LeuC as it rained with long drum rolls of thunder overhead.

This morning the sun had returned but we had to move on as we press westward toward the Pacific Northwest. Our goal for today was Custer, South Dakota. It is tucked high up in the Black Hills, with an elevation of over 5200 feet. It is also near both Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial, which we are anxious to visit. Furthermore, it is the home of an old school chum, Ed, who I saw at my 50th high school reunion last month. Ed and I not only went to high school together but we also went to junior high and Marble elementary school together. Good times! We will be having dinner with Ed and his wife, Jeannie, this coming Thursday.

As we made our way toward the Black Hills, we passed along the northern edge of the South Dakota Badlands. If you are not familiar with the Badlands, it is an area of about 380 square miles lying between the flat grasslands of eastern South Dakota and the Black Hills, which are along the western border of the state. Its name captures the unique landscapes of the area which is dominated by pinnacles and buttes, sharp hogback ridges, and deep sided gorges that were carved into the landscape by wind and water erosion. The Lakota Sioux called the place “mako sica,” and early French trappers called it “les mauvaises terres a traverser,” both meaning “bad lands.” This picture that I took from the Internet, gives you an idea that its name is well deserved.

This is what Badlands National Park in South Dakota is all about

To explore this area would take a good couple of days which we did not have, so we just waved as we droved by. Our exploration of this area will just have to wait until the next time we are in the area. Once past the Badlands, the number of roadside signs and billboards advertising Wall Drugs significantly increased. For those of you who grew up traveling across country are familiar with this icon of a tourist stop. As a kid growing up in Michigan in the 1950s and 60s and driving to the west coast each year with my family, we all were always anxious to make this stop. Back in the 50s, cars did not have air conditioning and traveling over the dry grassy plains of South Dakota was very hot. As the miles went by, we were inundated with signs of “Ice Cold Watermelon” whizzing by about every 10 miles. After a couple of hours of this, all of our tongues would be hanging out and thoughts of this delicious treat were dancing in our heads.

As kids, this stop was nirvana, not only because of the ice-cold watermelon that was washed down by a Green River (a lime phosphate carbonated drink which left a residue of lime on the roof of your mouth…yum!) but also because it had a number of cowboy exhibits than any red-blooded kid could only dream of. There was a one-cell jail where a nasty bad guy (a dummy) was kept. Not only was the sight so realistic but so the smell. It reeked of moldy animal skins and dust because it had moldy animal skins covering the bed and the floor was dirt. Wall Drugs also had a bucking bronco ride that was perfect for a wide eyed 8-year-old that only cost a nickel to ride. These were the fond memories that I shared with Mary Margaret as we drove into the small town of Wall and followed the signs to Wall Drugs.

Alas, nothing ever stays the same and this was especially true of Wall Drugs. What was once an exciting stop in a dusty little town where you could quench your parched throat and be surrounded by the life of a cowboy, it had now morphed into the biggest tourist trap you could imagine. The place had grown to about 4 times the size that I remembered. It now consisted of a number of buildings housing junky souvenirs. Its old, long drug store soda counter was now just a0 small ice cream counter with the most exotic beverage being offered being Diet Coke. Sigh.

We opted to have lunch at its “cafe” where we stood in line to order a buffalo burger and a tuna fish sandwich. Double sigh. Its burger was tasty but the ambiance was disappointing. As we left, I just had to revisit the dusty old jail and see the bucking bronco. Unfortunately, the open dirt area where this was all located was now concreted over and there was no longer a little jail. Plus, the bucking bronco had be replaced with a large bunny rabbit that you could sit on. Really? A bunny rabbit????

With memories crushed, we returning to LeuC and continued down the road. About 1 ½ hours later, we pulled into our campground. Weeks ago, we had tried to find a nice campsite in Custer State Park which is in the heart of the Black Hills. However, since it is past Labor Day, most of the campgrounds were now closed and we could not find a site. Thus, we opted for the Buffalo Ridge RV Park. Not fans of RV parks, this one is OK because we have a large open field in front of us which offers a nice view. Given that it is now off season, it is not very crowded.

Tomorrow, we hope to visit Mount Rushmore and take in the Crazy Horse Memorial if the weather is agreeable.

Year 2 Day 257 to 259 The Missouri River

We bundled up LeuC this morning and boogied down the road, continuing our westward travels toward the Pacific Northwest. Our stay at the Big Sioux Recreation Area was short, which will be our mode of operation as we head west. We are pressing forward a bit more aggressively than we normally do because we do not wish to cross the Rockies too late in the year. Our hope is that we can get over the passes before it starts snowing. Last year, our route was impacted in early October with a snow storm dumping about a foot of snow in the mountains. If that happens again this year, we will just have to hunker down until the roads are plowed and any residuals on the roads melt. The thought of driving over icy, curvy roads with steep drops down to the valleys below is not something we wish to experience.

Currently, we are expecting to be in the heart of the Rockies, at Yellowstone National Park, during the last week of September. Once we leave, it will take us 6 days to travel across the Rockies, taking two stops along the way. We will then take 5 days off once we drive to the Columbia Plateau in eastern Washington. We will rest there, exploring the Columbia River and the Ginkgo petrified forest with all of its fossils and petrified trees. Then, finally, we will spend a day traversing the Cascade Mountain Range, arriving in Blaine, Washington, nestled up against the Puget Sound and the Canadian border. My brother, Don, and his wife, Debbie, live there.

Taking another step toward that destination today, we drove about 200 miles, arriving at the Corp of Engineer’s Campground at Fort Thompson, SD. It is a tailrace campground, meaning that it is built on the tailrace of a dam. This is where the water is being released by the dam as the Missouri River races down a channel which is directed by two tails of land that come from the base of the dam. You can see our tailrace campground on this Google Earth photo.

Left Tailrace COE Campground, SD

20180917_10563920180917_105743

We will just be staying here two nights before driving on to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore is located there, along with the Crazy Horse Monument.

Year 2 Day 254 to 256 South Dakota (With a Jaunt into Iowa)

A couple of days ago we hosted my cousin, Steve, for a ribs BBQ that was topped off with blueberry buckle and ice cream. Steve brought a BBQ sauce that the family of a friend makes. Called “Daddy Sam’s Bar-B-Que Sawce”, it was delicious, as was the whole meal. We spent the evening telling stories about our family, with focus on our two mothers, who were sisters. It was a hoot! When he left, he took this “ghost” picture of him outside of LeuC. We had some outside lights on LeuC so he could find his car in the darkness.

FB_IMG_1536802614313

The next morning, we bundled up LeuC and headed down the road. Our drive was a long one with over 300 miles made. While long, about 5 hours, it was an easy drive since it was all along freeways. We left our site in Wisconsin, crossed the state of Minnesota and entered South Dakota. Our current campground is the Big Sioux Recreation Area, just a few miles into South Dakota, and just a few miles shy of Sioux Falls.

Our campground is lovely, with some elm and cottonwood trees offering some privacy. Since it is the middle of the week and after Labor Day, the campground is mostly empty but will be filling up over the weekend.

20180913_14460220180913_144546

It also has a 150-year-old long cabin. Good old Ole Bergeson and his brother, Soren, built it in 1869 and were the first settlers in this area along the Big Sioux River.

20180913_132444

Today, we just rested from our long drive yesterday. However, since we were so close to the Iowa border, I just had to hop into our little Fiat and drive across the border and stick my toe into that state. I know that I have been in Iowa before, since as a kid, my parents took us kids with them as we camped our way across the 49 states of the continental US during a number of summer vacations. However, since being a kid, I had never had a chance to return.

Our camp is in the extreme southeastern corner of South Dakota. We are just a few miles west of Minnesota and just a few miles north of Iowa. Thus, it only took me about 10 minutes to drive into Iowa and park at the Gitchie Manitou State Preserve, along the Big Sioux River. It is a portage point for canoers.

20180913_13010420180913_130000

I learned later today, while doing research on this preserve, that in 1973 it was also the site of 4 grisly murders. Three brothers who were poaching deer came across of group of 5 teenagers having a campfire and smoking marihuana. They shot four of the teenagers in cold blood then grabbed the marihuana and the remaining 13-year-old girl and returned to their farmhouse, where she was raped. They later let the girl go, since she was so young. She later identified the three brothers who were convicted and are still serving life sentences. So much for my exploration of Iowa…

Tomorrow, we will be going into Sioux Falls. It is actually our legal home residence. We maintain a post office box there. Under South Dakota state law, by spending one night in the state, you can become a state resident. We did that over 11 years ago as we prepared to move onto our sailboat and sail around the world. Our mail forwarding service would then send our mail to where ever we were. As we are still nomads, we are maintaining our South Dakota residence and our mail forwarding service. However, since we are so close to town, we will be going into town to pick up our mail, which includes our absentee ballots for the upcoming November elections.

Year 2 Days 250 to 253 Michigan Football

Today, we returned to LeuC after spending a three-day weekend back in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  For the first time since our daughter, Heather, was in school in Ann Arbor, we went to a University of Michigan football game.  Heather, following in the footsteps of her parents, graduated with two degrees from Michigan.  In 2000, Mary Margaret and I went to visit her and, in the process, took in a football game.  That year Michigan won the Big 10 Championship, tying with Purdue.  Its coach was Lloyd Carr, whose 1997 team won a National Championship.  Ahh, those were the days. For the last 10 or so years, our team has struggled under three different coaches.  During this period, it did have a few years where it returned to the glory of the good old days, but, overall, it has underperformed and disappointed.

This year started out no different with an ugly lost to Notre Dame last week, losing 24 to 17.  The game was not as close as the score would indicate.

This weekend, we played Western Michigan, a team that is not of the same caliber as Notre Dame.  We won 49 to 3.  We are not sure what the significance of that the score means, given how poorly we played in our first game.  Nevertheless, it was a hoot going to the game and watching our alma mater play and win.

Traffic and parking in Ann Arbor during game day is horrific.  The only way to avoid the mess that is created is to arrive early and leave late.  Thus, with the game scheduled to start at noon, we left our hotel near Lavonia, a suburb west of Detroit, at 8:30 in the morning and arrived in downtown Ann Arbor at 9.  We walked around Central Campus a bit and stopped for a Coke and a milk shake to amp up for the day ahead of us.

The gates to the stadium opened at 10 and we arrived right as they were unlocking the gates.  If we were not the first ones in, we certain were one of the first 100 people in.

20180908_100404

We found our seats on the 40-yard line, 37 rows up from the field, which offered a great view of the field and of the game.

20180908_101108

 

It was great taking in all of the pre-game activities, including watching both teams warm up, the two bands arriving, the teams taking the field to start the game and the two jets flying so close overhead during the playing of the National Anthem.

20180908_11581620180908_120507

The game went well for the good guys and we enjoyed talking with our neighbors, who happened to be fans of Western Michigan.  Go figure!  They were so nice and shared with us that with this game, as with other games they have attended in previous years, they have found the Michigan fans to be so nice.  That gave us a warm feeling hearing other saying such nice things of Michigan and its fans.

20180908_120835

20180908_153044

After the game was over, we stayed to watch the two bands perform and then walked the mile or so back to the downtown area and had dinner at Shalimar.  It is an Indian restaurant that Heather had introduced us to and that we had so enjoyed 18 years ago.  We were not disappointed as the food was still wonderful and the service was great.

It was a fun weekend and we both so enjoyed being at a live football game which brought back such fond memories.  However, it is nice being back home with LeuC.  Nothing can replace one’s own bed and the warmth and familiarity of one’s home.

Tomorrow, my cousin Steve will be coming over to share a BBQ ribs dinner that we will be cooking.  Mary Margaret will be topping the meal off with dessert of blueberry buckle.  Yum!

 

 

 

 

Year 2 Day 249 Willow River Falls

With the sun out, shining over blue skies, Mary Margaret and I took this opportunity to explore our state park. It was originally a site of logging back in the early 1800s when tall oak trees dominated the area. Once cut and trimmed, the logs were rolled to the river and then floated down to St. Croix River, where a mill was located. As our area was cleared of trees, settlers moved in and wheat farming became common. However, prosperity was determined by the weather and drought years made making a living tough. William Scott and the family he and his wife raised farmed this area. He died in 1849 and their family gravesite is located in this state park.

One of Wisconsin’s most dramatic waterfalls is also located here so we decided to see if we could find it. As it turned out, a nice trail ran by our campsite and after bushwhacking through the sumac bushes, we found and followed it.

20180906_132702

It led pass the Scott family gravesite. While no grave markers were present, you could make out the location of the graves by the slight mounds that still existed.

20180906_132935

To get to the falls, we had to descend a long, steep trail that wound down the 200-foot gorge that the waterfalls are located in. As we approached, we could hear the waterfalls through the forest and from that sound, knew it was very powerful.

When we arrived, we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the falls as the Willow River cascaded down a series of falls, with the largest being a 15-foot drop. The view made the steep hike into and out of the gorge worth it.

20180906_134713

Tomorrow, we pack up and fly off to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take in a football game. Whoo Hoo!