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South Dakota Potpourri-Rest Stops and More!


April 24-29, 2017

In our 6 days in South Dakota we saw a lot of interesting things between our main destinations. We encountered historical markers we had to stop and read. The rest stops alone were worth taking a few minutes to see.  We will be showing you places not covered in our other posts since the visits were short.  We covered the state from end-to-end horizontally.

On our journey we explored three rest stops along I-90 in South Dakota.

We will begin with the first rest stop on the state border just after leaving Minnesota.  This is the Valley Springs Rest Area. See a map of the other rest areas we visited, all impressive!

We are informed of what highway we are on.

The rest stops in SD are clean and attractive, also many contain a picture display of major attractions in the state.  You can see it at the corner of the building.

At this rest stop there are several markers, the first is Minnehaha County, where we were. Let’s read it.

A Purple Heart Memorial Highway marker is also there.  

Another distinguishing feature of South Dakota rest stops is the large teepee-like structure at most of them, and there is another marker there also.

The 2nd one is on the other side of the state in Spearfish . This is the Northern Hills Rest area, near the Wyoming state border.

The most interesting rest stop is  the Medicine Creek Rest Area.

Also called the Presho Rest Area, located in the middle of the state. This was the 3rd rest stop.  This rest stop commemorates when the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed this area. There is a LARGE  Sacagawea statue on a hill overlooking the Missouri River, great view from the hill! You can see the community of Chamberlain below.

The white bridge is the historic Chamberlain-Oacoma bridge, dedicated on September 25, 1925.

The Lewis and Clark Memorial Bridge on the right, the one we crossed to get here.

Many signs and plaques to read here, an important area to be sure.

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Some parts of our trip took us off the main highways and we passed many markers we didn’t previously know about.

This one is in Bridgewater, west of Sioux Falls.

Also this one in Humboldt in Minnehaha County, we saw both of these on our way to Sioux Falls on Day 5 of our trip. The famous Pumpkin Center marker. It is two-sided.

We saw this on the roadside on our way out on Day 1. Porter Sculpture Park. It is located in Montrose, SD. It wasn’t open for the season yet 😦

 

We wished we could have stopped in De Smet to see one of Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s former homes, but we didn’t have the time on this trip.

A seemingly infinite regression of power lines going to the horizon.

Did you ever hear that song, “Eat at Joe’s”?  Well, you actually can in South Dakota.

Here is the song if you don’t know it.

It’s official name is Joe’s Cafe in Alexandria. You can’t miss the friendly Sinclair dino at the driveway, great place for a selfie!

 

 

Here’s Joe’s, I heard it is a popular place!

We discovered this beautiful place on our way out on day 1, the Snake Creek Recreation Area.  We got video driving through it too, our first experience of the changing terrain from the eastern edge of the state. It is just west of Platte.

The long straight road after leaving here.

Soon we arrived in Winner for gas, we  saw a McDonald’s that looked straight out of the 1970’s!

Shortly after that we entered the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

In Okreek we saw Calvary Episcopal Church,  adding interest to a largely treeless land.

The landscape is beautiful too, this hill can be seen from here.

We came across two other markers in Martin on our way to Wounded Knee.

 The first marker refers to the Civilian Conservation Corp.

The second marker, a plane crash occurred near here.

 

That about covers odds and ends of South Dakota, more added after our 2nd trip there in 2018.

 

 

Nevin Fish Hatchery in Fitchburg – Since 1876


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I think I might have visited here once MANY years ago, I don’t know for sure when.  In fact, I had forgotten you could visit here. It was time to come back and see things in early spring.  If you bike here, there is a cute fish-shaped bike rack.

The Nevin Fish Hatchery is the oldest DNR managed land in Wisconsin, acquired in 1876. The Capitol City State Trail passes through part of the property also. We pass through the gate here to enter the grounds.

Take a look at my visit here, you can see the fish swimming too.

Here is a map of the grounds, there are many signs placed throughout explaining the different areas of the fish hatchery. Let’s go for a walk! Spring is awakening here. The water never freezes though, they keep it warm over the winter. They have a sign describing winter activities here.

View of the area.

And the raceway below, in the morning the staff clean the water and feed the fish.

Walking a little further, we come to a peaceful pond, reflecting the trees.

We also find a marker on a large rock across from a bench by the creek, dedicated to Tom Palmer. A great place to sit and relax.

This is the Spiral Building, only staff can enter it.

As I walk back to the entry, I read the many signs talking about the history of this fish hatchery.

I had a great visit here, I plan on returning. I learned a lot about the crucial service this and all fish hatcheries provide.

Shawano – City on The Wolf River


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Shawano sign

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Enjoy the ride to Shawano, plenty to see on the way!

Shawano  is located in Shawano County, Barn Quilt Capitol of Wisconsin.  The city has a population of 9,305 and has plenty to offer.

Stop by the Chamber of Commerce on Hwy. 22, close to the barn sign above.   Read the visitor guide here and/or have them send you one before you come to visit!  We got a lot of great info here.  The goldfish in the tank at the Chamber has a story of his own. It was originally put into the tank as food but it decided it wasn’t going to be food. Cute fish, also quite large at about 3 inches long!

Shawano Chamber of Commerce

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Since it is hard to see all the barn quilts in one trip,  we picked up the book “The Barn Quilts of Shawano County Wisconsin”. It costs $15 and a great memento of our visit.  Buy the book here. Learn more about the Barn Quilt Project.

The Barn Quilts of Shawano County, Wisconsin

Even more behind the scenes story here.

Our first meal in town was lunch at The Launching Pad Bar and Grill, a casual restaurant across from the municipal airport (see video).

The Launching Pad Bar and Grill in Shawano

Downtown Shawano

Downtown Shawano

The Shawano Post Office has a mural inside, painted by Eugene Higgins.

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A city clock too!

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 Winters can get cold in Shawano.  It’s no surprise the famous Stormy Kromer™ winter hat is sold  here.  Buy one at Town and Country Cleaners. They are made in Milwaukee.

Stormy Kromer Mercantile in Shawano

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 We also noticed that fudge is popular here, just like on Mackinac island.  We got some at Old Glory Candy just off Main St. Lots of old-fashioned favorites here, friendly staff too!

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Visit the Veteran’s Memorial on the Courthouse grounds.

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 Shawano has some beautiful parks to visit as well.  Launch your boat or fish at Huckleberry Harbor, on the banks of the Wolf River.  See this and other parks on this map you can print.  There is a windmill there too. It was repainted in 2015, great job!

Huckleberry Harbor in Shawano

 Windmill in ShawanoSpirit of Shawano Park at the intersection of Main and Green Bay Street greet people with metal sculptures representing various industry in the area.

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Another great place is Sturgeon Park. This is the epicenter of Sturgeon spawing in Shawano.  They usually spawn in May.

Record-size Sturgeon have been caught here.  This Stella, caught in 2012.

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 The water pouring over the dam, intensified by frequent rains.

On Sundays there is also a great Farmers Market here, we stopped by and found a great variety of items for sale. It’s at Franklin Park.

Shawano Farmers Market sign

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The market’s first year was 2007 and has been a great success in the community. Learn more about it below.

We took a stroll through the market too, take a look!

Pay a visit to Heritage Park and Sunset Island too. It was not open since the season had ended, but you could still walk the grounds.  The Shawano County Historical Society produced a video of the historical village.  Hopefully we can make it back in 2017 and be here when it’s open!

Heritage Park sign in Shawano

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Bridge at Heritage Park in Shawano

We may have been too late to explore this place in further detail, but we were right on time for the Shawano Octoberfest.  Lots of music and fall crafts to be had here!

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Shawano is also home to Sundrop™ soft drink, we also enjoyed a self-guided tour at Sundrop University™, the factory in town.  This vending  machine is downtown if you need your Sundrop fix!

Sundrop vending machine

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We enjoyed dinner about 15 miles north on the Menominee Indian Reservation at the War Bonnet Bar and Grill, they serve Indian Tacos on authentic fry bread, delicious!

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A great place to stay if you plan on spending the night here is the Super 8.  Comfortable room and great free breakfast!

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We had a lot of fun here and plan on returning in 2017.

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