"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
We were passing through southern Minnesota on our way to South Dakota and we stopped in two communities, Blue Earth and Austin. We went to a few rest stops too, not as cool as the South Dakota ones but they all had interesting historical markers to see.
1. The first one was the Oakland Woods Rest Area. It is located in Albert Lea, a place were we stayed at once about 14 years ago on a trip to Iowa. We stayed at the Budget Host in town (no longer there).
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.
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.
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.
After our visit to Devils Tower, we arrived in Sundance at 4:45 PM. There was quite a bit of snow here, the elevation is 4,750 and population is 1,182 and located in Crook County. Another snowstorm hit overnight, blowing out of Montana, where they had a winter storm warning. It was Winter Storm Ursa.
We were tired after being on the road for 12 hours and checked into our home for the night, Bear Lodge Motel. We had a pleasant night here, notice no vacancy. It’s a popular place!
After checking in we had dinner at the Long Horn Saloon + Grill, great food in a relaxing atmosphere. They show the front of the steer in the front of the building…
and the back end behind the restaurant. Cute! He was repainted black and white in July.
They have museums all over Wyoming, including Sundance. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see it inside.
Sundance is famous for being the namesake of the Sundance Kid. Just outside on the left is a bronze statue of the Sundance Kid on a bench that you can get a selfie with. He was covered with snow on April 28 😦
Learn more about the Sundance Kid here.
The historic Sundance State Bank that he robbed is still here too and still in business. They are now operating out of newer, larger building a couple blocks away.