To start out, here’s the basic schedule of what we did. We had none of this planned in advance. We just thought up what we were going to do as we went along.
June 25 – 30,
<>· Girls went to beach
· Girls went to pool
>· Family went to Loren’s
· Out to supper with Gloria and Ken
· Mommy went shopping
June 30 – travel to Okoboji
July 1 – flea markets
>July 2 – Brandon and Mitchell
July 3 – beach, boat and laundry
July 4 – hang around campground, fireworks at Wahpeton dock
July 5 –
July 7 – Day trip to
July 9 – home
South Dakota – we were in Chamberlain, Carl’s home town, and we camped at American Creek campground along the Missouri River. This used to be an Army Corps of Engineers site, but now a private enterprise runs it, and it’s nice. Lots of trees for lots of shade (our camper doesn’t have a pull-out canopy) and it had water, sewer and electrical hookups. It was quiet, too: most of the campers were older couples, some of whom camp there all summer then take their campers down to Texas, Florida or Arizona for the winter. These “snowbirds” must have permanent contracts with the campground – they have decks built next to their campers, and the decks have really nice patio furniture and refrigerators on them. We (of course) spent lots of time with Carl’s family, especially his Mom. One night we went out to Carl’s brother Loren’s farm – the “family” farm. I’m not sure how many generations of Carl’s family have lived there, but I think it could qualify as a Century Farm. I gave Hannah (now 12) a driving lesson out there in our pickup. Poor kid, she confused the brake and gas pedals and almost hit the chicken house. Fortunately I was sitting next to her and she pulled her legs back as I reached for the brake with my hand, so I was able to stop the truck in time. This kid definitely needs more time on the tractor before she gets behind the wheel of a vehicle. But the girls had lots of fun swimming. They spent two afternoons at the pool, one with their cousins Jeff and Sarah (Loren’s kids). I did a little shopping – I always have to check out the antique stores on Main Street, and I also checked out the new quilt shop. I bought some fabric to make into napkins (eventually).
On Friday we packed up and headed back to Iowa. We went to Gull Point State Park on West Lake Okoboji, in Dickinson County. This park was OK (lots of trees again) but it only had electrical hookup, so we had to be careful about how much water we used. Fortunately we were close to one of the restrooms, so we didn’t even come close to filling up the black water tank. This park was much more crowded (4th of July weekend) so there were lots of kids, but also lots of noise. Most of the noise was generated by college students (both male and female) who came to the campground to lay on the beach and drink beer. Their behaviour was annoying, and I kept an extra special watch over my girls to make sure the students didn’t give them any grief.
Saturday we went to the flea markets. There were three of them – two were mainly antique sales, but the one at the fairground was a “liquidation” flea market. I got a John Deere plush moose (for my moose collection). Each of us girls got a Beanie (they were 3 for $5) and Mary got a Coleman two-person pup tent (which is now set up in our basement, a story for later). We also got some cinnamon flavored creamed honey, which is delicious! And the weird thing is, the people who sold it knew where we were from because they come to the craft show here every fall. Go figure.
Sunday we went back to South Dakota for the day. We stopped in Brandon to visit with Carl’s friend Tim, then we went to Mitchell for a Bode family picnic, organized by Carl’s Mom. It was a really nice picnic, and we got to see almost all of Carl’s siblings, plus a bunch of his aunts, uncles and cousins. They’re a great group, those Bodes. A pleasure to be around. It makes me wish we lived a little closer so we could see them more often. (*sniffle*)
Monday, Carl took the girls to the Okoboji Boat Works for the day, while I went into Milford to do laundry. Carl and the girls rented a paddle boat and tooled around the coast of West Lake Okoboji, and the girls just loved it! After their boat ride, they hung out at the beach until I came to get them. This was not a problem. I didn’t mind doing the laundry, really! I mean, can you imagine the results if I had taken the girls to the beach and Carl had done the laundry? EEK!
Tuesday the 4th was a lazy day. We just hung around the campground so as to avoid the traffic in town. (Traffic around Okoboji and Arnolds Park is terrible!!) We did go out once, scouting to find a good place from which to watch the fireworks, and we decided to park at the end of Burr Oak Road, near the Wahpeton public docks. We went back about 9:20, and because we had time the girls and I decided to walk around a little. It was then we discovered that the piers that stick out into the lake were also public property, and anyone who wanted to could sit on the benches. Two very nice ladies (who had a baby) invited us to join them, so we had front row seats to the Okoboji fireworks display. One of the homeowners put his stereo out on the deck so that everyone could hear the musical accompanyment (broadcast by a local radio station) that went with the fireworks. It was all very, very cool.
Wednesday we went to the Arnolds Park Amusement Park. It’s a small park, more like a glorified county fair carnival than Six Flags. But we had fun. The rollercoaster is one of the ten best wooden coasters in the country, and the park itself is the oldest amusement park west of the Mississippi. We also wanted to take an exursion on the Queen II tour boat, but the boat was out of service, so we were out of luck. However, I was able to purchase a “University of Okoboji” t-shirt in one of the shops, so that was good.
Thursday was another lazy day. We didn’t do much until the afternoon when we went around to some of the local museums. We were too late to tour the Abbie Gardner site, though, so we went back on Saturday.
Friday we took a day trip down to Sioux City, site of the Sergeant Floyd Monument and a Lewis and Clark museum. That was interesting, and informative, and the girls seemed to like it. They really liked the scene-thingy of the Lewis and Clark campsite that had a life-sized animated replica of Lewis and Clark’s dog, barking at a prairie dog in a cage. Whatever. On the way back to Gull Point we stopped in Le Mars, Iowa, the Ice Cream Capital of the World and home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream. We toured the museum, which was really neat and featured short (and funny) videos of where ice cream came from and how it’s made. And of course we stayed for ice cream. They have a “soda shop” complete with an antique oak soda fountain. Poor Mary’s blood sugar jumped way up, so at supper time she needed extra insulin, but she didn’t seem to mind. The sundae she had was apparently worth it.
Saturday was yet another lazy day. We went back to the Abbie Gardner Historical Site, where the “Spirit Lake Massacre” happened. This was (again!) a neat, informative place, and the guide running the site was well versed in local history. He made a point of telling “both sides of the story” which I found refreshing, because alot of times you only get the “settlers’ version” and not the “Native American” version. We got both versions in a story that mixed them both together and was told quite well by the guide. Afterwards we went back to the campground and lazed around, then in late afternoon we took the girls fishing. Each girl caught their first fish: Mary caught two, a bass and a bluegill, and Hannah caught a bluegill. We tossed the fish back (they were too small to keep) but of course we’ve got pictures. Carl wasn’t fishing (he was helping thie girls) but I was fishing with “Ol’ Yeller”, a pole my dad gave me when I was a teenager. But do you think I caught anything? HAH!! It is to laugh. But at least the girls caught something.
So Sunday, the vacation was over. We packed up our stuff and headed back home. We had a really wonderful time, and even though this blog is long it doesn’t even begin to capture everything we did or all the fun we had. Thanks for reading this long post, folks!
P.S. I’ll do another blog post later that’s just pictures. I promise!