Saturday, June 07, 2014

Day 12 - Roadside attractions!

We found a great site to locate kitschy roadside attractions, and decided to map a bunch of fun photo ops since our original plan (which was to tour some interesting architectural sites: Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen and Mies Van Der Rohe's Farnsworth House) couldn't work out for us due to travel times.  It was also our one really rainy day, and so as we drove from Minneapolis towards Wisconsin, we stopped at some fun roadside sites.

We also saw a cool giant spam can we wanted to take a picture of, but it was inside the fence at the Hormel processing plant.  We drove in and set up our camera, but a security guard came out and chased us off.  So sadly, we missed that opportunity!

Tomorrow is our final day of this fun trip -- we have a few more sites to hit on the way home, but it'll be good to get back to our normal, relaxed pace!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Day 11 - Judy Garland Musuem and the beginning of our tour of American Kitsch

We arrived in Grand Rapids, MN to view the Judy Garland home and museum.   This destination was Eric's choice, the Wizard of Oz is his favorite movie and Judy Garland is one of his very favorite celebrities (along with Liza Minnelli and Madonna).  The home was great - restored to it's original state (it had been moved from another site), and the memorabilia was fun.

and of course, we saw this photo op and knew we couldn't pass it up!

Minnesota is also famous for it's Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox roadside attractions, and this became our theme for the next part of our trip:

I downloaded an app called TimerCam and we can set the camera for about a 15 second timer so we can all get into place and ready - it makes a loud beep on the last 3 seconds.  We started getting pretty invested in making our pics look even more fabulous!

And also: we have been collecting these flattened pennies with the stamping of local sites, and we kept that up for this trip.  Here are some of our pennies from this trip:

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Day 10 - Mount Rushmore

I kind of went into this day thinking Mt. Rushmore would be a quick visit - I mean, what is there to do but look at 4 heads carved into a mountain?  And on first viewing (the night before), I also have to say I was a little surprised at the size -- as Herbert said, "'s a little more petite than I expected."  I don't know what I was thinking - I guess I expected HUGE, but after spending the better part of a day going on a hike, checking out the displays and museums, I really enjoyed this experience.

This was interesting - the original sculpture plan was to have torsos in addition to the portraits, but faults in the granite made this unworkable.

After taking off from Mt. Rushmore, we had a super long drive to our next destination - the Judy Garland Museum (for Eric!).  We decided to drive through the night so we wouldn't kill ourselves with either one 11 hour drive or waste time with two long days of driving.  We did wake up so we could take our usual state portraits -- and you can tell we were a bit ridiculous at 3 am!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Day 9 - Cody, Wyoming and the trip to Mt. Rushmore

We woke up early this morning and decided to have breakfast at the historic Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming.  The Irma Hotel is Buffalo Bill's favorite hotel, what he called "the sweetest hotel."  We had a nice breakfast buffet, then did a tour of the hotel. 

I loved this semi-creepy elk painting hanging in the stairway.

After that, we had a long trek to our next destination, Mt. Rushmore.  We drove through a lot of rainy weather (the first of our trip), and ran into a hailstorm just after we crossed the South Dakota state line.

We got to Mt. Rushmore around 6:30 pm, but it was too chilly to explore, so we're leaving it until morning.  We had to buy sweatshirts to wear because the wind was really making it hard to enjoy our view.  This is the "outtake" view of our group selfie (Dale was in the car, too cold and sleepy to stay out long), because although Herbert was pointing to the monument, the disembodied finger looks a little......odd.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Day 8 - Yellowstone, day 2

We knew we'd want to stay at Yellowstone for two days, since it's such a huge place. And I'm glad we did - for all that seeing Old Faithful and the Lodge was cool, the drive to that location was fairly sheltered, and we couldn't see much.  So day 2 of our Yellowstone trip gave us a lot of beautiful scenery and wild animal sightings!  We also went through the Grand Teton National Park, which is adjacent to Yellowstone, and checked out the breathtaking mountain views.

This is the town park in Jackson, which had four of these entry arches made of elk antlers, some of which were over 5' long!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Day 7 - Yellowstone!

Old Faithful! The Lodge!  Sightseeing!  And lots of driving today.  It was all about the scenery.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Day 6 - Antelope Island & the Great Salt Lake

Ever since I read about the Great Salt Lake and how you would float if you swam in it, I've wanted to go there to try that.  So that was on our agenda for day 6.  I read that the best place to swim was on Antelope Island, where we can also see bison.  Swimming was a hoot, we couldn't stop laughing!

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