Sunday, July 6, 2014

South Dakota: Day One- Green Giant, Corn Palace and Pioneer Auto Show...and driving....lots of driving

The minivan set-up.  I pulled the captain's chairs out at the end of the school year, it's just easier to load up man and beast through the side door.  Kolachi's crate is secured with bungee ties and LATCH system.  The kids have their space in the back and enough room to each have a lap desk (from Michaels) to hold their travelling treasures.  Crocs are DEFINITELY the way to go on a car trip- easy to slip off in the car and on for a bathroom or picnic stop!
In preparation for the trip, I printed out maps of MN and SD, along with a 'road trip bingo' game (Alex's was a little more complex than Justin's).  I slipped this paper into a sheet protector, and bought a pack of washable dry-erase markers for them to share.  The back side of the sheet is white, giving them room for creative drawing.

First stop:  Blue Earth, MN.  Home of a now-defunct canning factory for Green Giant.  The canning takes place elsewhere these days, but there's definitely SOMETHING remaining! The Green Giant Statue Park. We stopped here and Kolachi totally ignored the statue as we walked around and took photos....UNTIL it was a clear and present danger as we sat down to eat.  It took a while to convince her that it was not a threat.
Second Official Stop:  The Mitchell Corn Palace....Mitchell, SD.  Dogs are allowed to walk around outside, but unfortunately couldn't come in with us.
 
Kolachi rested comfortably in the air-conditioned vehicle as we ventured in the building to see more corn mosaics, tons of souvenirs, and (finally) a tractor for the whiny and complaining Justin to play on.  Let's just say this was NOT his idea of a great stop.
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Our trip for today ended in Murdo, SD.  Home of....well....there's the Pioneer Auto Show!
After another picnic on the motel bed (the kids were actually REALLY excited to do this, and I got to clean out my pantry/dry good items we'd brought with us), we decided to check out the Pioneer Auto Show.  It totally exceeded my expectations!
Yep-- it's dog-friendly as well!  (Honestly, that's the entire reason we visited-- our touring schedules look a bit different than normal since we have to plan with our four-legged friend in mind!)  They had buildings and buildings and buildings of beautifully restored cars, motorcycles and memorabilia. 
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The kids REALLY enjoyed the 'treasure hunt' that gave them rhyming clues about what to look for.  Each clue led to a sticker station.  If they completed the treasure hunt (a wonderful way to keep them engaged), they could bring it back to the entrance and claim their prize.  We are now the proud owners of a Pioneer Auto Show Frisbee!
Alongside the cars, they also have a replica Old West (1800's) town set up, complete with a jail cell that Justin thought was really fun to play in.  We were completely worn out and ready for bed after our long day, and Alex fell asleep immediately.  Poor Justin was overtired, overstimulated and cranky.  I finally got him to settle down by whispering him a story and was just ready to fall asleep myself when Wonder the Guard Dog started alerting me to every footfall or car door outside our motel.  She had a hard time settling down as well, but finally we discovered that the white-noise from the air conditioner was enough to muffle signs of potential threats outside our room, and we were ALL able to go to sleep in preparation for the next day.

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