boo, vacay is over!
but, stopping for a night in chamberlain on the way home versus booking it 10 hours in one day is a much easier way to end a vacation. you can meander a bit. you can take your time and get lost in buffalo gap grassland. you can stop at some places you wouldn’t have stopped otherwise. or you could visit wall drug a second time or stop at al’s oasis a second time. (we did not.)
the final morning, we got outta dodge early after a late night of pizza and ice cream the day before. it’s pretty weird how suddenly the landscape goes from grassland dakota to cornfield dakota once you cross the missouri.
one note about SD: NO RECYCLE BINS??? come on! none at the rest stops, none at the national parks. what’s going on there. i’m writing a letter. at the first rest stop in MN, i unloaded 5 days’ worth of recyclables into the bins.
we met up in luvurne for lunch at a fancy pant place, then said our goodbyes. i then headed to the brandenburg art gallery in town (which is shared with the world war museum – a stark contrast).
jim brandenburg is a luvurne native and national geographic photographer. i remember desperately wanting to be a NG photographer but it never really was something even slightly attainable in my head. but brandenburg’s works are wonderful.
he’s taken a lot of photos of MN – both of the southwest and of the north. you can tell he enjoys the prairie and wolves.
the gallery is free and you’re able to purchase prints while you’re there. i recommend that if you’re ever in the SW part of the state, check it out!
then i was inspired, so i headed to the touch the sky national wildlife refuge, which i learned was founded in the early 00s by the brandenburg foundation! huh! learn something new every day. anyway, i took some pics.
after that, i headed northeast, making a stop at the upper sioux agency state park, which i had skipped on my way down. the last time i was there, it was raining and i hadn’t really taken time to learn about the park or take a close look.
this park is the location of the buildings that housed the white people who were there to assimilate the native people before the dakota uprising. thoughts on this park: it’s right by a reservation. the information building was closed, and it’s definitely run down. there were no people there while i was there (it was a thursday afternoon but still). it makes me wonder if the state will return the land to the native americans who surround the park. in fact, i would very much support that. there is a grave of a well-known leader on the park grounds, and there is only one historical building (the first duplex built in the state, which is no real treat). that’s my two cents.
then booked it northeast. i’m glad the speed limit on 23 is 60, which means everyone drives at least 60. most drive 68 or so. several signs were posted along the 2-lane portion of the road: “4-lane for you!” we’ll see how long that takes.
and past willmar, the trees started to pop up and it was like a sigh of relief. i never realize how much i miss the trees until i’m back in them. how glorious to come up north of richmond, right outside of avon, with the hills covered in trees in deep summer green.