Day 5, 6/3/15
Weather: Rain in the morning and clear in the afternoon, temperature in the 60s.
Now that we are in the mid-west, we are taking more time to enjoy what each of the states have to offer. We departed the rest area in Adrian, Minnesota and again proceeded west on I 90. Western Wisconsin begins the area of the Lakota Sioux nation. In checking the guide book for the state, we discovered an area of interest called the Pipestone National Monument. This is located in the prairie part of the country and is one of the few regions where the tall prairie grass still survives. (www.nps.gov/pipe)
Pipestone is a soft, red rock located below surface rock. The Pipestone is considered sacred because the Indians believe that the red color is actually the past ancestors. Only native people are permitted by federal law to mine these quarries. This area is also the only location in this country that has this particular rock. Even today, certain members of the tribe continue to hand fashion pipes from chunks of the rock. The various carvings form the actual pipe that makes up the sacred or peace pipe. It is smoked for sacred and important ceremonies.
Since this monument is a part of the National Park System, the rangers, along with a twenty minute film, were very helpful in explaining the history and significance of this area.
We drove further west into South Dakota where we visited the McCrory Gardens which is part of South Dakota State University in Brookings. This is an extensive botanical garden that is part of the agricultural educational program at the University. By this time, the sun had come out which helped to make this visit more pleasant than if it had been the morning visit. The students were busy planting the annuals and trial beds. They had a cottage built of bales of straw(Three Little Pigs?) with a “living roof” of small plants.
The afternoon was getting late and we returned to Rt. 90. This route by the way is one of the longest interstate roads in the U.S. This was part of the inter-US highway system that came into existence during the time of the Eisenhower administration. Within the regulations for the construction of these roads was the fact that within the road system there has to be portions where the road must be straight for one mile to accommodate airplanes that may experience problems and need a place to land.
We continued on our journey and turned off the highway at a Walmart in N 43° 41’11” , W 98° 00’ 37”, elevation 1407 ft.
Today was a great day.
G & P