Everywhere but Yellowstone

I left Minneapolis over an hour ago and as I type this, I’m sitting by Lake Byllesby in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. I stopped to take a few pictures but it was so serene and the day so beautiful that I decided to stay awhile; the sun, the breeze, and the waves washing ashore were too irresistible! I was disappointed to learn on the way here, though, that my cousin Faye, who I had planned to visit while in Illinois, is visiting her mother–my Aunt Ida Mae–this week so I won’t get to see her. I’m hoping, though, that she can get those tickets we talked about.

But back to my Minnesota visit. Despite this being only my second time seeing them, Andrena and Pastor Dwight Seawood opened their home to me and made sure that I saw the highlights of the city they now call home. Ten-year old Matthew even invited me to church to hear his dad preach. I met the Seawoods through a mutual friend a few years ago while visiting the northern neck of Virginia. Some time later, we “friended” each other on Facebook. After hearing about my road trip, Andrena followed my travels and invited me–no, insisted that Minnesota be a stop on my trip. There was snow on the ground at the time of her invitation, though, so it was doubtful I’d make it. If you read my post about Mt. Hood, you understand why.

(It is so beautiful out here!!)

Having decided in Utah that my “journey” would not be ending, I then decided that Yellowstone National Park would be my next stop. But between visits to Temple Square; FamilySearch, the genealogical research library; Bridal Veil Falls; Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort; the Great Salt Lake; and a couple of city parks, I started feeling like I didn’t want to go. I couldn’t shake it but kept trying to get excited about the trip because it was my understanding that Mama was looking forward to seeing my pictures from Yellowstone.

When I sat down to plan my Yellowstone visit a couple of nights before I was to leave Provo, though, I discovered what was at the root of those feelings: it was 28 degrees and snowing there! No way was I subjecting myself to that! Again, if you read my post about Mt. Hood, you understand why.

So, instead of Yellowstone, I left Scottsbluff, Nebraska heading for Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument in South Dakota. I visited three of my TV western towns in Wyoming: Medicine Bow, Laramie and Cheyenne. After visiting Badlands National Park in Interior, South Dakota, I spent a couple of nights in Pierre, the capital of South Dakota and the county seat of Hughes County. With its lake, flowers, trees, statues and memorial garden, the capital grounds were absolutely breathtaking! I spent a couple of hours there on Saturday and went there again before I left for Minnesota on Sunday.

I also visited several Laura Ingalls Wilder museums between Rapid City, SD and Minneapolis, one in De Smet, SD; another in Walnut Grove, Minnesota; and still another in Burr Oak, Iowa. I think there’s one in New York, too, but I doubt I’ll see it on this trip. I didn’t read the “Little House” books but there’s always something surreal about walking the same ground as historical figures; the Laura Ingalls Wilder museums and the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona were no exception.

So, after experiencing all of that, here I sit today, enjoying a beautiful day in Cannon Falls, Minnesota and writing a blog post. There really is something special about nature, and I love it! I love the sun on my face, the trees, flowers, butterflies, and ducks; I love the lakes, streams, rivers and oceans; and I love the voice of God that has guided and protected me as I’ve traveled these sometimes lonesome highways.

Life really is grand!!