Thursday, August 14, 2014

What a fun week!

We had a week that was so much fun, educational and interesting. Having Melissa with us was delightful and we visited so many new places and a few old places and I really feel she had a wonderful experience.

One destination which was new to all of us was a foray into Canada. We had reservations in Regina, Saskatchewan.  Crossing the border was easy-we had our passports. It was a drive on good roads and the traffic wasn't bad. Before going to Regina we took a short detour to Moose Jaw. Yep, there is a town in Canada called Moose Jaw.

We stopped at the visitor center, which has a huge moose in front of it. No surprise there and looked around. We didn't have too long to stay so we cruised through downtown and found a place to eat.

Back on the road to Regina, it only took an hour and we were there. The hotel was comfortable and instead of going to the casino right away we went down to the Chinese Buffet in the hotel. Food was not great and it was too expensive. Lesson learned. After that we wandered over to the casino which was a converted train station and it was so cool. Very 30's art deco, lots of marble and lots of slot machines. Chuck was more interested in the steam locomotive outside.

The next morning after checking out we headed to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and to Melissa's delight there was a T-Rex display.

 Melissa made friends with Scotty. She has an affinity with the poor short-armed t-rex. I certainly relate and tease Chuck that the reason I married him was because he could reach things on the top shelf!
This was taken because Chuck is cute.  Also the elk is in a beautiful setting.

 You can guess where this sign lead us. To MegaMunch the animated T-Rex. He roared and moved and made friends with Melissa.
The museum was very nice and the displays were informative and well done.  I like museums and art galleries-its just me. Outside was Wascana Lake which drew us into a walk around the lake toward the Saskatchewan Legislative Building. Just before we arrived we strolled through about 100 geese just hanging out by the water. Fortunately they were not aggressive since the people there know NOT to feed them.

Before the entrance to the building is an extensive and beautiful formal garden. It was just so colorful and appeared almost sculpted. After the garden and just before we crossed the street to the building we saw a statue of Queen Elizabeth II astride her favorite horse which came from Saskatchewan. It was a great likeness.

The trip back to Tioga was side tracked by Melissa's desire to see Avonlea, Saskatchewan. Since the summer reading for her students included "Anne of Green Gables" she thought it might be interesting. Well it was.  Our visit included the Heritage Museum and unlike other museums you could actually touch and feel the displays. All I kept saying was "I am transported." We were immersed in the life of this tiny village.

These side trips are always the hidden jewels.

The trip home was quick and we spent a day of chilling in Tioga. Sunday afternoon we headed out to Custer, South Dakota to make the circuit of Mt. Rushmore and surrounding sights. The one thing we hadn't planned on was that it was Sturgis Week!

I love motorcycles from my first ride on my dad's bike but after three days of every conceivable type of motorcycle I was sick of seeing them. Most of all because of the blatant disregard for safety. More than half of them had no helmets or leathers and the obvious trips between bars and outdoor beer gardens made me nervous for everyone on the roads.  I know this is a culture of its own but it was infiltrating the roads, highways and neighborhoods of the Rapid City area of South Dakota.

Ranting over, back to gorgeous Mt. Rushmore.

The mountains and forests are beautiful and the carved faces stun the first time they are seen.  We spent quite a bit of time walking the trail, seeing the artist's lodge and just looking in wonder.  On our trip back to Custer we stopped at the Crazy Horse Memorial. It is still under construction but you can get an idea of the immensity of it when completed. It has a wonderful museum and since it get's no federal funding I was more than happy to drop a few dollars there in support.

Now a few words about our wonderful lodgings in Custer. We stayed at "Gold Creek Cabins" in cabin number one and I must say it was fantastic. A true log cabin which lacked nothing but wifi. It is on our return to list. Chuck was up early one morning and walked down to the pond to see if there were fish and he looked into the forest past the pond to see several deer coming down. He saw several young ones as well.  The mornings were covered in coolness and dew. The breeze was comfortable and I would be happy to spend a week or two there exploring.

Our trip back to Tioga included a stop at the famous tourist stop Wall Drug in Wall, SD. Wow is that a cool place. Of course like everywhere else it was probably over full thanks to the bikers but it was a very fun stop. There was also a T-Rex there which made it all the more fun for Melissa.

The rest of the trip home Tuesday was uneventful and then on Wednesday Chuck went back to work in Dickinson and on Thursday Melissa went back to Los Angeles.


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