Day 7 . Little House on the Prairie

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Road trip across America… daily reflections by Ema and Elle.

By Ema ~ It was about 2am by the time I completed the laundry and got everything put away last night so when I awoke at 7 something I was not ready to arise and fell back to my dreams for another couple hours. Upon arising I set up the kitchen and made Elle eggs and toast served with apple sauce and some toast with a mango lilikoi spread for me. I got the blender out and prepared the mango, pineapple, banana, silk yogurt, and coconut water. Elle was playing on the swing, but decided she would finish them and put it into our cups to travel. After eating it was time to break down our camp. It was a bit of a rush as the showers closed earlier than checkout and I was on a mission to have one before we parted. I left Elle doing what she could to break down camp and ran to the shower which I found closed even earlier than the time on the sign. Thankfully there was another, but I had to run to the other side of the campground. This took up more time than I had allotted, but I got back and Elle had prepared all for me to load, except the tent which she is not quite tall enough yet to remove. I got the electric unplugged and took the tent down while she took care of the cords. Up top I went onto the van once the tent was off and she handed me all the gear to load into the topper. It was 2 minutes until check out and and all was packed, but of course the topper did not want to lock, as things go when you are rushing. I tried and tried and finally decided to run to the office and let them know I would be parting as soon as possible. Most of the camp had emptied at this point, including our lovely elder neighbors and their black lab, Bear. The lots were shared and thankfully the young couple that shared ours that had arrived well into the night, were also still there. We began chatting and I got a tour of their converted Chevy camper from the 80’s. It was so charming and spacious, it made me crave a little trailer of my own even more. We connected on Instagram, @runrosemary, and on our way we were once the topper decided to lock. We stopped at the office to let them know we were in our way out and Elle found a pair of fish shoes and fell in love. After much convincing that it was not the best way to spend her funding, we went to see the teepee and play at the park before another long drive.

Once again our destination was Mount Rushmore, but our arrival was not meant to be today. While heading West on 90 I saw a sign for the Home of the author of Little House on the Prairie, and took the exit. After a brief stop next to a pond on the side of the road to see how far it was to journey off the freeway, we decided to do it.

Elle had not yet read the book, but thought it looked interesting and I having grown up on the stories felt even though it was an hour off our route, it would be worth it for when would I even be so close again. So we began the drive through rolling plains of waving grass and forgotten farms. The town of De Smet was very small with a feeling that it was more active in the pioneer days than now. The little village contained the school that both Laura and Mary attended and the last home that Pa built, and Ma and Pa lived in until they passed. There was also an old wagon from that era, but not actually the one they crossed the prairie in. The town actually held several buildings related to their story, and we could have spent a day there exploring, but our arrival only left us with about an hour. We made friends with a sweet girl named Amy that worked at the historical village that wanted to join us for the adventure, she joked she even had the two wheel trailer to hook up and take her along. We wished we could have. After closing, we spent a bit more time wandering the grounds and getting to know Amy a bit more before it was time to go again. I also left me behind one of my #loveandwaterrocks for someone to find upon what seemed to be the perfect place, a rock with “Laura Rocks” carved into it!

I had planned to get us to Wall, South Dakota to find camping near by and see the quirky sites in the morning that we have been told we cannot miss, yet really have no idea what it is about. I figured that would get us about an hour away from Mount Rushmore and is the start of what is known as the badlands, so I stopped at a little park on a lake where Elle found a free library and choose a book while I researched camping. I looked at camping locally also, as the sun was setting, but Thomas convinced me that with how far, or lack of, we have made it in our days of travel, that I should try to get a little further. I did have plenty of energy so decided on a rest stop about an hour from Wall. Unfortunately I did not remember the time change that is coming and realized after getting Elle into bed that we were actually a couple hours from Wall, and about three from Mount Rushmore, yet it seems to be a good place to rest. It is a Lewis and Clark tourist center that we can explore in the morning before we journey on.

I can barely believe we have been on the road a week. The journey is definitely taking much longer than I expected to cross the country, yet we are finding so many treasures along the way, it is so worth not trying to rush. I am ultimately on a mission to collect my belongings from California, so there is a destination to reach before we return to Michigan, but I figure that it is the time to explore, as on the way back we will be pulling a trailer. That in itself shall be interesting as I have only towed a flat trailer once with paddle boards, but I never had to back up and it was just a short distance. I guess this will be my training for the day I am blessed to have a little home to tow. Bit by bit, I am building my dream into reality!

By Elle ~ Today we woke up and sissy made eggs and sourdough toast and yummy smoothie. Sissy wanted to take a shower and they were closing soon so she ran off for a shower. I wanted to be helpful so I went and cleaned up everything except the car tent because I was too short and I didn’t know how. When sissy came back we finished and we found out the car roof topper was not locking so sissy said we would tell them so we went up and she told them. They said it was fine and not to worry about this. During this time I found a pair of fish shoes. I really wanted them as they were weird and I loved those types of things, but sissy refused to let me spend my money on them even though it was MY money. I was sad, but we soon journeyed on WITHOUT THE SHOES. We were driving for a while when sissy exclaimed, “Laura Ingles Wilders House”! She was excited because she read the books when she was little. After minutes of contemplating she decided to go an hour off to see the houses. I was confused, as I hadn’t read the books. I didn’t know much about this but still was really excited because this seemed like a cool experience. With every second I slowly got more excited up in-till the moment we got there. When we got there it was like 20 minutes to closing, but the lady said she would keep the gift shop open till we came back. So we paid and went to the first house. We there was a young woman mid 20s with shoulder length black hair and very bucked teeth dressed like a prairie girl. As we looked through the house there were some things we could try which was cool to me even if I hadn’t read the books. I love history, so it was a really cool experience seeing all these old things they were so different from what we have today. The next thing was a school house so we walked in to see another woman in her 20s, I’d say, with long brown hair up in a pony tail, dressed as the other was. We took some photos and talked with her. Her name was Amy. She was nice. We went through, said our goodbyes, and ran to the last house. It was a few blocks away, but we made it in time! There was another lady, younger too, she had short blonde hair and dressed as the others. There was a younger boy she seemed to get along with. He was like 8. The kid showed us around which was funny because he and his grandma were just visiting. Its not like he was there every day, so he was cute. After this we headed to the gift shop where all the ladies were. We looked around. Sissy said she would buy me the 3rd book if I bought the first 2. I agreed, and we hung with Amy for a while and soon parted and said our goodbyes. We soon drove to a lake were I found a free library and played for a while, but soon we went to a camp and I snored into my dreams.

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