Autumnsblogspot’s Blog

Archive for June 2010

You gotta go back and read the last 2 entries to catch up to this part!

Back on the road in Wyoming  we watch the signs for Route 111 and turn off heading towards Devil’s Tower National Monument which is in the Black Hills National Forest. We were about 15 miles from Devil’s Tower when we first catch a glimpse. WOW Ma was super excited. The first thing she thought of was the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
That’s what everybody thinks of!

Our first glimpse of the Tower from 15 miles away

Finally get there and it is spectacular!! Definitely worth the drive.
There’s a $10 fee to get closer but there’s really no need to go further unless you want to hike the tower or actually touch it. So we saved the money and still got great pictures. It’s absolutely amazing up close.
There’s a KOA campgrounds at the base of the tower which is very nice. They play a movie, (guess which one) nightly and offer lots of fun stuff like swimming pool, fun area for the kiddies, a restaurant/cafe/snack shop. Its very nice and reasonably priced.

Autumn the Great Explorer looking for a "Close Encounter"

Now Ma says since we’ve come this far we might as well head over to Yellowstone National Park and Old Faithful Geyser. Let’s go!!

Driving along, we seem to go in and out of the Black Hills areas

Back to I-90 into Gillette, WY where Ma found a Starbucks wifi hotspot! We spent some time driving around this town. Its a big town full of all the modern conveniences like Walmart, Mc Donalds and Starbucks! It seems to be a very culturally diverse place as well. Ma didn’t expect that from a Wyoming town. I guess she didn’t realize it’s one of Wyoming’s largest cities! DUH!

Another thing we noticed is Wyoming doesn’t have many Rest Areas along the interstates. They have plenty of, what they call, Parking Spots. No restrooms or info booths. Just parking.
But finally found a rest area in between Gillette and Buffalo on the Powder River. There doesn’t appear to be any towns anywhere near by.

Monday late afternoon sitting at this  rest area… we are 1440 miles into our trip and  on our way to Yellowstone but here, looking at the maps, Ma thinks we should go  to Billings Montana instead. Only because night is approaching and it appears as there are some huge mountains are coming up.

Those must be the Tetons...and they have snow on them!! YIKES!!!

She doesn’t want to drive thru the mountains in the middle of the night PLUS the interstate goes to Billings. She would have to take a county highway through the mountains in the middle of the night with no rest stops approaching. This sucks but It’s best if she avoids all of that and goes straight into Billings. From there we can decide if we want to head into Yellowstone via another route.

I woke up the next morning in Billings, Montana and I was sick. Ma doesn’t know what’s wrong. I was  throwing up and wouldn’t eat. This had Ma worried. She heads out to find a place for us to get breakfast. She knows I like chicken breast. Uh OH! The “maintenance required” light came up on Ma’s dashboard!!
She called the Toyota dealership in Milwaukee to ask why? The car is has only 10,000 miles on it!
The man on the phone told her there is nothing wrong with the car and that the light will automatically come on every 5000 miles. That’s a relief. But I’m still sick and now I’m starting to get itchy. Ma stops at a local drugstore for some anti-itch medicine. Ma promises to take me to a dog park so she stops at the wifi coffee shop to get online. Wouldn’t you know it?  Billings isn’t a dog-friendly town. No doggy parks. Next, the camera…it’s not working? Ma tried new batteries. Still nothing. Ma is totally bummed. She looks at the map again and I notice that we’re not too far from my boyfriend Jackson’s home in Idaho. She wants to take me but then again Ma is superstitious. She starts to think there’s something more than meets the eye with everything going wrong. She has a decision to make.

She thinks about those big mountains she’d have to drive through. She thinks about having to drive off the main interstate, the camera being broke, the maintenance light on, me being itchy and not eating.
As we look out we see I-94 east to Bismarck, ND. That’s the opposite direction of Jackson in Idaho or Yellowstone National Park.

Ma pulls onto the interstate. She feels horrible but she feels it’s the right decision. She tells me we can always come back once she gets me checked out with my Vet and once she is certain there’s nothing wrong with the car. Ma feels so bad that her tummy is sick too!

We travel along BIG SKY Montana. They call it that because it is truly an eye full of sky as you travel through it. We made a stop at an area which was called the Big Horn Junction. Ma said I couldn’t walk on the grass because there were Rattlesnakes about so I had to stay on the sidewalks.

You are here but where is here?

Watch where you walk in Montana

We were following the The Yellowstone Trail: Great Highway of the Northwest.

Ma calls some friends in Minnesota and tells them we’ll be coming through their way. They tell us to make sure we stop in.
We make a stop in Miles City, MT. Nice little town but so far there’s been not a lot to see in Montana and we’re almost all the way through the state. We pass the Powder River again! Remember that from Wyoming?

And soon we’d be in North Dakota

Goodbye Montana..Hello North Dakota

By the time we hit Bismarck, North Dakota I’m feeling better and eating but Ma doesn’t feel s good It’s not her broken foot…she hasn’t complained about that once and has been a real trooper! But she feel sick inside. She drove such a long way only to have our trip come to an end. But we’re heading back to Milwaukee to have me and the car looked at.

We pass through an area called the National Grasslands then make a stop at a fast food restaurant in a place called Dickinson, ND. Ma can not believe what she sees. There is a woman driving around with a chicken stuck in the grill of her car. It’s dead with it;s head in the grill and body dangling about.but Ma wonders if it died that way or what? Before Ma has a chance to ask the woman about the chicken she hears truck horns honking and the woman laughing and waving. I think it was fairly obvious that these folks think it was funny to have a chicken sticking out of the car grill. That made Ma even sicker.

We pass Bismarck and then there’s not much after that until you get to Fargo.

Found the cutest town name called Home On The Range.

Home home on the range..where the deer and the ...Where's the deer??

There is much beautiful scenery along the drive but not a lot to see or do. Once we make Fargo Ma kept thinking about the movie called Fargo.  BOL!!  Once you pass there you are now in Minnesota. What a difference in scenery. From big sky country of Montana to mountain filled terrains in North Dakota to the land of 10,000 Lakes in Minnesota.

Ma hasn’t been up to see her friends in Wayzata since 2003 and she was surprised she remembered how to get to their place. Wayzata is just west of Minneapolis on Lake Minnetonka. BoyOBoy…. they were sure happy to see Ma and made me feel right at home. They actually had us spend the night and we bar-b-qued on the grill and they made me my favorite..chicken! YUM! They had a cat named Princess and she was very nice to me. She didn’t try to scratch me either! Whoosh

The next day we were back on the road headed towards Wisconsin Dells. This has always been one of Ma’s favorite places.  It’s a town in central Wisconsin, only 2 hours from home, and it has lots of huge resorts and fun attractions. It’s the water slides that bring families here. The main street is simply packed with touristy places and old fashioned motels some with hot tubs right in the room. We get a room and then Ma heads over to  Noah’s Arc, one of the bigger water parks and manages a half-a-day pass out of the guy at the window. She spends half a day resting in the waters as I catch up on my beauty rest. I dream of our fun little holiday to the wild west.
Ma says we will do more traveling as soon as she knows everything is good to go!
Until then, take good care my friends!
Love Autumn

Autumn the Great Explorer signing out!

Continued from the last entry…so go back and read from the begining if you’re just joining in!!

Yahooo!! South Dakota!

We’re on our way to Mount Rushmore YAY!!

We stopped in Keystone which is the town closest to the Monument and took some pics and grabbed some snacks. This is the area where they filmed the movie North By Northwest. It says so on a sign on the roadside.

Keystone Population 311

Continuing on this road you make a turn and then POW! You see them!!

Just around a bend you see them faces pop out at you!

They don’t allow pets so Ma didn’t pay to go in and turned around but we got plenty of pics around the area and WOW those faces are so cool to see in person. I highly recommend this place!

The entrance to the memorial

Here's me and George Washington!

View from the auto!

This type of rock is found all over the area around the monument. It's all sparklely!!

Well, it was a spectacular sight to see. We continued on to our next destination.

We can always put a hole through it so the cars can drive through!

Back thru Keystone and made a pit stop. This is a quaint little town population 311, all touristy but nice. Not at all like the next place….Deadwood.

The town of Deadwood

There's not much to Deadwood

Ma must have missed a turn so we drive back to Rapid City to get to I-90.
The construction on I-90 made us have to go through the town of Sturgis to get to Deadwood.
If you’ve ever seen the HBO show Deadwood then you have a wild idea of what this place must be like.
It’s nothing like you can imagine. It’s a crappy tourist trap filled with old fashioned named buildings filled with modern touristy junk. There’s nothing fun or exciting or authentically old about this place. Ma didn’t even bother stopping. We drove down to Leed and then came back thru Deadwood then towards the interstate. Ma was disappointed but now we’re on our way to another state.

Welcome to Wyoming…where there is no welcome center for visitors. WHAT? how strange is that?  We made a stop a few miles into the state and found a welcome to Wyoming sign so we could get some pics!

Ma found us a place to picnic and take pics!

TO BE CONTINUED…watch for part 3!!

Love Autumn

Ma and I headed out of Milwaukee on Friday and drove I-94 through Madison, WI to I-90 around Tomah, WI

A funny statue near Baraboo, WI

We stopped at the area rest stop and saw a magnificent double rainbow.

Double Rainbow in South Central Wisconsin

We drove I-90 across the Mississippi River near LaCrosse, WI into Minnesota.
We enjoyed the River attractions like Eagle watching and took pictures.

Eagle Watching

The great Mississippi River

I'm looking towards the Mighty Mississippi River

Sniffing the sights

Across the river is LaCrosse, WI ...we're on the Minnesota side

We head out towards Rochester, MN  where Ma stopped to get some lunch. We drove by the world famous Mayo Clinic and looked for a Starbucks or a WIFI hotspot but couldn’t find anything so we headed to Albert Lea, MN.  We drove around the city and then back on the road.

Enjoying the ride

The trip from Albert Lea to Sioux Falls,SD along I-90 wasn’t much to see… Blue skies above us and green fields on each side with a long open road in front of us.  There were loads of these wind turbines everywhere you looked. Simply miles and miles of them.

Many Wind Turbines lined the roadside

The highway speed limit is 70 mph with most folks traveling between 75 and 80 so that got us here pretty quick.
Pretty boring drive all in all although some of the town names I found interesting like Blue Earth, MN and Welcome, MN. One I particularly thought was interesting was Mountain Lake, MN considering there wasn’t anything even remotely  resembling a mountain. It was quite flat all the way along I-90.

Watching Ma drive

Ma drove around for 3 hours in Sioux Falls. Ma wasn’t very impressed She tried talking with folks who didn’t seem very friendly. She asked a few folks if there were a Starbucks in the city and they weren’t helpful. She asked other folks about wi-fi hotspots and again she wasn’t well received.
She finally found a McDonalds that offered free WIFI but she couldn’t get a connection. The manager wasn’t helpful. Ma was frustrated and everyone driving no one than 25 mph didn’t make things better so we finally left Sioux Falls.
The drive across South Dakota was pleasant, The speed limit is 75 mph but there were many construction locations.

Driving across South Dakota on I-90 is actually quite fun because there are so many fun and interesting billboards along the road side. It’s very entertaining and makes the time go by quickly.

Ma decided to make a stop in a town called Mitchell, SD where they has the Corn Palace. Indeed it is a huge building and it’s facade is made entirely with corn! It’s one of the strangest things seen so far.

The Corn Palace, Mitchell,'s made of corn!!!

Next stop was a town called 1880 town. Population said 1/0 Ghosts, 9 cats, 3 dogs and 3905 rabbits.

1880 town!

Next we went into Wall, SD. Only because all these signs along the interstate kept saying don’t miss Wall Drug.
Ma couldn’t figure out what that meant so we decided to stop. The town is called Wall but a few miles into the town is an area with shops and touristy places all anchored by Wall Drug Store.

This is Wall Drug

Wall Drug Street

So that mystery solved we moved on into The Badlands National Park. It’s not hard to miss along I-90 when all of the sudden there are some lands that look BAD.

Those look like some bad lands!

It’s no wonder they call it Bad Lands! I can only imagine the settlers coming towards this new western area of America and seeing this place and saying…that is a bad looking area. Very bad lands!
Simply breathtaking. We paid a $15.00 fee to enter and the pass is good for one week.
It’s worth it! I went rock climbing as Ma hobbled along trying to keep up with me.
There’s a mini-museum at one of the buildings which has many info, facts and exhibits.

Ma got some great pictures of me but unfortunately the “money shots” on the digital camera got lost in translation. Ma was missing about 7 pictures but one or two of me hiking the badlands made it!! YAY!

Autumn the great explorer

This looks easier than it is!

Climbing up some bad lands

We left there and stopped at the Prairie Homestead Historical Site. It’s an original settler’s prairie home. It’s an $6 fee to enter and Ma hobbled her way up to the house to get some pics all while the prairie dogs bounced up and down looking for peanuts. Apparently the tourist can feed them unsalted peanuts. And here I thought they only ate Prairie Dog Chow!!

Call me a prairie dog! hehe

Little house on the Prairie

REAL Prairie dogs!!

Next we drove over to the Petrified Rock Forest or something like that. But Ma said it looked to hokey to pay for so we kept going until we made it to Rapid City where we had a room waiting at the Best Western Town and Garden. Ma said it was, at best, a $70. room that she got on for $130. But someone mixed up the reservation and it was a no pet room and they had no pet rooms left. WHAT??
Ma made a big ol’ stink about it and they gave us a room that didn’t allow pets but charged Ma $20 which was suppose to be included in the price! So Ma wasn’t happy and will have to take it up with Priceline when she gets a chance. Ma had booked the room for a Pet, and Free Internet access. Those were the only 2 requirements. But when Ma laid on the bed and tried to access the web..she got nothing! She actually had to sit in the car to get some access. It wasn’t a very strong signal. But the upside was they offered  free soup and cookies between 4:30 and 6pm. Then free breakfast 6 to 10 am.  Ma also didn’t like the maids knocking on the door at 8am.
One last upside to this place is it is located on Mount Rushmore Ave which is a straight shot, 25 minutes to the place we’re going next!

I'm ready!

To be continued!!

Love from Autumn xoxo

Chipmunk enjoying MY food!!! NO WAY!

First night was nice and quiet. Not too hot and not too cold. Perfect sleeping weather.
Day 2 Ma was up by 6:30 making breakfast while I roamed the backyard. We spotted some chipmunks and they came right up to Ma.
She gave one of them a piece of my MorningStar veggie link. That’s not cool Ma!
I think I will have to find that chipmunk and take it back!
Gosh Ma is busy from sun up to sun down!
Wobbling on her one, cleaning the dishes, hanging up towels to dry, filling the water jugs, picking up sticks for fire starting, making sure we have enough ice, sweeping the inside of the tent, taking showers and icing her foot… this woman doesn’t stop moving!!! err..wobbling!

Poor Ma had a rough night. Her foot was really sore, her back was achy, and she had band-aids on her finger and arm. She was exhausted when the rain started. And it came down hard, then harder, then even harder. It didn’t seem like it was going to stop! Uh Oh. Ma sure made us a good tent but the heavy rains have carved a path in the ground straight for our tent. Ma rushed out in the rain to make a barrier using her privacy curtains that we ended up not hanging. Smart thinking Ma!

It’s a little wet on the ground near her cot but my space is still dry. YAY! Sorry Ma!

OH the temperature is dropping with the rains. Ma decided at about 2am that we’re moving to the car. She’s so sore, exhausted and tired plus everything is damp from the rains. The car is warm and fairly comfortable for Ma. I have the whole backseat to myself. It’s good for a couple of hours until the rains stop.

Day 3 we’re up and at it early. Ma takes all the stuff out of the tent and places it in the direction of the coming morning sunshine. Another beautiful day!
After breakfast Ma drove me to a Starbucks about 20 miles away so I can check in with my facebook friends and look through my emails.  Then she stopped by a drugstore and picked her up a walking cane. YAY now she can semi-walk again!!

It started raining again but this time Ma thwarted the direct-to-the-tent puddle with her cunning use of those curtains.

The sun came out in the afternoon and Ma took a shower while I guarded our area! No Chipmunks Allowed!
We went down to the lake and I saw Geese!
Then we drove around the marshes and I saw Cranes. They were so tall and made weird sounds… they scared me!

Day 4…it’s Friday and up until now it’s been very quiet and peaceful. Now all the weekend campers are coming in bringing their Minivans with screaming kids and motorcycles with loud music.

Ma tried combing me but gave up because I keep chasing the chipmunks through the woods. She had to shorten my leash. BAH! But the good news is Ma was very excited…she said she thinks she sees a vein in her sore foot. I guess that’s a good thing for her.

Friday night we had the college grads across the street and they partied hard all night. Ma and I snuggled on the cot and watched a movie on the laptop. AHH technology is great! BOL!

Saturday Morning Ma slept until 8am, took a shower, and made us breakfast. Later we drove around the area to explore more strange looking birds and animals. I saw a possum and a raccoon, deer and horses. Afternoon sun is hot and the air very humid so we drove back to the beach but I could only look at it ‘cuz they said no pets allowed. Ma did find a spot I could get my feet wet at the boat launch. That was fun!

Ma’s foot doesn’t look any better to me. She’s still sore but she’s a real trooper!
She made us a late lunch before the rain started again. She decided to drive us back to town and back to that Starbucks for a warming Latte while waiting for the rains to stop. The rain slowed down a couple of hours later and it started to get dark so we headed back to camp and build a huge fire to keep us warm. We roasted marshmallows over the fire. YAY!

Sunday morning was pleasant but damp! Ma began to slowly break camp and let me roam in the woods. I could sniff these woods all day. I was looking for the chipmunks and I did chase a few. It was quiet and peaceful since many of the weekenders decided to leave due to all the cold rain.
We just sat and enjoyed the lovely morning in the forest knowing we would have to be leaving in a few hours.

All in all we enjoyed our week out in the wilderness. I personally found the wild side of my Lakeland Terrierness.


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I'm all set to go!! YAY

We’ve been planning a camping trip for weeks! Ma packed the car so full there was barely any room for us!! We were all set to go. Camping equipment…check.
Food and water…check. Blankets and laptop top…check. Full tank of gas, firewood, ropes…yes, yes and yes. Lets go already!

One last thing…grab batteries for the camera!! Hurry Ma hurry! HUH?
What? What the? Ma!! What’s wrong???
OMD!! Ma? Are you alright?
Your foot! What’s wrong with your foot?? It looks like it’s growing!!

Ma's fractured her foot

Uh Oh! Ma hurt herself. She fractured her ankle. YIKES!!
What’s that you say Ma???
We’re still going?

My Ma is the BEST!!

Off we go to Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Nice drive. Beautiful sunny day.

  • We’ve arrived
  • This is the place...Ottawa Lakes Camping Area

    This is a BIG place

    Campsite 337

    Check in and back the car into #337 campsite.
    OMD! Ma?? How are you going to set up camp with just one foot?

    Wow Ma. You are my hero. It took much longer than expected but you got it done. And we have a great camp!

    Let's unpack the car and set up the tent!

    Let’s explore? stay here Ma and start a fire and all the stuff….I’ll go explore.
    I have to stay on a leash the ENTIRE time I’m here?
    So unfair. well, I’ll make te best of it and explore my camp ground backyard.
    Look Ma!! Squirrels. Lots of birds too! Oh boy I love all the smells.

    Autumn the Great Explorer

    Time for dinner? YAY!! I’m a hungry girl from all the exploring I’ve done.
    I love never having to go indoors. This is soo fun. I can watch everything from my screen tent and when I’m tired I can fall asleep on my beddie!
    Or I can just jump in Ma’s cot and make her sleep on the ground. BOL!!!

    More to come……