We drove north out of Omaha and took a quick jaunt off the interstate to Le Mars, Iowa, the home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream. We dropped into their visitor center and ice cream parlor for a tasty lunch. Josie had butter pecan with chocolate syrup, while I had a waffle cone of mint chocolate chip.
We then drove to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for an independent league baseball game, featuring the home town Sioux Falls Canaries. We have now seen a professional baseball game in all of the lower 48 states. After the game we drove to our adopted home town of Madison, South Dakota to pick up our mail. We boon docked that evening in the local supermarket parking lot. I tried to get Josie to try the South Dakota specialty "Chislic" (marinated fried beef cubes) but she passed on the opportunity. At 4 am we were hit by a severe thunder storm with high winds, heavy rains and small hail. We pulled in the bedroom slide, the only one we had out, so the cover would not get damaged by the hail. We came through with no problems, but there were many tree limbs down in the town next morning. .
We picked up our mail from Terri at My Dakota Address and drove north to Littlefork, Minnesota to visit Josie's Aunt Mary Jane and her Cousin Warren. Littlefork is 15 miles south of the Canadian border near International Falls. Josie had not seen her aunt in over 50 years so they had a lot of catching up to do. We had a great two days visiting them They showered us with hospitality and treated us to a great time. They have 80 acres of land almost all forested, on the Little Fork River. They have 4 dogs, and seven horses. We drove all over the property in their ATVs and Warren was brave enough to let Josie and me take one of them out for a spin. Josie drove and we had a ball. To my delight they feed the birds and I have never seen so many Rose- breasted Grosbeaks in one place. They also have a large colony of Cliff Swallows living under the eaves of their garage. Warren and I also scared up a brood of Ruffed Grouse. We do hope to get back there and visit again.
We left Minnesota and decided to make a long day of it and drive all the way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We had seen a post from birding and Facebook friend Calvin Brennen about the Crisp Point Lighthouse on the south shore of Lake Superior and the Superior Agates that are found on the beaches there. We drove the 44 miles from our campsite in Grand Marais, Michigan following our GPS. Almost all of the roads were dirt, but we drove 3 miles on a sandy two rut road that was only big enough for one car at a time. If we had not had four wheel drive we would have never made it. When we got to the Lighthouse the caretaker at the lighthouse showed us their brochure and in big letters on the map it said DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR GPS. About a mile from the lighthouse we had seen a plastic bag nailed to a tree and wondered what it meant. We found out that it marked where two sisters who had set out to find the lighthouse in April got stuck in the snow and survived 13 days on Girl Scout Cookies and cheese puffs. We remembered hearing about it on the news. From the picture below it looks like they smoked a few cigarettes too. We walked the beach and found a lot of pretty rocks but no agates. On our way home we passed a very appropriate sign.
Grand Marais is bordered by Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We hiked over to the Sable Falls in the park and we were going to hike the dunes but they are off limits due to erosion. One of the landmarks of this small town is the Pickle Barrel House. It was built by the Monarch Pickle Company for Writer and illustrator William and Mary Donahey who had a comic strip called the "Teenie Weenies" in the Chicago Tribune. The Teene Weenies lived under a rose bush in a pickle barrel. The house was in the woods but became such an attraction the Donaheys moved out of it and the town moved the house to a corner in town. While talking to the curators on duty at the house they told us about the fish fry at the town docks that was being held to announce the winners of the weekend fishing tournament. We were treated to all you could eat lake trout caught during the tournament and all the fixings. It was put on by the town and the cost was whatever donation you felt like giving. We enjoyed our time here staying right on Lake Superior and hope to come back again and stay longer. Tomorrow we drive south to mainland Michigan.