Welcome to my 150th post! As I’ve said before, when I started this venture, I wasn’t sure how long it would last or if I would lose interest or or run out of photos or if I would run out of things to say. The later doesn’t seem to be happening, I always have something to say even if I shouldn’t say it! And after looking through my photo archives the other day, I doubt I’ll run out of photos either since I keep adding to my collection. That being said, I’m happy to reach this milestone and now to stretch this out for another fifty editions to reach next big one.
In this weekly episode, I’ll share a potpourri of stories and photos that weren’t enough to make their own full story but I thought might be of interest to you, my readers. These two photos were taken one Saturday morning when we went to downtown Madison for the Dane County Farmers Market. It’s our routine to stop by Starbucks for coffee or tea as we proceed around the Capitol Square. As we crossed the street, we saw hundreds of people lying on mats in the street doing group yoga. No, it wasn’t one of those protests that Madison is famous for, it was participants and spectators attending the Crossfit Games just stretching it out. I thought the scene merited a few photos, not something one sees on an average day!
This photo was taken at the last Concert on the Square of the summer where there was an effort to break the world record for having the longest cheese board. I didn’t even know that was a thing but proud to say they broke the record, at least by weight! Only in Wisconsin would this take on a cult following!
In July, we had the pleasure of having our six year old grand niece, June or Junie or June Bug spend some time with us. Here she’s enjoying some flavored shaved ice.
On the weekend, our niece Sheena, Junie’s aunt who lives in Chicago, came for the weekend. For fun we rode the ferris wheel at the annual la Fete de Marquette. Junie is fearless and even tried the rock climbing wall. It was fun having her visit us, helps to keep us young at heart!
One of our favorite activities is to take in the Union Terrace especially on weekends when there is live music playing. It also helps that they have nice variety of adult beverages for sale to add to the ambience along Lake Mendota. And it’s easy to succumb to the temptation of taking photos of the setting sun especially when there are interesting cloud formations.
On the Fourth of July, daughter Melanie and son-in-law Daniel and I watched fireworks from the Terrace. But first I had to take a photo of them by Bucky Badger. It was a trial for Daniel since he’s a die hard University of Arizona basketball fan and finds it hard to like the Badgers!
In June, on our way to visit family in North Dakota, we stopped in Pipestone, Minnesota to visit with my sister and family. While there, we made another stop at the Pipestone National Monument. I’ve written about this monument in the past so won’t go into great detail here but it was a fun to share this park with ultimate National Park geeks, Melanie and Daniel. Click here to view my previous post.
This person was demonstrating how the pipestone quarried from the monument by Native American tribes is used to make pipes and art.
The scenery is stunning especially since there was abundant rainfall in the area so everything was very green and the water flowing swiftly.
After leaving Pipestone we headed in a general northwesterly direction, cutting kitty-corner across South Dakota. We spent the night in Aberdeen and the next morning crossed the Missouri River and stopped in Lemmon, South Dakota to have some lunch. Lemmon is located right on the South Dakota/North Dakota state line, in fact the northern city limit is the border. Fortunate for us, there wasn’t a picnic area along the highway so from past experience we figured almost every town has a city park so turned onto Main Street towards the downtown. Besides that Lemmon isn’t that big, only about 1300 people so the park should be easy to find. Sure enough, there was a city park located right alongside the area’s biggest tourist attraction, the Petrified Wood Park. They claim it’s the world largest and I’m guessing they are right, in all my travels I’ve never seen anything quite like this.
The Park was founded in 1930 by a local resident Ole Quammen who was interested in the abundance of petrified wood found in the area. To add interest, he and his workmen created a number of unusual structures including a castle like building all made of petrified wood. Mr. Quammen donated the park and all the contents to the City of Lemmon in 1954 who has run it diligently ever since.
In the museum, we chatted with this local volunteer, Bill Shockley. He patiently answered our many questions about the area and the petrified wood and pointed out some of the interesting artifacts in the museum. He’s a retired farmer and said that he found many pieces of petrified wood on his farm. He was very delightful and a great ambassador for the museum and Lemmon area. His wife, Yvonne, volunteered in the gift shop next door so we had to stop and see her too.
Bill said we had to see the mural painted on the side of the gallery in downtown Lemmon. It’s kind of eerie since the cows eyes follow when walking around the mural just like they are keeping a wary eye out for predators. Bill also mentioned that sculpture artist, John Lopez, a local boy that has gained fame for his large welded sculptures with most using scavenged junk from the surrounding prairie, has a studio based in Lemmon. Check out his work at johnlopezstudio.com.
If you are ever in the area, it’s worth a stop to see all the petrified wood and learn more about the folks that helped build and shape our this part of our country.
While in North Dakota, we made another stop at the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, located near Stanton, North Dakota. This park is close to where I grew up but had not visited until recently. I wrote an extensive post about the Villages, click here to see that article. This site is always worth a stop to learn more about the plains Indians and their life on the prairie.
My traveling partner had to spend some extra time in North Dakota to take care of family business. She returned to Wisconsin by Amtrak (the airfare between Bismarck and Madison was so high, it’s cheaper to fly to Europe!) so while waiting for the train to arrive in Columbus I had some photo fun with trains. Here are a couple of examples.
And my final photo is from one of the Saturday Farmer’s Markets of a young guy working out and shadow boxing on the Capitol steps. I wondered about his story, don’t you?
So that’s a wrap for some stories and photos from here and there. Hope you enjoyed this potpourri from near and far.
Until next week, travel safe.