When I was growing up, camping was one of my family's favorite pastimes. My parents were history buffs, which landed us in many different places. One of them was Fort Robinson State Park, a 22,000-acre historical site. Fort Robinson was not a physical fortress, but rather a military camp that was established in the 1860s when tensions with native Americans in the west were running high. The site is loaded with history.
It played a key role in the Sioux Indian Wars and Crazy Horse's surrender. The U.S. Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers trained here, and later it was a breeding and training ground for horses in World War I. It was a training camp for K-9 corps in World War II and also a German POW camp. Lots of history! Many of the buildings are still there, including the brick stables that housed hundreds of horses, officers' and enlisted men's housing, and the outbuildings that the camp required.
Today it is a beautiful park with lodging provided in the former barracks and officer's quarters.
I have such good memories of visiting the fort with my family, taking horseback rides up on the buttes and exploring the area.
After a picnic lunch, which we ate in the car as it had started to rain, we headed north to Keystone, South Dakota. We stopped briefly at Mt. Rushmore, but it was late in the day, so we went to our hotel, the Roosevelt Inn, a late Victorian-style hotel named for good old Teddy, our 26th president. It's a quaint, family run place and very nice. The next day, we went back to Mt. Rushmore and took a hike to the base of the monument.
The drive through South Dakota took the rest of the day. Dan and I traded off driving every couple of hours, and listened to a book on tape -- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. It is an interesting study and memoir, and quite entertaining, too. We both thoroughly enjoyed it.
We stayed in Sioux Falls that night, and the next day skirted the southern edge of Minnesota, before crossing the Mississippi River at Wabash, Wisconsin, which was holding its fall festival. We stopped briefly, visited the National Eagle Center, which is fantastic! Apparently there are about 40 pairs of bald eagles that nest in the area in the Spring. (We didn't see any there, but saw a couple later on in Wisconsin).
By this time, we were eager to get to our destination -- our kids and grandkids in Marion, Wisconsin! So, we hightailed it across Wisconsin with Jason Aldean and Tim McGraw playing on the Ipod!
It was a joyous reunion, when we pulled up to Luke and Miranda's house, and Siefer was waving ecstatically on the front porch. She was across the lawn and in my arms for a hug before I got out of the car:)