America and Beautiful – a road trip {9.6.16}

We have had the blessing of opportunity in the past to take some road trips. Our first was when our “baby” graduated high school. That was a while back. We took another a couple of weeks ago from our home in Indiana to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. It was a wonderful trip. I kept thinking about the song “America the Beautiful” during our travels. We really do live in a beautiful country. The more I visit different areas the more in awe of our Creator I become. Yes. I said Creator. I see His Hand all around me and nature cries out His Glory. No big bang could have done any of what we see (our own bodies testify to that). But, I got off track. Back to the road trip…

I must admit that lately I’ve been discouraged by the number of farm fields I see being sold to housing developers (one of them out our back door). Sometimes I wonder if we are going to sell and buy ourselves out of food sources. But, as we started on our trip and drove through Indiana and Illinois, we saw farm after farm. The flat land showcased all the crop fields which looked like beautiful quilts to me and grazing cattle with homes and barns. It was a beautiful site and encouraging. We saw many windmill farms and some windmills seemingly all by themselves (would love to hear the story behind those). I didn’t get photos of any of this as I was looking through a car window but close your eyes and you can imagine the scenery.

As we drove into and through Iowa, we made some fun stops. We spent some time in Winterset, Iowa with John Wayne (one of our favorite actors oimg_2441f all time) as we visited his birthplace museum. We even had a photo shoot with him. Then an unexpected blessing happened as we were there, I saw the Iowa Quilt Museum and took a tour. While in there, I met Marianne Fons (those of you who quilt know who I’m talking about). That was fun (side note: she is very nice and down to earth). Then, as we drove through Franklin, Iowa we saw a gorgeous lake from the highway that was filled with blooming lily pads. What a sight. We visited the Lewis & Clark museum and saw recreations of boats, etc. and even walked out on a keelboat.

In Iowa and South Dakota we drove through beautiful prairies. The strange thing is that in South Dakota especially, we didn’t see any farms (homes or barns), just cattle. Lots of cattle, mostly black cattle. I kept thinking of the scripture about the cattle on a thousand hills so I looked it up. Psalm 50:10 “for every animal is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” (The Lord speaking) Another unexpected blessing came in the form of sunflower fields. I had never seen a sunflower field before and there were many of them in South Dakota right off the interstate. It made me smile just to look at them. I couldn’t take a photo but did take a video. However, with an 8OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA0 mph speed limit, it just looks like a yellow blur. We drove through the Badlands.

That was really something. A big horn sheep stopped traffic as he walked across the road. That was fun.

We visited Lead, Deadwood, Hill City, Keystone and Custer, SD. Each of these towns has a little different feel and look. (Side note: Be prepared – No sweet tea in South Dakota.)

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Mt. Rushmore was even more inspiring and humbling in person, especially when we heard the stories and facts the park ranger shared with us. Of course, there is the “pinecone story” I wrote about earlier. That is crazy! Another “crazy” was the Crazy Horse monument. It is still under construction but we were told they had made great progress this summer. Still a long way to go– maybe in our great grandchildren’s lifetime it will be done. They do have a nice museum there but it was quite pricey compared with Mt. Rushmore (no federal or state funding).

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Pete even fulfilled a lifelong dream of panning for gold in a creek near Keystone, SD. I don’t know how he did it but that man was squatted down (not a nice word but couldn’t think of a better way to describe it) for about 2 ½ hours. He amazes me. I enjoyed watching him and taking many pictures of the beautiful creek and surrounding area. Custer State Park was another highlight of our trip. We saw antelope, deer, buffalo, and a prairie dog. We drove through one afternoon and saw wildlife right alongside the road but the morning we left, we drove through again and saw a herd of buffalo. Now I had simply prayed to myself that it sure would be cool if we could see a buffalo herd in the distance. We just didn’t see them from a distance, they were on both sides and in the middle of the road. When God answers a prayer – HE ANSWERS BIG TIME!

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I could go on and on but I promised myself I would keep this post as short as I could. We had a wonderful time. We prayed that God would give us opportunities to bless others and He did. But, we were blessed many times by the wonderful people we met, the beautiful weather, and most importantly, God’s presence. I encourage all of you to visit our great country, meet the nice people, and enjoy God’s creation.

Acts 2:28 “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”