We arrived home Thursday from our 2012 summer road trip. We left Reno May 2 and drove across the US and into Canada. Our farthest point was Prince Edward Island. From there we returned through Canada and back into the U.S. at Sault Ste Marie. In total we traveled 9,294 miles and visited 29 U.S. states and 5 Canadian provinces.
We spent our last night in Canada at Sault Ste Marie. We hiked around the island overlooking the Marie River and looked at the Canadian lock that is still used for pleasure craft. The picture below is of the bridge at Sault St Marie that took us back into the U.S Monday morning June 8.
This is the Canadian Lock.
After crossing the border we stopped to see the Soo Locks. They are part of the St Lawrence Seaway. The size of the ships that go through the locks is impressive. This is a picture of Duke on the viewing platform overlooking the Soo Locks.
From Sault Ste. Marie we drove south to look a the Mackinac Bridge which goes over the water between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It is the third longest suspension bridge in the world and has a total length of 26,372 feet.
We spent Monday night in Marinette on Lake Michigan on the Wisconsin border. On Tuesday we drove across Wisconsin to Eau Claire to visit Aunt Dorothy, my Dad's sister. Tuesday was the day of the recall election in Wisconsin and it was very interesting to see all the lawn signs and to listen to the commentary on the radio. We saw lots of dairy farms and of course had to stop to buy some cheese curds.
On Wednesday we went with Aunt Dorothy to Chippewa Falls which is next door to Eau Claire. We had a picnic lunch in the park and then toured the Leinenkugel Brewery. Leinenkugel is a small brewery that has been in operation since 1867. After the tour we got to taste their beer.
The Leinengugel gift shop and tasting room is a gorgeous big building called the Leinie Lodge. I enjoyed tasting the beer. This is a picture of Duke, Aunt Dorothy and me in the lodge.
After two nights in Eau Claire we headed for Duke's home town, Manchester, Iowa to visit the family that are still there. We made several stops along the Mississippi to walk and to look a the Mississippi shipping locks. It never ceases to amaze me how much water is in the Mississippi and how big it is. I always visualize Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn on the river.
Just north of Manchester we stopped at one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museums. It in Burr Oak, Iowa where she lived for part of her childhood.
After three nights in Manchester we moved on to western Iowa to visit Duke's sister and her family who live on a farm near Moville, Iowa. The town was celebrating its 125th anniversary. Duke's sister and her husband were in a town production of the musical Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon and we got to see it. They were great!
From Moville we drove across Nebraska to Chadron. On the way we stopped at the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historic Park. It was like nothing I have ever seen, Let me quote from the brochure.
"Nearly 12 million years ago, hundreds of rhinos, three-toed horses, camels, and other animals died and were buried by volcanic ash around the edges of a watering hole in what is now northeast Nebraska. Still locked in their death poses, the amazingly well preserved skeletons of these prehistoric beasts lay undisturbed, wrapped in a blanket of jagged glassy particles, until the 1970s when a scientific study of the fossilized remains began.''
This is a picture of the 18,000 square foot Rhino Barn that has been built over the site.
In these next two pictures you can see some of the skeletons and the workers working on the site.
On Tuesday we drove from Chadron to Rock Springs, Wyoming.
In the middle of Wyoming we stopped at Independence Rock. It was a major landmark on the pioneer trails going west. I had forgotten how many people went west during the mid 1800's. Between 1843 and 1869 almost half a million emigrants passed Independence Rock. Many of them carved their names on the rock and you can still see some of the carvings.
Of course Duke had to climb the rock. The dot on top is him.
I thought this guy's story was pretty inspiring. You can click on the picture if you would like a bigger version to read.
Ón Wednesday we drove from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Elko, Nevada.
Along the way we detoured to see Flaming Gorge Dam and Reservoir on the Green River.
Finally yesterday we drove from Elko home. It was a wonderful adventure.
If you would like to see all of our pictures from the trip they are on Flickr here. I should have them all labeled in a week or so.