From Sturgis it was time to go home.
It was having a similar feeling as I had the previous year when I left the Pow Wow in Montana. Sturgis was a highlight and it was time to head East. However I was still determined to stay off the Interstate Highways for a while. But before I could head North and get off the Interstate I had to take a look at the Badlands.
There was a whole family of Turkeys at this one spot. This mama was checking out some of the little ones that were on an adjacent cliff.
A couple of serious photographers were setting up their cameras on tripods to photograph this range. (click to enlarge)
I was staying in St.Pierre some 150 miles away this night and the sun was already setting. I had some night driving ahead and I was pretty beat from Sturgis. You don’t get a lot of sleep at Sturgis.
The next day it was due east on Route 14. A South Dakota straightaway. I hit rain for the second time this entire trip and it wasn’t bad at all. I bumped into a guy at a gas station that stayed in Sturgis another night to see Guns and Roses. He said Axl didn’t come on until after 2AM and people were throwing beer cans at the stage. Then I saw a sign that said Home of Laura Ingalls. I knew the name from “Little House on the Prarie” but I didn’t know she was an actual person. Below is the house that “Pa” built.
In another town called Sleepy Eye there was a Del Monte factory. They would push the corn around with bulldozers toward these staircase conveyor belts. Then the corn rolls up the stairs and inside for processing.
Crossing the Mississippi is always bittersweet coming back east. It’s exciting to be headed home after 6 weeks on the road. But knowing I’m leaving behind all the amazing things I’ve seen leaves me feeling a little empty.
Empty is how this house was once feeling. Then one day on 4/24/95 a 55 ton boulder became dislodged from the cliff 400 feet above the house and plowed into the living room.
The rock remains planted firmly in this house at 440 North Shore Drive, Fountain City, WI. For the suggested admission of $1 to be deposited in this toolbox you can enter the home and have a look around.
You enter through the kitchen where the lady who lived there was standing when the boulder invaded her bedroom next door. This monster bashed through the fake brick exterior and it remains as it was when it came to rest.
This house below was not hit by a rock. It is weathered by years of neglect.
I had to head south at some point. If I continue east at this latitude I would run into Lake Michigan. So I decided the best route south would be highway 35 along the Mississippi.
Samuel Clemens could write a sequel had he still been around. Life on the Mississppi still has a very different vibe than that to the East or West of the mighty river.
As I moved away from the river I entered farmland. A few Amish buggies passed me by along the side of the road.
I spent the night in a down called Dickyville, WI. As I was looking for some food the night before I saw this strange sight next to a church. It’s called the Dickyville Grotto. A serious of shrines built by a Catholic Priest in the 1920’s occupy the side and back of this church.
It is built with all types of stone, shells, ceramics, and glass. Some of the round stone knobs were meant to be used for gear shift knobs but were donated for use at the shrine by Henry Ford.
It’s like a Gaudi meets Mosaic Man.
Later I rolled through Galena, IL. It was the home of Ulysses S. Grant.
From his home high on a hill you could look out over this well preserved town of Gelena.
This small log cabin was moved to this spot, but it was still pretty cool. That’s Grant’s house in the background.
Lesson: Don’t open a gas station in Amish country.
I saw a flash of the sunset as I passed this abandoned house. So I turned around to take a photo of both.
The following day I hopped on the Interstate. It was time to go home.