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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 3 - More Midwest

We spent the night in Mitchell, SD and could not leave without checking out the Corn Palace.  I saw this when I was 16 but this seemed much different.  I read that they have had 3 different buildings since they started.  I am sure that I saw a different one than this one.  Anyway, it is a little difficult to see but the pictures on this building are made of corn and corn stalks.  It was interesting to look at.  It is used for concerts and such.

We were on I-90 going East but decided to switch to I-80.  Instead of going straight down to 80 from Sioux city to Omaha, we chose to drive on a side road 141.  We wanted to see more of the country and that we did.

We just got started on the "back roads" when we ran into road construction.  We had to stop several times and wait for a lead car to take us through the one lane available.  Lucky thought we were stopping to get out as that was the routine whenever we stopped ...I open my door and she flies out - she runs, plays, goes to the bathroom, then gets back in the car.  So she was getting impatient that I was not opening my door.  She normally is so quiet you never know she's in the car but this time she just kept whining.  She settled down once we actually got to going again.  (This part of the story is more for my little granddaughters as they love Lucky!)
So on we traveled.  My husband made comment that this part of the country looked very much like the Palouse in Moscow - Pullman, Idaho area.  Beautiful farming country.  The country had those soft rolling hills freshly plowed or recently planted.  The farm homes were huge.  I thought this place was someplace I might have wanted to live years ago when I was younger.

We went through several cities on this highway but the one that took our hearts was Mapleton.  We had just gone through Smithland where people were tearing up the streets and doing all kinds of road construction.  As we drove into Mapleton I noticed that this town was also doing construction.  People were everywhere working on the buildings on main street.  I then noticed that one big building looked like it had recently burned.
As we traveled further our mouths dropped as we saw the devastation caused by a recent tornado.  Most of the main street and side streets of town had major damage.  One gas station was no longer there.  Many houses had their roofs ripped off.  Later we had talked to a lady about it and she said the tornado had come through about 2 weeks F3.

We know that there has been much destruction this year with tornadoes, flooding, and fires across the country.  Seeing this destruction brought to life to us a sample of what many are experiencing.  Tonight on the news we heard of more - even worse - tornado destruction in our country.  Our hearts go out to those that have lost loved ones and lost all of their belongings.  Their lives will be changed.  You are all in our prayers.

The next town we stopped in was Denison.  I told my husband that we needed to venture out and do something we never someplace different.  I said we needed to do our own version of Diners, Drive-in's, and Dives.  So we chose Denison as our town to eat lunch.  I had heard Rachael Ray say to ask the locals where they like to we did.  The funny thing is, the man my husband asked was actually from our old hometown in Roseville, CA.  He had moved to Denison to take care of his mother and stayed.  He told us about a place called Cronks...which happened to be right next door to where we were.  So that is where we ate.  I had a Black Russian sandwich (hamburger on black bread with swiss cheese and grilled onions) - yummy!  My husband didn't venture as far.  He had his favorite, a Ruben.  Both were delicious.  I am sure we will try this again.  It is fun being adventuresome but sometimes old dogs have a really hard time changing!

So our destination for today was to go to Perry, IA and then on to Des Moines for the night.  I wanted to do some genealogy work on this trip.  I brought my laptop with my family information and discovered that my great great grandmother Phoebe Smith died and was buried in or near Perry, Iowa.  Since we were going right by there, I had to stop and see if I could find her grave.  This school house was seen on the way...kind of fun old place.

Anyway, we asked a lady how to get to the cemetery as we could not find any record of where it was located.  She led us to the main big cemetery in town but that was not the one we were looking for.  I was hunting for Valley View Cemetery.  My daughter tried to help but the coordinates she gave me wouldn't work right for the GPS.  I then called the Family History Center back home and got more fact, I got the exact location.  How excited I was to find this beautiful little old cemetery.
We had to drive down this little dirt road (Hull Ave) and right by a bee farm.  The guys were out gathering honey and a gazillion bees were flying everywhere.  They attacked our car when we drove by.  I had just closed the back windows and I was so glad that I had because they were trying every way they could to get in.  My husband was ready to turn around but I really wanted to find this cemetery.  It was so exciting when I looked up this hill and saw the words "Valley view".  We found it!

There were not that many graves in this little cemetery on the hill.  Most of them were very old.  Many could not be read because the wording had worn off over the years.

I know that you can do rubbings in hope to read something but most of these older stones had been worn flat...nothing left to rub.

We walked around and checked out each stone but could not find that of my great great grandmother.  I know she is there though and just to be there was touching to me.  I took lots of pictures but none of them can express the feeling I got walking through this quiet little cemetery that probably gets very few visitors over the years.  It was so peaceful.  It was on a hill overlooking a small river.  This ancestor has been a mystery to me for many years.  Only recently have I started discovering some of her family information.  I am so glad that now I can put a place with her name.  She lived not far from here many years ago.  Her family walked this exact ground (in 1885) that I walked today.  Wow!  We are going to a few more cemeteries on this trip.  I love searching for my ancestors and this made it even more real to me.  It was because of them that I am here...that I walked this ground today - that I am who I am.  I am so grateful to my ancestors for all they did so that I could be.

We ended up in Altoona, Iowa for the night.  We got in early enough to finally take a break from all of this driving....we definitely needed it. We ended up with a more expensive motel tonight but what a surprise when we got in.  They had had a huge meeting earlier that day and there was food left over so they were offering it to their guests free.  We got some yummy stuff and called it dinner!  So we saved a meal...actually two as breakfast is served tomorrow maybe worth the extra bucks.  I know the beds are worth it!  All in all, it was a good day.

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