YAY South Dakota!
Yesterday morning I left Hankinson, thinking I’d get on one of the local roads to ride into South Dakota. But the SD map I have didn’t show Hankinson, and the next thing I knew I was at I-29. Since I had sort of planned to get over there anyway, so that I could stop in at the tourist info place, I simply made a right turn and roared down the Interstate. It wasn’t long before I found the SD sign I’d been looking for:
The tourist info office was well-stocked with brochures for all kinds of places, so I gathered a few for future reference. I had already picked out some places I thought might be interesting, though (the SD map identifies a smattering of attractions, like the Cow Palace and all the state parks), so I kept to my original plan and aimed the Honda for Roslyn (SD, not NM). What’s in Roslyn, you ask? That’s a very good question, and the answer is: The International Vinegar Museum. [Say what?]
The Museum was started by a gentleman who had lived in California and was looking for a quiet place to write a book about vinegar. Somehow, he found Roslyn (there was a house available for sale; the price was the same as one month’s rent in CA) and settled in to write his book. When he finished it, he hung around. The Museum grew out of his personal collection of vinegars from around the world and is now run by a nonprofit.
I learned a lot of things about vinegar yesterday. It was a very entertaining (albeit short) tour, and one of the nuggets of information was about vinegar powder. It’s for commercial use only and is how the vinegar taste is added to products like salt-and-vinegar potato chips.
After I finished the tour, I had lunch in the local park. then I headed south to De Smet (pronounced “DEE smet”), SD, the *real* home of Laura Ingalls Wilder (of Little House On The Prairie fame).
I took their tour as well, and during the next couple of hours learned a lot of fascinating things about the area, about Laura, and about her family. I saw the first real house they lived in after arriving in SD:
Although it wasn’t very big by today’s standards, Laura wrote that she felt she was in a mansion after living in a dugout and a 10×12 homesteader’s cabin with Ma and Pa and siblings. I saw the first school in De Smet – interestingly, when it was converted to a private residence, some of the illustrations that were on the blackboards were simply papered over. When the school was restored, these drawings came to light and have been preserved.
And I saw the last house where Ma and Pa lived.
After the tour ended (a little after 5 PM), I debated whether to ride all the way to Pierre (“Peer”, not “pi-ERR”) or to stop somewhere between there and De Smet; and also whether to stay in a motel or to camp again. I finally decided on a motel and to stay in Huron, which is about 35 miles west of De Smet and a couple hours east of Pierre. I found the Dakota Inn along the road and stayed there – they say it’s the home of the biggest pheasant in the world. [I parked the Honda way far away from this bird, just in case it decided to poop.]
Today I go to Sturgis. Along the way are a couple of attractions I want to see, but I don’t know whether I’ll go to both or if I’ll just ride to Sturgis and get there earlier. Time will tell. (And so will I, in a future blog post!)