BTW PicPage: Week 2

Indiana

Indiana is considerably a small state width wise. This state claims to be Cross roads of America. We dont have the insight into American history so much as to understand why this state is called so. If some one can tell us we will be grateful.


Is this Farm Perfect ? Well there are tons around this part of the country. Take your pick



The Indian Sand Dunes national shore (lake shore)

Indiana was more farm country. As we approached the suburbs of chicago landscape changed to urban. We also visited the Indiana Shores national monument. Mind you its called as a shore, but its not sea. Its a lake shore - however the water can get rougher than the sea at times.

Illinois

We next had drifted into the Land of Lincoln, the state of Illinois. The name does not come on because they have too many Lincoln town cars ;-)))). The name comes because of Abraham Lincoln. Ok we dont have many pics from IL, so we will head on.

Iowa

We would like to call Iowa as the Welcome State or better still The Corn State or something like that. However the official name is something different. It is a great place to be in and even to just travel in !


The Iowa Welcome Center on the banks of Missisippi. They mena it when they say Welcome !

As we mentioned earlier, IA was a bolt of surprise. So much corn is grown here that IA surpasses all other states in the USA and is only second to China in corn production. No wonder so many farms are out there.

We find another farm perfect in IA ! Look at the way is neatly arranged in bundles - facinating.



This farm has a windmill to drive the water pumps



Aliens are invading earth ? No, this is a piece of farm machinery rolling down the IA highway

We were fortunate enough to be able to camp one of the nights at the camping area around the Redrock Lake. This place was amagingly beautiful. We have got pictures to prove it !

The patterns of light in the evening was fantastic at this place. Being here was like being in heaven



All the dance of light finally lead to this fantastic sunset

Amana colonies was another beautiful area in central IA. We spent some of the most memorable times here visiting old time houses, doll houses and the like.


The doll museum/store at homestead village in Amana, IA



THe Lace House at Amana Village, IA

Amana preserves the traditions of the germans that had settled down in this part of the country in the earlier ages. The Living History Farms are in similar spirit except that unlike the Amana it is an artificial creation. People are employed here to show us how the life was in the ages in 1700s and 1800s in this part of the country. The LHF also was a great learning experience. For people like Ajay who always snore in the history class it was a pleasant surprise that history could be made so interesting.

The 1700s house (or if you like it a hut !) at Living History Farms in urbandale, IA



People are employed to "live" the life of the olden ages as a demonstration in this live museum. These are guys are sawing wood

A few other interesting sites that we saw are below: Albert the bull at Audobon, The Windmill at Elkhorn, etc

Ajay is bulled by Albert the Bull at Audobon in IA



Danish windmill at Elkhorn, IA

Another unearthly place in IA is the Grotto at the town of Westbend. Here we also saw interesting badlands sample (the real badlands is yet to come :-). The Grotto is really an awe inspiring religios place. Its a huge collection of rock minerals, that are arranged to make up scenes on Jesus Christ. Amazing structure, more so in the evening when its lighted up.


A sample of badlands in IA, the real ones are yet to come in South Dakota



The Grotto: a collection of mineral stones arranged to form pictures of Jesus' life



The Grotto at night

We now leave haunting Iowa and move on to the next state.

Minnesota

Minnesota was never on our route map. We just drove through the state for a few hours. However in just that much of time we came across this beautiful building: possibly some kind of museum, or a farm house or something. We did not venture inside.

A building in Minnesota by the highway. No we did not venture inside to see what it was...

South Dakota

South Dakota lives upto its name Great Faces Great Places. Though this state does not seem to be as rich as its neighbours, it has some great places to go to. The faces part (in the name) comes from the fact that SD is the house of Mount Rushmore - we will come to that later. You will also notice that it is in SD that you notice the rough prarie country. It can be very harsh and we really have to admire the people here who have conqured this land and have lived on it, changing it from a barren place to a fertile plain. But still at many places you notice the rough terrain and the harsh winds.

We started with SD by seeing the doll house in the town of Mitchell. It was an excellent sight. Mitchell is also famous for its world famous corn palace that we mentioned. Otherwise the town is nothing out of the ordinary. The corn palace is an amazing structure, but its right in the heart of the downtown that is not very pleasant.


A bride shows off her dress in the dollhouse at Mitchell, SD



The queen and the royalty are on a walk in the doll house at Mitchell, SD



The world famous Corn Palace at Mitchell, SD. The entire outer layer of the building is made out of corn and its by products. Amazing, isnt it ?



Ajay then posed with a local tramp - like pole attract is it ?

Then we next went on to the western parts of SD. Unlike the eastern parts the western parts are mostly mountainous regions - start of the western mountain range in the USA. This region is also dry, dusty and right out of a Clint Eastwood movie !!

Ajay takes it easy on the mule ride at Wall Drug ;-). It takes some time to know that the mule was dead !

Our first site out west was the wall drug that we have written profusely about. After that was the famed badlands here. We also did an excellent 7 mile off road trip here. The photographs below do not do any justice to the views we saw here.

A view of the badlands on one of our hikes



The drive up sheep moutain in the badlands was really enchanting



The view from the top of sheep mountain, badlands, SD



Our car did a great job, climbing up this dirt road

We now leave badlands and enter the Black Hills area. On our way into Black Hills we visted the bear country of which we have an intriguing photo. We found an excellent motel here see the picture below.

A bear cub goes to sleep on a tree branch in Bear Country, SD



Our motel -The Chalet, at Custer, SD

So that was week two of pictures. Please proceed to week 3 for more exciting pics in the Black-Hill/Badlands area.

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