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 The Keystone Diaries

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LIWnut
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PostSubject: The Keystone Diaries   Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:01 pm

Keystone Diva Travels 09



Thursday Sept 3rd

We left Beth’s house at 2:55 am and got to Dorothy’s at about 3:03.  We chatted for a bit and then came to a roadblock.  Two cars had collided on a bridge near Portage due to fog patches.  We got headed the right way and back to the highway with not too much trouble.  Let’s hope this is the only detour we will need to take, we have a long way to go.
We stopped for breakfast in Austin at about 7:20, filled up the gas tank as well and were back on the road by 8:18.  We entered South Dakota at 10:45 and stopped at the info centre for a stretch and potty break.  Kept driving and stopped in Chamberlin for lunch at Casey’s Café on the east side of the Missouri River.  The view was gorgeous, even without the sun.  We were back on the road at 2:10 and saw a sign that said 150 miles to Wall Drugstore.  Our miles were passing by quickly and we were enjoying the scenery and each other’s company.
Entered Mountain time somewhere along the prairie trail on the west side of Murdo at mile marker 175.
Arrived in Wall SD at 3:05 mountain time.  We checked into a Best Western, unloaded our gear and then headed off to Wall Drug Store.  We have been seeing signs since the west side of Minnesota.  Lorrie has been telling us all about it for months and so I am interested to see what there is to see.  The signs said “Coffee 5 cents”, I’m so ready for a cup.  
We spent about 1 ˝ hours at the Wall Drug Store and the shops along the strip.  The girls bought some shirts and jewelry and I had 2 cups of wonderful coffee.   We weent to the Red Rock Restaurant for dinner and then went back to our room to check out the football game.  We couldn’t find the Packer game so we watched another with hopes of seeing a Packer score.  No luck.  We were all in bed by 7:30 and asleep soon after.  
Total miles traveled, 752 miles

Fri Sept 4th

Everyone was awake early so we got ready, had breakfast and left the hotel at 6:55.  It was very foggy and we were headed to the badlands so we were hoping that the sun would come out so we could see God’s beauty.
We stopped at the sign to enter the Badlands.  Lorrie put the camera on top of the car and then had to run to be in the picture.  She only had 10 seconds to make it but she did.  It was funny watching her sprint down the road to get into the photo.  I bet next time she parks the car closer, lol.
The park was stunningly beautiful.  We stopped for some pictures.  Lorrie got out to take some of the prairie dogs.  They were chirping away and hid in their holes and protested her presence from their homes.  They were cute.  Beth, Dorothy and I were in the car translating their chips for them, too funny.
We had fun climbing on the rocks in the badlands.  Beth watched from the car while the rest of us had a closer look.  We all got out at one beautiful scenic area for a group shot.  We spent about 2 hours going through the loop and left the park at 9:30.


We were taking the detour around Rapid city when Brenda called to see where we were, at about 10:40.  We arrived in Keystone at 11:11.  We headed to our destination hotel and met Brenda and Jean.  The room was ready so we checked in.  Beth had ordered a room big enough for 6 people that was supposed to have bunk beds.  We arrived in the room and found that we were short a few beds.  She and Lorrie headed back down to the desk.  The staff were very apologetic and changed our room to the honeymoon suite, the biggest room in the hotel.  It was huge!
We had a lot to see and not much time to see it so Lorrie decided to head to Custer Park and work backwards, it being the farthest away.  We drove up and down hills, through the woods and around many hairpin turns.  It was truly beautiful up there in those Black Hills.  I loved every moment.  
We met a herd of wild donkeys beside the road.  I rolled down the window and they stuck their heads in looking for some treats.  All we had to give them was some crackers but they took them gently and then wanted more.  At one point I had 3 huge heads sticking through my window.  They were really pretty and so tame from all the tourists who come through.  The babies were well protected by their mothers, no crackers for them.
We drove through Custer and had lunch at Heritage Village, right next door to the Crazy Horse Monument.  We had a wonderful buffet lunch and it was a really great opportunity for the Americans and Canadians to get better acquainted, around the round table.
After lunch, Brenda and Jean went back to Keystone to finish a tour that they had already started.  The rest of us went to the base of Crazy Horse Monument and took pictures.  We went shopping in Keystone after driving past Mt. Rushmore.  It was hailing so we decided to return later on in the weekend.  Dorothy, Lorrie and I toured several more shops on the main strip and Beth stayed in the car to figure out the map so we could find out where we need to be for the LIW/LHOP events.  We toured and found the community centre and museum.
We returned to the hotel to get ready for our evening events.  We got into our prairie dresses and headed to the lobby.  The workers there wanted to get a picture of us all dressed up.  A little boy just coming into the lobby brought out his camera and took our picture too.  Beth went over and introduced herself.  They were very pleased to meet a real Ingalls.


We headed to the community centre.  The cast was out having dinner and we were entertained by a band.  Our girls enjoyed singing along to the old country songs that the band sang.  Some others got up and danced, it was a really nice time to sit and listen and talk with other Laura fans.  Beth met members of Carrie’s family, children and grandchildren born to Carrie’s stepchildren.
Soon the moment that we had all been waiting for arrived.  The cast were introduced and came out and sat in front.  The event of the night was to be a box social.  The cast each had a box of goodies that were auctioned off and the money raised went to help plan other events in the area.  My buddies pulled their money together and bought the box for Alison Arngrim and Bill Anderson.  So, they came and sat with us and shared their goodies.  It was sooo cool to sit beside “Nellie Olsen”.  She shared pictures of the fires that were just burning behind her home earlier this week.  She was so nice but a little bit of Nellie shone through too.  She told us about her book that is soon to come out.   It was really awesome to have a time just with her.  She is a sweetheart.
Bill was interesting too.  I asked him when he was going to write more books because I have them all.  He told me that he is a teacher but hopes to write more soon.
The night ended when the cast was rounded up for rides back to their hotels.  Alison was almost reluctant to leave our group.  We could have given the Greenbush and Turnbaugh girls back to the hotel, they were staying at ours. Hersha was staying in the one next to ours.   We also left for the night to get ready for a very long but exciting day tomorrow.

Sat Sept 5th

We got up a bit later this morning, got ready and then went out to breakfast down the street at the Keystone House Family Restaurant for a breakfast buffet.  We then headed back up to Mt Rushmore and got many photos of ourselves as a group and of each other.  Brenda and Jean had been there earlier in the week and so they left us in the theatre and would meet us back at the hotel.  We watched a film of how the mountain was carved and info about the project.  The film was really interesting as we watch the old footage of the men at work carving and blasting the rock.  One of them had fin swinging back and forth over someone’s nose.  It looked so funny.
We stayed at Mt. Rushmore for an hour and a half or so and then went back to town to get ready for a day with the LH cast.
WHERE DO I START?????
We arrived back in Keystone and headed to the museum for the cast autograph session.  The lineup was out the door and down the street and we wondered if we should stand in the line.  The signing was only to last for another hour and we worried that we would stand and then not get in during that length of time.  But we decided to stay and so we got in line with other fans.  We chatted and quizzed each other to practice for the trivia contest and soon we found ourselves at the door.  A man came out and said that the cast had to leave and he cut the line.  Whoever was inside the building could stay, those outside would get another chance for an autograph later in the day.  We all jumped inside the museum and so we stayed and met the cast.  It was a wonderful experience  They signed our items and chatted a bit longer with us because we were at the end of the line.  They were all happy to meet a real Ingalls.  It was very cool!
The girls dropped me off at the community centre to sign up for the trivia contest and then they went to have lunch.  I didn’t mind missing out.  By the time they arrived back, we were already underway.  It was a lot of fun.  Contestants had to pull a coloured bonnet out of a bag to determine the type of question: the books, the tv show or Laura life.  The questions were easy to start with and the audience was allowed to help.  But they gradually got harder.  When I answered one of my questions right, I heard a “Yahoo” from the back of the room and I knew that my buddies had arrived back from lunch.  Then I got nervous, didn’t want to disappoint them.  We started out with 15 contestants and gradually they filtered out until there were 3 of us left.  We were announced the winners but we had to go on and find out what standings we would place in.  One girl missed her question and then there were two of us.  My opponent missed her question, “What was Almanzo’s second name?” and I answered for her.  I answered my question, “In what month was Rose born?” and then we were done.  I had won.  My prize was 4 tickets to the LHOP musical in the city of my choice.  I was a happy winner!  The musical is coming to Toronto in Jan/Feb 2010.
After the contest the cast members came out for a Q&A time.  It was neat to hear stories about Michael Landon and Merlin Olsen.  I loved hearing the sets of twins telling what it was lijke growing up on the set.  It was a wonderful hour.
Next the cast and Bill Anderson signed autographs.  This time Beth and some of Carrie’s family members joined in.  After 45 minutes or so the cast went into a smaller room to get a group photo taken.  THEN all of us who paid $10 go to stand in the middle of them and get OUR picture taken.  Of course all of the divas took part.  How cool that was!!!  When I went to stand among them someone said, “Here comes the trivia winner!.”  It was a special moment.  Patrick L had to leave during the Q&A and so he is missing in the photo.


We left for a bit to get something for dinner.  Brenda, Jean and I went to the cemetery where David Swanzey, Carrie’s husband, and his children are buried.
We arrived back at the community centre for a memorabilia auction.  Again the money being raised was for the Keystone community events.  The items included cast photos, signed T shirts, Bill’s books and art done by Eric Caron from Montreal.  He had painted some pictures and built a miniature replica of the Little House from the show and put it on a glass dome, a masterpiece.  Charlotte Stewart donated 2 Beadle Bags that she had made and the cast signed a quilt made by a local lady.  The quilt sold for $320, Eric’s Little House globe went for $240 and his hand drawing of downtown Walnut Grove sold for $190.  Charlotte’s bags sold for about $200 each.
After the auction the cast came back for a meet and greet.  We were allowed to get personal pictures taken with them.  Karen wasn’t well enough to attend, likely tired after a very long day.  I had my photo taken with all of the other cast members, what fun.
Our event  had come to an end and it was time to go.  We got back to the hotel and got ready for bed.  What a wonderful, wonderful day.

Sun Sept 6th

We got up early to get packed up and out the door by 8 am.  Brenda and Jean had a plane to catch and we were invited to meet Bill for breakfast at his hotel.  Before leaving our room we had pictures taken of the 6 of us planning our next Diva trip.
We got to Bill’s hotel to find him waiting outside with Diva Nancy.  Carrie’s granddaughter joined us too and we went in and enjoyed time with all of them.  What a treat.  Bill gave us posters that he had left over and signed them for us.  It was a bonus.  Travelling with an Ingalls family member has great perks!
We were soon on the road again headed for home.  But wait, the trip isn’t over yet.  We’re headed to De Smet and WG!!  I was excited.
We arrived in De Smet at 5:05 (after a short sightseeing tour to see some lovely SD black cows, lol).  After checking into the hotel we went into town to the Surveyor’s house to check out the time that the tours start in the morning.  Then we headed to the main part of town and saw Pa’s house on Third St.  We took some pics while it was daylight and no one was around.  Next we went down main street and with the help of a little booklet, found out where things were in town back in Laura’s Day.  It was neat to see where Pa’s store was and where he walked to get wheat from Almanzo.  The depot was just down the street, not too far to walk to Ben Woodworth’s party.  Our few minutes really put the books into prospective.
We drove north to the Wilder’s homestead where Rose was born and to the tree claim.  We went to the cemetery and paid  our respects to the Ingalls, Dows, Boasts and the Rev & Mrs. Brown.  The cemetery is a quiet restful place a few miles from town.  It felt good to have a chance to pay respects to a family whom we all hold dear.
Next we drove to the  memorial site that marks the place where the Ingalls lived and farmed.  We took pictures of the cottonwood trees that Pa planted in homour of each family member.  
By this time the sun was setting.  We were happy to have seen all of the outdoor sites tonight and save the guided tour for tomorrow, 9am sharp.
We looked for a place to go for dinner but everywhere had closed so we went to Subway and then back to the hotel for the night.  Can’t wait til tomorrow!!

Mon Sept 7th

After a quick breakfast at the hotel and a few minutes of internet time we headed off to our DeSmet tour.  At 9am our tour guide, Cathy, came out and we entered the gift shop.  It was LIW Heaven, I was in glory!  We made a few purchases and the tour and then headed to the Surveyor’s House.  It was neat to hear how in By the Shores of Silver Lake Laura came through the back door and found it as it sits today.  She was thrilled to find an upstairs and a pantry full of food.  An organ sits in the front room that was the organ from the congregational church that the family attended.  Both Ma and Mary had played that organ in church.  In the room that the surveyors used to keep their tools, there was a 9” X 12” area taped on the floor to show the size of the claim shanty that they were moving from.  The SH was a mansion!  It stood on it’s original location for 5 years and was then moved to it’s current site in town.  At the back door there is a section of wall that shows what the house looked like in Laura’s day with it’s board siding.
After the SJH we went into a replica of the Bouchie school.  Cathy told how cold it might have been during those winter school days.  The winds would shake the little school and the cold air could easily blow through the cracks of the board walls.  It was hard to imagine the cold wind on a hot sunny day in September.
Next we went into the first schoolhouse of DeSmet where Laura and Carrie attended in town.  It had been made into a residence but is being restored to it’s former glory bit by bit.  They found parts of the blackboard underneath layers upon layers of wallpaper.  On the blackboard you can see a happy face that had been drawn by a student from long ago.  Estimates to resotre all of the blackboards on 3 walls would cost $50,000.  Floorboards were removed to show the original flooring and holes in the lowered ceiling showed what the original roof looked like as well.
We got into our cars and drove to the Ingalls home on 3rd St.  This house was built in 1887 after the family had lived on the homestead for 7 years.  They moved in on Christmas Eve.  Pa’s big green book was in a display cabinet in the parlor and was called POLAR AND TROPICAL WORLDS by Dr. G. Hartwig.  The parlor has been restored to what it looked like when Carrie took a picture of Ma sitting in a chair in the corner of the room.  Ma and Pa’s portraits were on the walls as they were then and it felt very homey.  Mary’s room was downstairs as she wouldn’t be able to climb up the very steep, narrow steps that let to the second storey.  After Pa’s death, Ma rented some of the rooms upstairs and downstairs to make money.  Grace was married in the front parlor a year before Pa’s death.  Rooms upstairs are dedicated to Rose, Carrie and Grace.  Some of their belongings are on display up there.
This ended our tour and Cathy returned to the SH for her next tour.  We stayed around the home and got some pictures taken on the front porch and by outside the SH and then we headed back into the giftshop to see a display of artifacts from the Archives Room.  It was interesting to read letters written by Laura and Pa’s account of coming to Silver Lake to work  and then spending the winter in the SH while the rest of the world was back in the east. We bought more items in the giftshop and then headed to the restaurant for lunch.
We asked our server about the statue of Father DeSmet and then went and took pictures of it.  We headed out of town and stopped back at the Memorial site to take more pictures of the cottonwood trees.  Our first stop there yesterday had us looking at the wrong trees, oops.  Lorrie and I had fun sitting in the long prairie grasses and imagining that Laura and her sisters were there with us.
Our time in DeSmet was done.  We stopped briefly and saw the Big Slough.  Silver Lake has been drained as part of a wetlands project so it wasn’t there to visit.  Onward to Walnut Grove!!
Entered WG at 3:45.  Population is 599.  We headed to the museum before it closed.  We had about an hour and 15 minutes to see the exhibits and shop in the shop there.  The first building had info about the Ingalls family and gave a history of their travels to all the States they lived in.  The next room was dedicated to the tv show and had artifacts from it.  The mantle from the Ingalls house with CICI is displayed in this room.  Dr Baker’s suit and medical bag are there too.  I was surprised at how big that bag really is, much bigger than it looks when he is carrying it.  There was also a model of the inside of the Little House.  Whoever worked on it did an amazing job, it was beautiful.
We went through “Grandma’s House” the sod house, church and a little red schoolhouse.  We had our picture taken in the schoolhouse which turns out to be the funniest picture of the trip.  I was reading, Lorrie was daydreaming, Beth is teaching and Dorothy is standing in the corner.  Too Funny!
After leaving the museum we headed to Plum Creek.  This was a special, sacred spot and it was really a neat experience.  The creek was just about dry which was disappointing.  We sat on Laura’s fishing rock and saw the dugout area.  We crossed the bridge and climbed up to where the dugout was.  It was a very small place.  The prairie grasses and flowers are still growing but we didn’t see any plums.  Lorrie, Dorothy and I took a walk on the trail around the tableland that Laura mentions in her book.  Beth was in the car chatting with other visitors.
Our LHOP adventure had come to an end and we headed for home.  Stopped for the night in Windom.  Our hotel was cool, each room had a garage for your car.

Tues Sept 8th

Today is Beth’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Sis, I love you.
We left the hotel at 8:30.  We had fun sharing childhood memories on the way home.  We crossed into WI at about 12:15 and stopped at a Perkins for lunch.  Little did Beth know but the rest of us had a party planned.  We ordered and ate our lunches but instead of bringing the bill, the waitress brought us each a piece of Oreo cheesecake and we sang Happy Birthday.  Dorothy gave Beth pics of the even in Green Bay when they met Dean and some Black Hills gold earrings.  I have her a sketch of Laura sitting in her chair, a copy of Beth’s last known photo of Laura.  She cried at both gifts.  Lorrie gave Beth a card and a hug.  It was a special time together on our last day.
We arrived back in Beaver Dam at 4:05.  We filled up the gas tank and then dropped Dorothy off at her house.  We are heading out to dinner to celebrate Beth’s birthday with hubby Dave and so Dorothy will join us so she won’t have to cook tonight either.
We arrived home at 4:34.  What an amazing trip.

Miles driven =1960




Last edited by LIWnut on Tue May 19, 2015 5:49 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Kristina
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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:07 pm

so far what I've read is really interesting, and the pictures are great! I'm supposed to be working on homework :shifty: but I will finish reading this later. thanks for sharing!
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Rob
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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:54 pm

Once I started reading I couldn't stop! What a great journal, Marilyn. You're really an excellent writer. You make the whole experience come alive. It's the next best thing to being there!

Thank you!
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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:18 pm

What a wonderful experience this was for you Marilyn and Lorrie!!! I am so happy you were able to do this.....



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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:29 pm

Wow very nice!


LETS GO PENS!
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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:25 pm

You kept awesome records Marilyn. I'm sure this was a wonderful trip. I'm so glad you all spent time together. Thank- you so much for sharing it with us.




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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:40 pm

That was loads of fun to read, Marilyn! Thanks for sharing it, and for sharing the pictures, too!
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Lori
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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:41 am

It sounds like you all had a great trip. Thanks for sharing it with us.


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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:30 pm

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Marilyn. I was hooked from the first few lines and couldn't wait to read on!

What a memorable trip and what lovely company to make it with.

Wish I could have been with you.




"To change your life takes a lot of courage and energy. It's not for wimps." Karen Grassle. April 2006
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Rob
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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:53 pm

Marilyn, you knew when you said this... "She was so nice but a little bit of Nellie shone through too"... that we'd ask for details. Enquiring minds want to know.
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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:40 pm

Well, she looks like Nellie and sounds like Nellie. But when we were talking, she just acted high strung like Nellie. She was showing us pictures that she had taken from her camera of the fires that threatened her home and she was just "Nellie-like" in her explaining of how she and hubby ran and got important belingings and their cats and how they threw everything into the car and left. Her expressions and mannerisms were so much like what we see in Nellie.
Also, at the meet and greet when we mingled with the cast and used our cameras to get pics of the cast, my friend Brenda asked Alison to have her tongue sticking out as I took the pic. Alison was thrilled with the idea and very happy to oblidge. So, I took the pic as the both of them have their tongues sticking out. It was just neat to see that a bit of Nellie lives on in Alison, even tho the show is long over.
One piece of info that I found interesting. Alison has been in contact with the family of the real Nellie Owens. The story is printed in THE BEST OF THE LORE, published by the LIW Society of De Smet.


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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:40 pm

Marilyn, thank you for sharing the details of your wonderful trip with us! I'm glad that you had such a fantastic time!! I loved looking at all of your pictures, too.


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pamh36
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PostSubject: Re: The Keystone Diaries   Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:27 pm

It sounds like you had a wonderful trip, Marilyn. I really enjoy reading the detailed accounts of your trip; it's almost like being there.


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