Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Few Days Exploring

The last few days we have taken the motorcycle out and explored around Madison. One thing we learned real quick is that not all of the roads are paved. We were riding along south out of town and the county roads black top just ended. Some of the gravel roads are not too bad if you go slow, but some of them have recently had gravel laid down. With deep and loose gravel a 900 pound motorcycle is not a lot of fun. We managed to get back to some black top and tried to stay on it as much as we could.

The country side here varies from flat fields to rolling prairie. I have seen some big farms in Indiana and Oklahoma and Nebraska  but here I can see for miles and miles and miles of farmland without any building in site. Just a lonely road going through it.

We did find this neat address marker.



The campground has filled up for the weekend and it is still pretty quite for having so many people around. We could not understand why we did not see very many boats on this lake, but then learned that it is very shallow and most people camp here then take their boats over to Lake Madison which is bigger and deeper.

Saturday we decided to ride the bike up to De Smet. This is the homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Four of the nine Little House on the Prairie books were written about her life here. It was pretty interesting and probably would have been more interesting if we had read all of the books. There were several families here touring the town and the homestead.

In 1862 President Lincoln signed the homestead act. It would allow settlers to claim and prove up one quarter section of land, which is 160 acres.  They had to prove it up within 10 years. The filing fee for the 160 acres was just 16 dollars. Charles Ingalls found the land just out of the town of De Smet. Laura was about 13 and lived here until she was 18 and met Almanzo Wilder here.

When settlers claimed land the first thing they had to do was to get a shelter built. Out here there is not a lot of trees so most settlers used a Dug Out made out of sod or a Shanty from lumber they brought with them.

Here is what the Dug Out’s looked like. Basically it is about a 10 by 10 feet room dug into a side of a hill with sod used for insulation.



The Ingalls started out with a dug out then Charles added a small shanty. He made four additions to the shanty over several years.

Here is a shanty replicated from the information that Charles had sent in with his claim papers


Part of the tour was a wagon ride around the property. We went to the school that Laura went to. There the kids could dress up in the old cloths they wore back then. A woman gave the history of the school and what the Ingalls girls learned back then.


Maxine giving the Haflinger’s a scratch.


It was a pretty good tour and the gift shop had all the Laura Ingalls books and other assorted gifts. We have not read the books and did not want to spend that much for them. We will check out Amazon and see if we can get them for our Kindles.

Sunday morning we are working out some credit card issues. Someone else seems to be trying to use our card so we had to cancel and are getting new ones set up. While writing this my son called and it seems that I sent out a mass e-mail to all in my account which has a link attached. If you got one please do not open. Looks like my e-mail has been hacked. Sheesh!  I bet Charles Ingalls never had to worry about identity theft.

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