Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 8 & 9 - Down on the Farm

After the big wedding we followed Dick and Erika out to their farm, about 50 miles NW of Jamestown. Miranda (the new bride) is Erika's Grand Daughter and Erika is Charles' cousin. They have only seen each other once in the last 20 years so they had some catching up to do!

While we visited, Dakota was more than happy to make himself at home on the farm!

After deciding that chickens cannot be herded and ALL dogs are potentially dangerous, Dakota was happy to say goodbye to the farm.

Next stop... The Badlands of South Dakota!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 7 - Oh What a Night!

Dakota has had so much attention lately he's thinking of staying here in Jamestown. We tried to explain to him that the big party last was for the newlyweds, not him, but he does not believe us...

The Newlyweds Miranda and Dustin

We'll have more wedding pictures soon - here are just a few funny shots:

We're off to Dick and Erika's farm after breakfast and there's no internet there. Dakota will be back online when we get to the Badlands in a few days...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 6 - Where's Dakota?

You're still here? OK, here are some other things to entertain you while Dakota is away:

* Check out some interesting things about North Dakota

* Learn some cool trivia about Buffalo

Leave a comment if you want a postcard from Dakota, he thinks that licking stamps is fun...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 5 - Buffalo Dreams

We had an easy day planned today so we took the back roads from Fargo to Jamestown, ND (a.k.a. Buffalo City). We drove about 100 miles and got to see a few of the farming communities that are spread across North Dakota.

We made it to Jamestown about 12:00 so decided to visit the Frontier Village and the world's largest Buffalo before going on to the hotel.

We also found the National Buffalo Museum nearby which turned out to be one of the best small museums we have ever visited. This place tells you everything you ever wanted to know about Buffalo (and maybe a few things you didn't want to know). There were also some great wildlife exhibits that Dakota really got into...

After the museum we visited a great art shop filled with things from local artists. We met Bill Nybo there working on one of his pieces, a colorful cartoon illustration. We bought a few things then headed to Babb's coffee house (a Taste of Seatle) in downtown Jamestown for some great soup and coffee. There was a model of the Seattle Space Needle there and we had Dakota convinced it was the real thing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 4 - Off to Fargo, eh?

We had a relaxing evening at the White Rose Inn and a good night's sleep. Before hitting the road again we were spoiled with a wonderful home cooked breakfast. Charles had french toast, I had an omelet, Dakota had a little of both.
The breakfast room was decorated in ancient roman grotto style and Dakota really LOVED the decor.

We left Winconsin Dells around 9am with a goal of reaching Fargo, North Dakota by 5pm. The drive was pretty uneventful except for a scare when Dakota starting screaming we were going the wrong way. It didn't take us long to discover why he was so upset.

We had a few stops for gas and to stretch our legs but since breakfast was so good we skipped lunch and kept traveling.

Thanks to our wonderful GPS, LOLA, we located another Granite City restaurant near our hotel. We had a nice meal and Dakota, although he begged, did NOT get any beer tonight. He's still sulking.

Tomorrow, we head for Jamestown, North Dakota where we'll meet up with family and enjoy the weekend wedding festivities.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 3 - Are You Gonna Eat That Cheese?

Dakota woke us early shouting "I'm hungry!" We showered and took him to the free breakfast in the hotel lobby.

We all had the same opinion of breakfast...

After departing Mount Vernon around 8am we drove for hours and hours. We learned that Illinois is a very big state (South to North) and it is very flat. Dakota was excited to see his first corn field and grain silo, not so excited about the next 50. He slept until Wisconsin.

We were making good time and had a few hours to kill so we asked someone where we might stop for an afternoon of entertainment. Someone told us "Wisconsin Dells" was a lovely spot - we headed that way. On the road Dakota picked out a nice Bed and Breakfast from a magazine and I called and made a reservation.

After we checked in to the hotel we went for a walk around town. It is a friendly tourist town and reminded us a lot of Helen, Georgia. We did manage to find a really good cheese shop on the far end of Main Street.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the River Walk Pub and sat on the patio over the Wisconsin river to enjoy a beer. Dakota wanted to try beer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On the Road - Day 2

The day started out slow - Dakota complained of a headache (could it be the bottle of wine from last night?). I made him join me on a side trip to visit my best friend who lives nearby in Canton, Georgia. When we got there we were introduced to the new family member, "Annie", a very cute Sheltie. Dakota was fascinated by this small dog and wanted to say hi. Here's what happened:

We left Mom and Dad's around 11 am, hoping to travel around 500 miles today. Dakota was quiet for most of the morning. I would say he was sleeping but since he can't close his eyes it's really hard to tell. We stopped for lunch near Chattanooga and that's where Dakota has his accident. While jumping into Charles' pocket his foot fell off. He took in all in stride and we soon had everything back in order.

He perked up after lunch and was soon reading the highway signs to us to make sure we did not miss anything.

We made a bathroom stop at the Kentucky state border and Dakota had to get his picture made in the welcome center. He's such a ham...

He was also fascinated by the mini pumpkins on display...

We arrived in Mount Vernon, Illinois around 5:30 pm and decided to stop for the night. Found a good room for a fair price and checked in. Dakota had a big day today so we decided to leave him in the hotel tonight and go out for a romantic dinner. he seemed fine with it:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dakota's First Day on the Road

Dakota was cranky this morning because we woke him before 7am. We had to get over to the car rental place by 9 to pick up the rental car. We brought the car home, loaded up our bags and we were on the road by 11am.

His mood improved when he discovered he had a traveling companion in the new rental car. "Lola" the GPS was talking to him in a smooth, silky voice and he soon fell under her spell.

We stopped in Dothan, Alabama to buy gasoline and we (Dakota included) were shocked at the price per gallon. We had just paid $3.59 a gallon on the beach but in Dothan the price was 3.79!

This is very strange because normally the price goes down as you head north. We talked to a friend in Atlanta and learned that because of gas shortages in Texas, many Atlanta stations were OUT OF GAS!

After filling the gas tank, Dakota said it was past his lunch time. We were hungry too so we stopped at Wendy's. While I was getting a straw, Dakota dove into my salad .

I grabbed the fork from him and sat him on the other end of the table with a pack of saltines. Dakota was not happy. I'm glad Lola stayed behind in the
car, she would not have approved of Dakota's colorful language...

Another three and a half hours on the road did not improve anyone's mood but traffic was light so we made it to Mom and Dad's in good time. We arrived around 7:30pm and socialized for a while in the kitchen. We suddenly realized we had not seen Dakota for a while and when we went to the bedroom this is what we found...

He is so busted when he wakes up, those mini wine bottles were MINE!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A 4000 Mile Drive...

OK, you're probably saying "What?!? Are you insane? Gas prices are through the roof!" It turns out that traveling by car is not much more expensive than flying, especially with a cheap, fuel efficient rental! The added benefit is we get to see a lot of this great country along the way. I'll not be able to flatten anything on this 3 week trip (except a few bugs and snakes with the car). I've decided to blog our trip through the eyes of a tiny travel companion:

We pick up the car Monday morning and head to Atlanta for our first stop.
Stay tuned... This could be funny.