Wednesday, August 28, 2013

West Trip....Day 1 and 2

Well.....the long awaited, anticipated, cousins trip finally arrived and on August 8th at 7:00 am, forty three cousins and friends of cousins got on board the.....
Pioneer Trails Bus for the adventure of a lifetime. In the mad rush to get boarded and everything stashed away, (it takes a lot of stuff to live on the road for two weeks) I forgot to take a picture, but here is the bus at the hotel the first night.
We do a trip every year varying from two to four nights, but every five years we do a long trip. This is that year and I've been looking forward to seeing some places I haven't been to, especially the Canadian Rockies. I hear they are pretty awesome.
The first day is a long driving day and nothing really noteworthy to report or photograph. 
We stopped for the night at a Holiday Express in DeForest, Wisconsin.
Since Wisconsin is the cheese capital, we checked out the Cheese Chalet across the street but decided to buy our cheese on the way home. We will be coming through Wisconsin again and we will get the aged cheddar cheese we like so well then.
Two of our passengers, my cousin Sara Mae and her Mom, my aunt Elsie, relaxing outside after a long day on the bus. This is their first cousins trip. We are so glad you could go along.
Day two is much like the first....a lot of driving! To pass the time I took some pictures of barns which I happen to love.
There were some nice barns.....
 some shabby barns....

and even some Amish Barns. It looks just like Ohio.
Eventually we arrived at our first touristy stop, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. I call it the worlds largest bird feeder!
The first Corn Palace was built in 1892 and the present building in 1921.
What makes it unique is the exterior is covered with thousands of bushels of corn, grain, and native grasses and arranged into murals.  A theme is selected each year by a committee and then a local artist creates the designs. This exterior has to be redone every year.
The Corn Palace serves as a multi-use center for the community. The facility hosts stage shows as well as sports events.
The walls in the arena are also covered in murals, which I assume don't have to be replaced every year like the exterior.

Our home for the night is the Comfort Inn in Mitchell, South Dakota.
'Russian Sage'
I love flowers so you will see lots of them in my blog posts.
Later that evening a few of us went to a near-by Cabelas.
 There were a few mammals I really wanted to see on this trip. One was a Moose and the other a Grizzly Bear.
Unfortunately this was it.
Coming soon....... the Badlands and Mount Rushmore.


  1. Thanks Pearl! This helped my withdrawal pangs!

    1. It makes me sad it's over:( As much as I was ready to get off the bus, I would do it all over.

  2. What a great trip you all had. Are these all really your cousins???? Huge family, huh???? Neat..... We didn't see the Corn Palace but hope to someday... We did see Mt. Rushmore and loved the Black Hills...

    Was the tour already planned and sponsored by someone? Did you have a tour guide? Sounds like it was all worked out for you... We've never taken a bus tour before .. I'm sure there are pros and cons about such a trip.. Being with friends/ family though is really nice. All ages????


    1. It was a great trip! Actually about half of these were cousins and their spouses, the other half were friends that were invited.
      One of my cousins owns the bus company and they plan most of the trip with some input from us. I don't think I would like just any bus tour but this is fun because we know each other.
      The pros are: everything is planned for you, motels are reserved, don't have to drive, it's fun being together. The cons are you can't just stop to take a picture anywhere you like, no time for hiking etc.
      And yes we had all ages. There was one person younger than me and the oldest was my aunt who is in her 80s.

  3. Pearl, I can't wait for the next blog. I love the old falling down barn. Doesn't that just bring back a lot of memories from how our Grandma's barn looked before it fell into a pile of rubble. I think we need to start saving right away for our next big trip. I have dreams of going back to Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Bar Harbor, and Acadia National Park, and etc. It makes me sad too that the trip is over. I miss everybody. I look forward to the reunion.

    1. I'm hoping that will be our next big trip in 5 years. Would love to see Nova Scotia. I hope I can make it to the reunion.

  4. What a great way to spend time with your family. Jx

    1. It is a lot of fun. Fortunately we all like each other!

  5. Your trip so far has visited some very lovely places. How neat that you all get together every year for family trip.. Such a wonderful idea and I am sure you all treasure every minute. Hugs Judy

    1. gets much better! We have a lot of great memories from these trips.

  6. For those who are interested, I think there are 55 of us Stutman cousins living. I can think of 3 not living. If all our Stutman cousins and there spouses would go along on our trips we would need several buses. I think this may have been our 11th trip. This was our second, 2 week trip. The first was Colorado. We've been to Elkins, W. Virginia which included Fallingwater in Pa.... Canandaigua, Fingerlakes, and Watkins Glen in New York....Sight and Sound in Lancaster, Pa. a couple of times....Grand Canyon of Pa. and some other interesting stops in Pa....Shenandoah Valley, in Harrisonburg, Virginia....two different trips to Ind....Mackinaw Island, Soo Locks, Tahquamenon Falls, light houses, and sand dunes in Michigan. If there are others maybe Pearl, can remember them. We love to go see all the beautiful things God created, but we also include things like how they roast coffee, how to make wine, how they manufacture vans, make pretzels, and the list goes on. Next year we go to Niagara Falls and other places in Ontario. Like Pearl said we all get along and like each other. We have made a lot of memories.

  7. We missed two of those trips. I don't want to miss another. Too much fun! We do have a lot of memories.
    I'm still hoping for a trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for our next long trip in 5 years.
    Besides this west trip my favorites have been the Finger Lakes and Michigan. I always like Sight and Sound too.

  8. Sounds like your trip was off to a great start. I remember visiting the Corn Palace many years ago. A trip I would like to make again.