In the plains and wide open spaces of South Dakota, where we are and a few other states out west there lurks a danger hidden in plain sight. Since the late 1950’s there have been over a thousand minuteman missiles hidden in silo’s, ready to be launched at any time. Today we went to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Set up in the early 90’s after a worldwide treaty, between the United States and Russia to reduce it’s missile supply. This was a really eye opening visit, learned a lot and went away with a feeling of how mankind has figured out a way to kill us all. Now there are only about 500 Titan III minuteman missiles around. In Wall, where we are there is one base nearby, with a unassuming house surrounded, by barbed wire, guarded day and night. While below 60 feet in the ground is a launch control room, manned by two people round the clock, waiting. Surrounding them are 10 silo’s each carrying a Titan III, with three, 10 megaton warheads attached, ready to launch, if word came from the president. I don’t like that. We also went to the Delta 9 site, which houses a real Titan II minuteman missile. From the glass dome above you can peer down and view the thunder of death. With it’s solid fuel inside it would only take thirty minutes to travel 5000 miles to it’s intended target. There have been about twelve close calls, the Cuban missile crisis a big one, but one in 1973, when the U. S. radar screens lite up with multiple missiles launched, from Russia, only a few minutes later realizing someone put in a computer tape of a training simulated attack. Also one in 1983 on the Russian side, where the commander was ordered to fire on the U. S. . He disobeyed this order, hesitated and figured out there was a glitch somewhere, and fixed it. He was stripped of his command, and cast aside for his actions in saving the world, go figure.
Did you have to duck in cover under your desk in school?
We are now in the Badlands area of South Dakota, staying in Wall at the Sleepy Hollow campground for a few days. We are finally here, YES. Drove 296 miles today going West in the high plains area of low rolling hills, was very pretty. It was also a very pleasant ride, not a lot of traffic and not windy. We saw the badlands on our left getting here, what a sight really cool. Wall also has the Famous Wall drug store, thousands of people stop here every day to get there free water. Melissa will make a post on all this soon.
Right now I am going To mossie on over to make myself another drink.
Dave took me on a surprise trip to Pipestone MN., about 40 miles from here, And I’m glad he did! It was an enjoyable visit for sure!
Dave didn’t know much about Pipestone only that it was a National Monument. He knew it had something to do with Indians, because it was on sacred ground, he thought it was going to be some kind of mound.
As it turned out . . . . For countless generations, American Indians at this site have dug out the red stone used for the carving of their ritual pipes used in prayer, Peace Pipes As noted in the seminal text of Native American religious beliefs and practices, Black Elk Speaks, “When you pray with this pipe, you pray for and with everything.” The American Indians believed that the smoke from a pipe made a connection to the Great Spirit by carrying prayers aloft. These grounds are sacred to many people. The traditions of quarrying and pipe making continue here today.
Pipestone National Monument — home of the historic Pipestone quarries, beautiful tallgrass prairie, and the majestic Winnewissa waterfall.
Pipestone National Monument visitor center has a museum, orientation film, exhibits and a gift shop.
The best part is that they also have pipestone carving demonstrations by American Indians. We talked to three of the demonstrators who had their talent passed down to them by many generations. And we got to see them use the primitive tools that were used long ago.
Cindy showing us what they used to make the hole in the pipe. Dave is sanding down, rounding off a piece of pipestone.
Travis Erickson is a Fourth Generation pipestone artist. He work is exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute. He said all the Indian tribes from the West came here to get their pipes. And that old paintings of Indians holding their pipes, their pipes came from Pipestone.
Another great part about the park is the ¾ mile walking trail along Pipestone Creek, Winnewissa Falls, and the tall grass prairie where digging for pipestone was and is being done.
They definitely had to dig down deep to get to the pipestone layer.
When you look thru the oracle you see the outline of this face.
Minnesota pipestone is said to be the preferred source among Plains tribes due to the quality of the stone. According to oral tradition the site was used by people of all tribes, and that all tribes – even enemies – laid down their arms before quarrying side by side.
As always the white man started to take away their land so this National Monument was established by an act of Congress on August 25, 1937, with the establishing legislation reaffirming the quarrying rights of only Native Americans. Any enrolled member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe may apply for a free quarry permit to dig for the pipestone. Only members of registered Indian tribes are allowed to quarry at the site now.
Examples of pipestone that were made here at the park.
We are now at the Gogi Bear Campground near Sioux Falls South Dakota. YES, we are finally here, after two years of delays, we are out West. Drove 358 miles today, the most ever. It was a hard day of driving, at first not bad, got into Iowa, and I-29 north was closed for construction. Detour went 35 miles around, then back tracked a ways ,then put us on two small service roads. WHAT, it was not marked well, glad it wasn’t real busy, still watching semi’s and Rv’s like me making turns was pretty nerve racking. Whoever thought of this was nuts, they even had state troopers, in the area watching for speeders. Iowa, never again. In total about 75 miles in detours, insane. Then the wind picked up about 40 mph or so, driving right into it, I had a hard time keeping 60mph. Going north into South Dakota was a little better, but was over 7 hours driving for me , i’m tired and cranky. However a few drinks later I am fine. Be here a few days.
We are now at the AOK Rv park in St Joseph Mo., just a little above Kansas City. Drove 196 miles today to get here. Turning onto the road to the park it was dirt and stone, this isn’t the road we said, so we turned around and parked to call them. Sure enough you drive 1/2 mile down a dirt ,stone actual rural road to get here, but this is not a bad park. Tomorrow we drive to Sioux Falls South Dakota. Pictures below of site.
We planned to Visit Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House in Bentonville but to our surprise it was located inside what is know as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It’s an incredible place!
The museum has a renowned collection ranging from Rockwell to Warhol in a museum-structure set on 120 acres.
Surrounded by 120 acres of the Ozark forest, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is definitely a different kind of museum. They like to say it is a mixture of art & nature in harmony. Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 as a non-profit charitable organization by arts patron Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam Walton who started Walmart, it opened up to the public in 2011, since then museum has welcomed more than 5 million visitors.
Architect Moshe Safdie pictured a building that would complement the surrounding landscape. Nestled into a natural ravine, the museum mixes the element of water on the site through two spring-fed ponds that are spanned by two signature bridge structures and surrounded by a group of pavilions housing museum galleries and studios. A Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house was preserved, acquired, and moved to the museum grounds in 2015, and a rare Fly’s Eye Dome by Buckminster Fuller was installed in 2017, showcasing two American architectural masterworks in a natural setting that also includes five miles of sculpture and walking trails.
Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection spans five centuries of American artworks from Early American to the present, with an emphasis on artists underrepresented in art history and conventional museum settings. Works such as Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits, Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington, and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed are displayed alongside pieces by contemporary artists.
Around the museum they have 5 miles of trails with different kind of art work. We only were able to walk a mile due to time limitations, but you could actually spend a day here.
This painting by Charles Schreyvogel was my favorite. He mad you feel like you were going to be shot by the cavalry soldier for sure.
Dave & I were glad we stopped to see this art exhibit. I could only take a few pics but the paintings were fantastic. It reminded us of the time our friends Don & Mary took us to an art museum in Ohio where we saw some great paintings as well. We made sure we didn’t get to close to the paintings. 😊
Inside the 120 acres is what we came to see the Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House.
This house was originally built for Gloria Bachman Wilson and Abraham Wilson in 1954 along the Millstone River in New Jersey. It was subsequently purchased by architect/designer team Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino in 1988 and meticulously restored. However, the structure was threatened by repeated flooding at its original location, and the Tarantinos eventually determined that selling the house to an institution willing to relocate it was the best option for its preservation. Crystal Bridges acquired the house in 2013. The entire structure was then taken apart and each component was labeled, packed, and loaded into two trucks for transportation to the Museum. After its 1,235 mile journey, the Bachman-Wilson House arrived in Northwest Arkansas in April, 2014. Scott Eccleston, Crystal Bridges’ Director of Operations, spearheaded the reconstruction process. The Frank Lloyd Wright house is now situated a short distance from the Museum’s south entrance, with views overlooking the native woodlands and Crystal Spring.
When you walk in the house and enter the living room you definitely get the feeling your linked to the outside and nature with all the windows.
The first floor living room, dining room, kitchen and guest room and there is also a bathroom on the first floor.
We weren’t allowed to go up the stairs because of deterioration but I got pictures from their website. There is a master bedroom, bathroom and another bedroom that goes out into the terrace.
An impressive house for sure, he was way ahead of his time.
The adventure doesn’t stop there. We also went to where the first Walmart store was born, where the Walmart Museum is.
Company founder Sam Walton was born in 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. In 1950 the Waltons moved to Bentonville, Arkansas where Sam opened a Ben Franklin franchise store that he named Walton’s 5&10. It proved successful and over the next decade he opened 14 stores. In 1962 Walton cut ties with Ben Franklin and established his own company. His first store under the name Walmart opened that same year in Rogers, Arkansas. The company grew steadily, spreading nationwide by the 1970s. Walton opened the first Sam’s Club in 1983 and the first Walmart Supercenter in 1988. By the 1990s, Walmart had become the nation’s top retailer, and had expanded internationally. The rest is history.
The Walmart Museum tells the early history of the global business and its founder, Sam Walton. Owned and operated by Walmart, the museum is housed in the original Walton’s 5&10, the store that began the Walton family’s retail empire. It contains multiple exhibits, a vintage toys souvenir shop, and an ice cream café. The museum has had over two million visitors since it first opened in 1990.
You enter thru the original Walmart 5&10 store to the Walmart museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures but I got these from their website. It has the original red & green floor tile.
It was a great tribute to Sam Walton & Walmart. Lots of displays and very informative. Sam started the first Walmart store in 1962 and the first one to come into the Western New York area was in the 1990s. He had great ideas about the customer being the boss.
you exit thru The Spark Cafe that serves ice cream. Ice cream was one of Sam Walton’s favorite things so they added it to the museum. We both got ice cream cones, waffle cone with one scoop of ice cream for $1.59 a cone, can’t beat that.
The Walmart museum was fun and educational. I can see Sam Walton’s ideas of how to operate a store by being a friend to everyone and the customer being always right was the way to operate. But now there being thousands of Walmart stores in the US and some in other countries, it certainly has lost that small town charm & feel.
Walmart funded Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Walmart Museum so a very nice thing they did was to make it free to everyone. We had another great day.
Who would have known that Daisy Air guns is located in Rogers, Arkansas and they have a great Airgun museum right by where we’re staying ?!! It was definitely a great find.
Daisy was started in 1882 as Plymouth Iron Windmill Company in Plymouth, Michigan. In 1886 the company started to give away BB guns with purchases of windmills. The gun was so popular the company started to sell guns instead of windmills. The gun received its name when General Manager Lewis Cass Hough fired one and enthusiastically said “It’s a Daisy!’ In 1958, the company moved the corporate offices and manufacturing facilities from Plymouth to Rogers, Arkansas.
First Poster for Daisy Air Guns
The sturdy little Daisy BB gun quickly became a staple with American youth, and youngsters all across America cut their shooting teeth on a Daisy.
A lot of BBs of have rolled out of the barrel since 1958 and Daisy still dominates the air gun category with tried and true models like the legendary Red Ryder. First introduced in 1938, the Red Ryder BB gun became an iconic American toy, and is still in production today. It has sold over 9 million units, easily making it the most famous BB gun ever built. Modeled after the western Winchester rifle, Red Ryder was the comic book cowboy hero created by Fred Harman, and from 1944 to 1949 portrayed in a series of B-Westerns by Wild Bill Elliott.
World War II During the war Daisy made 37mm canisters for the war effort and two models of wooden toy guns, the Chattermatic and the Commando. They also switched over to defense projects like the rest of American industry and focused on items ordered under War Department contracts and sub-contracts, such as the parts you see displayed in this case. Gaskets were produced for AC Spark Plug Division, switches for Square D Manufacturing, ball races for Palmer-Bee, washers for Ligon Brothers, and dies for Bendix Aviation, Nippert Electric and Pilgrim Drawn Steel. Of the company’s total sales from 1942 to 1945, almost 24% were from products for the war and the balance were from non-steel toy products.
“With a 1000-shot Daisy Repeater, you can shoot both straight and often.” – Daisy MFG. CO.
Daisy is one of the earliest makers of BB guns, creating a model in 1900. “BB” stand for “ball bearing.” Daisy has been a dominant brand for over a century.
“You’ll shoot your eye out”
A Christmas Story is one of Dave’s favorite movies. He remembers having a Daisy BB gun when he was a kid. We were also at The Christmas story house museum in Ohio another great place.
“I’m here to kick ass and drink whiskey. And Pilgrim, I’m out of whiskey.” John Wayne
The noteworthy thing about turn-of-the-century Daisy BB guns, said Penn State history professor Gary Cross, is that these “toys” were marketed to adults. One 1890 catalog billed its air rifle as “just the thing to make the neighbor’s cat scratch and growl and doggy fly for home”; another similar rifle was advertised as a parlor game. Pest control and family entertainment, not shoot-’em-ups in the back yard.
Over the years, Daisy has manufactured nearly 100 different models of toy guns and nearly 400 different models of bb and pellet guns for youngsters and adults and their still going strong.
They made their first firearm in 1968 which fired a “Caseless Ammunition” round. It was called the VL0001 and was fired with a revolutionary type of propellant, similar to rocket fuel. The ammunition was developed by a Belgian petrochemist by the name of Jules Van Langenhoven. Thus the model designation “VL”. The gun went out of production in 1969. In 1990 Daisy began manufacturing their “Legacy” line of conventional .22 caliber firearms. There were a total of six models, including: two single shot rifles, two bolt action rifles and two semi-automatic rifles. Three had copolymer stocks and three had hardwood stocks.
When we left they gave us this 50th anniversary of the Museum token. If your ever near Rogers Arkansas stop in and check it out. As Dave said it took me back years.
Today, Daisy (now known as Daisy Outdoor Products) focuses on manufacturing toy guns, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, paintball guns and accessories. Their general offices and museum are still located in Rogers, Arkansas, but their assembly operations have been moved to Neosho, Missouri.
Yesterday we went to the Pea Ridge National Military Park. This civil war battle occurred early in the war , March 7 and 8 1862, in the freezing cold of northwestern Arkansas. This was a really cool place to visit , I had little knowledge of this battle before.
Missouri was not to fall into Confederate hands so the union under General Curtis and his 11,000 man army had been driving them deeper and deeper until they fell behind the Boston Mountains in northwest Arkansas. There the confederates formed up and now were under the command of General Earl Van Dorn, who’s army now consisted of 16,000 men. He decided to strike and capture St. Louis. There were few roads to move an army and the union knew this they set up a defense at Little sugar creek , just below the pea ridge plateau, his main army was atop this area, waiting. Van Dorn found this out and managed to move around the entire union army on the night of March 6th, it was no easy feat, in the cold and snow. However in doing so to gain speed he left behind his wagons of food, clothing and most importantly ammunition, this would come back to haunt him. Half his army fell behind so he split his forces and ordered General McCullochs to take command of that half and attack from the west while he made his way east. On the morning of March 7th the union was completely surprised they were under attack from the rear. As McCullochs was moving his troops he was shot dead, by union troops approaching, also shot dead was Brig. Gen Mcintosh. Without any command structure this half of the army had no idea what to do and were useless in the first days fight. Van Dorn’s troops on the other hand hit hard, the union held out as best they could but had to retreat back. A few stubborn German speaking brigades of union infantry had had enough and decided to hold there ground. They stopped the advance of the main body of confederates for awhile but they too had to fall back. As nightfall came Van Dorn had taken the Famous Elkhorn tavern and the crucial two roads Telegraph road, and Huntsville road. Believing he had victory in his grasp as he had cut off the supply route to the union, he felt confident the morning would bring swift victory. Not to be on the morning of March 8th General Curtiss counterattack, he amassed 23 cannon to bombard the tavern area, for tow hours the cannonade battered the confederates, then came the long one mile charge of 10,000 union soldiers, this broke the back of the weary confederates. Having little ammunition left, as there were no ammunition wagons around, he had to break off the attach and retreat. His men would never trust Van Dorn again. The union lost about 1,100 men and the confederates lost over 2,000 men in battle. The confederates would never again try to invade the Missouri state again.
Stop 1: Above, Trail of Tears, A trail dedicated to all American Indians.
Stop 2: Above Pratt’s Store/General Curtis’ Headquarters, here he set up his defense line below at the Little Sugar creek At this site stood Lewis Pratt’s general store. Besides the store, it is believed that there were several other buildings on the site.
Stop 3: Above, LeeTown, Founded in the 1840s by John W. Lee, a farmer from Kentucky . Leetown was one of the earliest settlements in Northwest Arkansas. The town sat in the middle of a broad, wooded plateau bordered by Pea Vine Ridge to the north and the Little Sugar Creek to the south. It is historically significant for its role as a field hospital or the U.S. Army during the Battle of Pea Ridge. Most buildings and structures were used as field hospitals. Nothing remains of the once thriving community of Leetown except for this open field and the grave of Robert Braden. He was born in 1864 and died here in 1866.
Stop 4: Above,Leetown Battlefield-Day 1, this is where the confederates came out of the woods behind Lee town, they surprised the union as they were facing the other way. However they were able to shoot dead two Confederate Generals, which caused the attack to stall
Stop 5, Above, the armies clash here a little behind Leetown in an open field, fighting back and forth , the confederates work there way around to the Elkhorn Tavern and capture it from the Union cutting off there supply route. Union cannon stop the advance and the days fighting is over.
Stop 6 and 7 Above are overlooks, stop 7 had the best view of the battlefield. My picture shows the field today in pristine condition still. Behind me is the Elkhorn Tavern and Historic Telegraph Road, which the Confederates captured. Below this hill in the woods was the confederate army waiting for morning to come . From here it is where General Van Dorin claimed victory was his in the morning. The plaque picture is what he faced in the morning, a reinforced union line of over 10,000 men and cannon. They opened fire on the morning of March 8, cannon fire lasted two hours. The confederates being out of ammunition had to end the fighting and withdraw.
Stop 8 Above Elkhorn Tavern Above, Built in 1836 as a one story home and stage coach stop on the pea ridge plateau along the Telegraph road. Was described as a place of “Abundant good cheer” until the war came. Built to a two story in the 1850’s, and during the Pea Ridge battle used as a supply depot for the union then captured by the confederates. The house was burned to the ground by Confederate guerrillas in 1863, with the present building being a historic replica. In my pictures I am standing in the historic Telegraph road, looking at the Tavern and out away from it all covered in grass now long ago lost to history.
There are only two monuments here, they were erected in the late 1880’s. A 25th reunion was held here when the monuments went up, after that memories fade, and bodies grow tired. In 1956 President Eisenhower signed into law the creation of Pea Ridge as a National Military park.
We are now at Praire Creek Corps of Engineers park, near Bentonville in the extreme northwest top of Arkansas. We got here yesterday after driving 131 miles from Russellville. We are also gaining elevation as it was almost all uphill. The campground sits along the ridge which goes to the lakes, so it is very hilly here. The best part is that with my senior pass discount it cost $13:00 a night, thats with electric and water, along with access to the beach and marina. Be here till Friday visiting a few places. Pictures of our spot below.
The last two days we visited this park. The park sits on top of a small flat mountain top. Glad we did not have to get the fiver up there, very curvy steep roads, although they have a campground, and we did see lots of big rigs.
Petit Jean mountain as it is called got it’s name from a tragic event. A young French girl, wanted to go with here fiancé to the new world, he said it was to dangerous. So she cut her hair and dressed up as a boy, and boarded ship. They sailed the Arkansas river and stopped at this area, became friendly with the Indians. When fall came they were about to set sail again, when Petit Jean (Means Little John) as they called HIM, got sick, gravely sick. they soon found out he was a she and summoned her fiancé. She asked his forgiveness, and soon died. She was buried atop the mountain she so loved.
Petit Jean is Arkansas’s first state park. The land was set aside as a park in 1923, with little improvement, until the CCC arrived, Company 1781-V (Arkansas veterans) during mid-July 1933. The CCC-WW1 Veterans built the lodge overlooking Cedar Creek Canyon that was named in honor of the late National Park Service director Stephen T. Mather, who had encouraged the state to establish Petit Jean State Park in 1923. Natural stone and log cabins were built, a visitor center, Mather lodge, a water tower, and other pavilions, along with hiking trails and bridges. These structures remain the focal point of Petit Jean State Park. They are the ones who made the park what it is today. The 200 men that worked here for almost 8 years during the depression, turned a wilderness into a state park. And so it is named Petit Jean State park in honor of Little John.
It continues to be very hot here, with the humidity it’s been 100 degrees again, so rather than takings a long trail, we did a bunch of short hikes. We ventured to places like, visitor center, pioneer cabin, bear cave, rock house cave, palisades, and cedar falls overlook. The cedar falls trail to the bottom of the falls is something we did want to do, but it being a long downhill hike (which means you have to come back up) along with the fact the falls was really not running good, we opted to not do it with concerns of the heat.
New visitor center that opened in June 8, 2012
Old visitor center built by The CCC got to small for the needs of the park
The CCC built all these trails and placed these rocks
The picture on the bottom left, if you look really, really close you’ll see he building on the bottom right.
Mountain side where Petit Jean is buried.
Stout’s Point Overlook
Our second day at Petit Jean we visited Mather Lodge and surroundings. One of Arkansas’s historic treasures, Mather Lodge holds the distinction of being the only lodge built in Arkansas by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Very impressive place.