NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA AREA

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Labor Day morning, September 2, Genie an I left from Albert Lea for our annual one-week stay at Arrowhead Lodge in the Big Horn Mountains above Sheridan, Wyoming. (We travel on Labor Day because there aren’t any road construction employees that day.) Our first time doing this was 1973 – thus this is our 40th anniversary.

The HHR Chevrolet pulled into Mitchell, S.D. to look at the new corn theme on the outside of the Corn Palace, for our first major stop. This year’s theme is “Celebrations” in honor of major U.S. holidays.

We were very fortunate to be helped at the County Fair Food Store in Mitchell by the most helpful and friendliest person in the Mitchell, S.D. area. Sue, you are great.

Our stop for the night was the Super 8 Motel in Wall, S.D. The evening meal at Wall Drug, plus saying, “Hi” to T. Rex in the Wall Drug back yard, is a must. According to a small sign, T. Rex eats every 12 minutes, completely devouring every 12th person – and the 11th person just left!

At the Super 8 we met four young ladies between the ages of one and eight from Sterling Heights, Mich. Moriah, Scarlet, Jane and Isabel could most certainly move to Minnesota and instantly qualify for our expression, “Minnesota Nice.” It may take their Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and Grandpa’s brother a few days, but I’m sure they would also qualify.

Tuesday morning we were on our way, and, 815 miles from Albert Lea, we arrived at Arrowhead Lodge that evening.

After hugs and handshakes from Yuki, Karen, Clay, Chad and Richard, Richard checked us into our favorite Rustic Cabin #3.

Wednesday was a day of rest to let our bodies get used to the 7,700 ft. elevation. The change in elevation can do funny things, like potato chip type bags will swell and pop. I lost most of a tube of toothpaste, as when I opened it, it went everywhere but on my toothbrush!

We did a lot of sightseeing and observing of the area wildlife. Mule deer, moose, elk, Arkansans, and a questionable outfitter named “Al” were our favorite observings.

Rustic Cabin #15 had a banner across the front: “Mule Deer Capital of Arkansas.” Three of the four occupants were successful, as each one got a very nice buck mule deer with huge antlers. The fourth guy didn’t want to chance getting a deer so he didn’t buy a Wyoming license. 

Their significant others figured each hunter spent about $1,000, with $40 paid instantly as interest and the balance of $40 monthly for the next 24 months. The Friendly Banker put the loan through as a stay-at-home loan, thus a tax deduction, even though the funds were spent on a three-day outing to Branson, Mo.

I’m sitting on the porch of Rustic Cabin #3 feeding the chipmunks, squirrels and mountain jays. A man comes walking by, spots my “Beaver Lake, Ellendale, Minnesota” T-shirt, and stops. He tells me the biggest fish he ever caught was a 10-pound northern at Beaver Lake. Small world – Jim Palmer, graduate of Albert Lea High School – isn’t it!!

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Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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