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After visiting Mount Rushmore we drove over to Crazy Horse Memorial. My wife and I have gone on the Crazy Horse Volksmarch a couple of times and are considering going again this year. It looks like they are currently working on the hand. It is always interesting to see the progress although it will not be completed in my lifetime.

There were some native dancers from Arizona performing while we were there.


We were up relatively early and headed over to Mount Rushmore from our hotel in Hill City. Although we are out in the Black Hills quite frequently we spend most of our time looking for wildlife or hiking. We had a couple of Linda’s sisters along with us so we spent more time visiting traditional sites on this trip. It was cloudy when we arrived but as the morning wore on the sun came out.

We were lucky to see some Mountain Goats as we walked along the boardwalk below the carvings.

There were a few flowers in bloom at the Monument.


My wife and I were in Lindstrom, Minnesota on business and had a break so we walked around town taking in the Swedish heritage. Since we had been in Sweden recently and my wife was reading the The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg we found it most interesting. The statue is of Karl Oskar and his wife Kristina who were the lead characters in The Emigrants.

The Swedish Coffee Pot Water Tower in Lindstrom.

The Kar Oskar Emigrant House.


The next morning we were up early and had a bite to eat at the hotel before walking along the water next to Kalmar Castle. It was a beautiful morning with some nice reflections in the water.

I managed to capture a few bird photos on the walk.

Mute Swan

Great Crested Grebe

While we were waiting for a ride we took a few photos of our Hotel. To say that it was a little quirky is an understatement.

We headed back to Skallby where we met up with the rest of the cousins for breakfast. This was a family home that had stood vacant for about 15 years. The cousins took it over and completely remodeled it. It is now a beautiful home.

We all piled into cars and headed for Vazjo and the House of Emigrants. It was actually closed but the family made special arrangements for us to get a guided tour. My wife had been reading The Emigrants which is the collective name of a series of four novels by the Swedish Author Vilhelm Moberg. They are rather graphic and depict the conditions under which many Swedes moved to America. Most of the history was news to me and I found it really fascinating.

After the tour we gathered at a local restaurant for a bite to eat.

When we returned to Skallby we stopped in the barn to check out an old car.

We then said a sad farewell to our Swedish cousins.

We made one more stop to visit the genealogists home. Linda and the genealogist had some work to do before we departed. He was the one who put us in contact with my wife’s Swedish relatives.

Part of the reason for taking the trip to Scandinavia was for my wife to connect with her roots. She had been working on her ancestry for some time and had developed a large tree with the Norwegian side of her family. She had been stymied on trying to develop her Swedish tree. About five months before we were scheduled to depart she found an individual in Sweden who was working on a family tree for the Olson’s as a favor for a friend. They were able to connect and the result was correspondence between long lost relatives. We modified our travel plans and scheduled a couple of days to visit relatives.

Early in the morning we walked to the outskirts of town to the local Toyota dealership. When we arrived it was closed and we were starting to be concerned when the rental agent drove up. He had been filling up the tank at the gas station and saw us walk by the station.

The rental car was a Volvo so we had to fiddle with the controls for a while and then go back and ask the agent about a few things. After a few minutes we headed out using our phone for driving directions. We hadn’t gone far when we encountered road construction and missed our turn. After a short stop to get oriented we made another attempt to get through the construction.

When we drove up to the cousins farm there were over a dozen relatives in the front yard waiting for us and the Swedish flag was flying at the farm house. Included in the group was the local genealogist who had reconnected my wife with her Swedish relatives. Just before we arrived a big American car drove by and they were sure that was us but we were driving a Volvo. We were invited in to get acquainted and participate in a morning brunch.

We then headed off to tour the homes of Linda’s ancestors. Our first stop was at Linda’s grandfather, Per (Peter) Olson’s,  birthplace. It was owned by a German couple who purchased it as a summer home. Apparently this is fairly common in this area of Sweden. They were very welcoming and invited us in to view the home. One interesting thing we learned was that most of these old farm houses can be purchased relatively inexpensively. A house like this would go for under $40,000 U.S. dollars. We are now thinking that maybe we could escape Trump by moving to Sweden.

Our second stop was Linda’s great grandfather’s home. It is amazing how well kept these old homes are.

Our third stop of the day was a visit to the childhood home of Linda’s  Swedish grandmother, Carolina Carlsson. This home was owned by a nice couple. He was Swedish and she was American. They had remodeled and updated the home and it was nicely done. She is an avid gardener and the yard was beautiful. Linda has a photo of her great aunt standing in front of the house so she recreated the photo with her and the current owners.

We stopped on the way to dinner to check out the horses. Linda’s cousin rides competitively and she showed us a couple of her horses.

One of the menu items for dinner was moose. The young man at the table is an avid hunter and shot the moose. Apparently they also have a large number of wild boars in the area. We were a bit surprised that so much wild game could still be found in Sweden.

After dinner we drove over to Arby Church where most of Linda’s relatives in Sweden are buried. Unfortunately they did not use headstones until relatively recently. However, there is a headstone for of Linda’s  Swedish grandmother, Carolina Carlsson.

We were lucky enough to attend a Swedish church service. Fortunately the minister sprinkled a little English in the service as well as adding a little humor.

It had been an interesting day. We picked up our car and headed back to Kalmar. We had no trouble getting back. The agent told us to fill up the car and we could leave it at a parking lot by the train station. After filling up the car we noticed that the car would die every time we came to a stop sign. We really started to worry that we put the wrong gas in it. All night we worried that we were going to find a large bill on our credit card because we wrecked the car. The next morning we were driving with one of the cousins to Vaxjo and noticed that his Volvo died at every stop sign. Turns out all Volvo’s sold in Sweden have this feature to save on gas. What a relief!

When we got back to our hotel early in the evening we found it locked up. The restaurant was closed and there was no one at the reception desk. It was like the place was deserted. We wondered why we were given a key to the front door. Now we know. It was Sunday and the place closed down.



The next morning we were up early for a great Scandinavian breakfast before heading out. Since we were only going to be in Copenhagen for a day so we decided to sign up for the Hop-on Hop-off Red Bus Tours. We managed to catch the first red line tour of the day. We didn’t get off anyplace we were just interested in getting the lay of the land. After the tour we stopped at the visitors center again (restroom break) and then decided to catch the next bus on the red line. Turns out there are more red buses than we realized and we tried to get on the Grey Line Red Bus tour. We waited for a while and saw another red bus and hopped on it. We hadn’t gone far before we realized we were on a different tour. We decided to stick it out and ended up touring another section of Copenhagen. When we came back into town we exited the bus and walked along the waterfront.

There was a lot of construction taking place along the waterfront.

Black Diamond Library

We walked along the waterfront until we found where our waterfront tour would start. As part of our Hop-on Hop-off tour we were allowed one water tour of Copenhagen.

There were a variety of housing units along the waterfront. These are some of the conventional housing units.

There were also a number of Squatters Houseboats along the waterfront.

It was the weekend and there was a lot of activity at the  Copenhagen Street Food Warehousen. We were dressed in our down jackets but the locals were going to be out enjoying the spring weather regardless of the temperature.

Our trip took us past the Royal Danish Naval Museum.

As we sailed past the training ship SJOKURS the cadets were out on parade.

We were also fortunate enough to see the Royal Yacht Dannebrog sailing toward the dock.

Copenhagen is all about the water. There were houseboats and boats everywhere.

Fortunately the tour boats were designed to fit under the historic bridges.

After the boat tour we boarded the Red Bus and rode out to Gefion Fountain where we got off.

From Gefion Fountain we walked past St Alban’s Church on our way over to Kastellet. We also encountered a pair of Mute Swans with their young.

The Kastellet was a popular place. It was a beautiful day and I was fortunate to capture a couple of birds in the park.

Eurasian Magpie


No visit to Copenhagen would be complete without a stop to see the Little Mermaid. We had sailed past it earlier in the day.

We then hopped a bus over to the Botanical Gardens. As I noted earlier it was a beautiful day and folks were out enjoying the Gardens.

I was able to capture a Jackdaw on the walk through the Gardens.

At this point we decided that everything we wanted to see was within walking distance so we started walking toward Nyhavn. This place was jumping on the weekend.

As we walked through Nyhavn we encountered the relatively new Inderhavnsbroen cycling and pedestrian bridge.

We then walked back along the waterfront where we encountered this interesting grouping of cargo containers. I think these were used for offices.

We eventually ran into the Stroeget Walking Street and took it back toward Tivoli Gardens. It was sure great to find cities that appreciate the value of walking streets. We tried to get Duluth to adopt the idea but all of the local business folks were fixated on protecting their street parking spots even though there was plenty of unused parking spots in the ramps. The Duluth business community apparently doesn’t get out much and they still are thinking cities function like they did 50 years ago.

No visit to Copenhagen would be complete without a visit to Tivili Gardens. After grabbing a bite to eat we walked back to our hotel after a very long day.

These are some of the photos I took on a walk through the farm prairie this week.

Monarch Butterfly

Gloriosa Daisy



Honey Bee

A few weeks ago we visited the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota. This was our first visit. We were impressed by their facilities. We spent the afternoon at the center listening to various presentations and viewing the displays. We were fortunate to see all of the wolves on display. They have two Arctic Wolves in the pack. While we were in Ely we also stopped at Jim Brandenburg’s gallery. He has an amazing display of photographs at the gallery. The international headquarters of Crapola is also located in Ely so we stopped by to watch them make Crapola and picked up a supply of it.

As you can tell by the title I’m a little behind in going through my photos. On the way back from our western trip we decided to drive through Custer State Park. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of wildlife we saw. I had seen coyotes in the park on an earlier visit when I noticed two of them trying to get to a buffalo calf. The adults in the buffalo herd made short work of that effort. On this day we saw two coyotes. This fellow was walking through a prairie dog town.

More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

There were a few buffalo around around. The bulls were off by themselves and the females were off giving birth. The calving season was just starting and we saw less than a dozen calves.

It was early so we weren’t sure if we would see any birds around the airport but they were already starting to nest. There were a number of Meadowlarks around. The Mountain Bluebirds and the Tree Swallows were fighting it out for nesting rights.

Of course there were the Prairie Dogs.

A few Pronghorns could be found at various places in the park.

We spent part of the morning touring Glen Canyon Dam. On the way out of town we stopped at Upper Antelope Canyon but the wait for a tour was too long so we headed for the days destination Goulding’s Lodge at Monument Valley. On the trip we noticed a sign for Navajo National Monument so we decided to drive over to take a look. We hiked several of the trails at the top of the mesa. At the end of the trail we had a view of the cliff dwellings. Unfortunately they were some distance away but we were able to view them through the camera. Tours are offered to the dwellings but we were too early in the season.


We hiked along the rim and had some spectacular views of the canyon below.

This was the first ranger station in the monument.

Back at the park entrance there were replicas of a hogan and a sweat lodge.

There were a few flowers out along the trails.