Pictures of the Week – Friday, June 8th

What a busy week! From Iowa to Minnesota and on to South Dakota, we’re continuing our travels across the U.S. We spent a great couple of days in Rochester, MN, with Scott’s buddy Eric and his wife Katheryn (many thanks, you two!), highlighted by some amazing meals, a fun hike and way too much Cookie Butter. Then we moved on to the sights of South Dakota – the Corn Palace, Wall Drug, the Badlands and the Black Hills.

This week also brought us an insane amount of photo fodder. We took well over 1000 pictures and had so many that we loved. Picking just three was quite a hard task. But don’t worry, we managed to do it so that our readers don’t also have to wade through hundreds of photos!

The Pagoda of…Des Moines?

As we left Des Moines last Friday morning, we headed first into the city’s downtown area for a couple shots of the Iowa State Capitol. When we’d gotten the pictures we wanted, we started our winding drive up to Minnesota by taking a road that skirted the Des Moines River. Imagine our surprise when we came across the gorgeous pagoda pictured above along our route. Not exactly what we expected to see in the Tall Corn State.

Thanks to the all-powerful Google, we discovered that the pagoda is actually the Chinese Cultural Center of America. It is surrounded with gardens and just down the street from the Des Moines Botanical Center. The view of downtown in the background is pretty sweet, too.

Don’t Mess With Mother Nature

On Tuesday morning, we got up early, packed up our luggage and started to load the truck. After trip #1 to the F-150, Scott came back in to the hotel room and said the sky didn’t look so hot. That was quite an understatement.

A more apt description would be that either a huge storm was about to hit or the world was ending. Given the look of the clouds that you see above, we figured both options were equally plausible.

Lucky for us, the storm clouds were moving northeast while we were heading southwest.

Cute, Cuddly & Deadly

This has been an INCREDIBLE week for wildlife viewing. From mule deer and red-winged blackbirds to buffalo and pronghorn antelope, we have seen a lot of cool critters.

One animal we have seen quite frequently this week is the cute little prairie dog. Whether in the wild or at a zoo, we’re sure most folks out there have seen these guys. They’re so darn adorable, popping up out of their holes and sitting up on their back legs. You almost want to go over and scoop them up for a little cuddle. Almost…

Turns out these cute little critters are also deadly! They carry the freaking PLAGUE!!

We bet you don’t think they’re so cuddly anymore.