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My Two Cents: Planning a ‘staycation’

By Jessica Keddy, Special to the Pioneer Journal

We have one 17-year-old, two 7-year-olds and two 3-year-olds. As you can imagine, traveling is super intense, expensive and exhausting.

This summer we are planning a trip to Yellowstone, after going to a graduation in Billings, Mont. Other than that, we are staying put. Just because we aren’t going anywhere exotic, tropical or foreign doesn’t mean our summer vacations aren’t going to be awesome.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to write about all the amazing stuff there is to do, as well as places to visit in the 218, and more specifically the 631.

I keep hearing people say there is nothing to do here, so I decided to do some undercover investigating to find ideas so you can have your own staycation!

We moved to Illinois in July of 2002. While there, I wore an article of clothing that either had the word Minnesota, a town name in Minnesota or various colleges/universities in Minnesota on it, or at the very least, something that I had bought in Minnesota every single day. My friends in Illinois knew that when I talked about “home” it wasn’t Illinois. I truly think of Minnesota as my “Motherland,” and am proud of it and I hope you are as well.    

We bought a pop-up camper last summer from our friends, and plan to get our money’s worth out of it starting in a couple of months. I don’t care if we just set it up in our yard, we are going camping! One of the camping “trips” that I’m looking forward to the most is going to be in August. We are going to sleep under the stars to watch the Perseid meteor shower the night of Aug. 11.

According to, “The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to Aug. 24. It peaks this year on the night of Aug. 11 and the morning of Aug. 12. The first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving dark skies for what should be an excellent show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.”

If you’ve never watched a meteor shower, I highly recommend it. You see shooting star after shooting star. It gets really dark here at night, so we are looking forward to a good show! Our girls remember the one we watched a couple of summers ago. We took out some blankets and laid down at the end of our driveway.

Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have an exciting, fulfilling life. Money can’t buy memories. With a little digging and creative thinking, anything is possible. There really are a bunch of interesting things to do right here, and over the next few weeks hopefully I can tell you about them.

Sources for information about things to do in the area:

Wadena Pioneer Journal (, Community Calendar or Facebook)

105.9 FM – The SuperStation

94.7 FM – The Arrow (astronomy calendar and information)

I’m all ears, so if you know about something really cool in the area that I don’t write about, please call, write, email or fax the information to me so I can help spread the word.