Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On the Road Again (Driving Across South Dakota)

On our mad dash to Rapid City, S.D., and Mount Rushmore my wife Mary and I made stops in Mitchell and Chamberlain.

The World's Only Corn Palace
My wife's friends from her workplace suggested that we see the Corn Palace in Mitchell, so we marked that on our map to make a quick visit as we drove across Interstate 90. And I'm glad we did because it's a unique building.

The Corn Palace auditorium 
Willie Nelson mural
The current Corn Palace, which doesn't charge admission, has been around since 1921 and attracts 500,000 visitors a year. The murals on the front and inside are decorated each year with corn, grains and native grasses to celebrate  the agricultural heritage of "The Mount Rushmore State" as well as promote events at the Corn Palace. It's a multi-purpose facility for conferences, sporting events, concerts, and much more.

Have you ever stopped somewhere and wished you had more time to visit other places? That's the way we felt after going to Mitchell. We enjoyed the "World's Only Corn Palace," but we would have loved to tour the Dakota Discovery Museum, Prehistoric Indian Village, and the George McGovern Center. We hope there is a next time for us to see those places in this scenic town. Mitchell has a lot to offer tourists.

Our next stop was in Chamberlain, recommended to us by a woman working at the visitors center when we entered South Dakota from Iowa. She raved about the statue of the Indian woman, which had been dedicated only a month earlier. I'm glad she did because it's something to behold, standing on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River.

The statue, Dignity, is certainly impressive -- 50-feet tall, weighing 50 tons -- all stainless steel. South Dakota artist laureate Dale Lamphere designed the sculpture to honor the proud Lakota and Dakota heritage of the state. The landmark is located in a rest stop off I-90 so you can take care of some other business while you're there, such as the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.  By the way, South Dakota has some neat visitors centers.

There is also the Akta Lakota Museum at the St. Joseph's Indian School and South Dakota Hall of Fame in this historic town -- places we'd like to visit on a return trip. My only complaint is the 20 mph speed limit, especially after coming off the 80 mph on I-90. Have you ever tried to drive a consistent 20 mph? It's not that easy!

After Chamberlain, we high-tailed it to Wall to see the famous Wall Drug Store. But we were disappointed because the place closes at 6 p.m.  For some reason I thought it would be a 24/7 place, with all the advertising and promotion you see about it along the highway. Oh well, maybe next time. 

More images can be seen at my Facebook page by clicking here

Next stop: Rapid City.

Until the next time....

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