Trip Start Aug 12, 2002
8Trip End Aug 29, 2002
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This is the first travelogue for me. Hope it is as interesting to you as it was for Bev and I. The sequence of each entry is the areas of interest as we passed through. Many of the places we passed through are not worth mentioning much less to add pictures.
Bev and Keith
We started out trying to get as far the first day as feasible. We left SW Missouri and drove north to South Dakota. Some 700 miles later we were near the end of the day in Mitchell. We saw sign after sign along the boring, flat, treeless tundra advertising the Corn Palace. It was well worth the stop and tour.
The Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD
This building has been existance for a long time. Each year the decor on the entire outside and many murals on the inside are re-done. The material is only the crops and grasses found in the area. Mostly corn (therefore, the "Corn Palace"). These pictures show some of the outdoor area and look closely - you can see the ears of corn and the bundles of wheat and grass. Nothing is dyed. The old was about to be taken down when we were there and soon the new design will be put up in the green, just harvested state. When all the grasses dry out the true design will be complete. The high school art teacher is the designer. The inside is actually the gymnasium for the school. In the summer students work the building giving tours and they have a gift shop on the gym floor. It is quite amazing.
This part of the country is flat with nary a tree insight. Drive for miles and all there are is crops of different kinds. The most interesting crop is the sunflowers. In August they are in full bloom and all of them face East - why is that? The locals have accepted that fact for so long they do not know why. The roads are staight with a speed limit of 70mph - that is about 110kmh for you others.
Traveling this part of the country requires that you NOT be tired. It is boring and will put you to sleep. Be careful. I will extend this warning to a lot of Wyoming and Montana. Only a small portion of these States are "worth living". Boy, am I going to get the hate mail now - but that is what a "hills and trees" person thinks.
Speaking for driving - the route now takes us to an oasis called Chamberlain. This is were the Missouri River crosses the "tundra" of the barrens. It was a major stopping point during the Lewis and Clark expedition. In fact, without planning that part of this trip - it follows the area of the Missouri River and results in a lot of references to the Lewis and Clark expedition. Not far from here is a turn for the worse.
Only an archeologist could say compliments about the Badlands National Park. It is a big chunk of worthless upheaveled land that will not support any growth.
Bev Tries to See Beauty
Keith Tries to See Beauty
The only thing that made us tour the park was once you enter - there is no way to go but on through. So why not search for any good reason to be here. We did try to see something interesting.
The Best Shot
The photos are the best I could do out of the many many taken. It still looks like the place to put an outdoor prison for bad convicts. I may seem a little strong about the feelings - but I hope I am never there on a hot day.
Enough of Barren Wasteland
After escaping the Badlands we continued West to Wall Drug.
The story of it's start and growth is intriguing. No matter where in the world you may be the chances of you seeing an advertisement for Wall Drug is good. It always gives the number of miles. Those signs get every mile apart in South Dakota. It started as a simple drug store and fountain but now is a conglomeration of many shops and entertainment.
Bev Taking a Rough Ride
In the "backyard" are many items of interest including the bucking bronco (really a mule)as the photo shows with Bev riding is all her glory. It is a MUST stop if in the area - but not a special trip just to go there. In other words, if you are on your way to Mt Rushmore from either direction - plan to stop at Wall Drug just to the East.
Speaking of Mt Rushmore - It is an awesome place. Now we are out of the "tundras" and past the "Badlands" into the mountains and trees.
Mt Rushmore is a rock carving unmatched by anyone. The only way to appreciate the enormous efforts and skill that went into making this monument is to be there. If you are there and do not go to the evening program it will have been a waste of time. It is moving and nothing replaces the experience of seeing it all and how it is presented. Do not miss it. The only photo I took that even come close to showing what I experienced is included here.