It is honestly hard to believe that we are only at the end of day four, and we are sitting tonight in Wall, South Dakota! Today was a very good day, as we traveled from Minnesota to South Dakota on Interstate 90. We stopped at one ridiculous attraction, and the traveled to one of the true wonders of our trip. As we hit South Dakota, the speed limit became 80 MPH and about halfway through the state, we crossed magically from the Central time zone to the Mountain time zone. Today we traveled a total of 389 miles, and for the first time in 3 days, we didn’t come across the gray house on the Interstate! We did however come across weird animal sculptures, more wind farms, and we crossed the Missouri River!
We stopped at a rest stop as soon as we crossed into South Dakota to pick up a map (well, after we hit the bathroom) and ran into one of the most incredible S. Dakota Tourism employees! Susie and I spent close to 10 minutes listening to him lay out things for us in the Black Hills, including Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Deadwood, and even Devil’s Tower…which is in Wyoming! I told Susie I could have spent the whole afternoon listening to him! What a great ambassador for the state he is!
Next we headed to a place he didn’t mention, but that Susie had read about and that we’d seen signs about along the side of the road for miles. The Corn Palace in Mitchel, South Dakota! I don’t know what we expected, but what we got was a local auditorium where they play basketball and have shows (Styx is performing there tomorrow night). I guess its claim to fame is that every year the front facade is decorated with various designs that are all made of corn. Yea, I know…BFD! We were not the only disappointed folks, as Susie heard the wife of a couple that had come in with us say, “I’m sorry we came here.” I guess we should have remembered our South of the Border lessons. Too many billboards on the side of the road usually equates to a rip-off tourist attraction!
On the way to our next stop, we discovered two things. The first was that the bug screen on the front of the car didn’t like 80 MPH speed, as it blew from the front of the car, over the hood, and lodged itself over the windshield wipers. That necessitated getting of at an exit so we could reset it! We also discovered that the GPS wasn’t thrilled with 80 MPH either, as shortly after the bug screen incident, it jumped off the dashboard! The things we are learning on this trip!!
Now, our second stop of the day was something that caused both of us to say “Wow!!” the first time we got out of the car! I’m talking about the Badlands National Park! The first wow is that I got my National Park Senior Pass. $10 for lifetime admissions to the National Park system! That will save us some money in the coming weeks! Then there was just the sights that we took in. Just like when we visit Red Rock Canyon outside of Vegas, there was an incredible quiet that seems reverent, as well it should be! Hard to describe the awe inspiring views, so I’ll just let some pictures tell the tale. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!
As I said, we are in Wall tonight, home of the famous Wall Drugs. I think this is kind of like the South Dakota version of South Carolina’s South of the Border. Having just come back from there, it appears that the little roadside store that existed on whatever the road was before Interstate 90 blew through town, has grown into a 2 block enterprise. Wall Drugs, Wall Western Shop, Wall Cafe, Wall blah blah blah! We happened to have eaten in one of the many “Wallville” enterprises, the Badlands Saloon and Grill! We both had buffalo burgers, and enjoyed them. The rest of the block may be schlock, but the burgers were good and the beers were cold!! A perfect end to day four!!