Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Great Corn Palace - only in America

After leaving Milwaukee, we had an incredibly pleasant drive west through Wisconsin and into Minnesota (I have to confess that sometimes I type words and have auto correct do some of the work.  I couldn't get Minnesota right for the life of me just now.  Had to use Google.  Not sure if it's because it's the evening or I'm just a dumbass.)

We crossed the Mississippi River and I didn't even realize it was the Mississippi.  I'm used to very high bridges over this very large river.  I was expecting to crap myself because I am not a fan of heights.  [You can bet that you will hear more about that fear with future posts.  Turns out there are mountains out west.]

We left Milwaukee in the early afternoon so we spent the night in Sioux Falls at a Quality Inn.  It seems that every hotel has a swimming pool and some even have water slides.  This particular hotel also had "adult only" swim from 10-11 p.m. as noted below. My first thought was, racy and kinky.  Then I thought, that's actually brilliant (not the kink).  One of the things I hate about hotel pools is the kids.  I was too tired to find out what the adult swim was about so we may never know.....

We got up early the next day so that we could make it to Badlands National Park in time to explore.  If you've not been in South Dakota on Route 90, you may miss the 4,567,890 (+/- 1,000,000) billboards on the side of the road advertising every kitschy museum and roadside attraction.  It's like traveling to Florida and seeing the South of the Border signs but this is South of the Border on crack.

Corn Palace, Wall Drugs, 1800's Town, Al's Oasis, you name it.  The Corn Palace was too corny (pun intended, and I'm still giggling) to pass up.  Jamie thought I was nuts.  I said, okay, advertising works.  We have to see this place that's been touted as the "only corn palace in the world."  Honestly, though, how many would there need to be worldwide?

We made fun of the idea of the Corn Palace and then followed all the signs off the exit to the Corn Palace.  Then we marveled.  What an interesting and odd place and what a neat idea.  I have to applaud people who do things like this to attract attention to an otherwise sleepy place.  It was just damn cool.

And Pearl got in on the action.  Here is a photo of her with the resident mascot, Cornelia.

The Corn Palace is the main attraction in Mitchell, South Dakota.  Murals made of corn are constructed each year around a particular theme. 2016's theme is Rock of Ages.  Murals were of musicians and other music-related scenes. The "palace" hosts concerts and other events.  At the time we were there, the auditorium was a giant gift shop.

You can see Elvis made of corn and corn parts.

This photo and the photo below right are close up shots of one of the murals.
You can see how intricate this work is.

The gift shot auditorium.

And what do you buy in the gift shop? Salt and pepper shakers to season your corn!

Al's Oasis is advertised for miles and hit our journey right at lunch time so we figured we would try it.  Um, delicious bison burger and the best onion rings!  The pies looked awesome but we were quite full from the rest of the meal.  Worth a stop!  Al's also has a large gift shop and convenience store.  I bought a book and as I was checking out the cashier started talking about the two presidential candidates.  What?!  And I don't even know how it got started.  Something about being tired and then tired of the election and she doesn't like either candidate.  Okay, great for you.  I thought politics was one topic you didn't discuss with strangers!  Egad!  Can we talk about the onion rings?  Or the magnificent Missouri River (below).

Every visitor on I-90 in South Dakota must stop at Wall Drugs if for no other reason than to get a cup of water.  Honestly, it's the most touristy, ridiculousness around.  Water would be all you want.  But you have to make the pilgrimage. Enough road signs signal that Wall Drugs has water, donuts, cowboy boots, a diner, you name it, that you have to see what the hubaloo is about.

Pearl with Poker Alice
Drinking the water

In the travel chapel

I have a confession.  I had Jamie take a picture of me in the travel chapel at Wall Drugs. Then our truck broke down in Yellowstone (more on that later).  I think it may have been fault for making fun of the travel chapel.  I don't think God appreciated my sense of humor.

Next post.....Badlands National Park.  It deserves its own post.  Preview: Spectacular!

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