Thursday, August 02, 2012

Great Plains - 31 July 2012

Leaving Jackson we headed back to the I-90 to continue our westward run across the Great Plains.  In my mind the Great Plains were a lot flatter than they are in real-life.  On the macro scale they are certainly flat and there are no hills to be seen anywhere except around the Missouri River, much like the change in topography that we noticed as we crossed the Mississippi River yesterday.

But, before we got to the Missouri there were miles and miles and miles of corn to drive past.  Later the "corndom"  was interspersed with sunflowers and cereal crops - most of which had been harvested so the fields were dotted with round bales of straw.

Our first stop for the morning, for our senior coffee, was the city of Sioux Falls and today, the falls were still there and a lovely park has been created around the falls by the city council.  A free "trolley" takes you to the city centre or you can simply stay on the trolley, enjoy the self-guided tour in the leaflet and return to the Falls Park, which is what we did.

Back on the Interstate there was corn and more corn.  Did I mention the corn?  And corn was the theme of the next break at Mitchell where we deviated to look at the Corn Palace.  First started in 1896 and rebuilt, enlarged and shifted a number of times, this civic space has been re-decorated with corn murals  nearly every year since.
The murals are made from 275,000 corn cobs of 12 different colours which are specially grown on a 100 acre farm nearby.  Supplementing the corn cobs is rye straw and highlights picked out in dark red/brown dock flowers.  It is pretty spectacular and even better, it is free.

The next feature of note was to "cross the wide Missouri" (break into song here), but before doing so we pulled off in the little town of Chamberlain  for a photo shoot.

We still had 150 miles to cover (past the corn fields) to our destination in the Badlands but fortunately we crossed another time zone and added an hour to our day so we arrived in plenty of time to have a first look at this utterly fantastic landscape, set up camp, have dinner and then drive back again for some sunset shots.

432 miles today, total trip 2752. States: Minnesota, South Dakota.  

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