South Dakota Bound!

 

Our objective for today was to make it to South Dakota…the closer to The Badlands the better!  We started our day in Iowa City and drove about 240 miles across Iowa.
Iowa Farm

This part of Iowa is beautiful!  Lots of rolling hills and multi-colored fields dotted with large farmsteads.  We kept trying to get a good picture of the “perfect farm” but we were always so enthralled by them that we forgot to grab a camera. This pic will have to do, but it doesn’t do Iowa justice!

Wind Mill Rest Area
Throughout our travels in the U.S. this year we’ve seen new windmill farms in virtually every state.  Iowa is no exception and to commemorate this they’ve built a rest area dedicated to windmills old and new.  This area of the state was settled by the Danish who brought Netherlands-like windmills here over a hundred years ago.  The area is now saturated with modern windmills/wind turbines….interesting to see how the technology has changed, but not changed, in the past 100 years!

We did get this good pic of a gas station that we have only seen in Iowa.  Has anyone seen one of these anywhere else? (Since then we’ve seen many of these.)

 

Just south of Sioux City we took a slight detour and drove across the Missouri River to visit Nebraska. We took the first exit and found a cache that I had researched earlier.  This was a “big deal” cache for us as finding it accomplished our goal of finding geocaches 100 consecutive days in a row.  We set this goal after meeting a cacher in Palm Desert, CA who had recently completed a similar goal.  It’s hard to believe we actually did it!!! Hmmm….how much longer can we go????

 

Around 1:00 we crossed into South Dakota!!!!  Visiting this state has been a dream of mine since I became infatuated with the Lakota Sioux Indians back in my high school years.  My desire to visit here was only intensified when I linked up with Mona who has told me stories about The Badlands and The Black Hills ever since I’ve known her.  At last….South Dakota!!!!
S.D. Visitors’ Center

We stopped at the South Dakota Visitors’ Center and loaded up with brochures and information.  Armed with our new-found knowledge we headed north on I-29, then turned west on the infamous I-90. (Not sure why I call it “infamous”, but there it is.)

 

Lower mural is in draft
In virtually no time we were at Mitchell, South Dakota; home of the world’s ONLY corn palace.  Two of the exterior walls of this huge venue are lined with murals made of corn, corn by-products, wheat, barley, and other grain products of the region.  The murals are redesigned and remade every year.  This year’s theme is youth athletics and the remake was in progress. We got to see one finished wall, which we posted on Facebook, and a wall in progress, pictured here.  The artist draws a stencil (cartoon) on the panel and then they fill it in with the appropriate grain products.  Very cool!

 

Now, back to our westward journey on I-90.  This part of South Dakota is pretty flat with huge fields of different grain crops. There are also several exits that are barely signed, because they go virtually nowhere.  Nowhere…..just a dirt or gravel road headed off into the distance.
As soon as we crossed the Missouri River we started seeing changes in the geography: more rolling hills and peaks in the distance.  Also, the fields became more dedicated to livestock instead of primarily grain crops.
One of many many!
Throughout our travels in this state we have been constantly greeted by Wall Drug signs.  Seems like there is one or two every mile proclaiming: “5 cent coffee”,” free ice water”, “dinosaurs in the backyard.”  Wall Drug seems to have it all!  Can’t wait to visit!

 

Finally, we reach our destination, Murdo, South Dakota.  This is a perfect stopping place for us…only 60 miles from The Badlands and more importantly, just east of the time zone change.  Mona can sleep in tomorrow and in 5 minutes we drive into the Mountain Time Zone and gain back an hour!!!  Gotta love it!

 

Locals at the Buffalo Bar
As we checked in we asked where to eat.  (There are five restaurants in Murdo so choosing can be difficult.)  There are only two places that serve “meals” and the manager pointed us to The Buffalo Restaurant and Bar….about 500 feet from our motel.  This turned out to be perfect for us.  Mona had the grilled walleye and I had the buffalo steak.  Both were perfect and were served by a Jessica (TrueBlood) look alike. She was a dead-ringer for Jessica!

 

Afterwards we stopped at the Buffalo Bar. It’s the same building as the Buffalo Restaurant but you turn left as you enter instead of right for the restaurant. Had a beverage and headed back to the motel.  Gotta rest up for The Badlands!!!!

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One Response to South Dakota Bound!

  1. Julie June 5, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Your trip across Iowa and South Dakota brings back fond memories of our trip to Yellowstone. We so enjoyed the Corn Palace and Wall Drug. It was very foggy when we attempted the BadLands so we didn't see much. Safe travels! Happy Trails!

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