Rapid City and beyond!

Apart from our Mt. Rushmore, and Custer State Park touring (all very excellent and highly recommended!), we spent a little bit of time in downtown Rapid City. Some of that was taken up with some frustrating stops to government offices (both for us and for our buds), but we were struck with how lovely “center city” was. On most corners there are statues of the presidents (it was fun trying to identify them without actually stopping) or notable Native Americans, and the city landscaping was in full bloom.
Rapid City 2010 06 30
It seemed that even the close to downtown industrial section was working to spruce up their appearance!
Painting the towers
But as interesting as the area was, and regardless of how delightful we found the city, EAST was still calling our name.
Thursday morning we were on the road by 5AM, and while we enjoyed another lovely sunrise,
Drive thru SD-1
driving east in the early morning does involve just a little bit of sun glare.
Drive thru SD-3
But while the road pretty much looked like this
Drive thru SD-2
and this
Drive thru SD-5
or this
Drive thru SD-6
or this
Drive thru SD-7
or this
Drive thru SD-8
(honest, those pictures were NOT all taken within 10 minutes, they were spread out over several hours) we did get a make a couple of stops to break up the drive.
Like Wall Drug, in Wall, South Dakota – “America’s Favorite Roadside Attraction”.
Wall Drug 2010 07 01
(For my East Coast friends, think South of the Border done Mid-West style!)
We were there pretty darn early (remember that crack o’dawn departure? Wall Drug wasn’t even open when we arrived) so we didn’t see all of the fun, free, family attractions, but at least we can say we were there. 🙂
Our other main stop along the way was the Corn Palace, in Mitchell, SD. Also FREE, and very interesting. The decorations on the outside of the building are all made of corn or seeds or grasses and they are changed every year! Since 1892! These are last year’s murals, since this year’s corn crop isn’t in yet! They use specially grown colored corn and locally grown grasses/grains for these decorations and are currently working on redo-ing the grasses and other parts that are already available. This is truly a must see if you are driving along I-90 in South Dakota!
Corn Palace 2010 07 01
(The murals inside are also amazing and are both symbolic and honoring to the different artists that have designed the murals over the years. They are refreshed about every 10 years.)
We crossed the Missouri River for the first time (of course, there’s no getting around that if you’re driving across South Dakota!),
Drive thru SD-13
and enjoyed the scenic views from the Rest Area on the other side. This area is full of Lewis and Clark history – very interesting!
Drive thru SD-14
Drive thru SD-15
While even though the road stayed pretty much the same (and would have been perfect for me to have taken a turn driving except the wind was blowing about 30mph and even Gary was challenged to keep us going straight!), there are alway interesting things to see along the way.
Drive thru SD-4
The early morning sun on the newly harvested fields.
Drive thru SD-9
The beautiful grasses waving in the “breeze”.
Drive thru SD-11
Don’t you think this would be a hard way to stack hay rounds? How did they get that top one up there? Things we may never know.
As we approached Minnesota, the wheat/hay fields began to turn into corn fields –
Drive thru SD-19
But just what is THAT?
Drive thru SD-20
Drive thru SD-21
After a little Google research, it turns out that was the Porter Sculpture Park and while we didn’t stop, it certainly was fun to see along the way.
Never underestimate the value (and fun!) of looking out the window!
It was a long (straight) driving day for us – almost 400 miles, but we made it into Minnesota!
Drive thru SD-22
(who even had a rest stop right by the sign so I didn’t have to try and snap it on the fly!)
It was a good day of driving through the Heartland of America – what a beautiful and diverse country this is!
This weekend we’ll be visiting with friends outside of Minneapolis, then a quick stop to see some family (and a new great-neice) outside of Chicago and by this time next week we should be hugging these cuties –
Girls Summer10
(not to mention their Mom and Dad!)
The tires are turning – better get this posted!

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