The Longest Day

On paper it looked like it was going to be a short day.  We were going to drive from Rapid City over to Wall Drug, then pop over to the see the Corn Palace for an hour or so and then head down the highway to Omaha arriving in time to eat supper at California Tacos.

We pulled into town at 10 p.m.


The day started on time when we arrived at Wall just as the shops were opening up in the morning.  Wall Drug became famous for handing out free ice water to thirsty travelers (which they still do) as they crossed the Badlands on their travels to and fro. Wall Drug is NOW famous for teaching our children some innapropriate humor (but not so inappropriate that we didn’t all die laughing).


I know it’s blurry.  It reads “Near as I can tell, we’re somewhere behind Mt. Rushmore.”


We were talking to the clerk as we were checking out and he asked us where we were headed and we told him “The Corn Palace” and he said “What?  The world’s largest bird feeder?”


That’s what Mr. CPQ said when I first suggested we go.

It’s so hard to soar with the eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys.

The clerk, being highly perceptive of the daggers coming from my eyes, hastily added that the Corn Palace was lovely, but that we shouldn’t miss a drive through the Badlands since they were just down the road from Wall and they were the second most visited tourist site in South Dakota.

I held my breath.  I had suggested to Mr. CPQ that we drive through the Badlands while we were out there, but he’d kinda’ kiboshed the idea once we started adding up the hours and miles.  You can imagine my suprise when wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, Mr. CPQ said “What a great idea!  Let’s do it!”

And the earth stopped rotating on its axis.

Before we hit the Badlands (because we cannot drive more than thirty minutes without something to eat), we stopped to pick up supplies.


Yum….buffalo salami. We didn’t tell the kids what it was until they tried some.

The Badlands were freaky weird.  One second we were driving across prairie grassland, then we wound around the bend in the road and the ground literally fell away into this canyon that split the earth and revealed the most bizarre landscape we’d ever seen.  It was otherwordly. (I have better pictures on another camera but haven’t unpacked the USB cord to download them.  Actually, the truth is, I haven’t found the USB cord since a trip six months ago, so I have no idea why I even took that camera because I’ll probably never get the pictures off of it now.)

But I digress.


Nice shot of the visor, there, CPQ.

Leaving the Badlands (which delayed us by an hour and half), we made our way towards Mitchell, but stopped at Al’s Oasis, home of the 5 cent coffee,  for lunch.  It was at Al’s  that we saw more buffalo on our plate than we had seen in the entire trip across the Plains (and where I was surrounded by more stuffed roadkill than any other establishment at which I’ve dined).


Oh, and we had pie.  Al’s is famous for their pie, and it was so hard to choose which one we were going to get and we ended up with the lemon cheesecake pie because A) it had been featured in Midwest Living, and B) it had sprinkles.

396397I want that pie safe in my house.  It was a thing of beauty.

Mr. CPQ went off the reservation while we were there and armed the terrorists with bows and suction cup arrows so they could shoot each other and, occasionally, the driver as we merrily drove on for the next FOUR DAYS.

He’s new.

And then we went to the bird feeder Corn Palace which I found utterly fascinating and the kids not so much.  But they learned to live with disappointment, and I learned that if you talk to the guys that are tacking on the new designs, they’ll be “a-maized” that someone thinks the Corn Palace is cool and they’ll let you TAKE THE CORN HOME and put it on your mantle to decorate for fall.


See everything above the brick?  Corn. Every last bit of it.






And then we realized it was five o’clock and we still had a five hour drive to Omaha so we hightailed it out of there and departed beautiful South Dakota and its 80 mile per hour speed limit to drive through the giant construction zone known as Iowa to get there.

And I was so very tired.

And happy.

Have a nice day.

16 responses to “The Longest Day

  1. Wow! The Badlands pictures are amazing.

    I chuckled a bit when I saw the shrink wrapped buffalo…You wouldn’t eat the shrink wrapped ham that set in your car for a few hours, but you’ll eat buffalo thats been in a gift shop since Moby Dick was a minnow?

    (Oh goodness! you don’t know how tickled I am. I heard someone use that phrase last week and I have been dying for the opportunity to use it!)

  2. Please tell me you didn’t eat a mouse. Because it looks like a mouse is on your plate.

    And the Corn Palace…it looks corny. HA. I crack my self up.

  3. Still jealous! And love that Mr. CPQ is “new”! 😀

  4. Please, in the name of all that is good and pure and holy, tell me that you bought that magnet.

  5. The Badlands sound so…..bad.


  6. So I want to know if you all sang a little Springsteen as you drove thru the ‘Badlands’? I know I’ve been singing it since I read this post.

  7. We are so going to South Dakota next year! Brother did his 1st grade state report on South Dakota, and I thought the Corn Palace was cool then. Now I just have to see it close up! (Not to be mistaken as the Porn Calace which is what I first typed. :-0 )

  8. That magnet. It made me LOL –

    Oh, I mean, never would I laugh at something like that. That’s just juvenile and silly.

  9. I’m with Amber. I had to take a second look at that plate with the baked potato and meatloaf because I thought I saw a TAIL. It was sauce, right? 🙂

    I want that lemon cheesecake, with or without sprinkles. I’m not picky. 🙂 I think the trip may have been worth it JUST for that cheesecake! I’m jealous!

  10. Okay, the corn palace looks REALLY cool! When you first mentioned it, I (having never heard of it before) thought it was a castle built out of corn. Kind of like a giant fort or multi-level hay bale maze. But the mosaic stuff was super neat! I would go there … if ever I journey beyond the Mississippi River. 😉

  11. What kind of camera do you have that you need a USB cord for? I have a collection of them….

  12. Chortling. I thought I might’ve felt something when the world stopped rotating. Thanks for clearing it up for me. Those Badlands are intense. Again, making me wonder about those who don’t believe in a Creator.

    Lurve that you did this.

  13. Pie and beauty….what an awesome trip. Oh, and the big corn palace was very cool too!

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