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.
I 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.
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.
Have a nice day.