The day started innocently enough at the Kelly Inn And Suites, in Mitchell, SD. While it was a comfortable place to stay, the breakfast was more limited than any hotel we have experienced on this trip. The highlight of breakfast was the group of pheasant hunters dining with us. Apparently, the area is a big one for hunting. Not having visited Cabela’s before, we decided to go since it was just a short way from the hotel. I have never been to a place where the number of men shoppers outnumbered the women 10-1. Donned in fluorescent orange, they were piling out of trucks four at a time! The inside of the store reflected the season. I have seen lots of deer hunters in my day, but never in these numbers all in one place, shopping!!!
The Corn Palace is in Mitchell. We could not leave without visiting there. And it is free! The volunteer senior citizen ladies were so congenial. You could tell they enjoy what they do. We were told that the first Corn Palace was constructed in 1892. The photograph was taken in 1902. It was conceived as a place where citizens could come together for a fall festival and concert. The second one was built in 1905, but with the success it generated, the building was soon too small. The third was completed in 1921. It is now home to basketball tournaments, concerts, business conferences, graduations and a host of other events. Over 500,000 visitors come to admire the murals. It is redecorated every year using 13 different varieties of corn, other grains and native grasses. Different themes are chosen every year. The murals are designed to reflect the theme. The old ones are stripped in August, with new ones completed by October. This year’s theme is “Holidays”. I came away with an appreciation for the skill of those who design and create the murals. But more than that, I felt that it truly reflects the American spirit and community pride.
Leaving Mitchell, we continued on I-90, then turned south on I-29. Before we realized it, we were in Iowa, stopping at a most unique welcome center, an old riverboat, the Sergeant Floyd . (Charles Floyd was the only casualty of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition.). After touring the old boat, we had our traditional toast!
All day long as we drove, we were amazed at the changes in the landscape. For miles and miles, there were rolling hills and plains. One could become mesmerized by mile after mile of interstate with no real interesting sites. And we did. Polly was driving when she noticed that we had only 16 miles left before we ran out of gas. And I had been so careful to keep the tank full. Well, we saw an exit, pulled off and went into the small town. Alas, no gas station. But, there was a man who offered to give us a gallon of gas. He took us to his house, poured the gas in the tank and off we went to the exit with a gas station. Thank you Dale.
Our home for the night is a Springhill Suites in West Des Moines, Iowa.
October 30, 2012