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July 03, 2017

South Dakota–Open Spaces and Corny Places


Wall Drug is noted for the number of billboards they place.  Once they were in all the states, Canada, Mexico and Europe, but that has been toned down with various beautification acts.  We did see one near Ft Laramie and several dozen – all different – along I-90
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It is a tourist trap, for certain.  In addition to the aisles of cheap souvenirs there is a restaurant.  Every aisle was crowded, even the one aisle that has over the counter drugs.  Ah a real drug store?  Did not see a prescription section although it may well have one.  Wall Drug made its name giving away Ice Water to parched travelers, and it still does.
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with the only respite in the chapel.
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What a relief to find some wide open space in Badlands National Park.   Becky of Interstellar Orchard has worked in this park and offers her insider tips HERE.

We saw several folks boondocking at the northern entrance and past the first viewpoint we pretty much had the road to ourselves.  It was a surprise how quickly the traffic thinned out.
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The Yellow Hills are the oldest formations in the park.
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The Corn Palace in Mitchell has the exterior theme changed every year.  During our visit, Rock and Roll, including Elvis and Willie Nelson, were coming down to make room for next year’s weather theme.

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Inside the Corn Palace is a full basketball court NBA pro Mike Miller played all his high school games here.

The stage hosts top performers throughout the year and even bull riding is performed within. 
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The inside exhibits do not change annually, but are refreshed periodically.
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They’ll have to live with this mistake for a few more years, did you catch the mistake?
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Over a dozen colors of corn are used in the murals, all grown by the same family on 100 acres, since the first palace was built in the early 1900s.

Like the Loveland Sculpture Garden, Sioux Falls, SD has a Sculpture Walk.  The sculptures are changed annually.  But like the other visitors this day we are here to see the City’s namesake Sioux Falls at Falls Park
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I think the Monarch of the Plains is a permanent exhibit.
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RV parking is available near the Visitor Center.  We followed the city’s Falls Park signs and ended up way on the wrong end of the park, set your GPS for the VC.
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There are 82 steps to the viewing platform at the VC.  An elevator is also available, but we can still do the steps (at least for now!)

There are paved walking trails throughout the park. 
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We follow the trail to the original Queen Bee Mill site, which now sits mostly in ruins.  The mill itself burned, the gatehouse that powered the mill still stands, but the pipes have been removed.
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The tourist dollar is important to South Dakota, and is greatest during hunting season.  South Dakota is the only state to allow hunting of its State Bird the Chinese Ringed Necked Pheasant.

After 3 days of fighting the Prairie Winds through South Dakota we’re looking forward to Minnesota next, although it will be a brief visit.

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