Monday, July 10, 2017

There's Lots of Corn Between Athens, AL and Sturgis, SD

We had a busy three week break at home from our summer travels.  The big event was our grandson, Shaun, turning one year old.  Scott and Rachel had a big birthday party for him with lots of decorations, friends and family, and food.  Here he is after his nap - time to get up and party!  Got his #1 shirt on with a butterfly on his left shoulder to also remember his twin brother, Jackson.

The celebration of each month and special events of the past year with the baseball theme continued, and there were also severall balls and trophies on display from Scott's days of playing.

Shaun's first taste of chocolate with a chocolate birthday cupcake -  he wasn't real sure about it at first but it didn't take long!

He got passed around for hours and seemed to really enjoy all of the attention and activity.

But he finally crashed and it was all over, looking forward to another year ahead!

 Our granddaughter, Alexis, has the same birthday and we got to spend several days with her when we visited Adam's family in Austin, TX a few weeks ago.  Happy Birthday, Alexis!

With all things going well at home, it was time to hit the road again.  Our general plan was to head to South Dakota and west from there for the summer months.  We drove for 4 days, crossing lots of states between Alabama and South Dakota.

Finally, South Dakota!

Note: With "fake news" being the new talking point these days, I need to confess two things per the above photos so you can be confident that what we report on this blog is all truth and facts, unless of course I'm being sarcastic or joking, and you should be able to sense those. But then there is always the possibility that I get confused.  Anyhow,  (1) the picture of the Kansas welcome sign is borrowed from the internet and is the exact sign that we passed and tried to photograph, but the camera went on the blink at that exact moment.  And, we spent only about 15 minutes in Kansas, right back into Missouri. (2)  We did a similar deal for Minnesota and just caught the southwest corner of the state, spending about an hour there. 

OK, my conscience is clear, whew, glad that's done, back to the blog.

And if there is one common theme from Alabama to South Dakota, it is corn, fields of corn as far as you can see sometimes.  

There's so much corn, there is a "Corn Palace" in Mitchell, SD!

Here's the story.  Back in the days of settling the west, towns had to get creative to continue to draw new settlers to their towns and businesses.  Pierre and Mitchell both wanted to become the capital of South Dakota. Pierre had a very successful venture with a grain palace, so Mitchell countered with a corn palace. Despite all of the corn fields, grain won and Pierre became the capital. However the Corn Palace was a very successful idea, has been enlarged and renovated 4 times over the years, and remains a very useful and profitable facility today.  It is basically an auditorium for concerts, sporting events, etc. and offers corn anything and everything for local patrons and traveling sightseers.

The interior and exterior are covered with huge murals, made with 19 colors of corn harvested from the area.  The interior murals are changed every 15 years and the exterior every year.  An example from the interior......

And Willie is one of the displays on the exterior.

You can buy anything imaginable that relates to corn in their gift shop and they have lots of informative displays, interactive corn-themed activities for kids, and well, you get the idea - ALL THINGS CORN.  To further demonstrate the amount of corn we are talking about in the states we crossed, take Iowa for example.  90% of the state is farmland and most of that is corn.

So, I am way behind on the blog but wanted to at least get us on the road again.  Obviously there is more in all of those states than corn and we did make a few sightseeing stops, but not many.  I'll try to organize all of that and get another post out soon.

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