Day 1 - From Soo Foo to the Heart of the Hills
We left Sioux Falls after having coffee and breakfast at Josiah’s downtown and overlooking the Sioux Valley at the monument to the pioneers to Minnehaha County. It was a great day to travel across the state – not too hot. The first stop of the day was at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, where the theme of this year’s murals is “Under the Big Top” – not my favorite theme ever, but they didn’t ask me.
From there we drove south on SD37 to the small town of Dimock, where they have been making cheese since 1931. They recently opened a new store and factory right on the highway, and it is quite a facility. I bought a cutting board in the shape of South Dakota along with some cheese curds for the road. Instead of backtracking to Mitchell, we drove south to Parkston and then west on SD44 towards Corsica. This ended up being a mistake, as there was a lot of road construction involving pilot cars and delays for the 23 mile stretch until we came up to US281. The scenery was classic eastern South Dakota with farmland (primarily corn and soybeans) and long vistas. We picked up Interstate 90 near Plankinton and then continued on to the Missouri River near Chamberlain, our next stop.
That’s where we saw the fantastic statue of Dignity of Earth and Sky – she’s 50 feet tall and carrying a star quilt. There is also a phenomenal Lewis and Clark exhibit, since they camped at this area in both directions on their journey along the Missouri to the west coast.
From there it was two hours to Philip and the ranch north of town. We ended up not getting there until around 3PM mountain time! We had a fun time as usual, and Marianne had cooked roast beef and mashed potatoes. Pat was there helping so it was good to see him as well.
The next stop was world famous Wall Drug, where a donut may or may not have been consumed. There was a double rainbow over the town of Wall and the Badlands, which was a special treat. After hitting the highlights, it was finally time to complete the last 50 miles of the trip to Rapid City. The view of the Black Hills range as you approach during sunset did not disappoint, as you could see the thunderstorm and rain over the Badlands and the sun reflecting on the clouds. We stopped at Safeway in the old neighborhood where I grew up and then headed up to Hill City and the cabin, our headquarters for the next several days.