Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 6 - All Hail The King - Corn

Day six got off to a nice start.  A 7:00am waking up time seemed quite civilized and allowed us to be on our way by 8:30am.  Lowell noted that we could have started earlier if we enforced a "no Internet at breakfast" rule but what fun would that be?
  • We are not actually in The West yet.  My friend Rick told me that I'll have to wait until I am west of 100 degrees longitude before it becomes official.  Only then will I begin shopping for my cowboy hat and boots.  But we are officially in the heartland and it would seem possible to look all the way to Wyoming.  
  • We did meet a few more interesting folk at the campground yesterday.  There was a nice couple who travel full time in their class C camper.  They lived in their house 3 months after they retired and then decided to hit the road.  There was also a man who we heard playing his guitar and singing at his picnic table.  He sells CD's of his music at farmer's markets.
  • There is corn and there are windmills for as far as the eye can see.  Got corn?  Yup!  Corn - it's what's for breakfast!  Check!  

  • Who is Albert Lea and why does he have a city in Minnesota named for him?  He was a topographer who surveyed Minnesota in 1835.  Daniel Boone's son Nathan was in his party.

    • A sign marking the x,y,z (I forgot the real name) Ranch prompted a discussion about the name ranch vs. farm.  According to the dictionary, a ranch involves raising grazing animals and is a term most often used in the west.  So we aren't seeing corn ranches or sod ranches (yup places where they grow sod) nor are we seeing cattle farms.  So there.
    • The South Dakota state motto is "Under God, the People rule".  We think that they should change it to "At least we aren't North Dakota".
    • I would love Minnesota if for no other reason than Hormel Foods is headquartered in Austin, MN.  We drove by the corporate headquarters today.  It is also why I love Hawaii because this is where I learned about Spam Musubi.
    • I don't know if it is a nice place or not, but I would like to live in a town with the name Blue Earth.  Maybe I'll speak to the Bowdoinham town fathers about renaming our village.
    • I90 is a very long road.  This morning's GPS directions were "drive 296 miles to exit 335".  That is all.
    • File:American White Pelican.jpgWe haven't seen many ponds or rivers today but the first pond we did see had a very large flock of American White Pelicans in it.  There goes my idea that pelicans live by the ocean.
    • My New England upbringing makes me think the farming process is "cut down the trees and then plant the crops".  Out here the process was "plow up the prairie, plant the crops and then plant some trees".
    • In South Dakota there are gates (like we have at railroad crossings) that are used to close I90 in case of severe snow or ice conditions.
    • We stopped at a rest area for lunch and encountered a nice truck driver.  He was nice because he was driving a double layered animal transporting truck full of big, smelly pigs and he parked down wind of us.  Thank you nice truck driver.  PS.  I know the pigs were smelly because I went over to have a look at them.  Big mistake.
    • This sculpture can be seen from I90 near Montrose, South Dakota.  It's at a place called Porter Sculpture Park and I wish we'd been able to stop but we wanted to get to Mitchell in time to pay proper homage to King Corn
      The Corn Palace is a multi-purpose function center in Mitchell, SD.  It is in the Moorish Revival style and is decorated with Crop art.  The murals and designs are made entirely of corn and grain and they are changed each year at a cost of about $130,000.  The first one was built in 1892, then another and finally the present structure.  I guess the old ones didn't stand up to fire code.  That corn can get pretty dry. 
    This very nice lady told us quite a bit about the history of the building.  She was surprised that I wanted to take a photo of her but was very gracious.  The primary exhibit inside consists of photographs of the palace for most of the years it has been decorated.  My favorite was this one where they felt the need to explain that the symbol on the building was an "Indian good luck sign".
    The year was 1937 and the symbol looks like the swastika.

    Our hosts at the campground told us that they make the best popcorn balls ever at the concession stand.  He was correct!   We saved the popcorn balls for dessert and headed out to find a Culver's restaurant in order to try out the Butterburgers.  Lowell said that all of his friends from this area recommended them so we felt it was worth a try.  They were quite good and probably won't do us much harm if we don't make a habit of eating them.
    Our campground (excuse me - Kampground) is the KOA in Mitchell, SD.  They have done a nice job of making a little tree dotted oasis in the middle of a big windy prairie.  And they have their very own windmill.

    It has been another wonderful day (if a bit windy)!

    1 comment:

    1. Butterburgers and popcorn balls! Heartland food for sure!