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Wyoming 2016:
Day 2 - Mitchell, SD


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Wyoming 2016: [Day 1 - Moline, IL] [Day 2 - Mitchell, SD] [Day 3 - Keystone, SD] [Day 4 - Gillette, WY] [Day 5 - Casper, WY] [Day 6 - Laramie, WY] [Day 7 - Cheyenne, WY] [Day 8 - Lincoln, NE] [Day 9 - Pella, IA]

Saturday, November 19, 2016: Mileage was at 409 when we started out before 7:00 AM.
We crossed over into Iowa almost immediately.
We were able to resist the lure of Iowa 80, billed as the World's Largest Truckstop.
Near Tipton, we spotted these vintage A&W family statues. The Internet told us that these were at Hunt's Cedar River Campground.
We stopped at the first of many really great rest areas along the way. This one had cool glasswork and green metal waves in front, ...
... picnic pavilions that looked like covered wagons, ...
... a perfect photo opportunity around back, ...
... and seats that looked like bales of hay.
Our first official stop was Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
It's a tiny street featuring old buildings, ...
... a couple of cute murals, ...
... and Sykora Bakery.
We were waited on by a pair of teenagers who helped us select some goodies, including the Bohemian Hamburger, a treat so famous it has its own fashion line.
Here are our treats: a cream cheese kolache, which was heavenly, a tasty cherry turnover that Debbie did not have to share with Tom, and the Bohemian hamburger, which is a sweet poppyseed patty on a sweet kolache bun. Debbie wasn't a fan but Tom didn't mind it.
There's Cedar Rapids.
Next up: the Merci Train, located at Antique Acres just north of Cedar Falls. This is one of 49 box cars given by French citizens to each state in the US as thanks for assistance rebuilding their country after World War II. Read about it and it will warm your heart.
Right next to Antique Acres is this traditional windmill, ...
... with a field of more modern windmills further north.
Pumpkins!
Charming house!
Minnesota! Tom doubted that we'd see a Minnesota welcome sign, since we were taking backroads to get there, but he no longer doubts. Minnesota always welcomes its visitors.
We were here to visit Austin, Minnesota, ...
... home of Hormel and the Spam Museum.
This museum was brand new, replacing the old one that had been around for years, but which Debbie had never visited, despite spending half of her childhood in Minnesota.
This wall of Spam told us that Guam consumes an annual average of 16 cans of Spam per person. For real.
This monitor had the classic Monty Python Spam sketch on a loop, ...
... right next to the Spamalot display (which we'd be seeing for the first time three weeks later).
These special edition cans of Stinky French Garlic Spam were souvenirs only available at Broadway performances of the show.
Tom tried his hand at canning, cooking, and labeling Spam (but not real Spam - an adorable pink bean bag was used as the can's contents).
By now, we knew we needed to buy Spam. Lots of it, in every flavor available.
This series of displays showed different places around the world who love Spam. The UK? Really?
South Korea loves it so much that they have luxury gift packages. "Oh, honey, it's high-end Spam. You shouldn't have."
A train of Spam cans is suspended from the ceiling and it runs throughout the entire facility, including the gift shop.
Yes. Spam for sale. We bought some.
We bought 3 cans of Portuguese Sausage, 2 cans of JalapeƱo, and 1 can each of Cheese, Garlic, Teriyaki, and Turkey, plus Spam Single, and a Spam chip clip. There might be some lucky recipients of Spam for Christmas in our family.
After lunch at Burger King (note to Debbie: do not stray from the Whopper again, no matter how tasty that chicken sandwich photo looks), we were back on the road again, stopping next at the Blue Earth Rest Area.
Like Iowa, Minnesota was raising the stakes on attractive rest areas with these two sculptured stone displays.
Minnesota and South Dakota had gotten snow the day before, and the aftermath of that storm was visible along our drive.
But it sure did make everything look pretty.
We were still an entire state away, and this was not the first Wall Drug sign we had seen.
The South Dakota welcome sign was a popular place to get out and take pictures.
South Dakota anted up in the game of which state has the best rest area by including a concrete teepee at each stop, ...
... plus these displays of attractive South Dakota sights. We'd be seeing this bridge ...
... and this set of faces the very next day.
As we drove away from the rest area, Debbie got this photo of the Minnesota welcome sign to make sure Tom really understood how welcoming Minnesota really is.
The snow drifts along the side of the road were beautiful. But to have drifts this stunning, you need to have some pretty fierce winds, and we did.
We were headed to Mitchell, South Dakota, and the billboards explained why - there was a new Corn Palace to see there.
But Wall Drug wasn't going to stop reminding us that we needed to stop there too.
This 80 MPH speed limit turned out to be a lie, ...
... because of the snow packed on the road, ...
... and the snow plows trying their best to clear it.
Poor planning on our part led to us missing the big draw of Porter Sculpture Park, which was closed for the season.
This 60-foot bull head is visible from the freeway if you know to look for it, but we didn't remember until we had passed it, so there's the back of it.
This is Laura Ingalls Wilder territory. In related news, it's probably time to get out those books and reread them.
This is also Sinclair gas station territory, and most of them have adorable green dinosaur statues. We attempted to photograph every one we saw. Here's the first.
Shortly before sunset, we arrived in Mitchell and were greeted by the Corn Palace's mascot, Cornelius.
There's the Corn Palace in all its glory.The solid onions domes had just been replaced in 2015 with metal ones that light up at night.
We dashed inside because it was supposed to close at 5:00 PM, ...
... but we discovered a basketball game underway. In the brief moments that we observed it, we heard someone say, "That was not a good call" in a slightly annoyed voice. Yeah, that's about as angry as the good people of South Dakota can get.
This little display explains how the exterior is decorated - with different color corn cobs and rolled husks.
The tile on the support columns was specifically designed to look like ears of corn in different color schemes, and we were quite impressed.
Back outside, we got a closer look at the decorations.
2016's theme was "Rock of Ages," and this panel depicted Willie Nelson.
Elvis was right around the corner along with more music-themed panels.
It was getting dark and we were ready for dinner, ...
... so we headed to Marlin's, pre-selected by Debbie due to great reviews online.
Our server pointed out the Saturday dinner special, which was entirely too good to be true but we ordered it anyway.
We each got a salad, roll, soft drink, ribs with two sides, and a piece of pie (to go) for $19.99. There was so much food that we took some of the ribs back to the hotel and ate them for breakfast the next morning. Seriously, these people cannot be making money on this deal, but it sure made us happy.
On our way out the door, we saw a vintage photo of the Corn Palace with older onion domes, which were different still from the onion domes in place when Orchy visited in 2011.
We wanted to go back to see the Corn Palace lit up at night, so off we went through the streets of Mitchell, ...
... and got a photo ...

... before checking into the Quality Inn.

Day 3 >


Wyoming 2016: [Day 1 - Moline, IL] [Day 2 - Mitchell, SD] [Day 3 - Keystone, SD] [Day 4 - Gillette, WY] [Day 5 - Casper, WY] [Day 6 - Laramie, WY] [Day 7 - Cheyenne, WY] [Day 8 - Lincoln, NE] [Day 9 - Pella, IA]

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