We had no specific attractions planned for today, just make time towards our final planned stop for the trip: Mt. Rushmore. We left the hotel on US Highway 20 heading west out of Dubuque, IA. U.S. US Highway 20 is an east–west highway spanning 3,365 miles. It is the longest road in the United States running from Newport, OR to its eastern terminus in Boston, MA. Yesterday’s rolling wooded hills transitioned to rolling hills of farmlands to undulating hills of farmlands to flat farmlands. We passed through endless miles of farmlands and a few more wind farms: More opportunities to kill or maim migrating birds. The temperature had risen to 104 degrees F and we had a brutal crosswind. In Sac City, IA, we stopped for gas. The decaying grander of the homes spoke of a once prosperous town. From there we headed to Sioux City, IA and then a change of highways and on to Sioux Falls, SD. Just outside Sioux City, we could see Nebraska just across the Missouri River. The temperature had now risen to 108 degrees F. But, the cross wind had died down. In Sioux Falls, we turned and again headed west: Into the afternoon sun. The cross winds picked back up to brutal force, but now from the opposite direction. It was a nice change of pace. Tonight’s destination was Mitchell, SD.
When traveling through endless miles of farmland, one has a chance to reflect and ponder important matters. In Waterloo, IA I was pondering how towns and cities get their names. Some are easy to figure out. Take Petersonberg, IA for example. Perhaps the founding father was named Peterson. Perhaps it was named after a generous benefactor who offered the City Fathers a shiny silver dollar if they named the town after him. Or, perhaps, a man named Peterson won the foot race in a contest to name the town and he chose his own name. Some aren’t that easy. Waterloo, IA: Was the town settled by an immigrant from Waterloo, France and they named it after their home town so they didn’t feel so far away? Or, were the founding fathers sitting atop some hill, doing their yoga to center themselves and realign their chi after a long day of hunting bears and one of them had an epiphany and said, “Hey! Let’s call the town Waterloo to celebrate Emperor Napoleon’s spectacular defeat at Waterloo!” “That’s a great idea!” another cheered “Yea!” said the others, “We hate the French! And once they’re invented, we’re going to change the name of French Fries to Freedom Fries!” They all clinked their tankards of grog and the decision was finalized. Yes, pioneer settlers practiced their yoga whilst enjoying tankards of grog. I’m sure it’s true. Check Wikipedia if you don’t believe me. Or, perhaps the heat has gotten to me whilst writing this segment and I need to do some yoga and have a tankard of grog.
Checking into our hotel tonight, the Bro asked the front desk clerk if there were any attractions in town that were a must see. She said, that yes, we really needed to see the Corn Palace. The Bro had heard of it; I hadn’t. The waitress at dinner confirmed that we really needed to check it out. The sun was quickly setting so we jumped on our motorcycles and headed off to one of the wonders of the universe.
The Corn Palace is an event center in historic downtown Mitchell, SD. The exterior is decorated with corn products: Woven corn husks, thatched corn husks and murals made out of corn cobs. It truly is one of the wonders of the universe. I am SO glad I didn’t miss it. I would have been disappointed; deeply and truly disappointed. One more thing off the bucket list and I didn’t even know it was on the list. Quite frankly, it’s worth a trip to Mitchell, SD to see. Plan your vacation travels now and route through Mitchell, SD to see the Corn Palace. You won’t be disappointed.