Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 3 (Aug 9): The Badlands!

Day 3 starts from Worthington, MN.  The interstate (highway) exit where the hotel is was closed.  We had to do a detour last night.  I forgot to mention, last night, bikers were camping at the hotel parking lot.  Apparently, all the hotels in the area are full.  We almost parked next to a biker sleeping on his bike. 

So the exit is closed so we asked for direction for the detour to get back on the road.  Detour was nice, on dirt road to a farmland for parts of it.  But when we get to the connecting point to the highway, that is blocked too!   The road block seems unnecessary since the construction appears to be after the highway entrance.  So we got out of the car, moved the road block to the side and drove away.

We passed by more corn fields, farm lands and occasional sprouts of wind farms.  Now we know what the red blinking lights that look like UFO landing path from the sky are.  They are lights on each of the post holding the turbine and blades.  We are both excited about the Badlands.  We have been talking about visiting for years and now we're finally heading there!

We entered South Dakota at 10.54 am.  Speed limit is 75 mph so Chris is happy speeding up.  The scenery changed from corn fields to industrial marking quite clearly the border of South Dakota and Minnesota.  The road turns red too!  So I was flipping through AAA Triptik (a book AAA prepared for us with maps and information of different places we'll pass by) and read that there is a corn palace in a town called Mitchell, where we can stop for lunch!  This is the biggest corn palace in the world.  I'm sure they win that title because I can't think of another country who would use food as decoration.  Anyway, we thought we'll need lunch so might as well stop by to check it out.

The Corn Palace
The outside of this building is decorated entirely by corn and different types of grains and grass

The Corn Palace was built in 1892.  The building is re-designed and re-decorated every summer.  The idea of the corn palace was hatched when the town was only 12 years old to showcase the crops grown in the area and to attract immigrant farmers to settle there.  Inside the building, they have pictures of the corn palace every year.  You can see how the design changes with the era, and you can tell when the country is rich and doing well and the years when life isn't as cushy.

More burger
We went to The Depot for lunch. It used to be a railway station but is converted to a restaurant now.

Next to The Depot

The Badlands!

I feel like I'm on another planet!  The view is amazing!  We hiked the notch trail.  The book says it's not for the faint of heart and we thought why not.  So we started hiking.

This is the ladder we scaled up to on the hiking trail

The view from the top. Scary hike along the edges of cliffs but worth the hike.

Back at the bottom of our hiking trail.  We were hiking along the top edges of the cliffs you see in this picture above.

Home for birds

After the Notch Trail, we tried Door Trail

Yellow Mound after sunset
The camera could see better than our naked eyes can by the time I took this picture. Sun sets really quick here, it's pitch dark within minutes!  


Chris' friend, David, is in Sturgis for the bike rally.  That explains why hotels around here is so expensive this week.  

David is going around the country this summer in this selling calzones.  I said he should write a book.

We call it a night after that and retire to a historical hotel called Alex Johnson in Rapid City.